The general public remain ignorant about Poker

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Anyone involved in the world of poker will agree that the game takes skill – of course there is a luck based element to it as well, but there is without conceivable doubt skill involved, and a degree of responsibility and good practise can improve your game tenfold.

Public opinion affects the laws

And that’s the real problem here. Because poker is seen as little more than a gamble, with slots and blackjack apparently having the same amount of skill involved, therefore the laws are effected by the general opinion.

With the exception of card counters in blackjack, of course. Because that DOES take skill. If winning a game of poker was recognised widely as more than just a bit of luck, perhaps the people that play would command more respect within the general gaming and sports industry. But as it stands, the game of poker is seen as little more than random chance. And therefore, it remains illegal in 49 states, and online.

The experts disagree

Phil Hellmuth, American poker superstar and winner of 13 WSOP bracelets, claims that; “poker is 100% skill and 50% luck”.

This, however follows a very big headed comment where Hellmuth said, “If there weren’t luck involved I would win every time”. This was of course, after a WSOP Main Event in 2004, a poker match where he lost heavily.

The quote has carried on to become one of the most iconic and famous poker quotes of all time. When compared with a game such as chess, it does become clear the poker has an element of luck. But so does football. It’s lucky that the striker manages to hit the ball with his foot just right, it’s lucky that the goalie chooses the right side on the penalty.

No one is denying the skill involved, just because luck is present. Poker is clearly different when compared to other casino games like Roulette – there is an undeniable element of skill in professional players.

The final verdict?

Poker has remained a popular game for hundreds of years, and I think it’s totally fair to say that there is an element of luck to factor in. However, skill is also a big part of the game too. People continue to debate the topic, and a worthy case could be argued for both points of view. If you look at poker objectively, it is a game of applied probabilities - where statistics reign supreme, and incomplete information is the major challenge.

When looked at like this, it becomes obvious that poker is a game where both skill and luck factor in. And as previously mentioned that could be said for many sports. They may not rely on luck so intensively, but it is omnipresent.

If poker was all luck, there would not be the same players winning year after year at the WSOP. There would not be the formidable players that reign on Club PKR – everything would be completely random. Winners would be different every time if the game was down to luck alone.

So is poker skill or luck? You decide.