Is gambling all about luck? Or is there skill involved?
Gambling is not all about luck – although you may have been told otherwise. Of course, there is a huge element of fortune in winning but there are strategies that can make gambling pay off. Moreover, the skill factor can be applied across all the main betting and gambling platforms: poker, blackjack and sports betting being the more typical arenas where skill can really come into play.
Even lottery, bingo, slots and roulette may seem to be driven primarily by luck, it is often overlooked that a savvy gambler knows how to make the most out of winning in these games of chance.
Poker is a game where each and every bluff can convince an opponent in to making a wrong move. This is a strategy used in field sports: avoid a tackle in soccer by dummying an opponent, ghost past an opposing player in rugby union or American football using similar bluff tactics and positioning a tennis ball into a certain section of a court to make an opponent run themselves into the ground.
It is a clever move and the debate has been raging on for over a century as to whether this is a game of skill or a game of chance. The jury is still out on whether poker can be described as a game of skill; but if you were to be pitched in a game against a poker chip leader, would you really fancy your chances?
Sports betting absolutely has to have a skill factor linked to it. Winning gamblers study the form of horses, check soccer teams for recent results and current injuries, dissect games to see if they might be high or low scoring and monitor historical data to bring them closer to a likely winning bet.
Even in slots, players get to learn the habits of the wheels and what should be likely to be thrown up next. Some even monitor when the last big pay out was won and avoid the moments right after a cash bonanza win. In slots it is rare for the jackpot to pay out twice in a short space of time (although not entirely impossible).
To think software developers have created a computer that can play a near-perfect game of poker and an often-winning streak at Texas Hold ‘Em, the question has to be asked: how is that purely down to luck?