Games of Skill vs. Games of Chance

games of skill vs games of chance
Games of Skill or Chance

The truth is that all forms of casino games contain elements of luck, no matter if you are a good player or not. However, the degree of importance of the pure luck in many respects depends on the type of the game and the skill level. So, what's that: skill or luck that is more important in gambling? Games of skill or games of chance? We are going to find that out.

Casino Games Based on Skill

In casino games of this type it is important that a player spends some time learning the basics of the game developing a strategy. Thus, the player significantly reduces the house edge and increases the chances of profit. In some games, thanks to the strategy, you can even get a long-term profits.

Blackjack. This is one of the best games of skill because the skill helps to reduce the house edge to 0.5%. In combination with the most favorable places of the table, the competent blackjack strategy can yield surprising results. A good card counter can even gain a significant edge over the house. However, blackjack requires great skill, and a brand new player can not be as successful as the owner of the strategy.

Caribbean Stud. Many experts do not recommend Caribbean Stud, as even taking into account the correct strategy, house edge still is 5%. But even with that in mind, the skill in the Caribbean Stud plays a crucial role. The main thing is to be wary of third-party bids for the jackpot, where the house edge increases to 25%.

Poker. Poker gives the players a better opportunity to receive long-term profits. In the game the players compete with each other, not with the casino. The institution only collects the rake and the tournament fees. This means that the players do not actually have the long-term profit. On the other hand, there is no limit in the study and improvement of the poker strategy.

Video Poker. Like traditional poker, video poker gives people an excellent opportunity to make a profit. Depending on the player, the payout percentage may be up to 100%. Even if you can not find a better game, competent strategy gives the players a payout percentage of up to 99.5%!

Casino Games Based on Luck

The worst thing about the casino games that depend on luck is that your chances are reduced and the house edge is very high. The good news is that the beginners do not need to bother on the development of the strategy. You can just relax and enjoy.

Bingo. If you haven't heard yet it is based purely on luck, and the title of bingo speaks volumes. Of course, you can increase your chances of success by purchasing more cards, but the house edge remains the same, regardless of the strategy.

Keno. The lottery lovers highly respect this gambling and have much fun at Keno. In this game you choose the numbers on the ticket, and hope that they will choose you to win the big prize. To come up with the strategy of Keno is really difficult, especially when you consider that the house edge is 25%.

Slots. Slots is almost certainly the case, where the players simply pull the handle and hope for good luck. The elementary slots bankroll management can help a player, but a whole strategy boils down to the principle to pray and hope anyway. This, however, is not a problem to seek slots with a higher payout percentage.

Games of Skill + Luck

Not all casino games can easily be attributed to one of the categories either skill or luck. Some of the games are a mix of skill and luck in varying proportions. Baccarat, craps and roulette are said to be the representatives of this group of casino games.

Baccarat. Baccarat main skill is to make the right bet in the long run. Bet on the banker reduces the house edge to 1.06%. Betting on the player gives the house an advantage of 1.24%. In other aspects the baccarat player has to rely on luck.

Craps. Like baccarat, using rates in craps can significantly affect the house edge. The best bet in this regard is pass line / do not pass line, come / do not come. Do not listen to many myths about craps, they will contribute to a loss of your money.

Roulette. When it comes to roulette, the best way to lower the house edge is to choose the right format. American Roulette is the worst of the formats, as house edge is 5.26%. The European Roulette does much better - 2.70%. Best of all will be to find French roulette. The advantage of the house is only 1.35%.

Curious Research

Another issue is that apart from the well known games of chance and luck, poker is known to be a kind of sport and can hardly be referred to as casino game of chance, luck or neither of them. Many players from all around the globe like poker and we were curious when it can be called the game of chance or not. Let's see what we've got.

The USA company “Cigital", engaged in the development and research of the software in the United States, has provided the press with the results of in-depth study of poker games. The conclusions of the experts from Cigital were understandable and accepted for any player, however, a lot of them still could not agree that poker is "a game in which skill plays a major role.

