| Wednesday July 30th 2014

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Economists Steven D. Levitt (of “Freakonomics” fame) and Thomas J. Miles argue in a new study that poker is a game of skill, not chance, and therefore should not be regarded as “gambling” under the law


In the short term, chance can indeed have a huge effect on the fortunes of any given poker player. Short term variance can cause the tourist rube to go home a few hundred bucks richer on a Saturday night, or cause a seasoned professional to lose tens of thousands of dollars in the span of a few weeks.

gamblingBut over time, the more you keep playing, edge wins over variance. Always. People who have made livings playing poker in the past ten or more years aren’t pulling it off because they’ve been lucky the entire decade.

Anyone else who claims otherwise can easily be dismissed as ignorant in statistics and likely mathematics in general. Unfortunately, this appears to be most of our lawmakers.

(I bet Steven Levitt plays a lot of high stakes online poker.)


If anyone wants to read the paper, go here. if you’re a university student and have a .edu e-mail address, it should be free.

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