Is poker skill or luck?


I AM often asked what makes a good or great poker player. Are they really good or just lucky? So this begs the question; is poker just a game of luck and therefore pure gambling or is it a game of skill with an element of luck thrown in? It is my opinion and that of many, that poker is indeed a game of skill, but that even when played skillfully, the law of averages and laws of mathematics, will allow for an element of luck in terms of the percentage chance that a weaker or poorer player may indeed play and win by getting lucky.

Part of the attraction of watching or playing games is that the underdog can win, sometimes! We have all heard the term ‘beginners luck’ and the British do love an underdog.


But let me tell you that poker has very recently been recognized as a sport. ‘What?’ I hear you cry, well yes a sport, but not like football or tennis which requires athleticism and physical strength, but a sport of the mind.

I.M.S.A, the International Mind Sports Association, has recently voted to add poker to its list of recognized mind sports that include backgammon, chess, draughts and bridge and will now form part of IMSA’s World Mind Sports Games, due to be held in the UK in 2012 alongside the London Olympics.

Indeed the theorists, the number crunchers and mathematicians have transformed the game by giving us insights and tutorials into possibility, probability and hard statistical evidence after running hundreds of millions of hands through the computer.

To be a good successful, skillful poker player it helps to have a good knowledge of probability and chance. So start studying guys.

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By David Dancey



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