SKill vs. Luck in Online Poker


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One common misconception among the general public is that online poker is primarily based on luck. In other words, it's supposedly just like other casino games where players are facing a long-term disadvantage.

But the truth is that there's a lot more to online poker than just luck, and skilled players will come out on top if they play enough hands/tournaments. That said, let's discuss the luck vs. skill relationship in poker and how understanding this will improve one's chances of success.

Variance, not Luck

What many novice poker players refer to as luck is actually variance, or the fluctuation in short-term results. Because online poker involves elements of chance, variance can swing wildly one way or the other. Even the best poker players in the world can lose money over the span of weeks or even months simply because of negative variance. Likewise, a really bad player could win a major tournament or even experience short-lived cash game success when variance is on their side.

Many beginners have a tough time knowing when losses are a result of bad play or just variance. Luckily there are plenty of software programs that allow players to analyze their data and determine where they're losing money due to bad decisions, and when their losses are due to bad fortunes.

Guaranteeing Success

As we alluded to before, there's no guarantee on when you'll earn money while playing poker. The short-term fluctuations make it impossible to collect profits every day. But with enough work, you can make sure that you'll be a successful internet poker player.

That's why it's extremely important to study as much poker strategy as you can. And the good news is that there are plenty of avenues for learning poker tips. Players can read books and articles, hire a coach, study hand histories, and watch poker training videos. In regard to the latter, people pay a monthly subscription fee and get to watch skilled professionals give advice.

So if you want to overcome any rough variance in poker and eventually make profits over the long-run, it's important to study strategy. And just know that variance will have a big influence on your short-term results as well.