Poker: Game of Chance or Game of Skill? By Christina Applebaum While legally in most countries poker is considered a game of chance, there are many who would argue it is in fact a game of skill. Legally, a game of skill is any game or contest where the outcome is based on the participants skill or judgment -- not chance. I guess theoretically, games of skill do not violate the gaming bans in many countries where playing games of chance for money is prohibited. Although any game where a player wagers money or something of monetary value is considered gambling. But the question here is not whether poker is gambling, the question is is it a game of chance or skill. From a legal aspect this is a very important question as governments decide legislation for it. Currently poker is considered a game of chance even though the skill of the person playing may affect the outcome as well. If you sit 6 players at a table and deal them all prearranged hands it is most likely that the hands dealt will predict the outcome. But if a player doesn't know how to play the hand he is given or recognize what that hand is, it is possible for him to lose even with a made hand. A hand of poker is full of decisions for you to make (bet or check, raise or fold) each decision you make changes the likelihood of you winning that hand. Both skill and chance are obviously key in poker, but which matters more? Experienced poker players use their skill to reduce the role chance plays in it for them. As WSOP bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth once stated... "If it weren't for luck, I'd win every time." So it really does matter whether you know when to hold them and know when to fold them as well as know when to raise, how to raise, how interpret opponents actions. That last one is another distinction between skill games and games of chance....opponents. When playing a typical chance game the player is playing against the house. In poker you are playing the other players.