This article about poker and luck was a runner up in the Febuary 2010 NoPayPOKER Free Poker Article contest. Member WRIG88 got $100 FreeD. See the poker article writing details page. All accepted articles get $50 FreeD plus bonus chips and the best may win $1000 FreeD or get a runner up prize of $100 FreeD.
In this article, I would like to try and give some insight into the age old battle of is poker a game of skill or luck. I have personally been a money and free online poker player for some 7 years. I have made some nice cash at times but I have also busted several bankrolls.
In my opinion a skilled player is one who can recognize betting patterns, understand flop odds, and percentages, and have a solid concept of strategy and theory. I have noticed however, not matter how well skilled one may be, you must account for variance, and sometimes aggressive, even poor play from others.
I believe in conclusion it is best to assume that poker is a combination of both skill and luck where the skill level of the player involved has a definite effect on the “luck” component of the equation in the medium and long term.
The assumption would be based on this conclusion that you have to be both pre flop aggressive, as well as post flop smart. Many times a player might find themselves in a position where they made the proper call, yet they find themselves behind due in part to an opponents luck hitting a one or two outer.
It is very difficult to try and overcome such a situation. This also can be attributed more toward online poker vs. traditional brick and mortar casinos because of the amount of hands dealt online. The action of online poker is much faster, and decisions must come much quicker.
Many individuals feel that they take more bad beats online as opposed to live play. This mathematically can be attributed to the number of hands both seen, and played. As well, there is a tile factor involved when one feels that they are being pushed too hard, or perhaps have suffered a bad beat.
The decision making can become irrational, and typical hands that would be thrown away are now played, or even pushed pre flop out of anger in trying to win back lost funds.
Others, who are skilled can pick up on such trends and play them to their advantage, which in turn leads to an even more increased loss, and in the eyes of the losing player, more bad beats which he feels was based on luck.
The successful poker player knows how to manage both aspects of the game. In effect you become able to manage probability (luck) by application of skill and so apply the old phrase beloved of annoying sales managers/gurus everywhere, “make your own luck”. Basically meaning that your skill flattens out the “bad luck” to the extent that you are up consistently in the medium and longer term.
And how to do this? Learn your skill on free poker sites before moving into micro and low stakes money games and beyond.
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