Is Poker a Game of Skill?


Yes, a lot of people still find this to be a question to tackle. However, it should be known that poker isn’t just an astonishing way to occupy one’s free time. Poker is a game that requires knowing your contender, strategizing, reading of the hand, psychology application, management of bankroll and just a little of poker luck.

As a spectator, one would expect watching poker on the side to be a fun thing to do. What fun could there be with a lot of people strictly bent on putting on their sunglasses in a room – without windows – where some chips and cards change position on a table? Well, the sullen look on the face of a banished player due to not having any more chips to continue the game at that specific time – sure isn’t fun to watch.


Getting it right with poker: Luck vs. Competence

It was impossible for a long time to accurately record the statistics of poker games until the introduction of online poker. Not all players keep a record of the game they play, and among these few, it is even more difficult to find those that are willing to share these records with researchers.

However, there are recent reports from attracting a great amount of attention. One of which is the Cigital group (a consulting firm in Washington, DC) inspection of more than 100 million poker hands done on a large scale.

Here are two major outcomes that satisfactorily adhere with most knowledgeable poker players’ perceptions:

  • There is no showdown for 3/4 of all poker hands.
  • The best hand wins only approximately 12% of the hands.
  • With such findings, it became more convenient for a lot to maintain the fact that poker is a game of skill and not mere luck.

What does luck have on this?

Saying that luck holds a significant role or not in poker – this should not be a contradicting statement. One should first consider the time frame before being able to evaluate the effect of luck. If we consider playing on a relatively short time frame, then we can comfortably be at rest that luck plays a huge role.

After checking with seasoned amateurs and top pros, it is seen that eighty to eighty-five percent of their outcomes for single sessions that don’t take less than 5 to 6 hours can be dependent on luck.  A smaller group of these amateurs and pros on a week time frame (say, thirty-five to forty-five hours) can account for about thirty to forty percent of their outcome related to the luck factor. Why not spare a little time to experience more of the poker luck and skill balance?

Actually, what role does luck really play in poker?

a.    Everything

b.    Nothing

c.    All of the above

Well, the answer is definitely ‘c’. So, inasmuch as you are working so hard to put your skills in shape, get your strategy right, be in the right psychological state, properly read the hands of your opponents, getting to understand your contender, and managing the bankroll – one factor still remains a constant; you should still hope that LADY FORTUNE makes you her favorite at the poker table.