Poker Is A Game Of Skill – Official!

Hans Holbein - Erasmus

Hans Holbein - Erasmus

Well nearly official, according to a triumvirate of scholars from that great institution of Erasmus University in Holland and a judge from New York.

Rogier J.D. Potter van Loon, Martijn J. Van den Assem Dennie Van Dolder from Erasmus University Rotterdam – Erasmus School of Economics, have done a rather exhaustive study on the game of online poker and finally came to the conclusion that to win at poker takes a certain type of talent, therefore, poker is a primarily a game of skill and not luck. They also make the assertion that those who play more tend to be more skilfull.

Now what makes this very interesting is that Federal District Court Judge Jack Weinstein has ruled in a court case that poker is a game of skill. In the case in which the defendant Lawrence Dicristina was being charged under the US law The Illegal Gambling Business Act, Judge Weinstein said that in his opinion and therefore law’s opinion 

“…poker, increased proficiency boosts a player’s chance of winning and affects the outcome of individual hands as well as a series of hands.  Expert poker players draw on an array of talents, including facility with numbers, knowledge of human psychology, and powers of observation and deception.”

So with this judges opinion along side the report by the academics which is available online this should now put to bed the debate that poker is a game of chance. But for those who still need to be be convinced they only need to read the abstract from the academics report:

Beyond Chance? The Persistence of Performance in Online Poker

A major issue in the widespread controversy about the legality of poker and the appropriate taxation of winnings is whether poker should be considered a game of skill or a game of chance. To inform this debate we present an analysis into the role of skill in the performance of online poker players, using a large database with hundreds of millions of player-hand observations from real money ring games at three different stakes levels. We find that players whose earlier profitability was in the top (bottom) deciles perform better (worse) and are substantially more likely to end up in the top (bottom) performance deciles of the following time period. Regression analyses of performance on historical performance and other skill-related proxies provide further evidence for persistence and predictability. Our results suggest that skill is an important factor in online poker.

So there you go. All those hours of toll and tribulation, suck outs and bad beats are worth it. The only problem for me is that I am still in the puddle with the rest of the ameobas looking at the stars such as isildur1, Phil Ivey and so forth.

Just as a side note to this Erasmus as a person was very interesting as he was pivotal in the reformation movement which sweeped Europe in the 16th Century. His views on Catholicism and Protestantism is basically the template for the religious tolerance which is slowly begining to break out in Northern Ireland. 

His philosophical staements are things to understand and possibly emulate, A few of my favourites are:

“If you keep thinking about what you want to do or what you hope will happen, you don’t do it, and it won’t happen.”
“He who allows oppression shares the crime.”
“In the country of the blind the one eyed man is king”
“Fortune favors the audacious”
“Women, can’t live with them, can’t live without them.”

Pure class in my view and wise words for any human to live by.