Can a Chimp Win The World Series of Poker?

Written by:
Jagajeet Chiba
Published on:
Chimp Playing Poker

A few years back, an online poker site got the idea to enter a chimp at the World Series of Poker.  His name was Mikey.  We have no idea how Mikey would have performed as organizers ultimately denied him registration.

“He will not be registered, nor will he play,” said Gary Thompson, spokesman for the World Series of Poker at that time. “We are not letting any chimpanzees in. It would be cruel to the chimpanzee and unfair to our players.”

Cruel, we doubt it, unfair to other players, perhaps.

A recent study found that chimpanzees can win at poker. 

Why chimps win at poker?

“Chimpanzees apparently can figure out what others are thinking, a mental ability seen nowhere else in the animal kingdom so far except for in humans, scientists find,” reports. “In recent years, research has revealed just how much chimpanzees – humanity’s closest living relatives – have in common with us. They can hunt with spears, play with improvised dolls and mourn their dead. Past research also showed that chimps can figure out what others know. … It was an open question as to whether chimps’ mental capabilities might go beyond knowing what others might know to what others might think. Now scientists find they might possess this advanced mental ability.” They detailed their findings online Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

- Jagajeet Chiba,

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