The question here suggests that we can give a Yes/No answer but my view is that the answer is both yes and
no. Within poker there are two distinct games going on at once, a game of skill and a game of luck.
Playing a hand so that it does not go to showdown is skill based. Pre-flop play that results in moving others off hands uncontested is skill based. Post flop bet-sizing to move others off hands is skill based. Reading others ranges and making decisions that will lead to them making a mistake is skill based. Working out a strategy depending on position, stack size, etc is skill based. Developing an effective bankroll management system and sticking to it is skill based. Post-flop play where you know
you have the absolute nuts and are looking to extract maximum value is skill based
Other than is cases where you do have the absolute nuts, and you are relying on either a card coming or not coming to determine the outcome, this is luck based and therefore gambling. Flop quads with your pocket A's with a AAK flop and there is still a chance you can be beat by a royal flush. The outcome is not certain, so there is an element of risk. Therefore it is gambling. Knowing the percentages, playing according to odds
, understanding which plays are -ve versus +ve, all of this is about risk mitigation. None of it though eliminates
the risk, it just reduces the risk.
Some would argue that over a large enough sample size, if you keep making the correct play, things will even out over time to the point where luck is eliminated and it is purely a game of skill. They say that even if things swing badly against you, good bankroll management should protect you to the point where you can recover over time. This is not true. What is happening here is risk mitigation, not risk elimination.
Gathering statistical data over billions of hands will allow you to determine the probability of outcomes going a certain way. Statistical data analysis however will not
give you absolutes, merely the extent to which an outcome is probable.
Therefore playing perfectly, making every correct decision 100% of the time, and it is highly probable
that you will win.
Am sure others would sum it up better than this, but this is my way of looking at it.
I do wonder about those that are hell-bent on trying to convince people that it is all about skill.............The lady doth protest too much methinks..............