Do Women Make Better Gamblers Than Men?
Written by Matt
Published date · Dec. 4, 2020 | Last Updated · Dec. 14, 2022 | Read Time: 4 mins
Gender bias is an awful thing that has been around since the dawn of time. Whilst it is wrong, it is still prevalent in society today to pit the sexes against each other. Whilst comparing men vs women gambling may not seem like a very fruitful endeavour but the genders to have different approaches towards games of chance and games that require skill.
Creative writer and psychologist Maria Konnikova gave us some great insight into the psyche of a female gambler.
Whether she is a gambler or not is another matter entirely, but she does give a great understanding of how male v female gambling patterns happen and whether the habits are encoded in one’s gender.
Do women make for better gamblers than men? This may not be the most riveting question; it is one that needs to be answered. How do the genders differ from one another or are gambling methods and patterns more of a cultural thing?
To figure this out, we have looked into the extensive research of Konnikova and see what conclusions we can draw from it.
Male vs Female Gambling: The Differences
Now that we have the science, it is time to crack it. This is not simply a battle of the genders as that can cause enough arguments to last a lifetime, but it is good to examine how the genders tackle a thing such as gambling. Scott Stoltenberg argues in his research that men and women gamble in very different ways.
This may sound prejudicial, but Stoltenberg does provide some very accurate readings and concluded that men in America tended to gamble more frequently, as well as won bigger but also registered higher losses. Another study carried out by K Winters indicated that gambling is quite popular. 91% of all American college men and 84% of college women have come into contact with some form of gambling, the study claimed.
So this means that based on exposure, there are no real differences between the genders.
Things start to change when we look at the rate of gambling addiction. An estimated 4.2% of men are addicted, whilst only 2.9% of women are addicted. The first emergence of gambling for the first time appears at a younger age in men as 14% of men were doing it so at was considered a problem level whereas only 3% of women were.
It is at this point that we must say that anyone is reading this who wants more information about gambling responsibly you need to visit begambleaware.org and also check out our page on responsible gambling.
The conclusion we can draw from this is that men tend to be more inclined to take up some form of gambling, but both are exposed to it in some form of another.
A Battle of the Genders and Wits
It is not all about exposure or rate of participation. To find the hard truth, we will have to look at some real-life examples.
So who is better at gambling men or women? If we looked at the all-time poker live winnings list, it would be Daniel Negreanu who has amassed a fortune of $42 million. However, Maria Konnikova may be a great example of how men and women compare in poker specifically.
Konnikova does have a PhD in Psychology from Columbia University, which would mean she has greater mental faculties than the average male gambler. However, she is a handy place to go to, to see how the genders gamble differently.
Her insight and mind have cost men a fair amount of money, other than dealing a blow to their ego. Konnikova does do battle with the big fish of poker, whilst also playing with up and comers. She has said that she has been called every name under the sun at a poker table as well as being propositioned more than once. Her time playing with aspiring players as allowed her to get into the minds of the players without them knowing.
In an interview for the New York Times, she said that she could exploit gender bias to her advantage. For example, male gamblers viewed female gamblers in a certain way. She used that to her advantage, arguing that “once I figure out how they view women, I can figure out how to play against them.” As she so elegantly put it, “there are people who’d rather die than be bluffed by a woman.”
Who is able to bluff better?
When you put the sexes against each other, you are no longer trying to study their reactions to random events; you are looking for a specific outcome.
Whilst most gambling games are social in nature such as lottery or bingo, others like blackjack and poker are more based on ego. It is in this thought that the pitfalls and prejudices to come to the front. Male gamblers are less likely to want to lose to a woman as a show of masculinity.
It is funny how the human brain works and especially men’s minds as they are never one to admit defeat especially when playing a woman but will rather sit back at the sight of a fresh financial loss.
Men also have a lot of prejudices towards female gamblers as well. Some men even dismiss women to have the ability to bluff.
This means that female gamblers are able to catch the male gamblers out, who is dismissing them as a potential opponent. It is interesting to see how the established gambling patterns can snare men who don’t take their opposition seriously.
Now that we have discussed the science and the theories, we can attempt to answer the question do women make better gamblers than men. We have explored a lot about human psychology, and the sexes are from two very different perspectives. The biggest conclusion we can draw is that men tend to gamble more than women.
Whether this is out of social pressure or bravado, this is yet to be figured out. Both sexes are capable of delivering some incredible gambling plays no matter their skill level. So the battle of the sexes continues.