Poker Is NOW A Game Of Luck.......

Dec. 25, 2011, Posted by Submission

Poker Is NOW A Game Of Luck.......

Poker is NOW a game of luck.  What I really mean by this is that poker is now a game that involves more luck than it ever has done in the past.

One would naturally ask how this is possible if the general game hasn't changed. Whilst this is true the dynamics, environment and overall skill set of poker plays has advanced so dramatically that the 'luck factor' in poker now, more so than ever has a huge effect on ones success and profitability since the edge from being a more skilled player has reduced so significantly.

Over ten years ago I sat down at my computer and decided to see whether I could play poker online, I had always enjoyed card games and a variety of different gambling games I used to play with friends from a very young age. I wasn't overly aware that online poker existed so decided to download and deposit £50 on Ladbrokes, a brand name I was well aware off and trusted to be safe and honest.

Like many others that first deposit and night of playing poker online led to a much longer addiction. I remember turning £50 into £1500 within a few days playing $0.25/50 6 max NLH. I wasn't aware of bankroll management; I just wanted to experience playing poker online. The only thing I quickly became aware of was just how bad the other players were. Check raising the nuts on the river and getting called time and time again by hands no stronger than top or second pair on occasions were common spread. Inducing bluffs with min raises or leading out with strong hands for deception were all moves that would work effortlessly. And folding strong hands when it was clear you were beat was just not a hard thing to do. Winning was easy and you didn't even need to be that good.

For me, at this point in time poker certainly was not a game of luck; it was a game of skill, period. Something I used to preach this adamantly to friends and family.

Now my argument has less substance and I argue it was less conviction. Yes I agree poker is a game of skill; however my opinion is that now the luck factor has a much huger significance and importance on the game than it did back then.

I had one close friend who started playing poker online at a similar time to me, we both did well and enjoyed playing but what stands out for both of us is a conversation we had time and time again when making playing poker online.

How long will this last until we reach a point whereby everyone is educated to a level whereby the skill in poker is seriously diminished and replaced by what is now commonly known as 'run good'?

The answer is that it did last longer than we had previously imagined (and something I hugely regret not taking more advantage off) but that time is now clearly upon us and evident more so than ever. There are a huge number of factors that have seen this years decline in online poker, the world's economy and the effects of Black Friday certainly play a huge role but one reason that has had an effect on online liquidity that many players will now admit to is simple. Making money paying poker online is harder and players have simply given up or gone bust trying.

The skill set of players online can be so evenly spread, especially in cash games, that 'variance', a term so loosely banned around nowadays plays a significant effect on ones results. Off course variance is nothing new in poker but the reason it has become so popular in every players vocabulary is that they now rely on variance a lot more to determine there results than one would have needed to in the past since a good players edge would have been a lot bigger than there edge on the same respective playing field today.

TV, books, training sites, poker tools, poker robots and numerous other factors have all come together the make the playing fields that much tougher, and in turn make the luck factor so much more significant. Yes the % probability of hitting a 2 outer on the river remains the same, however the need to hit that 2 outer for every player is now more important.

In the past it had always been a lot easier and more apparent to determine one poker players ability over another without needing a significant 'sample' of hands to conclude this. Off course there are some hugely talented poker players out there that stand above their peers. But this number is small and the so called 'best players in the world' who were once household names are now no better than your average Joe playing poker online.

The GPI (global poker index) ranks today's poker players based on current 'live' tournament results. It does a decent job of determining who the best players in the word are. But next year there will be another Ben Lamb. Statistically luck plays too big of an overriding factor to allow the best players to stay at the top of the game.

The truth is that some of the fundamentally 'best' poker players in the world are unknown to us. Why, because variance and luck has escaped them thus far and paved the way for another player to steal there limelight. Yes they may break through into the public poker scene at one point in time but the reality is that they will continue playing in anonymity whilst someone else, no more skilled than them will take pokers centre stage for a period of time simply because luck has been on there side.

Luck has always been important part of poker and has always been an ingredient in creating poker's 'superstars'. However the next time I hear someone say, 'isn't poker a game of luck?' or 'how can someone be a professional gambler (referring to a poker player)? I will be arguing with a lot less vigour to convince them that they are wrong and refrain from proceeding to tell them why.

Skill still outweighs the luck involved in poker, but you now need to be a lot luckier than ever to find a way of winning.

I have seen far too many good players go broke through no fault of playing to argue that luck hasn't played the biggest factor in there lack of success.

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1 Comment about Poker Is NOW A Game Of Luck.......

Chris says:

11th of January 2012

Totally agree, sir. The question of the ratio between skill and luck in poker has always annoyed me, because the ratio totally depends on the players. It isn't fixed. I wrote on this subject: "Luck is more of a factor among uniformly skilled (or unskilled) players, because when the skill is equalized, there’s nothing left but the luck."

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