Poker versus Gambling


03/20/2014
By Maria McCoyGoogle
You are using odds to hedge your bets on winning a hand that has a lot to do with the law of the poker gods. It is also very much the same when you are playing Roulette or Blackjack with a strategy. There is no questions that when you pit gambling versus poker that they are one in the same.

For the love of poker, there are so many people out there that will defend poker as a game of pure skill with no luck involved. Well, the skill part can be easily argued as there is doubt that skill takes a heavy stake in poker. There is no way players such as Hellmuth and Ivey can continuously win tournaments without some skill involved. However, the suck outs for or against largely count as luck.

Interestingly enough one person recently asked or quite rightly asked to define what gambling really is. The blog actually argued that anything with probability or variation is gambling because you are wagering your cash on variation being on your side. That may be true, but when it comes to sports then generally clear cut talent is most likely going to win. Therefore, if you bet on a sport, variation is not really an issue. On the other hand, probability is.

Probability and variation play a heavy part in poker. The probability of a flush coming out with four cards to a flush on the flop is basically nine remaining flush cards in the deck against forty-seven remaining cards you don’t know about. (Let’s assume we are plying Hold’em). This is around a 5-1 probability. Nonetheless, if that same person drawing for the flush hit a flush two hands ago and a few hands before that, this is variation. Your probability has probably changes from 5-1 because if that person hits a flush again then he/she is defying the odds of probability at a rate of 5-3.



Variation is playing its part in this situation and that is where we gamble hard. Going back to sports betting and you have a talented and consistent team versus a very inconsistent team with mediocre talent and the probability is that the talented team is going to win. There is no real variation apart from the fact that maybe the talented team just badly on a given day, which should happen. Either way, if you bet on the match using probability at short odds believing your money is safe with the talented team, you are still gambling, but you are making a skillful bet based on knowledge.

You are probably wondering how any of this has anything to do with poker versus gambling. In the end, poker could be considered more of a game of gambling than sports betting. There is skill involved in several types of gambling, but that doesn’t mean it is not gambling. As a result, poker is gambling, but with skill. Compare this Roulette and then you can argue that Roulette has no skill and is just pure luck! This is why there is often confrontation on the issue of poker and gambling. 

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