Poker is pure luck

Whenever I say that poker is pure luck, poker fans usually get quite mad1 about it, but can’t even start a proper explanation on how it isn’t. That’s the only stuff I found after quite some effort searching the web:

  1. You don’t understand poker
  2. “Skilled” players win over “unskilled” players or randomized players
  3. The same players come at the top of tournaments

I couldn’t find anyone explaining what the “skill” was exactly. Weird, uh?
My responses to these sorry-ass explanations:

  1. It is a very simple game after you remove all the vocabulary cruft and other useless talk. That’s why idiots like it: it’s simple yet they it makes them feel intelligent.
  2. These kind of studies are cited as scientific evidence that poker is not pure luck. Unsurprisingly, poker fans don’t understand much how science works. Some players are better at estimating odds, i.e. luck. A random player does not consider the odds. “Skilled” players are either stupid (they consider odds but they are not aware of it) or very intelligent but evil (they exploit the stupidity of others). A “perfect” human (or… a robot) could always have the exact odds at hand, and chose a safe strategy to win on the long run.
  3. That’s actually the most used argument. That’s just because all the others are idiots, who get influenced and don’t know it’s just a game of odds.

The sad fact is, anyone can write a bot to play online poker and win not much, but regularly. That’s why online poker sites try to block bots, by using closed-source clients and closed protocols, and monitoring how many tables someone is trying to play at once.

Even if you consider estimating odds is a skill, it’s just a fucking boring skill. I’d rather play FarmVille.

  1. and I really enjoy that []

2 Responses to “Poker is pure luck”


  • Poker is a shi-fu-mi game. You have to quickly guess what the other player is thinking and play accordingly.
    The other player doing the same thing you can study poker with game theory. There is some good papers on the university of alberta, poker research team website on this subject. These guys run in a lot of trouble, because writing a bot winner at high stake poker is much more difficult, and challenging, because of the psychology part, than writing a high stake chess bot.
    Of course, you will not be able to won at poker until you grow up and be interrested in what other people think.
  • If players are actually influenced by the psychological aspects of the game, it just means that they are emotional pussies.

    And even for that there seems to be software around it (PokerTracker).

    The point of bots is to win on the long run — no more, no less. If poker bots aren’t working, why are online poker hosts trying to block them?

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