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The Simplification of Poker

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By Dr. Panayiotis Papadakis

There are many firm believers that poker is a game of skill. Admittedly, poker does have a small element of sill, which means that it is not a pure game of chance, in it's purest possible form, such as roulette or baccarat. But what it basically boils down to is that poker is partially contaminated with this element of skill and losing gamblers hold on to this little fact and basically make a mountain out of a molehill.

To focus on this insignificant impurity of poker and call it a game of skill is the same as to say that gold jewelry is made form coppers, because in theory there is no such thing as 100% pure gold, so all gold has a small percentage of impurities. But when you see a gold watch you don't say, wow, look at that copper watch on that guy's wrist. It look like good and it is gold.

Sam goes for poker, the game is contaminated with the element of skill. But this impurity is so small that it is practically insignificant. How is that? Well, you can look at your cards and say that you have a XX% chance of hitting a full house or a flush, but that percentage doesn't do you any good when you are expecting these miracle cards to come form a randomly mixed deck. Chance is stronger than skill. Skill is just wishful thinking, with an XX% chance of happening... oh did I say XX% chance? Here we go, chance, again.

For reasons outline above we must approach poker as a pure game of chance and completely ignore that there is a small impurity, called skill, that plays an insignificant role. That role is not only insignificant, it is a passive role. The "skilled" player knows his odds, but knowing that percentage doesn't make it happen. All the "skilled" knowledge has absolutely no influence over the outcome of random events.

As previously discussed, the cards and hand analyses are best left for the scholars. A true gambler has no use for any of that and must be disciplined enough to stick to the principles that will make money in the long run. The best approach is to completely free the mind of all theory so that the player can focus on the gambling.

The peculiar thing about "skilled" poker players is that they also admit that chance plays a big role, in poker. When they win they attribute it to skill, but when they lose they blame it on bad luck. Duh!

When one guy says, "All in," and another guy says, "I call," they both just sit back and hope for the best. The fact that one guy knows his odds and the other one doesn't, is completely irrelevant and will not influence the outcome in any way.

This leads us to the only sound conclusion: that the "skill" factor in the game of poker is only of academic interest. In reality the cards are dealt form a randomly mixed deck and the players receive combinations of hands that have never before occurred in history and will never occur again. So, a game with a random distribution is nothing but a game of chance and luck.

So, don't waste your valuable time reading poker books. Simplify your life and focus on the element of chance.


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