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poker is a game of skill
Cigital, a software security and consulting firm based out of Virginia, released the findings of a study this week that gives poker supporters some statistical data in their efforts to convince skeptics that poker is a game of skill.
The report analyzed 103 million hands that were played in cash games at minimum stakes of $0.10-$0.20 on PokerStars in December 2008 and the first two days of January 2009. Citigal’s report concluded with two major findings:
a) The vast majority of hands (about 75 percent) played never reach a showdown, where one or more players had to show the contents of his holecards to win the pot.
b) Even when there was a showdown, only 50 percent of those pots were won by the best possible hand provided everyone had played until the end. Meaning, half of the time there was a showdown, the player who would’ve won had already folded.
The study’s authors, Paco Hope and Dr. Sean McCulloch, claimed that the analysis provided statistical evidence that poker is a game of skill, as opposed to luck.
“If the hand didn’t have a showdown, the cards didn’t pick the winner in that game,” said Hope, the technical manager for Cigital.
“Any time you make a decision that affects the outcome of the hand, you’re using skill in some way,” said McCulloch, an associate professor of mathematics and computer science at Ohio Wesleyan University. “The fact that you’re coming up with strategy (to force other players to fold) is a skill-based activity.”
The study was funded by PokerStars, one of several companies that Cigital works with in the gaming industry. According to Hope, Cigital has also certified Full Tilt Poker’s random number generator.
While Cigital is actively involved in the gaming industry, Managing Principle Brian Mizelle said that the company works in a variety of industries.
“We work with a lot of companies in the financial industry, the communications industry — basically across most industries,” said Mizelle.
Hope downplayed any perception of conflict of interest that might exist for Cigital conducting the study for PokerStars.
“All they did was say, ‘We want you to do this analysis,’ and then they stepped back and said to tell them what we wanted,” said Hope.
The report is already being praised by the Poker Players Alliance, the non-profit membership organization committed to establishing favorable laws for poker players.
“As a poker player, I can tell you that knowing when to hold or fold is not based solely on the cards that are dealt, but a series of decisions based on skill and the actions taken by the other players,” said Alfonse D’Amato, PPA Chairman and the former Republican Senator from New York. “This study provides the raw data to back up the compelling arguments made by poker players around the world that it’s skill, not pure luck, that determines the outcome of this game.”
PPA Executive Director John Pappas echoes D’Amato’s sentiments.
“I think this is a great study that the PPA will be able to use not only in courtrooms, but also on Capitol Hill,” said Pappas, confirming that the organization had already used these findings in an amicus brief in their highly publicized South Carolina trial, where a judge determined that poker was a game of skill.
Hope said that Cigital was looking into doing similar studies in the future, mentioning possibly analyzing a few years’ worth of Sunday Million tournaments on PokerStars and seeing if the results are similar.
For more details about the report, read Card Player’s interview with one of the authors of the study.
Understanding Online Slots Game Strategy
No matter the kind of a slot game you are playing, one of the most important things to do is learn the rules of the game. From multiple slots game to 3 reel single line games, online slots were created so as to allow the players sit back comfortably and push a number of buttons. But there are basic rules such as knowing how paylines work and a number of strategies that can be adopted so that a win can be achieved.
Online slots are among the most popular games in both online and offline casinos. In fact, there are many types of slot games that are available and many of them are also released regularly by software companies who ensure that gaming enthusiasts have something to keep them challenged and entertained. It’s a fact that when no new games are developed, boredom will creep in on the side of the players because they will not have something new to keep them busy.
When finding a slot game on the web, make sure you check out one that will offer you a winning combination. Many of the existing slots have similar strategies, but there is a variation on the payouts and a number of other features. If you search well, you will discover many games that allow you play free spins and get more bonus rounds. This in essence makes it possible for you to get a chance of hitting jackpot combinations that would lead to a win. Players who make more spins and who try their best to utilize free spins stand better chances of registering more wins. Because online slots are a game of numbers, many players will find it a little easier doing when compared to others.
A player need to learn about probability because this offers the best way to determine which of the combinations offers better chances for a win. You stand better chances of beating the house when you master this concept. Not all online slots have similar number of paylines and reels. The percentages of payouts which the players will get are determined by the software developer or the operator. You will discover that the finer details about the payouts are advertised at the casino which you are playing at. Check around and opt for casinos that offer you higher percentage of payouts.
