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Not according to Kit

Posted By: phil simborg
Date: Monday, 22 September 2014, at 11:53 p.m.

In Response To: OT: Am I the only one here who thinks poker is almost all pure luck? (Fender)

1. Put 4 top poker players at a table and 4 very good amateurs, and I would give 10-1 odds that the winner would be one of the top 4 poker players.

2. Kit Woolsey (once named as one of the top 10 gamblers in the world) told me recently, and I quote: "There is more skill in poker than there is in backgammon." I was shocked to hear him say that, and questioned him on his reasoning.

He went on to explain that in poker, you are not as much at the mercy of lady luck because you can simply choose not to call the bet when you think the odds are against you. In backgammon, you have to finish the game and continue to expose yourself to lady luck. He said that is a major reason why poker requires more skill.

3. The more I study poker the more I realize how much skill there is. In fact, I actually gave up studying tournament poker because there is far too much to learn to play it properly that I knew I did not have the time it takes to truly learn the game properly. After quite a bit of study I believe I can hold my own in a low-stakes game (I play 1-2 no limit holdem) but largely because at that stake I am generally not facing great players with great skill. In a higher-stakes game I would be slaughtered. Even in my cheap, simple game, it took a lot of work just learning the odds, and then I still have no idea how long it takes to become skillful at reading your opponent.

4. I currently have 3 backgammon students who are very highly respected and well-known poker players, and all three are absolutely brilliant. The very fact that you wont find top poker players that are not brilliant (the same is true of backgammon and chess and I am sure Go, Shogi, Scrabble and other games of skill) proves that these are games of skill.

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