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Defeating the Odds by Skill or Luck
A question almost as age old as "What came first, the chicken or the egg?" has to be "Is poker a game of skill or luck?" Poker strategists reconsider this question every time an amateur poker player beats a seasoned player and wins a million dollar or more poker prize. This article will list the probability involved in winning a poker game, the skill and knowledge required to beat opponents, and the interaction of both skill and luck to make for a winning poker hand.
Luck be a Newbie Tonight?
It must be frustrating to spend years studying opponents' behavior and cards, investing time and money in a career which essentially is the same as playing games all day, and picking out the perfect 'you can't see me, but I can see you" sunglasses to wear at the poker table- just to lose to a 19 year old novice who's previous poker winnings were a negative $28. How is it possible for someone so new to the game to win? People who play poker have pondered this question for years. Part of the reason lies with the "luck of the draw."
Unless the game is fixed, no one can guess what those first few cards dealt will be. Later cards can be guessed at and ruled out, but the initial cards dealt can make or break a winning hand. Anyone who has ever played a game, be it poker or tennis, will tell you that a mix of skill and luck resulted in the win. Though the player has the technical skills to play the game, perhaps the wind blew the right way for the tennis player or the dealer dealt consecutive good hands to the poker player. Skill and luck cannot be ruled out as methods by which many people have come out of games victorious.
An argument in support of skill is that poker, with its multiple variants such as five and seven card stud, low and high hands, draws, community cards, etc. is a complex game. Obviously, knowledge of its terminology and methodology is needed to even begin playing. Also, live gaming requires good observation skills. Observing an opponents' body language, style of play, and ability to bluff are important elements that can affect the overall outcome of the game.
However, if skill was all that was required to win at poker, there would probably only be one or two players in the world who would win every time and 19 year old, "Johnny First-Time" would most likely not be one of those two winners. Because of both skill and luck, it is possible for even a novice to win at poker. This is one of the main reasons that the game is so popular and exciting.
Poker Articles > Skill or Luck?