Other than the multi-reeled and classical slots, another game which a player would really want to play is the one that offer a progressive jackpot. This is a game whose potential payouts can run to thousands of dollars. This huge sum can be won with just one game of the slots. The bets that are offered are accumulated because of the gigantic network of casinos attached to.
An important piece to remember is that you should play online slots in a casino known for reliability and high levels of reputation. There are a number of pitfalls that comes with using casinos whose reputation has been cast in doubt. If you check online reviews, you should be able to know which of the long list of web based casinos offer excellent services.
a time out can help your game
Let’s look at all the ways you can lose at poker.
1. You can have the second-best hand. So if you have a set of Aces, and someone calls you all the way down with K-2 soooted and hits their flush on the river, then you have the second best hand and you lose.
2. You can get sucked out on. See #1.
3. You can call all your money off when you’re behind, with a flush draw, and of course you don’t hit even though you really deserve it because someone outdrew you. Why can’t you just hit YOUR flush one time?
4. You can then push with top pair and of course someone has two pair and so you lose yet again.
5. You can get two pair and lose to a set and OMG when is this ever going to end?
6. Screw it, I’m pushing with A-Q. A-K? OMG. Of course the donkey gets A-K when I have A-Q.
7. You can call off the rest of your stack with A-high because you’re sure he’s bluffing.
8. You can tilt. See #3, #4, #5, #6 and #7.
So you can lose when you’re ahead, when you’re behind and when you’re angry because both keeps happening over and over and over.
Poker can be pretty frustrating. We’ve all been through at least some of those situations above, and I’d be willing to bet my bankroll that you’ve been through all of them. I know I have. Yes you have. Come on, admit it. We’re friends here.
But I’ve avoided these emotions a lot more lately.
I’m just not playing as much as I used to.
I realize this is a poker site and I’m supposed to tell you to play at PokerStars or Full Tilt Poker as much as possible.
Well I’m also here to tell you that poker, at times can turn you into those rats that shock themselves every time they get a pellet.
After a while, no matter how full you are of pellets, you just keep shocking away, and you forget why you were there in the first place. You’re just so numb to the pain that it doesn’t matter any longer.
You really need to take a time out, and when I say a time out, I don’t mean just a few minutes in a corner. I mean you need to shut the computer off and keep it off for at least a couple of days.
Here’s three ways to tell when you’re running bad and you’re numb to the pain:
• AwFukIt Calls - You start making calls because you know you’re beat, but you want to see what the player has, or you desperately want to catch a two-outer and lay a bad beat on someone else, or, worst of all, you’re in a funk and you want to keep feeling sorry for yourself. AwFukIt Calls are THE definition of tilt, and they will kill your bankroll.
• You’re Talking To Yourself - When you start to say things like “Why can’t I get lucky?” “When will MY draws hit?” or “Why do I play this game?” it’s time to quit.
• You find yourself surfing the Web, chatting online or watching TV. Or all at once. If you’re playing poker, you need to play poker, period. If you’re doing other things, that means the game isn’t enough to satisfy you, and you need to quit and play when you’re not so bored with it.
But I’m not here to tell you that you need to quit when you’re running poorly. You’ve read that before, probably from me, after a bad stretch. I’m here to talk about how beneficial breaks are to your game.
Strangely enough, you can play way too much poker and numb yourself to the game when you’re hot, cold or breaking even. When you’re running well, you want to keep winning. When you’re losing, you just want one big hand to get your hot streak started. And when you’re breaking even, you just want something, anything, to knock you out of the boredom.
So here’s what I did. I made sure that I played no poker on Monday and Tuesday. I made these movie nights. It was a small change, but it made me take two solid days off from poker.
That was a good start. Then I began to ask myself why I was playing on other nights and why I felt a sense of relief when I decided to put down the virtual cards rather than play.
Well, sometimes I just wanted to read or watch another movie.
So go through these three steps before you open up a table to play:
#1 - Make sure you feel an itch to play. If you don’t feel that itch, I don’t think you should play.
#2 - Ask yourself when you open the tables if you still want to play if the games aren’t that great. If the answer is still yes, that’s fine; that means you’re playing to play and not to make a lot of money that night.
#3 - Promise yourself you will quit the moment you realize you’re bored, you aren’t enjoying it or you are playing to make up for the losses you’ve taken that night.
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