Are the Best Gamblers Skilled or Just Really Lucky?
Find out why the best gamblers know how to turn predictions into cold hard cash
There is a fine line between luck and skill when it comes to gambling. In the eyes of the law, it is cut and dry: gambling is when the outcome is based on chance or luck, whereas skill-based wagering involves a basis of knowledge, or skill, behind a predicted outcome. Here’s some perspective on both sides of the debate.
Gambling = Luck
True, some bettors rely on gut instinct alone – they’re relying on luck. When it comes to bets on things like the lottery, roulette, slots – it’s a game of chance. So, yes, in these cases, gamblers have good luck with the wins and bad luck with the losses. This is appealing to a lot of gamblers because there is no way to predict the outcome. How is it that the best gamblers can rely on just luck and be at the top of their games? Statistically speaking if you place enough bets, eventually you will have enough evidence to show a collection of wins that indicate you are indeed lucky or enough losses to show you are unlucky.
Gambling = Skill
Even the luckiest gambler must employ an element of skill for which to base betting decisions. Why did he select black over red? Why did he choose to bet the Patriots over the Jets? Why did he wager more at one table versus another? If you can answer the question of ‘why’ then there is an element of skill involved. Skill comes from analyzing the many factors that contribute to whatever game is being played. These include past performance of a team, the number of times red versus black has landed on the wheel and sometimes non-tangible factors like the weather or a player’s mindset. Indeed, one of those factors is chance, but when it is not the only factor involved in a bet then there is skill and strategy involved.
How did the luck vs. skill debate start?
This debate is rooted in the poker industry when a gambling crackdown started with a 2006 law called the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act that put a clamp on many booming poker websites. The law banned bank transfers that were used for betting when the “opportunity to win is predominately subject to chance.” The law was designed to cut down on poker betting but it eventually impacted other betting industries.
This law was used in a notable court case that put the spotlight on the chance versus skill debate. It involved a New York poker room owner named Lawrence DiCristina who was convicted of running an illegal gambling business. In 2012 he fought the conviction and during the trial, several economists were called in as expert witnesses for both sides.
On one side of the debate economist, Randal Heeb who was an expert witness for DiCristina argued that poker players can employ strategy behind their betting decisions to influence the outcome of the game. He admitted that a single hand involved a lot of chance but that the game itself was not one of luck. Heeb argued that the important factor is how long it takes for the effects of strategy to outweigh chance.
On the other side of the debate for the Prosecution was economist David DeRosa. DeRosa argued that since the cards are dealt differently each time then it is not logical to consider a player’s performance over several hands. He argued that if one hand involves luck, there’s no reason to think that the player will have a successful round after a costly one.
On Aug. 21, 2012, the judge in the case ruled that poker was predominantly governed by skill rather than chance and therefore it did not count as gambling under federal law. DiCristina’s conviction was overturned on the federal level but the state of New York had a stricter definition of gambling and that still considered DiCristina’s business a gambling business.
The luck vs. skill takeaway
While there is no doubt that there is an unpredictable variant with every bet whether it is at the casino table or in online sports betting there is a reason that the best gamblers end up racking up more wins at the end of the day – there must be strategy involved.
One of the best options for those who want to wager on sports is with a skill-based platform like PostitPlayit. Since PostitPlayit involves skill-based wagering it is not considered gambling and therefore it does not fall under the same regulations as other types of betting. So even in most states where gambling is still illegal, PostitPlayit is legal.
The PostitPlayit platform utilizes your skill and knowledge to place wagers for the teams and challenges that you select. You can play against friends and other like-minded sports fans in challenges where you set the odds.
Create your PostitPlayit account now and get in on skill-based wagering as the tide continues to turn on sports betting in the United States.