The Role of Skill Versus Luck in Poker: Evidence from the World Series of Poker
NBER Working Paper No. 17023
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.
You may purchase this paper on-line in .pdf format from SSRN.com ($5) for electronic delivery.