Games of luck or skill

"Fingers Crossed" (CC BY 2.0) by Clint__Budd

There are many different games available to play, but they can often be divided into games of skill, luck, or both. While we each have our favourites that fall into each category, online casino games offer an arsenal of games that highlight the difference between skill and luck.

Cross your fingers

A game of luck is developed around a tool, process or device that randomizes the probability of victory which creates a level playing field. That everyone has the same chance of being successful regardless of skill or ability is one of the reasons games of pure luck games are popular. If you’re not victorious, there’s no feeling of inadequacy or lack of ability that needs to be rectified, it simply wasn’t your day and tomorrow will provide another equal opportunity to be a winner.

Some casino games provide the opportunity to play games based on nothing but luck and the number of players visiting bingo sites such as demonstrates that these luck-based games are still beloved. People love bingo and other games of luck because it’s a balanced competition with attainable rewards that are winnable by more people. 

Along with bingo, most people would consider roulette, baccarat and craps to be games of pure luck, but the water becomes a little muddy. If we focus on roulette, players are trying to predict which numbered pocket the ball will fall into, something that is impossible to predict and therefore there is no skill in selecting which numbers to place a bet on. The house edge is the same for each number, therefore the casinos don’t care where you bet, the gameplay is all luck.

Yet, there is some skill at play in deciding which type of roulette to play, as European and American roulette offer different house edges due to the extra zero on the wheel. Roulette also incorporates betting strategies such as The Martingale system, which can also be applied to investing These betting strategies become more crucial with online play, as titles such as Lightning Roulette and Quantum Roulette throw massive multipliers into the mix that need to be considered when devising a strategy. 

“All Set to Win – Poker Hand” (CC BY 2.0) by pokerphotos

Pure skill

While there is some skill required in selecting the game and betting strategy, bingo, roulette, baccarat and craps are games of luck. For a game of skill, we need to look at poker. There is a general consensus that luck has a role to play in poker, as evidenced by the Doyle Brunson hand outlined here However, in the long run, poker is definitely a game of skill as the top professional players diminish the role of luck by making mathematically superior choices. 

The main reason poker is a game of skill is that, dissimilar to the other games mentioned, in poker, you are playing against other people, not the house. While casinos make money from hosting poker games and tournaments, there’s no direct profit from your losing poker hands. The skills required to be successful at poker are simple, on paper. You want to increase the cash in the pot at points when you hold a statistical advantage of winning and conversely provide less money to the pot when there’s a statistical disadvantage.

As poker is played against other people, the real skill comes in the form of reading other people while either presenting a false or neutral position that will not allow other players to determine your hand. Bluffing, tells, and a poker face are all skills that are commonly known but essential to being a successful player and all part of a wider skill of reading people.

We can also add blackjack to the list of casino skill games and the ever more complicated blackjack strategy cards we see produced and promoted each day are testament to the fact that you need to be in possession of some mastery to be successful in this game. 

As online casino gaming continues to become more popular, undoubtedly a degree of their success lies in offering both skill and luck games. Whichever you prefer, there are many varieties now available online and with clear descriptions outlining exactly how to play and your odds of winning—best of luck!