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Online Poker – Chance vs Skill – Gamblers Luck or Athlete Ability?
Nov 2, 2011
Skill vs. Chance
The fine line separating games of skill from games of chance is very subject when one compares online slots to online blackjack and to online poker games.
Few people would object to declaring an online casino slot machine a game of chance. You click the mouse or tap the keyboard, the reels spin and their final pattern determines whether there is a reward or not.
No matter how hard or soft you tap, slap, flick or whack the keys or the mouse, the reels will still spin and you are locked in for the ride with no control over the final outcome.
What about Online Blackjack?, or Baccarat?
Playing at a blackjack casino online, if the player understands the blackjack strategy chart perfectly, is an advantage player who practiced card counting and shuffle tracking is there skill involved.
Absolutely, since over a course of time that player will win more or lose less than an unskilled player but the overall amount of luck is so great in the blackjack stew that according to legal opinions, online blackjack is still primarily a game of luck.
It’s not easy to compensate and beat the inherent advantage of the casino, the house edge, and the fluctuation alone could devour all but the fattest of bank rolls. Need lots of luck.
What about Texas Hold’Em Poker? A game of skill or chance?
Right now, the last major ruling from around the world came from Sweden (April 2011).
Sweden’s highest court ruled that poker is a game of chance when played in an online poker cash game format, declaring that since a player can leave the game after only one hand, it is possible for a complete amateur to beat the best player in the world playing only one hand by going ‘all-in’ pre flop.
So according to the court, that scenario is the equivalent of a slot machine, since bluffing, trapping or reading ability will not factor in the end result.
However the same judge ruled that tournament poker or freeze-out format poker format is a game of skill, since it’s not possible to stand up and leave the table with your winnings until either losing all your chips or winding up with the chips of all the players.
The French Conseil d’Etat is soon to rule on the same question. The stakes are huge.
If poker is declared to be a pure game of skill, it instantly slips from under the control of various gambling laws and regulations and from out of the grasp of the gambling regulatory agency, allowing regular folks to enjoy a game of online poker with little interference from the ‘big brother’.
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