Friday, September 1, 2006

Poker is a Game of Skill

Congressman Bob Goodlatte is trying to get online gambling outlawed, and he seems to lump Poker in with the likes of roulette, blackjack, craps, etc. He was quoted as saying he played poker in college, and he therefore knows first hand that poker is a game of chance.

I have a question for the Congressman. If poker isn't a game of skill, then how do the same people keep showing up at the final tables in tournament after tournament? Chance would dictate a random selection of entrants at each final table.

Is there an element of chance in poker? Of course, just as there is in any sport such as football, baseball, or basketball. However, an element of chance does not mean the game turns primarily on chance. Poker has facets involving psychology and mathematics, which make it a game of skill that is more complex (and more fun) than chess. The reason that the same people keep winning national and international tournaments is because they have developed their skills to the highest levels.

Feel free to not play poker yourself, Congressman. But don't try to make it illegal for those of us who enjoy the challenge of developing a complex set of skills while enjoying a great American pastime.

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