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NBER Publications by Thomas Miles

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May 2011The Role of Skill Versus Luck in Poker: Evidence from the World Series of Poker
with Steven D. Levitt: w17023
In determining the legality of online poker – a multibillion dollar industry – courts have relied heavily on the issue of whether or not poker is a game of skill. Using newly available data, we analyze that question by examining the performance in the 2010 World Series of Poker of a group of poker players identified as being highly skilled prior to the start of the events. Those players identified a priori as being highly skilled achieved an average return on investment of over 30 percent, compared to a -15 percent for all other players. This large gap in returns is strong evidence in support of the idea that poker is a game of skill.

Published: “The Role of Skill Versus Luck in Poker Evidence from the World Series of Poker,” Journal of Sports Economics : 2012 (with Thomas J. Miles). DOI: 10.1177/15270 02512449471

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