Most forms of gambling take a bit of unfair criticism when it comes to the luck vs skill debate. The vast majority of them are tarnished with the same brush. We’ve all heard the same cliches about being simply games of chance, or that the house always wins and that they’re rigged against us – play today.
However, is there any truth in that, or is there more skill involved that we give credit for? Everyone implements their own strategies and systems for betting and playing, trying to tip the odds in their favour, so if you’re good at that, should that count as skill-based?
The first game we can look at is probably the best example to address this debate: Poker.
It’s a badge of honour for most gamblers to be good at poker. If you can hold your own around the poker table, it’ll increase your levels of cool no end. But is poker just another game of luck where a novice could sit down at the table and scoop up all the chips?
In short, no. So much of the game is bluffing your rivals and this is genuinely an art. You need to make the other players around the table think that you’ve got a strong hand, even when you don’t. In fact, in many cases, the truth is that the opposite is true. You’re betting with all the confidence of someone who has a royal flush when all you’ve really got is a 2, a 4, a 5 and two 7s in all different suits.
If you can then master the skill of wagering large amounts, even though you have a weak hand, you’ll be able to deceive your opponents. As a result, they fold, and you’re left with all the chips.
Yes, it’s luck as to what hand you’re dealt, but the skill of deceit and bluffing, as well as reading your opponents’ minds is a very tricky art to master.
Unlike poker, you obviously cannot employ the same levels of card skills and mind-tricks in Craps. However, that’s not to say there aren’t any strategies that require levels of skill.
Although there is no way to influence the roll of the dice, there is a definitely a decision-making process that can help you to improve your game. This certainly takes skill. As described below:
“The best odds you can get from a craps game is by betting on pass/don’t pass and come/don’t come lines, Place 6 and Place 8, and Buy 4 and Buy 10. All of these give a house edge of just a couple of percent. If you bet on any others, you are giving more money to the casino in the long term. For example, an Any 7 bet has a 16.67% house edge, while Hard 4/10 has an 11.11% edge.”
Sports betting is up there ahead of poker for exercising your expertise. This will separate the wheat from the chaff, the experts from the rookies. The nuances involved in it are endless, and can be analysed to the nth degree. To make informed decisions about a game of tennis, a boxing fight, a cricket match, or a horse-race takes knowledge and intelligence.
If you want to earn serious money from sports betting, the research needs to be meticulous. You need to take into account so many considerations about form, particular surfaces, injuries, statistical data, turn-around-times, and human factors. That is in no way a game of chance.