hat trumps in poker - luck or skill?

There's a lot of discussion about the relationship between luck and skill when playing poker. Some poker experts believe that the best online casino poker skills will be the best tool that poker players have when engaged in high stakes competition.  Others say that the key is in drawing a  lucky hand.

If you believe that poker is an 80/20 exercise in which 80 percent of a player's results are a matter of luck and 20 percent is skill, you have a 100% of people that agree with you.  The question is, while luck is a big factor, is it really as big a factor as some people say?

Experts Speak Out

One long-time poker maven discussed the belief of most experts. "Poker is a 50:50. It's as much about luck as it is about skill, both in the short run and in the long run. The analysis of skill and luck in poker is intricately linked to the situations in play . . .  There aren’t fixed luck:skill ratios that can be used in all situations. Sometimes, luck rules while at other times, skill predominates."

You can see that at tournaments when, even the card odds make aplayer a huge favorite over the competitors, the unexpected may happen at any time. 

Being "Rivered"

When you're playing video poker and you experience simple, pure bad luck, it's referred to as having been "rivered." You can't blame it on the machine. The machine simply shuffles the cards randomly and deals them out – it has no control. It's simple bad luck and you have to suck it up and move on to the next hand.


Even hardened poker experts acknowledge that players experience "runs", both good runs and runs of bad luck. As another long-time observer notes, “It's not possible for a player to ever play enough hands to put a scratch in poker's large numbers. On-site gamers and online players can play dozens of tables at a time."

"Even after years of high stakes poker events, players are at a substantial risk in which they can encounter runs of bad cards for months on end." The analyst ended by saying "I believe this is a big part of why many poker pros go broke after years and years of profitable play."


Through analysis, poker experts believe that they have identified the mistake that both video poker and land-based casino players make when their games so south.

“They relied on two  propositions that don't hold up over time. Firstly, that the skills they had developed were sufficient to overcome rounds of bad luck, and secondly, that they felt that the sheer weight of their experience would smooth out issues of luck. Those types of views of poker won't hold water long-term.  Poker, regardless of whether it's played on a video poker machine or against other humans, is and shall always remain a high-variance game.”


However, seasoned players who recognize the importance of luck can use that understanding to their advantage.  When playing against others, they can simply target those less skilled than themselves and also those who are misguided in their assessments of their own skills over the variables of luck.