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fergwrx

explaining poker to anti-gamblers

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Ever since I began playing poker one of my biggest weaknesses has been answering questions like "how do you know your going to have an income?" "Isnt poker pure luck?" I am having an argument and just having a hell of a time explaining why poker can be profitable. Does anybody have any good resources on this topic of explaining how poker is a skill game and how it separates from other forms of gambling.

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this is a sincere response...

how can u really understand the game and do well at it, if you can't answer this question?

lol this is very good question and thought it might come up...I am good at developing theories and working them out my self but when it comes to explaining to somebody that has no knowledge of poker whatsoever I find it extremely difficult.

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Grab a deck and some chips and absolutely outplay someone till they get it through their thick skull that its about skill and not luck. Concrete examples always make it easier.

Then again you know they'll get a ton of beginners luck and you're fucked, so...

Edit: PS- I still want some coaching :)

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this is a sincere response...

how can u really understand the game and do well at it, if you can't answer this question?

I guess i didnt explain this fully either...I feel like I have a strong understanding of how everything works and I think I explain it fairly well for avg person to understand but its much easier with more than just my opinion

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Ever since I began playing poker one of my biggest weaknesses has been answering questions like "how do you know your going to have an income?" "Isnt poker pure luck?" I am having an argument and just having a hell of a time explaining why poker can be profitable. Does anybody have any good resources on this topic of explaining how poker is a skill game and how it separates from other forms of gambling.

Every time I get into this conversation with people that have no clue I tell them this:

Every other game in the casino is designed for the house to have a mathematical tiny edge. Therefore over an infinite number of games, the casino must make money. The only way to make money at these games is to have the improbable happen. Play a small sample size, and have chance on your side, then stop playing before your sample size becomes big enough for the house's edge to show it's inevitable result and you lose.

Poker does not have such a house edge. The house gets paid a small fee for each tournament or cash hand of poker. If one can make the right decisions at the table, and put their chips in over and over again as a statistical favorite, or get their opponents to make mistakes over and over again, then that player's profitability is just as inevitable as the house's edge in the other casino games. If you play good poker and your sample size is large enough to overcome variance, then you cannot help but be profitable. It's simply a mathematical certainty.

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Ever since I began playing poker one of my biggest weaknesses has been answering questions like "how do you know your going to have an income?" "Isnt poker pure luck?" I am having an argument and just having a hell of a time explaining why poker can be profitable. Does anybody have any good resources on this topic of explaining how poker is a skill game and how it separates from other forms of gambling.

Every time I get into this conversation with people that have no clue I tell them this:

Every other game in the casino is designed for the house to have a mathematical tiny edge. Therefore over an infinite number of games, the casino must make money. The only way to make money at these games is to have the improbable happen. Play a small sample size, and have chance on your side, then stop playing before your sample size becomes big enough for the house's edge to show it's inevitable result and you lose.

Poker does not have such a house edge. The house gets paid a small fee for each tournament or cash hand of poker. If one can make the right decisions at the table, and put their chips in over and over again as a statistical favorite, or get their opponents to make mistakes over and over again, then that player's profitability is just as inevitable as the house's edge in the other casino games. If you play good poker and your sample size is large enough to overcome variance, then you cannot help but be profitable. It's simply a mathematical certainty.

see i explain that part very well, but what stumps me how can I explain that MY system or strategy is and they just basically explain well you are gambling on the belief your strategy will work, and ask how long can you go without making money and still be playing optimal, how long will you play before you stop and realize you cant beat the game anymore and all of these types of questions.

My answer always seems to be ill go upto a year unprofitable and i would quit because at that point i would be fairly confident I am no longer a profitable player, but then that statement just reassures them that it is gambling. Not sure if im making sense with this statement.

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Ever since I began playing poker one of my biggest weaknesses has been answering questions like "how do you know your going to have an income?" "Isnt poker pure luck?" I am having an argument and just having a hell of a time explaining why poker can be profitable. Does anybody have any good resources on this topic of explaining how poker is a skill game and how it separates from other forms of gambling.

Every time I get into this conversation with people that have no clue I tell them this:

Every other game in the casino is designed for the house to have a mathematical tiny edge. Therefore over an infinite number of games, the casino must make money. The only way to make money at these games is to have the improbable happen. Play a small sample size, and have chance on your side, then stop playing before your sample size becomes big enough for the house's edge to show it's inevitable result and you lose.

