Thursday, January 12, 2012

Skill or Luck: Which Is More Important When Playing Poker?

Skill or Luck: Which Is More Important When Playing Poker?

Whenever Poker is discussed in any situation, either in the media or between friends, the same debate tends to always come up - is Poker a game of skill, or is it down to luck? This question has also come up in court cases, notably in 2007 when a poker club was taken to court on the grounds that a license is needed to host luck-based games, while the club’s defence was that since poker is a game of skill, the license was not required.

The skill involved in a game of poker is to calculate your odds of winning a hand. This comes in many forms; some examples are reading your opponents’ reactions to gain an advantage by knowing how strong their hand is, bluffing your opponent by successfully pretending your hand is stronger than it really is, or calculating the probability of the next card being the card which you need to complete your winning hand. Different players tend to have different Poker strategies; some favouring aggressive tactics, while others play “tight games”, only playing when they are sure they will win.

Over a short period of time, and a relatively small number of hands, players can have poor luck, where they lose several hands when they are statistically in the better position. Often this has the effect of infuriating the player, clouding their decision making skills, and causing them to throw good money after bad. These players often, for a short period, get into the mindset where they feel that their luck is going against them, and end up in a vicious cycle; the more chips they lose, the more they make bad decisions, which leads to losing more chips, which leads to making more bad decisions and so on. This is referred to as being “on tilt”.-


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