How much luck do you think is involved in poker? Well now you know.

IcyBlueAce

IcyBlueAce

Visionary
I've seen posts here and there where people asked how much luck and skill poker is, well I was reading bluff mag and apparently they did a study on it about a year ago. Thought I would share to those who never read this.



In a study, it was revealed that Texas Hold'em, statistically at least, is a game of skill. The research in question investigated 103 million hands and found that three-quarters of them did not go to showdown. In essence, they were won due to betting by players.

A total of 75.7% of the hands examined as part of the study did not go to showdown. In these hands, the victor's skill of betting managed to win the pot for them, regardless of whether they held the best hand. In the remaining 24.3% of hands, the player who held the best five cards only won 50.3% of the time. In the other 49.7% of pots, the player with the best hand folded prior to showdown. Overall, the best hand actually scooped the pot just 12% of the time. Therefore, according to the study, Texas Hold'em can be seen as 88% skill and not predominated by chance.

Full 16 page report here.
http://www.scribd.com/doc/13710664/Cigital-100M-Hand-Analysis-Report
 
B

billyth3kid

Rock Star
how does this work for low stakes games? Low stakes games see a lot more show downs because there are a lot more calling stations. Is there a lot more luck in a low stakes game?
 
IcyBlueAce

IcyBlueAce

Visionary
how does this work for low stakes games? Low stakes games see a lot more show downs because there are a lot more calling stations. Is there a lot more luck in a low stakes game?

Not more luck just bigger swings.
 
Numbuh 0ne

Numbuh 0ne

Rock Star
Isn't luck the reason for swings, I mean your usually not going through a down swing because all of a sudden your playing like crap, it's usually cuz ur cards aren't hitting as much.
 
roundcat

roundcat

Creature of leisure
That's a completely erroneous conclusion because it assumes skill was involved in every non-showdown win.

According to this so-called study, if someone is dealt AA and bets/raises it appropriately, and his opponent calls preflop with 89s but misses the board and subsequently folds, that's skill. Sorry, but that's complete BS! The winner got lucky and it was easy to keep betting his aces, and the loser failed to get lucky by not hitting the board. Really no skill involved there, unless it's turned around and the player who missed is clever enough to push the best hand off the pot.

In order for any conclusions drawn to be accurate, they'd have to analyze a lot more about non-showdown hands that just "uh, this hand didn't go to showdown so it must have been skill!"
 
S

steveestewart

Enthusiast
I'm one thats always kinda hated the 'luck' factor in poker (the times I lose, of course), but never thought luck was a major part of the game, only a part. I agree, 88% is a very interesting percentage.

Yeah, I don't get how being dealt the best hand overall, but folding after the flop (because you hit nothing) implies that the others made you fold out of 'skill'

EDIT: Guess I said the same thing Roundcat said, before seeing his...
 
TheUndertaker

TheUndertaker

Rock Star
I don't believe this 88% luck maybe at low stakes.Btw is this study for online or live or both poker.
 
5TR8 FLUSH

5TR8 FLUSH

Legend
Awards
1
pretty incredible, I always thought it was something more in the range of 60% skills and 40% luck. I'm pretty sure that in micro stakes is more in the range of 70-30 favoring luck because of all the horrid players in the micro stakes. :)
 
roundcat

roundcat

Creature of leisure
This is really bugging me. OK, let's say 80% of hands that don't go to showdown are won by players holding the best hand. I think that's a reasonable percentage. So it could be argued that winning without showdown is 80% luck (for simplicity's sake, this assumes the players are playing their hands in a standard way). Luck would then account for 60.56% of all wins, and adding to that the 12% luck percentage cited above would = 72.56% luck.

Roughly 27% skill vs. 73% luck is still a huge skill factor. While it doesn't support an argument that poker is "mostly" based on skill, it creates a wide gap between poker and most gambling games, which are often 100% luck and 0% skill.

The 88% figure is just ridiculous. Was this study performed by people who actually play poker?
 
salim271

salim271

Legend
This is 12 percent luck 88 percent skill... 100 percent concentrated power of will (Willing that river to be a blank!)
 
dj11

dj11

Legend
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No time to read the whole study now, but 10 million hands would have had to deal with either on of the sites, or a group of trackers who got together and merged databases.

So I would venture an educated guess that 103 million hands approaches statistical norms...

Am I brilliant or what?

The problem with the luck factor is that no one can define luck.

Many games I feel lucky that I get such rotten cards they offer no temptation to play them at all. I see that as good fortune, i.e. luck. Other times I get great starting hands and then brick the board.

So for anything like this to be valid, 'Luck' has to have a valid definition.
 
IcyBlueAce

IcyBlueAce

Visionary
No time to read the whole study now, but 10 million hands would have had to deal with either on of the sites, or a group of trackers who got together and merged databases.

So I would venture an educated guess that 103 million hands approaches statistical norms...

