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Gambling Statistical Analysis Proves Poker a Game of Skill

A new scientific analysis of gambling data provided by PokerStars has verified that games are determined by players' choices rather than random luck of the cards.

Poker enthusiasts have insisted for years that poker is predominantly a game of skill, not chance, and therefore not included in most definitions of illegal gambling. A new scientific analysis of gambling data provided by PokerStars has verified that games are determined by players' choices rather than random luck of the cards.

Software and Internet security company Cigital studied over 100 million hands of poker, as provided from the records of PokerStars from December of last year, and found that three-quarters of all hands were over before a showdown, with players only seeing their own cards and the board. Of the hands that went to showdowns, fully half were won by an inferior hand as the best hand had been folded before cards were flipped.

This means that in only one of eight hands does the game come down to the player with the luckiest cards flipping and raking. Hands decided by player action outnumber hands decided by luck of the draw by seven to one.

The study was lauded by the Poker Players Alliance, whose chairman, former US Senator Alphonse D'Amato, said, "This study provides the raw data to back up the compelling arguments made by poker players around the world that it’s skill, not pure luck, that determines the outcome of this game.”

Several courts, in states including Pennsylvania, Colorado, and South Carolina, have also ruled the preponderance of evidence suggests poker is indeed a game of skill.

Published on April 1, 2009 by MattMiller

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