NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Role of Skill Versus Luck in Poker: Evidence from the World Series of Poker

Steven D. Levitt, Thomas J. Miles

NBER Working Paper No. 17023
Issued in May 2011
NBER Program(s):   LE

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.

download in pdf format
   (99 K)

email paper

This paper is available as PDF (99 K) or via email.

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w17023

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

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Kovash and Levitt w15347 Professionals Do Not Play Minimax: Evidence from Major League Baseball and the National Football League
Fryer and Levitt w15430 An Empirical Analysis of the Gender Gap in Mathematics
Fryer, Levitt, List, and Sadoff w18237 Enhancing the Efficacy of Teacher Incentives through Loss Aversion: A Field Experiment
Levitt w12152 An Economist Sells Bagels: A Case Study in Profit Maximization
Levitt, List, and Sadoff w15610 Checkmate: Exploring Backward Induction Among Chess Players
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us