University of Nottingham used data from 456 million hands over a one year period in survey
A new study by the University of Nottingham has concluded that success in poker is more likely to involve skill than chance, lending its weight to a growing body of expert opinion that this is the case.
Researchers at the university, working with colleagues from Erasmus University Rotterdam and VU University Amsterdam, noted that players who finished in the top one percent in the first half of the year were 12 times more likely than others to repeat the feat in the second half, reports the Daily Mail newspaper.
Researchers drew on a database of 456 million player-hand observations from a year's worth of online games in reaching their conclusions. The study involved running tens of thousands of simulations in which better performing players and underperforming players were represented.
Over a few hands, better players won just over half the games, but over more extended periods of action the success rate of more skilled and experienced players steadily escalated to over 75 percent of the time.
The Mail quotes consulting firm H2 Gambling Capital in calculating that in 2013 alone online poker rooms generated more than GBP 2 billion in winnings.
Dr Dennie van Dolder, of the University of Nottingham's School of Economics, told the Mail that the study showed "skilled players will consistently outperform less skilled players if enough hands…are played."
He added that if, as the study found, performance is predictable, "then it follows that poker involves an element of skill and can't be merely a game of pure chance."
The Nottingham study effectively contradicts a study at the University of Bremen by Professor Gerhard Meyer in 2012 which opined that poker was a game predominantly of chance. Meyer constructed a survey in which 300 participants divided into expert and average poker fans played 60 hands each on tables of six, with their success rates analysed.
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