I'm a total scrub and normally have no business posting in the high stakes forum at all, but I've dedicated a lot of study to Jungian psychological types and so I felt I could share something a little useful here.
Different types do well in different kinds of situations. The NT (iNtuitive-Thinking) types do best at strategy games in general because iNtuition is best for abstract perception of relationships and Thinking is best for processing them into logical wholes.
Online poker is dominated mostly by NTJs (e.g. Phil Hellmuth or Tom Dwan); this type is best at simultaneously considering numerous conceptual standpoints (referred to by Jung as introverted iNtuition or "Ni") and methodically planning the most effective structure for producing empirical results (extroverted Thinking or "Te".)
Illustrative Dwan quote: "It's all a matter of putting them on a range and responding effectively." He focuses on the application that gets the measurable result.
You'll also find some NTPs (e.g. Phil Laak or Ed Miller), who use Ne (finding abstract patterns and connections across unrelated contexts) and Ti (organizing observed information into an internal set of logical relationships that necessitate the rules of systems) but this style of thought is often more conducive to finding and solving novel/interesting situations than to actually producing the strongest objective results. (I myself am an ENTP and have trouble with placing results over curiosity, at times.)
So while NTs in general dominate the field, the main difference is that NTJs are more naturally focused on application/results while NTPs do better with pure theory/structural framework.
I would guess that Ivey is a probable INTP, as he once said of himself: "I'm a gambling addict--it's just lucky I found a game I can beat." Ivey has even been known to play high stakes craps, knowingly taking a -EV situation just for the mental stimulation--most NTJs wouldn't dream of this. He focuses on producing interesting situations that define the extremes of the framework, regardless of their objective value...he just happens to be smart enough to beat a game that he plays mainly because he finds it structurally interesting.
When you get into live poker you'll find a lot more STP type players, because they will use Ti along with Se (extroverted Sensing), which prompts extreme attention to and immediate responsiveness to the physical details of one's real and immediate surroundings. Needless to say Se is pretty screwed online, but in live poker it makes a tremendous difference in terms of reading body language/personal dynamics and responding instinctively with aggression at the right times.
Example: Doyle is probably ISTP (best at Ti, second best at Se.) He plays largely on gut feeling and picking up on the vibes his opponents give off. STP players will sometimes make plays that seem mathematically absurd to the theory-oriented NT player (whom Doyle aptly describes as "like playing against a computer") but can work because STPs will pick up subtle physical cues that NTs are not naturally attuned to.
As a result many STPs are great live players, but the less disciplined ones can suffer from tilt problems when Se's instinctive aggression gets out of line...Gus Hansen, Mike Matusow and Sam Farha all seem like probable STP types.
There's a lot more to this. I'm not sure if anyone really cares, but if so feel free to share your thoughts on it.
Last edited by setoverset55; 05-04-2010 at 03:25 PM.