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The Role of Skill Versus Luck in Poker: Evidence from the World Series of Poker

Steven Levitt and Thomas J. Miles

No 17023, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

Abstract: In determining the legality of online poker - a multibillion dollar industry - courts have relied heavily on the issue of whether or not poker is a game of skill. Using newly available data, we analyze that question by examining the performance in the 2010 World Series of Poker of a group of poker players identified as being highly skilled prior to the start of the events. Those players identified a priori as being highly skilled achieved an average return on investment of over 30 percent, compared to a -15 percent for all other players. This large gap in returns is strong evidence in support of the idea that poker is a game of skill.

JEL-codes: K23 K42 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2011-05
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-lab, nep-law and nep-spo
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Published as “The Role of Skill Versus Luck in Poker Evidence from the World Series of Poker,” Journal of Sports Economics : 2012 (with Thomas J. Miles). DOI: 10.1177/15270 02512449471

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Journal Article: The Role of Skill Versus Luck in Poker Evidence From the World Series of Poker (2014) Downloads
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