The Role of Luck vs Skill in Gambling

Debates on the role of luck vs skill when gambling is as old as time. Many people are afraid to hit the casinos and make some big bucks because they believe the games rely on pure chance. And while they may be right in some respects when making that claim, it’s wrong to assume that gambling, and certain casino games, are heavily skill-based. 

But which games rely on skill and which games rely on luck? There are a few games like poker and blackjack, that clearly contain elements of strategy and skill. 

Other games like Roulette and slots, are looked at as influenced more by luck. But even the games that are highly reliant on luck contain some tactical and strategical analysis that could help you win.

In fact, even gambling in the form of sports betting is not purely based on chance. When it comes to sports betting there are huge strategical factors that influence positive or negative bets.

This article will walk you through a few forms of gambling and decide whether they are more based on luck or on skill. Let’s start. 


So, the most obvious place to start when it comes to this debate is with poker. Experts in the poker industry argue strongly that poker requires high levels of game understanding, knowledge, and skill. And they are completely correct when making this claim. Poker is a game that has many variables that the player influences to be successful. 

When sitting at the poker table the player can use their prowess to influence other players into make plays that benefits them. They can also have a good knowledge of the deck of cards and predict what might come out in the river. 

Placing bets, having good timing, and making the right calls during a round are all important, skill-based tactics, that help certain players become more successful than others.

If poker was purely based on chance, then there wouldn’t be worldwide poker tournaments happening with large prize kitties. 

The fact that professional poker players exist also proves that a skill gap exists. Players like Phil Helmuth and Cowboy Dan Smith are living proof that when you get good at poker, you can make big money. 

Of course, when it comes to poker there is an element of luck involved. The players can’t choose the cards they receive, and they also can’t choose the cards in the river. These elements are the elements that are based on chance. The moves that the player decides to make after the card dealing makes all the difference, however.

All-in-all, it’s generally accepted that poker is a game that is highly skill influenced. That isn’t to say that luck isn’t involved at all, but if you practice poker daily, at an online site like Jumba Bet casino, you will become a better player. 


Now we move to a game that contrasts completely from poker. Roulette is purely luck based, even though some in the casino industry disagree. And there are things that point towards roulette containing an element of skill as well. This may sound a little crazy to gambling newbies who believe that roulette is based on nothing but the roll of a dice… 

Roulette is a simple game. You place a bet on either even or odd numbers (sometimes colours too). If you win you can double your stakes and go again, or simply walk away with your winnings. You may wonder how skill plays a part in a game this simplistic.

Well, simply put, the skill in roulette comes in understanding the math and knowing when to walk away and when to bet again. If you put a mathematical strategy in place, you may increase your chances of walking away with something.


Now we come to a game that involves a large degree of both luck and skill. Whereas poker is more skill-based, and roulette is more luck-based, blackjack contains a strong amalgamation of both. Blackjack is always slightly more favoured to the house, due to the fact that they don’t actually have to calculate card values or make smart plays.

But this can actually work to your advantage, if you hone in on your blackjack skills. This means learning how to count cards so that you can confidently predict what you may get next. Making fast calculations and understanding the chances of going bust is a great way to increase your chances of winning. Not everything has to be completely accurate. But if you learn these skills, you will become a better player.

Try watching some of the best blackjack players in action so that you can learn some great tactics. Blackjack is all about remaining patient and making the right moves. Like with poker, your skill and card intelligence can greatly improve your chances. This makes the game far less luck-based than it may seem at first glance.

Sports Betting 

Sports betting can’t be anything but based on chance, right? You can’t control the outcome of a sports game. Furthermore, in sports, anything can happen. The underdog always has a chance and it’s not always the case that the favourites come out on top. So, how can this contain any element of skill on the part of the bettor?

Well, when experts speak about gambling, there is less of a conversation about skill, and more of a conversation about strategy. And sports betting experts will always claim that with a good strategy, you’re bound to make some winnings. But what is a good sports betting strategy? What should you prioritise in order to take home good money? 

  • Put your bias aside: Sports betting needs to be done in an impartial manner. Don’t bet on a team purely because you support them. Instead, look at the statistics and make an informed betting decision. Put your bias and love for a certain team to the side.
  • Pay attention to form: Don’t make a sports bet out of compulsion. Take your time to analyse stats, listen to experts and pundits, and make informed decisions. Your bets should be based on historical sports data, rather than a spur-of-the-moment decision.