Gambling vs Skill vs Luck

If you want to make a profession as a gambler, you should take the time to master the games where the outcome is not heavily reliant on luck. I'm going to give you a run down of what these games are in this article. 


The Gambling Involved in Gambling

Gambling is often thought of in a negative light. Visions of lost fortunes, hyper-maniacal egotists and ruined families crowd the forefront of people’s minds. While gambling certainly can have less than ideal outcomes, there are a large number of people who gamble every single day without detriment. In fact, they gamble to their great success. These are the people who don’t leave their fate in the hands of Lady Luck; they put their money on gambling games where skill is a major factor. 

So which games fall into which category? 

I’ll give you the rundown here, starting with games that involve the most skill and then moving onto the ones that are almost totally governed by chance. It probably goes without saying (or it should) that if you want to make a profession as a gambler, you should take the time to master the games where the outcome is not heavily reliant on luck. Staking your livelihood to mere chance may pan out very short-term, but in the end, everyone’s luck runs out. 

1. Poker

For people looking to make a home for themselves in the world of gambling, poker is the Motherland. This complex and exciting game combines a massive amount of skill and strategy, which will always win out over luck in the long-run. An inferior and inexperienced player may win a few hands, or even games, but those who have mastered the game will come out on-top in the long-run. The majority of experts agree that the skill vs. luck ratio of poker is 70/30, meaning that whole there is an undisputable degree of variance, ultimately, those who put in the time will reap the rewards.  

2. Sports betting

Here we’re looking at a skill to luck ratio of 60/40. Despite the fact that you quite literally have no control over the outcome of the game, you DO have control over how wisely you place your bet. If you go in blind, without knowing anything about the sport or the team/players, you may get lucky, but over the long-run, you will lose. As with poker, knowledge is absolute power, so if you know your sport and your team and know about how that team has been playing, you will have a huge advantage over someone who is just guessing. 

3. Blackjack and similar card games

These sorts of games always have the player at a small, but distinct disadvantage against the casino. The casino’s house edge relies heavily on the rules that the casino applies (example: the option to surrender a hand will give the player a favourable edge). However, there’s a mathematically correct way of playing in any situation, and players are even allowed to use cards that give advice on how to play each hand of their own, relative to the visible dealer card. So, you can blunt the house edge by playing mathematically correct, but a lot still depends on luck. The skill vs. luck ratio for these games comes in at 30/70.

4. Roulette

While this game may boast a long tradition of people purporting to have the perfect system, don’t lend any weight to their claims. These systems are strictly whimsical and they will not guarantee you a single win.  Even if you employ the most basic system, (i.e. the Martingale system, in which you simply double your bet until you win), you are still looking down the barrel of some pretty shoddy skill to luck odds of 20/80.

5. Lotto, Bingo and scratch cards

No skill here, folks; your winning or losing these games is almost 100% based on chance. There is only  one way to tilt the balance in your favour, and this is by waiting until the jackpot is massive. This is because the big win (i.e. the gain) vs. the actual ticket cost gives you a mathematical advantage. However, your statistics of winning are still painfully slim; I’m talking 10/90 skill vs. luck. 

6. Slot Machines

Everyone’s favourite casino game is firmly at the bottom of the barrel for one simple, irrefutable reason: your chances of winning are infinitesimally tiny. (Think a skill vs. luck ratio of 5/95.) Here’s the thing: modern slot machines are computer-programmed, and the percentage of wins is pre-set by the operators, and in the long run, the house always wins. There are only two ways to make a short-term profit: invest a small amount of money and considered it as a ticket for some fun play, but when you are ahead, be sure to take the money and run! Or, play the high-roller slots with the huge jackpots and hope to strike gold. Be aware of the long odds when you choose the second option, and set yourself a limit you can afford to lose over a certain period of time. 

To sum it up...

Common sense is the main currency you need to concern yourself about when gambling. You will lose sometimes; that’s the nature of the beast – but if you choose a game you like and have fun playing, it will never completely feel like a loss. Moreover, it’s a good idea to choose a game where you have a larger ratio of skill to luck. This way, you always have the element of control on your side.

For detailed information on all aspects of gambling and a variety of games, here is a website with tips for online gambling that we found informative.

Photo Credit: Poker Photos | Flickr