The Poker Myth – Why Poker is not Gambling

This is a topic with highly public discussion and controversial for whether it’s Live Poker or Online Casino malaysia Poker and been heated up on the internet always. The topic is worth addressing because it’s not just a philosophical debate. Federal and state laws depend on the definition of poker, affecting professional players’ livelihoods are on the line.

There are three camps in the “is it gambling or not” debate:

  1. Poker is definitely a form of gambling
  2. Poker is a game of skill
  3. Poker is a little bit of both

Why Poker is not Gambling

My argument today comes from the second camp. Casino Poker game is 100% a game of skill and it’s not even a question. Poker is just as much a game of skill as baseball, golf, bridge, backgammon, stock trading.

If you’re going to call poker gambling, it is generally defined by the existence of two factors – risk and money on the line. But it’s not enough to use this type of broad logic to make the argument and we need to take a more nuanced view.

This post will address the debate from two different points of view. First, I’d like to convince you that poker is not gambling. Then, we’ll take a look at the issue from the legal point of view.

Everyone’s Explanation of Poker for Gambling

This section is designed more for debating with the average person – your friend, your next door neighbor and so on. Some of these arguments would probably be useful in court, but this is mostly about talking to normal, everyday people about poker, skill and gambling.


Poker Has Long Term Winners

Poor poker players lose over the long run while skilled poker players win over the long run. You can look at the greatest cash game and tournament players in the world and see how they make money year after year.

Why Poker is not Gambling1

Big name players such as Phil Ivey, Daniel Negreanu and Patrik Antonius have made millions of dollars over the courses of their careers. They show up time and time again at the final table of major events. They don’t even have regular jobs because they constantly make money with poker.

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Long Term Poker Winner in Casino

Why Poker is not Gambling2

This part is controversial. The first category will think that they are not professionals, but they are just luckier than the average person. Another think that they are professionals, because they are extremely skilled at poker. They have a deep understanding of poker strategy and can adjust their tactics to the players they find themselves against.

iBET Long Term Poker Winner in Casino

If poker was a gambling game like Online roulette or craps, there would be no long term winners. The longer a skilled player plays poker, the more money he makes. The longer a craps player plays craps, the more he loses. The element of skill makes all the difference.

You Can Win with a Bad Hand in Poker Game of  Live Casino

Poker is unique from other gambling games in that your starting cards do not seal your fate. You can be dealt the worst starting hand at the table and still win the pot through skillful play and deception. This is another big point for poker being a game of skill.

Why Poker is not Gambling4

In no other gambling game is it possible to manipulate the game in this manner. If the wrong cards are dealt, or the dice roll the wrong way in any other game, you lose.

Case in point: Professor Robert Hannum of the University of Denver published a paper in 2012 in which he analyzed one billion hands of online poker and found that 85.2% of hands were decided without a showdown. In other words, the players’ betting decisions determine the vast majority of the outcomes in poker.

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