Poker does not have such a house edge. The house gets paid a small fee for each tournament or cash hand of poker. If one can make the right decisions at the table, and put their chips in over and over again as a statistical favorite, or get their opponents to make mistakes over and over again, then that player's profitability is just as inevitable as the house's edge in the other casino games. If you play good poker and your sample size is large enough to overcome variance, then you cannot help but be profitable. It's simply a mathematical certainty.

this is usually what i do and it works pretty well

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Use the stock-market analogy, that's the biggest gamble on the planet but those guys are called "stock brokers", not stock-gamblers. Some people can see value in stocks where others don't. They are able to get in and out of stocks at the right times in order to make a profit or prevent a loss. In poker, the good players are able to get more value out of a winning hand and lose less money with a losing hand. That is what separates a winning player in poker from a losing player.

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Ever since I began playing poker one of my biggest weaknesses has been answering questions like "how do you know your going to have an income?" "Isnt poker pure luck?" I am having an argument and just having a hell of a time explaining why poker can be profitable. Does anybody have any good resources on this topic of explaining how poker is a skill game and how it separates from other forms of gambling.

Every time I get into this conversation with people that have no clue I tell them this:

Every other game in the casino is designed for the house to have a mathematical tiny edge. Therefore over an infinite number of games, the casino must make money. The only way to make money at these games is to have the improbable happen. Play a small sample size, and have chance on your side, then stop playing before your sample size becomes big enough for the house's edge to show it's inevitable result and you lose.

Poker does not have such a house edge. The house gets paid a small fee for each tournament or cash hand of poker. If one can make the right decisions at the table, and put their chips in over and over again as a statistical favorite, or get their opponents to make mistakes over and over again, then that player's profitability is just as inevitable as the house's edge in the other casino games. If you play good poker and your sample size is large enough to overcome variance, then you cannot help but be profitable. It's simply a mathematical certainty.

see i explain that part very well, but what stumps me how can I explain that MY system or strategy is and they just basically explain well you are gambling on the belief your strategy will work, and ask how long can you go without making money and still be playing optimal, how long will you play before you stop and realize you cant beat the game anymore and all of these types of questions.

My answer always seems to be ill go upto a year unprofitable and i would quit because at that point i would be fairly confident I am no longer a profitable player, but then that statement just reassures them that it is gambling. Not sure if im making sense with this statement.

I think you have to explain to them that it's not that you've developed some kind of magic strategy that seems to be working for now, but rather that you've studied how to be a winning player, and what you've learned aren't things that can stop working. Like chess, backgammon or any other game, there are things that winners do and don't do. At most levels of the game there are people that make the right decisions and people that don't. Now granted, as you go up in levels more and more players make more and more right decisions a higher percentage of the time and the games get tougher to beat, but if you play better, you have to win...in the long run. Really anyone can do it if they have the motivation to get themselves educated about the game.

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Every time I get into this conversation with people that have no clue I tell them this:

Every other game in the casino is designed for the house to have a mathematical tiny edge. Therefore over an infinite number of games, the casino must make money. The only way to make money at these games is to have the improbable happen. Play a small sample size, and have chance on your side, then stop playing before your sample size becomes big enough for the house's edge to show it's inevitable result and you lose.

Poker does not have such a house edge. The house gets paid a small fee for each tournament or cash hand of poker. If one can make the right decisions at the table, and put their chips in over and over again as a statistical favorite, or get their opponents to make mistakes over and over again, then that player's profitability is just as inevitable as the house's edge in the other casino games. If you play good poker and your sample size is large enough to overcome variance, then you cannot help but be profitable. It's simply a mathematical certainty.

^^^^ This and EXACTLY this is the only way to explain it. Your personal strategy can never come into play because then it becomes a matter of opinion. Stick to the facts and you shouldnt have a problem. All opinions are debatable yet the above statement is based in true facts.

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Ever since I began playing poker one of my biggest weaknesses has been answering questions like "how do you know your going to have an income?" "Isnt poker pure luck?" I am having an argument and just having a hell of a time explaining why poker can be profitable. Does anybody have any good resources on this topic of explaining how poker is a skill game and how it separates from other forms of gambling.

Every time I get into this conversation with people that have no clue I tell them this:

Every other game in the casino is designed for the house to have a mathematical tiny edge. Therefore over an infinite number of games, the casino must make money. The only way to make money at these games is to have the improbable happen. Play a small sample size, and have chance on your side, then stop playing before your sample size becomes big enough for the house's edge to show it's inevitable result and you lose.

Poker does not have such a house edge. The house gets paid a small fee for each tournament or cash hand of poker. If one can make the right decisions at the table, and put their chips in over and over again as a statistical favorite, or get their opponents to make mistakes over and over again, then that player's profitability is just as inevitable as the house's edge in the other casino games. If you play good poker and your sample size is large enough to overcome variance, then you cannot help but be profitable. It's simply a mathematical certainty.

see i explain that part very well, but what stumps me how can I explain that MY system or strategy is and they just basically explain well you are gambling on the belief your strategy will work, and ask how long can you go without making money and still be playing optimal, how long will you play before you stop and realize you cant beat the game anymore and all of these types of questions.

