Is Poker a Game of Chance or Skill?

Poker is one of the most popular gambling games in the world, played by millions of people. Although it’s a card game that involves luck, most experienced players will tell you that it takes a lot of skill to be good. The reality is that not just anyone can compete with the best players because there is skill involved in how you play and how you approach a situation. Compared to some gambling games such as slots, poker takes a lot of skill.

That’s not to say that luck doesn’t have any impact at all, of course. No matter how good you are, you’ll sometimes have bad hands or get unlucky. However, as long as you follow the right strategies, you’ll come out on top in the long run.

What Skills Do Poker Players Need?

Aside from being good at poker and understanding the basics, there are a lot of skills that poker players need to be great. Here are some of the most important skills to have when playing online poker games:


Discipline is an important skill to have in almost all areas of life, but it’s particularly important at the poker table. Good players need to be disciplined enough to follow their strategy no matter what. This can sometimes be frustrating when going on losing streaks, but players can ensure they come out on top in the long run by following the strategy. Outside of playing poker, it’s also important to be disciplined when first learning the game. Studying poker might seem less interesting than playing, but preparation is vital.

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Strategic Thinking

Poker might be a gambling game, but it also features a lot of strategy and planning. The best players are always thinking of their next move, as well as the moves of their opponents. They also need to be able to set up and execute poker-playing strategies that give them the best chance of success. Really good players will be able to change their strategy during a game in order to misdirect or confuse their opponents.


High-level poker often involves reading people’s behavior in order to understand their cards and predict their moves. Knowing what your opponent is going to do next is a huge advantage, and it will help you gain the upper hand and win more games. Reading people is a difficult skill, especially at a poker table where your time playing your opponent is limited. However, the best players practice and develop their perceptiveness in order to improve their game.

Risk Management

Any type of gambling requires a certain level of risk management. When you’re playing poker, whether it’s a tournament game or cash game, you normally have to risk your own money to play. You could potentially lose that money without careful risk management, so it’s important to manage your bankroll carefully. During the game, risk management will help you know whether to fold when your opponent raises or call their bluff.


While at the table or when studying poker strategies, you need to be focused. Otherwise, you could miss important details. While playing, concentrating on what’s happening at all times is important, and poker players that get distracted are unlikely to be successful. If you struggle to focus for longer periods of time, you can cut your playing sessions or studying sessions down shorter.

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Following a strategy when you first start playing is very important, but the best players are able to adapt and change their play on the fly. Adaptability comes after a lot of practice and experience, so it’s not necessarily something you need to worry about at the beginning. However, as you get more confident in how you play, being able to adapt your strategy to opponents will allow you to have more success.