We believe that everyone, once in their life, has got into a discussion with other people about poker, and whether poker is gambling or not. There are various opinions on this topic and generally people who don't know much about the game consider it as gambling, just like black jack, roulette or slot machines. From our experience, people base their opinion of poker on James Bond movies and, even though they have never in their lives dealt with or researched the matter in more detail. So in this article we will try to defend the honor of poker and substantiate it with some facts.
Definition of gambling
The results of the game depend on luck, and little or nothing on the ability of the player. Gambling includes lottery and sports betting.
According to the definition above, any rational person who has at least a little experience in poker can conclude that poker does not fall into the definition of gambling. But let’s analyze the whole topic a little deeper and compare poker to other casino games.
The main difference between poker and casino games is that in poker we do not play against the house, but against other players and therefore the house does not care who wins as long as it charges for rake.
Of course to be able to make money at poker we need to be better than our rivals, that means that after a paid rake we have a positive income. Another thing that other casino games generally don't have is rakeback, with which we further increase our poker winrate.
Let's take a look at what a predetermined mathematical advantage is actually in favor of home in various casino games:
1. Slot machines
At each turn, the advantage in favor of the house ranges from 5% to 10%, which means that the first of each spin ratios range from 55%-45% or even 60%-40% in favor of the house, so the more spins you play, the less chance you get of winning with each spin.
Each round on roulette, brings home an advantage of 2.7%, which is much less than on slot machines, but it is still not a game we can win in the long run. It is very clear if there are 36 fields + zero and put $1 on all 37 fields you will pay $37 and get $36 no matter where the ball falls.
Each hand on Blackjack brings home a 0.5% advantage considering you are a solid player, if you don’t have too much experience that number increases.
4. Sports Betting
Under number 4 we have one of perhaps the most popular gambling methods today, and that is betting. Although many players who follow sports and bet think that they can make money from the bookmaker, the truth is actually different.
The odds of the pairs at the bookmaker are distributed so that whatever outcome you choose you lose money, for example imagine that we have one pie and cut it into 3 equal parts of 30%, and when three people buy the whole pie (100%) they are missing a smaller piece of pie of 10%.
This is just a pictorial representation of how the bookmaker "cuts" on the odds, and there are also payment taxes and profit taxes, so in the end the players see about 80% of the entire pie, depending on the bookmaker.
In poker there is no predetermined advantage in favor of home, because we do not play against home, but players sitting opposite us. Poker is a game of variability which is actually all around us: in traffic, sports, nature, and even in genetics .. so we should distinguish gambling from variability.