Something a little different. People who know me personally may be aware that I harbour an affection for poker. Over at the BBC is a news report about the fact that a UK jury will be asked to consider the legality of poker and whether it is a game of skill or chance. From the article:
Club owner Derek Kelly, 46, is accused of running unlicensed poker games at the Gutshot Private Members' Club in Clerkenwell, central London. But he has argued that poker is a game of skill and he therefore does not require a licence. Prosecutors say that merely shuffling the cards introduces an element of chance into the game.
Now I was discussing this last night. I agreed that shuffling the cards certainly adds an element of chance into the game. But I actually concluded that Derek Kelly is correct. Here is the thinking. Let's talk about No-Limit Texas Hold'em. One of the facts of No-Limit Texas Hold'em is that it doesn't matter what two cards you hold in your hand, but only what your opponent thinks you have.
A good poker player can often win the pot with a poor hand, simply by scaring away the other people in play, by convincing them that their hand is worst. There are times when luck comes into play (such as with a race situation, AA vs KK for example). But people like Doyle Brunson did not accrue huge winnings over their years of play, just by being lucky.
Poker is like life. It's easy to learn and easy to lose it all. But learning the subtleties of the game can lead to big payoffs (if living it up as pokerstar millionaire is your ambition). So No-Limit Texas Hold'em isn't pure luck and is in fact a game where you can manipulate others to benefit yourself. No surprise that when I get the chance, I do enjoy a good hand of Texas Hold'em.
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