Is poker a game of skill?

by Stephen Katz

Online poker is rapidly becoming one of the most popular gambling games at gambling websites on the internet. The main reason for this popularity is the belief that it is a game of skill in which money could be won. This belief is a fallacy. Skillful play will never help gamblers to win money at online poker because winning money at online poker is impossible.

Online poker is a game of skill only to the extent that skillful play would allow gamblers to lose their money slower. Money could temporarily be won in the short-run. In the long-run though, the gambling "house" which operates the gambling website, will permanently win all the money from all of the players. With a fast played game such as poker, the short-run quickly becomes the long-run when playing enough hands. Each hand played whether winning or losing any particular hand, slowly disintegrates the bankroll of every gambler. There is not anything that gamblers can do to save their bankrolls except to never play online poker.

The top poker players in the world do not play poker at gambling websites. Some top poker players may say they do only because of getting paid for endorsements. These top poker players know they can beat the other players, but that they cannot beat the house. There is not anybody on the face of this earth who can make money playing online poker. Even the world’s best poker player will never be good enough to overcome the "rake" which is the house cut from each pot.

"It takes a minute to learn and a lifetime to master" is a phrase used by some gambling website promoters to describe the poker game of Texas Holdem. This phrase is true when playing against other poker players if there is not any rake. But this phrase is false for online poker because of the rake involved. Gambling house promoters know this phrase is false for their poker. Yet they keep parroting this phrase to fool you into thinking that even though you keep losing money at their website, that one day you could "master" Texas Holdem and then start making money. This phrase for online Texas Holdem should be corrected to truthfully state, "It takes a minute to learn and a lifetime to lose money."

Here is an example of how the gambling house will always win all the money from all of the players. Five players sit-in on an online poker game each with a $20 bankroll for a total at the website table of $100. Let’s say the average pot is $10 and the rake is 5% or 50 cents per hand. Let’s say 200 hands are played which does not take that long. After 200 hands, that 50 cents rake per hand totals $100 which is the entire amount that all of the players started with at the website table. Of course not all of the players go broke at the exact same time and fresh money can come into the game. But sooner or later each gambler will eventually lose their $20 bankroll every time without exception. If bringing in $20 more, that will also eventually be lost. Every amount brought in will eventually be lost through continued play. Those are the facts in a nutshell. Any honest mathematician, statistician, or numbers expert who understands the game of poker, would not dispute the example in this paragraph.

Now knowing that money cannot be won playing online poker, here are three more nails in the online poker coffin so that this complete waste of your money, time and life can be buried:

1. How do you know the other online poker players are real? You could be the only real player at the website table with the rest being software program players which would be programmed so that you could not possibly win even in the short-run.

2. How do you know the cards are a randomly dealt deck? You would eventually lose your money anyway even with a randomly dealt deck. However some gambling houses do not want to wait that long to fleece you out of your money. The cards could be rigged in any which way to assure that you will lose quicker. They can easily rig any hand. For instance you could have four kings on the flop but a software program player gets a fourth ace at the river to beat you.

3. How do you know a gambling website can be trusted with your bank account and credit card information? Without your knowledge, they can easily clean out your bank account and max out your credit card anytime they wanted. After they do this, even if locating them in their country of origin and getting them hauled into court, they could just falsify some computer records and claim that you gambled away the money. It is highly unlikely that a judge from their country is going to rule in your favor.

There are a good number of dishonest gambling websites out there just waiting to steal money from you. But even if you did happen to find the most honest, forthright, respectable gambling house that exists, it still is a money fleecing business which would be most happy to financially destroy you. Do not give them the pleasure no matter how nice their website appears to be. Do not give them the pleasure no matter how friendly their promoters seem to be. Do not give them the pleasure for any reason.

These gambling houses along with their slick marketing campaigns are very clever at trying to influence you into gambling. Do not believe any advertising or information from gambling websites or other sources which state or imply that money can be made playing online poker. Do not let them fool you but if they have, then permanently delete their money fleecing software from your computer.

You have a choice to follow the guidance of this article or play online poker. Playing online poker will cost you money and quite possibly a lot of money. You may get addicted to it even if believing that could not happen. It very well can happen. Unfortunately, getting addicted to online poker has happened to many people. But even if never technically getting addicted to online poker, isn’t it foolish to play a game in which losing your money is a certainty? Losing money is not only true for online poker, but for all other gambling games on the internet. There are not and never will be any exceptions. You are absolutely, positively, guaranteed to lose your money. Those are the facts. Do not allow gambling promoters or anyone else to convince you otherwise.

Please make the right choice, the smart choice and the necessary choice to never play the money losing game of online poker or any other online gambling game. Keep your money in your bank account where it belongs. Your money does not belong in the bank account of a gambling house.

Stephen Katz

I'll dispute your scenario

You say the average pot size for a game with effective stacks of $20 would be $10. I'd say a ten dollar pot would be rare in this game. I'd say the average pot would be closer to 2 dollars. The rake would be capped at 30 to 50 cents, so even if there was a 20 or 30 dollar pot they wouldn't take more. If theres no flop, theres no drop, so some of the smaller pots taken down before the flop won't have a rake.

Beating the rake means that assuming the players were playing until 'winner takes all' the game would likely end when the best player at the table had 30 to 40 dollars after 300 hands or so(It would take probably closer to 500 for the house to rake $100 at the stakes they would be playing) and every other player went broke. A more likely scenario is that the top few players after taking a small profit, seeing that the worst players were broke, would stop playing against the players better than themselves, and the top 2 or 3 players would leave with a profit. Next payday the worst players would bring new money to the table, and in this manner the best online poker players will continue to win money. Of course no one beats the house. The house doesn't play, they just take money.

Just about every casino game can be beaten. Most of the methods are illegal, and the ones that aren't are difficult to do. They require patience, practice and most of all a bankroll that is both disposable and can withstand fluctuations. Most people who play casino games including poker are unwilling to put in the work or are unable to procure such a bankroll. I will admit though, reading this website makes me feel kind of bad that the money I've made over the years playing these games has come from basically exploiting people with gambling addictions.

Why don't you play poker at

Why don't you play online poker . We'll see how fast you lose your money, and it wont be to the house it will be to the other real players playing your sorry butt.

poker is luck.

poker is all luck. People lose their life savings and family over it.

You don't know what cards you'l get.
You don't know what cards there'll be on the flop, on the turn, or on the river.
You don't even know what the other players have.
It's a guessing game.

I stopped playing poker because it caused mental anguish in my life.