Poker Skill or Luck?
Poker players take great pride in the fact that their game of choice rewards experience, patience and intelligence. Unlike most casino games who rely almost exclusively on luck, this one requires a certain set of skills and acquired talents.
There is still a heated debate about whether in poker skill or luck decide the outcome and the stakes are as high as they get. In countries where online gambling is prohibited, such a distinction can make a big difference since games of skill are generally accepted.
Don’t Underestimate the Impact of Luck
Poker experts and pundits have frequently expressed their conviction that poker is a game of skill and luck plays a minor role.
However, the most respected authors such as David Sklansky urged players not to neglect the role played by chance. By using skill, reading opponents and making the perfect plays when it matters the most, players can mitigate the role played by luck. At the same time, the impact of chance is undeniable and essential for the long-term popularity of the game.
In the absence of luck, the difference between poker and chance would be virtual he nonexistent.
A quick glance at the community of chance and poker players will reveal differences that speak for themselves. The reason for why poker is so popular online is that anyone can have a good day and beat the odds despite playing against better opponents. In the long run however, skill always trumps luck and the better players are much more likely to stay profitable.
Luck is an important element in the equation of poker, but just one of the many factors that influence the outcome. Other things such as bankroll management, the ability to establish and exploit a table image and reading opponents are more important.
Professional poker players know that luck is always there lurking in the background, waiting for an opportunity to make its presence felt. When it strikes unexpectedly, it sends shockwaves that players remember far more vividly than its inconspicuous absence.
Skill is Not a Ward against Luck
Poker players hone their skills all the time and even professionals agree that there is always room for improvement.
At the top of the food chain, everyone knows the percentages, has the ability to estimate the odds of winning with certain hands and exercises bankroll management. It is the ability to make the right play under pressure to stay focused at the task at hand that makes the difference between good and great players. Everyone knows how to win with a good hand, but the art is to prevail with a weak one.
If you play poker long enough then you end up seeing pretty much everything and few things can still surprise you. A very important skill is actually to know how to take advantage of luck when it visits you and make the most of those fleeting moments.
When Lady Luck no longer smiles benevolently upon you, expertise, poker abilities and sheer skill will be of little help. They can only help players mitigate losses and stay afloat long enough until their luck changes.
Bad beats are blamed by amateur and professional players alike for lengthy downswings or major losses. They are caused by weaker players who suddenly get lucky and prevailed despite seemingly crushing odds.
In the long run however these incidents have limited impact on savvy players and the real damage is caused by the ensuing tilt. Poker players lose much more money in the wake of a bad beat when they start chasing losses and stop trusting the strategy that got them this far.