October 2004

IZA DP No. 1345: Prize and Risk-Taking Strategy in Tournaments: Evidence from Professional Poker Players

This study examines whether people optimally respond to prize incentives for risk taking in tournaments. I exploit the television game show World Poker Tour as a natural experiment. The results show that professional players strategically choose the degree of risk taking depending on the incentives implied by the prize structure they face. I find that they are more sensitive to losses than to gains.