Is Poker a Game of Luck or Skill?

Posted by Steven, February 10, 2013


game of luck or skillLast August, a U.S. district judge determined that the game of poker is “predominated by skill” and therefore is not to be included in federal laws prohibiting gambling. This legal ruling, however, did not end the debate whether poker is a game of luck or skill.

To understand what our players think about this question, we asked them on our Facebook page to post comments in response to our query: Is poker a game of luck, or a game of skill? This question drew a lot of responses, and while we won’t mention the players’ names, we’ll give you a sample of what we learned.

“Poker is a game of luck, being good at poker is a game of skill, regardless of how good a player you will never win anything if your hole cards are 7-3/7-2 etc...”

One player said that it depends. “ the more chips and slow the game is, the more it’s a skill game... but turbos, low stack, and most of sng, luck takes a huge factor... it also depends on experience and ‘feelings’... lets say at the end poker is a game of skill and luck in second place...”

Another player said that playing poker involves “real mathematics, and of course, luck, and skill comes with experience.”

So, perhaps poker is a game of both luck and skill?

“Totally both,” one player commented. A “mixture between both,” another one said. Another player said it was a game of skill, but it depended on the other player. “Skill is only good when a donkey is not getting lucky.”

What percentage of the game is luck, and what percentage of the game is skill? Here are the comments: “50 - 50.” “60 skill, 40 luck.” “70 skill, 30% LUCK.” “80 skill, 20 luck.”

Some players saw a difference between online poker play and playing poker at a live game.

“Online ..70% luck .... live poker 70% skill.” “Online 80% luck, live 80% skill.” “if we are talking about poker online, i think that for last 2 years the luck factor is predominant. Live poker is better to show your skills.” One player commented, “Online it is not luck or skill. You always lose in the long run.”

One player divided up the percentages a bit differently: “10% luck, 20% skill, 15% concentrated power of will, 5% pleasure, 50% pain.”

One player wisely noted the connection between skill and luck in the game. “Poker is a game where you can calculate how much luck you'll need to win,” he said.

The debate continues…

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