Poker – Is it a Game of Skill or Gambling?

Patrycja Knows ins and outs of Bingo, Casino & Specials Betting
Updated Updated: August 31, 2021
poker cards

Every now and then, New Zealand players consider the game of Poker from multiple perspectives. The biggest talking point is in determining whether Poker is actually a sport, which requires some skill, or it’s just about riding your luck when gambling. You will be finding out concrete answers to some of the biggest questions you have.

Can you fancy your chances with Poker?

Card games fascinated players for centuries until the tech people at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) found a way to decipher some of the erratic patterns in the limited card decks. They called this discovery predictive randomness. This led to repeated wins against casino houses because the MIT team could now predict the next card to appear.

The same logic could be applied to Poker. As long as you can the mathematical logic behind the randomness of the card decks, you are eliminating some degree of randomness or chance in the game. Sadly, not many New Zealand players understand this perspective to poker and this makes them conclude that Poker is pure gambling. Let’s see another angle.

Is Poker more skill-based?

Poker was suspended in some countries because they considered it “gambling” and presumed it to be illegal. Understanding the nature of the game helps to avoid such misconceptions. The idea is to anticipate the next card from the previous ones rather than “predict” it. Players sitting away from the blinds usually enjoy the advantage of gathering such information from their opponent.

Again, if you observe the trend of the game, you would notice that changes over the last decade. Below are some of the highlights:

The best players get good results consistently

This is not a mere coincidence. All you need to do is take a look at the earnings of some of the greatest Poker players like Bryan Kenney ($56,403,505) and Justin Bonomo ($53,263, 236). It all boils down to hard work and consistency at the end of the day.

Strategies change

Although the gameplay is basic, players have found new ways to gain leverage and exceed expectations. If you are smart enough, you can give your bankroll a facelift by developing strategies for WSOP, WTOP, and other events.

You can learn to beat players

Getting a mentor could boost your chances of winning games. For instance, you could check out the story of Maria Konnikova, a researcher with no prior skill who went on to become a Poker professional with well over NZ$300,000 live earnings.

There are weak players

If a game is purely due to chance, then every player has equal chances of winning and there would not be terms like “the fish.” It is quite easy to spot a less experienced Poker player these days due to poor decisions and second-guessing.

Final thoughts

Truly, there might never be a common satisfying answer for everyone but what matters most is a deep understanding of the essence of the game. Poker requires constant learning and doesn’t just depend on probability alone. 

Styles of play and body language are often studied and analysed. Although the game is yet to be globally recognized as a traditional skill-based sport, one thing is clear; Poker is not “gambling” and you need more than luck to be successful and this requires a certain portfolio of skills. 

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