Is poker a game of skill or luck ?

12/07/2012

Poker has long been considered a game of chance, and this belief holds forte even today. However, various studies and books on this subject over the recent years have challenged this outlook, one of them being a research study by Professors Steven Levitt and Thomas Miles, authors of the bestseller Freakonomics


The authors have stated facts that could have a telling impact on online gambling, one of them being that poker is a game of skill. Citing years of research, Levitt and Thomas have revealed that individuals who are highly skilled in poker take home about 30 percent more money than what they bring in. Contrast this with their ‘less-skilled’ counterparts, who lose about 15 percent more than what they bring to the poker table.

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Contributing to this point to view is an August 2012 ruling by New York federal judge Jack Weinstein, who stated that poker was a game of skill, in a case slapped against a New Yorker who ran a poker club. Judge Weinstein elaborated by saying that expert players hone their observatory and mathematical skills, as well as their ability to read people psychologically, to win games and better their chances of winning. His written ruling was supplemented by several graphs and charts highlighting the tactics poker players used, such as bluffing and reading faces, to go one up on their opponents.
Also very telling is the opinion of lauded political statistical pundit Nate Silver, whose predictions for the 2012 U.S. Presidential race were right on the money. Silver is an accomplished poker player who earned six figure profits in just two years thanks to the game. Nate Silver, however, does not rule out luck as something that plays an important role in poker. In his view, poker is both a game of skill and luck, in equal measure.