Is Poker All About Skill or Luck?

Lost & Found | estimated reading time
2010. September 12. |
What attributes does it take to be a long-term winner in poker? Is luck all we need or is thorough knowledge and skillfulness necessary to build our bankroll?
This article will provide you with answers to these questions, taking into consideration all the various aspects poker can be viewed with.

1.    The general public’s opinion on poker

A majority of the ‘outsiders’ (meaning almost everybody outside the poker world) think that poker is solely a game of luck. They think of poker as a random casino game, where you might win sometimes, but the next day you will probably lose much more. And, honestly, there is no reason they should be thinking differently, as they are not familiar with the game and it is truly housed by casinos.

Luck
Is poker a game of luck?

But, anyone at least mildly familiar with poker knows that this is not the case. There are several decisions to be made, which can sometimes be very easy and at other times require all our brain cells to concentrate on one given action. All the decisions we make play a very important effect on the outcome. There are always good decisions, even better ones and worse ones. These determine the fate of our bankroll. Also, when playing poker, you are not competing against a machine or the house, but flesh and blood people. This is the biggest advantage, as one thing is for sure: the house always wins on the long run.

2.    Poker players with an ego too big to fit in their shoes

There are many-many players out there, thinking that if they win one game, it was all because of their unbeatable skills and if they lose, it happened solely because of bad luck. Obviously, these people are wrong. There are certain situations in a poker game when players put all their money in without seeing the hole cards. In these cases, it is truly only luck that can help or hinder us.

Also, we can declare that there has never been a poker player who only made good decisions. We all learn from our mistakes, and this is exactly why we are able to progress. Poker really is a complicated game, and when losing, we should sit back and try to learn from it instead of blaming bad luck.

All in all, your huge ego should never sit with you at the poker tables. People who leave this out of consideration will face huge trouble, only lessening their bankroll most of the time.

3.    The hobby player

This category of poker players has a much more realistic view of the game, and these players are able to understand the difference between a win caused by luck and one that truly depended on their skills. Acknowledging the fact that we have lost to a better player is the first step towards the optimal thought pattern necessary for poker. These players tend to recognize the importance of skills, but easily become uncertain after a downswing.

For some reason, poker seems to be a game, in which the brain does not get easily acquainted to all the different situations. In real life, our mind is ‘programmed’ to handle certain situations, and the way we handle them either results in success or failure. Also, repetition is quite common, where, if one step is repeated, we can expect the same outcome the next time it occurs. This illustrates our brain’s learning process concerning what or what not to do. In poker, however, it always works out differently. In numerous cases, we make the right move and still lose at the hand of bad luck. If this happens on a regular basis, our brain will just give up trying, and modify the otherwise perfectly correct strategy.

Players without the correct reasoning and self-esteem will give up in these situations.

4.    The professional


The players that belong to this ‘class’ have developed the ability to be thinking differently. They develop and emphasize their skills, but know exactly how big a role luck plays in poker. They know, that, when thinking short-term, luck plays a bigger role, and this is precisely why a weaker player is able to beat the stronger one in a couple of hours or days of gameplay. On the long run, though, the importance of luck fades to the importance of skills. The more hands we play against a weaker opponent, the greater difference the outcome will provide.

Professional players don’t even really mention the term ‘luck’, as they know that it is out of their control. The only thing a professional focuses on is making the right decision concerning the given situation. If you feel you are already close or have reached this stage in your gameplay, you can rest assured that you are on the right path to becoming a successful poker player.
It is very important to learn to handle all the unlucky and tough situations by viewing them as the most important milestones in our progress towards knowledge.

Long Live Luck!

Do not get it wrong, luck is not a bad thing at all and should never be viewed like that. If luck ceased to exist, poker would be exactly like tennis or chess, where the luck factor can almost totally be minimized. A weaker player would never even consider facing a pro. And without all the players chasing luck, the stronger ones would need to turn against each other, which would be a much greater effort than just going fishing.

And old story about luck and knowledge

It happened in Los Angeles back in the 1930s. The police got hold of the organizer of high stakes poker events. This was not the first offense in the man’s life, so he knew that this time he would be facing a jail sentence for sure. In his final vexation he managed to come up with a rather surprising defense: he stated before the jury that he was not actually hurting state gambling laws, because poker was not gambling, as poker requires thorough skills and knowledge. 

Following the trial, the jury asked for some time out to do research on the issue. They actually divided into two groups and sat down to play poker. Within half a day, when they had to decide on the verdict, 8 of the jury members were of the opinion that poker was gambling, and 4 of them said that it was skills that counted. Because the decision required uniformity, they continued playing in order to reach a one-sided result. After a few more days of poker, the opinions still remained the same and they were stuck.

After the trial, journalists were very curious about the results of the poker game. It did not really surprise anyone that there had been 8 losers and 4 winners. All the losing players stated that poker was nothing but gambling. None of them were willing to agree that they had been outwitted and did not stand a chance without the right skills.


Related articles

0 comments

Our partners
Unibet
  • High rakeback
  • Beginner friendly
  • High number of casino players
Go to the room
GGPoker
  • Excellent traffic
  • Soft fields
  • Highest tournament guarantees
  • Innovative games
  • Generous bonuses
Go to the room
RedStar Poker
  • Highly trusted operator with outstanding support
  • Part of the third largest poker network
  • High overall rakeback
  • HUD is available
Go to the room
Natural8
  • Excellent traffic
  • Soft fields
  • Highest tournament guarantees
  • Innovative games
  • Generous bonuses
Go to the room
partypoker
  • Great tournament selection
  • Attractive VIP promotions
  • User-friendly software
  • Reliable provider
Go to the room
PokerKing
  • American players
  • HUD available
  • High central refund
  • New software to meet all your needs
  • More advanced game types
Go to the room
JackPoker
  • Extreme high Welcome bonus package
  • Many recreational players
Go to the room
888poker
  • Many casual players
  • Great promotion for cash game players
  • Exciting game variants: SNAP and BLAST
Go to the room
BetOnline
  • Beginner friendly
  • Wide selection of games
  • US players
  • Wide range of payment options
Go to the room
bwin Poker
  • Great tournament selection
  • Attractive VIP promotions
  • User-friendly software
  • Reliable provider
Go to the room
TigerGaming
  • Soft fields
  • US players
  • Soft fields
  • Beginner friendly
Go to the room
SportsBetting
  • Crypto Deposit & Withdrawals
  • US players
  • Wide selection of games
  • Beginner friendly
Go to the room
Betsson Poker
  • HUD is available
  • Good fields
  • Part of the third largest poker network
Go to the room
Bet365 Poker
  • Premium tables
  • Many sports betting players
  • HUD available
Go to the room
Segregated Markets
  • Privat deal: Only for Rakerace.com players
  • Untouched Fish Ponds on the Segregated Markets
Go to the room
Betkings
  • Rakeback: Up to 60%
  • Generous Welcome Bonus
  • Quick payments
Go to the room
Betfair
  • Pleasant field
  • Significant traffic
  • High flat central rakeback
  • Monthly races with total prize pool of €70 000
  • HUD available
Go to the room
PokerStars
  • Wide selection of games
  • High-guaranteed prize tournaments
  • Great software
  • HUD option
Go to the room
WPTGlobal
  • Associated with WPT
  • A large variety of tournaments
Go to the room