My answer always seems to be ill go upto a year unprofitable and i would quit because at that point i would be fairly confident I am no longer a profitable player, but then that statement just reassures them that it is gambling. Not sure if im making sense with this statement.

I think you have to explain to them that it's not that you've developed some kind of magic strategy that seems to be working for now, but rather that you've studied how to be a winning player, and what you've learned aren't things that can stop working. Like chess, backgammon or any other game, there are things that winners do and don't do. At most levels of the game there are people that make the right decisions and people that don't. Now granted, as you go up in levels more and more players make more and more right decisions a higher percentage of the time and the games get tougher to beat, but if you play better, you have to win...in the long run. Really anyone can do it if they have the motivation to get themselves educated about the game.

well put thanks neek...does anybody know of any resources or websites or articles that show studies on stuff like this? I just want as much evidence as possible im putting together a little research project i guess u can call it.

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There are very few people that you will ever need to explain yourself to and that is pretty much a wife to be. Anyone else, save your breath accept your differences and just let them be right because almost every one of these people are not looking for an actual answer. But if you feel compelled I just tell them that it is the exact same as the stock market and venture capitalism because you take calculated risks that have an expected value. Googles and apples stock does not rise every day and you can lose money on them, but willl you in the long run? Same thing as AA vs 22

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Use the stock-market analogy, that's the biggest gamble on the planet but those guys are called "stock brokers", not stock-gamblers. Some people can see value in stocks where others don't. They are able to get in and out of stocks at the right times in order to make a profit or prevent a loss. In poker, the good players are able to get more value out of a winning hand and lose less money with a losing hand. That is what separates a winning player in poker from a losing player.
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Similar question... What does a pro player list as his/her profession? Not for the average person, but when applying for house, car, credit card loans. How does one calculate their yearly income? I suppose you can just average but poker variance can run extremely long.

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I usually just quote Matthew Damonious. I'm down to put together some case-study time as well though =o.

The majority of the population seems to be accepting poker more than before...least in my experiences.

I recently went to a friend's church, and they were preaching about how gambling is bad...how it can become an addiction...etc...etc. I happened to be wearing my FTP hat as usual...and after it was over the pastor came up to me and said...

"Hey! You play poker? I guess we'll be seeing you on ESPN soon huh? Don't forget to give that 10%!"

Yes, I was quite confused as well.

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Tell them to think outside of the box and look at it as probabilities and statistics. It's all in the math.

If they don't understand that, pull out a deck of cards and each of you place a dollar in the pot every hand for 100 hands (small sample but should work). You get to give yourself KK everyhand and he/she gets 33 everyhand. Flip the community cards and see how it plays out.

I'm thinking he/she will get a basic understanding of statistics, probabilities and variance before the 100th hand.

PS: Enjoy the money.......

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There's plenty of luck and skill in poker, I mean to actually explain it to someone to the point where they understand it, is probably going to vary from person to person. When I told my Mother how much time I spend playing poker, of course I got the standard story of the uncle/cousin/generic-degenerate family member that always went busto and sine it happened to them it would inevitably happen to me.

Over the course of a few months maybe a year tops, my friends/family could easily notice how much time I put into playing/learning, after that they were very supportive. These are the people I really care about though, obv I get these questions whenever someone mentions to someone that I spend like 20 hours a week playing poker on the internet, but if it's some random that asks me this stuff I just say I've been really lucky to not lose my roll, and I just run hotter than other people.

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Fergwrx,

I know a quite elegant argument you might try on your anti-gambling friends and family. I think Annie Duke or Howard Lederer came up with it, in some article I read ages ago.

Poker is a game of skill because you can lose on purpose.

In games like roulette, bingo or the lottery this statement does not hold true - hence they require no skill.

.mbardsen

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When I tried talking to my mom and using funds to buy a car I said when you go into a casino, you are already a loser, no matter what game you play (unless you cheat, count cards etc). When you sit down at a poker table, besides rake, ur playing the player. If you are better than player B and you play him over and over, long term you make money. Plan B is to just pull out ur rolls of 100s, about 8 of em for 8k worth and be like I just shipped a 109 buy in and at the FT of FTOPS 1 where first is 200k...Any more questions?

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Poker can be compared to any succesful business when you put it in terms of Expected Value(EV).

"In life, situations have outcomes, and outcomes have values. Expected value is what you think (or calculate) a situation is worth on average before it eventually resolves itself." (pg.22 Harrington on Cash Games vol.1, Dan Harrington & Bill Robertie) They go on in that section to further compare it to house flipping/real estate. It's a good book, I suggest you check it out.

Also, http://gpsts.org/ is a great site to visit as a reference regarding poker as a game of skill.

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