Luck or Skill? That Is the Question!

Phil Hellmuth

We've all seen players go through a streak of bad beats at one time or another.

It can lead people to think winning at poker is impossible. It just shows that even though skill is a big part of poker, there's also a lot of luck involved.

You must look past this and convince yourself that skill will always triumph over luck in the long run.

In that respect, poker is like the stock market; some days it goes up, and some days it goes down.

Sometimes people get lucky and pick a great company that prospers as stocks rise steadily, similar to poker players that sometimes get lucky when they constantly draw out on the river. It can take months to become a consistent winner.

Some poker books say it can take more than 1,400 hours of good play to win at a given limit. While most don't believe it takes this long to see results, you should be able to win over the course of one month, depending on how much you play.

If you play three to four hours per day on average, it will take typically half-a-month to a month to see consistent results.

You'll occasionally see players go on huge runs. Every time they play, they win, and it seems like it's just because they're lucky.

This isn't the case. These same players, when running cold, will throw away their money faster than Donald Trump.

On any given day, a fish can get lucky and beat even the top poker players. However, over the course of many sessions, the pro will always win.

Two aspects are very important when talking about luck - luck makes players play worse and healthy bankrolls reduce luck.

Luck Makes Players Play Worse

Luck will make even the best players play worse. When a player gets lucky he'll slowly start to loosen up.

If you're getting lucky, take a break and ask yourself if this is the right way to play the game. Luck can come and go anytime, so you need to evaluate your play and get back to the basics.

Playing skillfully will win in the long run.

Healthy Bankrolls Reduce Reliance on Luck

A healthy bankroll helps reduce the influence of luck - or the lack thereof - to a minimum.

When you're playing well, you seem to take more bad beats because the horrible players are drawing out on you a lot. If you have a large bankroll in proportion to your current game, it won't bother you as much.

Always keep as much money as you can for the game you choose to play. This helps to forget about the bad beats you take.

See you at the tables.

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