The long-running debate on whether poker is a game of skill has a definitive answer. Poker is a game of a skill, and in the long term skilled poker players will win money from players with less skill.
While poker can be definitively called a game of skill, is playing the game still considered a form of gambling? Let’s discuss in this article.
Is Poker Gambling?
The short answer is yes – poker still falls under the category of gambling, despite its status as a game of skill. Consider the Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of gambling:
- Gambling – the practice or activity of betting; the practice of risking money or other stakes in a game or bet.
Poker players of all skill levels gamble every time they play the game. For even the best players in the world, every poker session requires all players to gamble on whether they can win money from other players in a particular session.
Any game that involves wagering on an outcome can be considered gambling. Poker, along with sports betting, are unique forms of gambling that also qualify as games of skill.
If you’re talented enough at poker or sports betting you can turn a profit in the long run. Both poker and sports betting still involve gambling, however, and even the best players in each category gamble every time they play.
In poker, two players of similar skill levels could play the same number of hands, at the same stakes, and come away with drastically different results. Professional poker players count on the fact that if they play long enough, their skill edge over their opponents will produce a positive win rate.
A positive win rate is never a sure thing, however, even over the largest of samples. The world’s best player in 2021 might no longer be the best player in 2022.
Even the world’s top pros gamble every time they sit down at the poker table. While you can make money at poker with hard work and study habits, it’s important to remember that poker is still a gambling game.