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October 03, 2005

Poker & Luck – Enough is Enough!!

Posted at October 3, 2005 09:41 AM in Personal Rants , by Greedy Gecko.

Being such a hot topic nowadays, poker seems to regularly work its way into casual conversations in both social and professional situations. Those without experience in the poker world tend to have fairly similar questions/comments:

  • Don’t you worry about losing? Gambling is dangerous.

  • Do they really pay you any money that you win online?

  • How much have you won/lost?
  • The conversation usually ends with some statement that essentially boils down to: good luck with that. Well I am sick and tired (not really as I am actually fairly healthy and alert) of my hobby being minimized to a game of luck, and that my activity is gambling. At what level of consistent winnings can one begin to support the notion that it is a game of skill, and that the gamble only exists in the short run?

    I concur that anyone can win/lose at any given session, however, if you play within your financial means and amongst players you know that you can beat, then is it really a gamble?

    Any professional basketball player will beat me in a game of horse more often than not (perhaps with the exception of Shaquille O’Neal – who I think I would own). If they wagered their salaries on the game they would certainly be gambling, for perhaps I have an exceptional day and they shoot terribly. However, if we play the game daily, I would certainly expect to be the dog in the long run.

    Many objectors will point to the fact that basketball is a game of pure skill, and does not truly involve an element of chance. However, I believe the same holds true for Risk, Dominos, Poker, etc. Any game with an element of luck/chance is bound to produce variability independent of the skill of the players. In the long-run though, skill will win out.

    I guess the purpose of this rambling is to let everyone know that I am not winning because of luck, I am not gambling (in the long run), and yes – they actually pay you when you win.

    The Greedy Gecko
    I don’t claim to be a shark in the ocean. But I’m a least an Oscar in a freshwater fish tank.

    Here's what I've noticed. When I play poker, I win when I have winning hands and I lose when I have losing hands. And I haven't figured out how to win when I have a losing hand. So luck seems to be an important factor for me. Maybe because my strategy stinks.

    Posted by Dave at December 28, 2005 06:29 PM

    I just stumbled upon this article today so this comment is a bit late. I agree that if you play with a group of people who's tendencies are well known to you, you can use that information to better your chances of success. However, this is not the case in poker in casinos and tournaments. The field of players almost always consists of 90% of people you've never seen before. Sure you can learn a persons tells at the table, but the entire game still lies in the cards.
    As for your 'horse' example; there is no way in the world you would ever beat shaq at horse. how would you possibly match 'slam dunk no jumping'. If you want to compare poker please compare it with a game that you can learn in minutes and have a chance at beating the 'worlds best(luckiest)'.

    Posted by curious at January 17, 2006 03:22 AM

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