Cigital studied the records of 103,273,484 Texas Holdem hands, provided by the company PokerStars, that actually ordered the following study. This fact has caused active debates about the results. Many people felt that the participation of the major poker room of the world in the study affected the conclusions made by experts. Many conclusions from a variety of experts who have studied poker, from different parts of the world, were provided. The conclusion was objective: not merely a luck factor plays the major role in poker, but rather the skill of the player. It results that poker is not a game of pure chance as many people thought before, but is classified as an intellectual (commercial) game.

Returning to the study of Cigital, and looking at some interesting figures provided in the report of the company, we may find out that:

  • In 75.7% of cases, of the 103 million hands studied, the game did not reach the showdown, and ended in the early stages of trade.
  • Only 24.3% of cases came to showdown, and in 50.3% of cases (12% of the total), the player who had the best chances before the flop took the bank.
  • In the remaining 49.7% of the cases, the victory belonged to the players who had a weak hand, but a favorite of the hand dropped his cards for some reason.

From these figures it is clear that the players often are able to pick the bank before reaching the showdown, that is in many cases.

Also, all the games, depending on the possibility of winning and losing, as well as probability, were classified to: gambling, commercial (intellectual) and prestigious after the poker research.

Gambling. These are the games in which the winning depends mainly on the case of coincidence. In such a game almost nothing depends on the player. In ancient times these games were called brave or fatal games.

Commercial games. At the same time the commercial games or intellectual games like

  • Bridge
  • Preference
  • Poker, etc.

Winning them is highly dependent on the skill of the player to play the game and to evaluate the game situation. But we can not take into account the share of luck in cash games either, although the accident in this case plays a minor role.

There are also prestigious games where art, skill, intelligence of the player always predetermine the outcome of the game (chess, draughts, etc).

In fact, attributing poker to the intellectual games removes it from the action of many restrictions, such as an act of UIGEA  in USA. If legislators when adopting laws were based on expert opinion, it would be necessary to remove the ban from the online poker, and possibly the game will be classified as sports.

Poker: Gambling or Sport?

So, there are cases when poker is not a game of chance. This includes all the above mentioned. The result of the game may be accidental. Even after an hour or two games a beginner can win against the pros. But the longer you play, the less chance remains. And in the long run the result is already determined only by your skill.

Unlike any game against the casino, the expectation of winning in poker is dependent on you (and, of course, on the strength of your opponents). If you play a long game and need your opponents to lose their poker money for a short, so the stakes in one game should be small compared to your bankroll. If this is the case, then poker is not gambling. Note that this does not depend on your ability to play. If you play well, you will win, if it is bad, at long game you will inevitably lose, and unhappy events in the hands of other players will not help you.

This conclusion is confirmed by the fact of existence of many poker professionals, whose incomes are consistently high. That would be simply impossible, if the results of poker games depended merely on chance.

Poker may be referred to sports simply because a lot of people are engaged in it and there are many poker tournaments that are held in most famous poker rooms both offline and online annually.

Sports poker differs from cash games. The players' chips are not provided with real money. But the winners share the prize fund made up of contributions of tournament participants and / or sponsors. Here, therefore, not the amount won / lost chips is important but the place that the player was able to take in the competitions.

In terms of the degree of randomness of the results of a separate tournament, it is significantly higher than, for example, the result of daily cash games during the month. Usually good players get the money, but the strongest players of the tournament gain more than the prizes. Even the great master can fail under unfortunate circumstances. Therefore, the evaluation of the sports players is not so much important on the basis of the single event outcome, but on the average score in many tournaments in which the player participated, ie the rating system, taking into account many deeper aspects of the game.

As a part of this assessment, the impact of the randomness becomes insignificant, and therefore reflects the objective level of skill of the player.


If you are going to play in the casino, always keep in mind how important the skills in a particular game are. Also, try to reduce the possible profit of the house that is directly dependent on your income. Mind that there are games of pure luck where you cannot affect the pace of the game anyway.

There are games, however, where the edge of the house can be lowered to a minimum with the help of strategically right actions, deep knowledge of the rules and experience. If you like something more sophisticated, you can play poker which is neither game of skill nor of chance, but a blend of both which is the most favorite kind of sports of million people from around the world.

Despite the fact that any gambling requires certain luck portion, the research proves that there are intellectual, prestigious or commercial games that demand serious preparation and solid craftsmanship and have nothing to do with the chance.

If you want to find out more, follow us, comment and do not forget to share the info with others. Good luck!

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