Can a bottom division football team beat the current premier league champs? YES. It'd be a fluke - and they could never do it consistantly -but it could, and probably has, happened.
Could that same awful team win the league? Theoretically yes, although the low odds
of them winning one individual game become exponentially magnified when challenged to win a high percentage of games against better opponents, with luck being the deciding factor on a victory.
Now apply that to poker. Anyone can win a hand against the best poker pro in the world...(er, Phil Helmuth? LMAO). Whether it means hitting the flop hard with good hole cards, or playing an awful hand and getting super lucky on the flop, or just sucking out on the river against a hand that has had you dominated. That happens. A lot
In every tournament there is a lucky donkey who gets rewarded despite mis-playing a hand, its part of the game and people accept it. Its probably the main reason people like me keep coming back....because there is a CHANCE.
The deciding factor for me on whether a bad player can win a tourney is field size. A deeper field means a bad player is sitting there that much longer, and is forced to make more plays.
Lets say Bad Player 1 (lets call him Kev!) plays 75% of flops, so is massively loose, and raises too much/out of position/with bad draws, so is too aggressive as well. In a small field of less than 100
for example, he only needs to get a few lucky flops and double up say ten times (busting a player each time) and he's virtually at the final table. More often than not he'll have donked off the majority of his chips by the first break by missing flops and chasing second or third pairs, but on VERY rare occassions he might just LAG his way to the top spot (especially with any sort of chip lead...dangerous ground meeting a LAG chip leader!)
In a bigger field, say 1000+,
he's got to KO an average of 100 players to hit the final table*. Still a slim chance, but miniscule odds of maintaining a healthy stack for hours when playing that sort of volume of hands.
Bad player 2, (Kevina maybe?). She's overly tight, only committing chips when she know's she's got the nuts, folding 50/50's and caving to any pressure. In the 100 player field, there is every chance the flops will fall her way for an hour and she is dealt good runs of hole cards.
In the 1000+ field though, you need some aggression to make the high spots and have to occassionally challenge with coin flips if you expect to win the thing, so there is a great chance she'll be blinded out by playing too Tight and Passive. Could the cards fall well for her for 5,6,7 hours? Sure. Is it a long shot? YES!
Sorry for the long reply, but while bad players can, do and will continue to win tourney's, its inconsistant.
Small games can be anyone's with a bit of luck on your side. Bad players winning the big games takes a miracle, or at least a helluva lot of luck. How many bad players have won the mega field (5000+) WSOP
in the last couple of decades?
I'd say none. Seriously. Moneymaker won a couple of lucky 70-30's, but played solidly throughout, and won like 5 satty's to get there in the first place! Gold was the only real concern, and that's coz he fell in love with hands like Q 10 too often. Again though, I'd trade skills with him in a snap thanks!
So can a really BAD player, like a complete noob, win a game. YES they can, but not anything worth winning!