The Role of Skill Versus Luck in Poker: Evidence from the World Series of Poker
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.
We would like to thank Carter Mundell for truly outstanding research assistance. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
“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 citation courtesy of