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Poker tournaments are 90% luck, 10% skill

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You often hear players debate how much luck vs skill is involved in winning a poker tournament. I often hear 80% skill, 20% luck. But what does the math say?

In a 2048 player tournament, if you just shoved allin every hand, you would have to win 11 double ups in a row to win the tournament.

Now if you had AA every time you did this, you would expect to be an 80%-20% favorite over a likely calling hand such as KK.

As an 80% favorite, the chances to win 11 double ups in a row is only 8.59%. Thus even being skillfull enough to get your money allin as an 80-20 favorite everytime, you will still lose the tournament 91.41% of the time. One could then argue that tournamnets are 91% luck and 8% skill to win them. Granted, your ROI would still be 4000% (40x the buyin) if you played this well.

The luck factor will vary based on tournament size. Below is the luck factor in winning different size tournaments. Note that only in an 8 handed or fewer event does skill play a bigger role:

Field Size Luck Factor

16384 95.6%

8192 94.5%

4096 93.13%

2048 91.41%

1024 89.26%

512 86.58%

256 83.22%

128 79.02%

64 73.78%

32 67.23%

16 59.04%

8 48.8%

4 36%

2 20%

Too often tournament winners delude themselves by thinking how great they played, often forgetting the many 2,3,8 outers they spiked along the way to their victory. May the coin flips be with you. Good skill, er luck. Omaha_Burke

Edited by OMAHA_BURKE

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Wow, I show the math proving tournaments are mostly luck, and people still have their heads in the sand because they don't want to believe it.

I got he same response when I showed how it was mathematically correct to fold AKs vs two opponents who had AKo and JJ.

AKs only had 21% equity in that spot and was only getting 2.53-1 to call. The required equity to break even was 28%. So a fold was clearly correct.

Look no futher than last years main event Champ Joe Cada.

At the final table Joe won with

44 vs A8

J4 vs 45s

33 vs JJ

22 vs QQ

Ak vs 88

99 vs QJs

The chances of winning all those hands was only 1 in 346. And that was just at the final table!!! Imagine all the suckouts he had prior to that.

And yet he wears the title and people think it is because he is the most skillfull. LOL

Edited by OMAHA_BURKE

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PIsom23   

And yet he wears the title and people think it is because he is the most skillfull. LOL

Lol what? I doubt anyone thinks Joe Cada is the most skillful tournament player on the planet.

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