115 – Card Games and Financial Crises


There may be a nexus between card games and financial markets. Akerlof and Shiller (2010) wonder whether the decline in the number of bridge players and the growth in the number of poker players may have led to the current bad financial traders’practices which are responsible for the global financial crisis.

The reason is that bridge is a cooperative game generally played without monetary payoffs, while poker is an individualistic game with monetary payoffs. We simulate trust and dictator game experiments on a large sample of affiliated bridge and poker players.

We find that bridge players make more polarized choices and send significantly more than poker players as trustors, a result which is reinforced when corrected for risk aversion and dictator giving. Overall, our findings do not reject the hypothesis that bridge practice is associated with a relatively higher disposition to team reasoning and strategic altruism.

Keywords: trust games, financial crisis, poker , bridge.

JEL numbers: C72; C91; A13.