Am I brilliant or what?

The problem with the luck factor is that no one can define luck.

Many games I feel lucky that I get such rotten cards they offer no temptation to play them at all. I see that as good fortune, i.e. luck. Other times I get great starting hands and then brick the board.

So for anything like this to be valid, 'Luck' has to have a valid definition.

Um, luck does have a definition, lol.
 
E

Ecomdan

Rock Star
It seems a bit of a stretch to call it 88% skill. Their reasoning is a little contrived, just cuz there ain't a showdown doesn't mean the person scooping the pot played with skill it just means his/her opponent didn't have the cards to call.
 
dj11

dj11

Legend
Awards
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OK, I just read the whole article and have to agree, that according to the test parameters, which seem well thought out and relatively thorough, that Texas Holdem is 88% skill.

The skill seems, from my take of the analysis, to come from ones ability to somehow convince his opponents to fold the better hand.

This leads me to think that all those agrodonks we complain about so much are really on to something.

Stakes used in the study are not micro stakes for the most part and several (14) players corroborated the million hands provided by Stars during December 2008. The study states the data provided by Stars was accurate with just short of perfect confidence {99.9999%}.

They only define luck as being the deal of the cards. No mention about good cards bad cards, green cards or upside down cards.

Read it yourself.
 
SPCotter

SPCotter

Rock Star
The study has a foundation, but 88% skill if you take it at face value is wrong, there are very few fools in the online poker world that play any two cards, and at the very least most players that play a lot of cards play passively. If you played against a bot for example programmed to call and do nothing else on every street, you may have somewhere near an 88% skill edge.

What we look for in our games is a skill edge over our opponents, which by and large are minimal.
 
roundcat

roundcat

Creature of leisure
The skill seems, from my take of the analysis, to come from ones ability to somehow convince his opponents to fold the better hand.

Yes, but the huge problem with this study is that it doesn't take into account the fact that in many (likely the majority of) non-showdown hands, the winners "convinced" their opponents to fold the worst hand. There's little to no skill in that.
 
Poof

Poof

Made in the USA
Yes, but the huge problem with this study is that it doesn't take into account the fact that in many (likely the majority of) non-showdown hands, the winners "convinced" their opponents to fold the worst hand. There's little to no skill in that.
Actually I know quite a few good players who really don't care what cards they are holding after the flop and can convince players with the better hand to fold.
I love it when they do it to me and show:(
 
buckster436

buckster436

Cardschat Hall of Famer - RIP Buck
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You actually NEED Both, skill & luck,, Example> in the wsop you need a run of 7 to 10 days of both skill & luck or you`ll never win it,, thats just my opinion,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,buck:)
 
IcyBlueAce

IcyBlueAce

Visionary
Yes, but the huge problem with this study is that it doesn't take into account the fact that in many (likely the majority of) non-showdown hands, the winners "convinced" their opponents to fold the worst hand. There's little to no skill in that.

EDIT: nvm read you wrong
 
dj11

dj11

Legend
Awards
9
So, taken at face value, we all need to determine just what those elements of poker skill are. Tis why we join forums right?

And if we concentrate on how we can convince our opponents to fold, we will accomplish that task.

Live table can't count here because there are poker faces to deal with. I for one think mine sucks...tis too pretty and expressive.;)

Online we have few tools. The raise and continuous pressure are the big ones. Sneakiness is another. Intimidation. Many will say position, but from my read of the results, it is not necessary to worry so much about position if you 'overagress' the rest of the table.

Playing the right stakes might be an important tool, for we all know that the micros can't count for much either. I have long thought that I am not bankrolled for the games I could probably do very well in.

It is important to understand that that study DID NOT deal with tourney's. It dealt with ring only.
 
T

Tonawanda

Visionary
Study Flawed

No argument about the value of skill and betting in the long haul.

But, next to impossible to give luck/skill a % value using math.

I have to really question the methodology and conclusion (not the math, formulas or information provided) of this study.

It's obvious to all here that there is a lot more to poker than who had the best hand, especially when you don't get to see the cards.

The fact that you ended up having the best 5 card hand and didn't win a hand is meaningless.You have to make a decision before you even see a flop. Because you would have drawn a straight, and won with a 2-7 starting hand isn't indicative of anything. The study seems to imply that somehow players with the best finishing hand should win a larger % of hands.

To evaluate the game properly, I believe you need to break up the hands into separate parts. Let's do a preflop study first. A game in itself without a card being turned over. Bets, re-raises, check-raising stealing blinds etc. Those 2 cards you are dealt are a huge indicator of how long you will be in the hand. After the flop, more and more of the same.

This reasoning for the conclusion on his part alone taints the results of the study.

Having said that, just based on observation and experience, it would seem to me that skill, heart, knowledge and experience in this game heavily favor the better players over a period of time.
 
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