Survey Says Iowa Residents Are Best Bluffers Because They Are Biggest Liars

Iowa poker players are the game’s best bluffers because they don’t have any qualms about looking someone right in the eyes and lying to them, says a survey conducted by online casino, sports book, and poker room BetMGM.

(Image: BetMGM)

(Image: BetMGM)

BetMGM surveyed more than 3,100 people from 44 states asking them questions in categories about lying: frequency of their lies, how good they are at lying, how comfortable they are doing it, and how successful they think they are as liars. BetMGM then tallied the results and gave each state a score.

And holy cow, Iowa, you all are a bunch of liars. From BetMGM’s report:

“Iowans claimed the top spot with a perfect score of 100. Our survey revealed that Hawkeye State residents lie more frequently than any other state and are most successful in getting away with their lies. Iowans seem to have mastered the craft of maintaining the perfect poker face.”

Who knows if that’s true, but the survey does have some interesting findings which all should be taken with a grain of salt. From the survey:

  • The three things Americans say they lie about most often are reasons for not seeing people (24%), how they feel (21%), and secrets they’re keeping (17%). Men most often lie when keeping secrets (20%), while women most often lie when providing reasons for not seeing people (29%).
  • The people Americans lie to most often are their friends (26%), strangers (16%), and their parents (14%).
  • Americans think the biggest tells of a liar are avoiding eye contact (46%), closed body language (15%), and changes in voice (14%).

The rub here is that people were asked to be truthful about their lying habits, so while Ohio comes in last as the most honest state, the cynic inside of me says that they’re a bunch of lying liars lying to themselves, but who knows. Are they bluffing? Probably not: I know a few Ohioans, and they’re good, honest and talented people even if they don’t play poker.

White lies don’t count?

While BetMGM’s survey found that a majority of Americans are uncomfortable telling lies (65%), a quarter of them don’t even consider small “white lies” actual lies. Nope, using the “my kids are sick” to get out of a lunch date doesn’t count on the liars tally, and it’s one most of the population fibs.

(Image: BeMGM)

About one-fifth of survey participants told BetMGM that they were actively involved in a lie. The same percentage of folks said they could be strapped into a lie detector machine and beat it. Which sounds exactly like something poker player would say.

And unsurprisingly, more men (23%) think this is the case compared to women (17%). I honestly thought the gap would have been greater.

Subject matters

The subject of the lie matters, and money is near the top of the list. One-third of those surveyed say they are more likely to lie when financial matters are at stake.

Also, people are. generally positive with their lies: Nearly 80% said they are more inclined to lie if they believe it would benefit the other person.

(Image: BeMGM)

(Image: BeMGM)

Lying to get a job is popular: 27% of Americans confessed to lying on their resume or during an interview to secure a new job, with 35% of respondents aged 25 to 40 admitting to this behavior, while only 16% of those aged 57 and older say the same.

But avoiding friends is the top lie, with 68% of Americans admitting they will lie to get out of a social event.

How this translate to the poker table is debatable, as bluffing is both science and art. Still, if you’re playing in a World Series of Poker Circuit event in Council Bluffs next month and face a triple-barrel bet on the river against a man from Sioux City, you might want to grit your teeth and call with that lousy two-pair.

Corrections, complains, tips or kudos?

Written by
Bob Pajich
Bob Pajich is a poker news reporter, creative writer, and poker player who never met suited connectors he didn't like. Tips, corrections, complaints and kudos should go to

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