Poker and Baseball players have the same skill Level

by Clayton Richer | Posted on Monday, August 8th, 2016
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Ever heard of the phrase “a real man makes his own luck”? Well that is now applicable to poker, as research proves that the card game requires just as much skill as that of Baseball Players.

Steven Levitt an economics professor University of Chicago paired with colleague Thomas Miles to release his workings “The Role of Skill Versus Luck in Poker: Evidence from the World Series Poker”, an investigation into whether poker really is a game of luck, or one of immense skill.

Recent figures from Statista reveal that the online gambling industry is worth a staggering $36 billion, projected to grow to $51 billion by 2018. The website AllJackpotsCasino has commented on the growing number of winning players who are cleverly working out ways to outsmart the competition and the research by Levitt and Miles appears to underpin this.

The pair note that many before them have investigated whether skill or luck makes for a poker master but suggest that previous research was carried out in a lacklustre manner. The paper stated: “State courts that have ruled on whether poker is a game of skill-versus-luck generally have done so in the absence of any statistical evidence.”

To commence their workings on finding an answer to the question, the pair of professors analysed information released by the 2010 World Series of Poker. Their findings revealed overwhelming support that poker does in fact require immense skill. Statistics showed that “skilled” players earned 30% on their investment whilst amateurs lost 15%. If this concept were to be applied to the Main Event, skilled players would earn an average of $350 per a tournament with others losing $400.

So whilst common-sense may suggest that the return from investment in skill for a poker tournament and that of Wall Street can’t be contested, this concrete research suggests otherwise. The paper actually finds that highly skilled players win over half – roughly 54.9% – of match ups. “the high skilled player wins 54.9 percent of the match ups.” Such a large percentage compares more with major American sports such as Major League Baseball, rather than Wall Street.

So there you have it. Officially Poker players are as skilful as Baseball players. Next time you rage at the TV screen over a miss hit or dropped ball, bear in mind that the odds of your team winning are the same as that of a player playing a card game based on luck.

Now if only someone could combine the two sports…

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Clayton Richer
About the Author

Clayton Richer is an MLB scribe from north of the border with a slight bias for the Toronto Blue Jays. Clayton has also been the shop-keeper at Baseball Hot Corner since the sites inception in 2012. Follow and interact with Clayton on Twitter @MLBHotCorner or @ClaytonRicher

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