Monthly Archives: October 2009

Poker is a Game of Skill

Yes, poker is a game of skill. Of course, it’s not a 100% skill game and involves a fair amount of luck. Poker players know that the long game is what counts, and the more skilled you are at poker, the more you’ll win in the long run. Anyone can win in the short term with a good slice of luck. You know that already though, right?

You might know this, but I was speaking to a friend of mine the other day who doesn’t know the first thing about poker. I explained that if they played in the tournament I was playing later that day, they could win it – even without knowing how to play poker. Of course they’d need to be extremely lucky, and it would be unlikely, but still possible. Compare that with 100% skill games, such as chess. I don’t play chess, and I could never beat the current chess world champion. It just wouldn’t happen. But my friend could beat Phil Ivey, if he got luck (my friend that is, not Ivey).

I think it was Phil Hellmuth who said “if there was no luck in poker, I’d win everytime”. When I play poker and lose to someone who I think is a poor player because of sheer bad luck, I often wish poker was a game with more skill and less about the luck. “Why can’t this game involve more skill” I say to myself, though not in the same way that Hellmuth would. That’s because if poker were a game of 100% skill then I’m certain I wouldn’t win everytime. There are better poker players out there, and I wouldn’t win everytime.  

The rare moments when I suck out and crack someones hand with a piece of cheese, I love the fact that poker involves luck. The fact that poker involves large elements of luck is what also attracts some really bad players – those who like to gamble. These poker players add huge value to the game, and if poker were a game of pure skill then I think I’d probably stop playing. After all, it’s what makes the game of poker so exciting.

Durrrr Challenge – Half Way Stage

Remember the Durrrr Challenge? Yes, the challenge that was hyped up and talked about endlessly on poker blogs, poker websites, forums and communities. Yes you may have forgotten about it too, I know I did. But guess what? They’ve reached the half way stage. At the time of writing they’ve completed 25,145 of the 50K hands. Heck, it’s only taken 8 months (note: I could be wrong as am unsure exact start date – it was so long ago). Oh and Durrrr has taken the lead, and is now $700k up.

I’ve heard Antonious say recently that they’d like to speed things up a bit, and will be playing more regularly. He cites time zones as a major reason for it taking so long, but I don’t buy that. How hard is it to arrange a time to play? The internet didn’t just allow us to play online poker – it’s also provided us with clever communication tools like MSN messenger and Skype.And of course, there’s always email!

I’m not too bothered now anyway. But I do wish they’d hurry up, as I want to see the Durrrr Challenge II – Dwan vs Ivey. At this rate it looks like we might have to wait until 2011 for that one.