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RESEARCH INTO SKILL VS. CHANCE POKER DEBATE CONTINUES

The Poker Players Alliance has cautioned against complacency in the important skill vs. chance debate on poker - a critical element in working toward the legalisation of poker as a game of skill rather than chance, therefore placing it beyond the reach of anti-gambling laws.
 
The caution comes in the wake of favourable results from courts in Pennsylvania, Colorado and South Carolina that have all ruled this year that poker is a game of skill.
 
Nevertheless, practical research and findings based on fact remain important for the game, and this week ABC News discussed recent findings in an article at http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=7270357&page=1.

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Darse Billings, a former poker pro who co-founded the Computer Poker Research Group at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada has no doubts that it is skill and not chance that predominates in the game. "I depended solely on that skill for my food and rent," he told ABC News.
 
The aticle covers previous research efforts aimed at quantifying the relationship between skill and chance by building theoretical models or playing software bots against each other.
 
Ingo Fiedler and Jan-Philipp Rock at the University of Hamburg's Institute of Law and Economics in Germany argue that these methods fail to reflect real games, and this may explain why some courts and lawmakers have yet to be swayed by them.
 
Over three months, the pair recorded the outcomes of 55 000 online players playing millions of hands of poker's most popular variant, "no-limit Texas hold 'em", choosing two factors to define the threshold between skill and chance.
 
Firstly, they measured how much each player's winnings and losses fluctuated: the higher this variance, the greater the role of chance. Secondly, they measured the average value of a player's winnings or losses: highly skilled or terrible players would do noticeably better or worse than would be expected by chance alone.
 
Based on these factors, they found that the threshold at which the effects of skill start to dominate over chance is typically about 1 000 hands, equivalent to about 33 hours of playing in person or 13 hours online, where the rate of play is faster.
 
They suggest that their results show that skill dominates, because most players easily play this many hands in a lifetime, and poker is therefore more a game of skill.
 
Sean McCulloch, a computer scientist at Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, has a different opinion, claiming that the results may fail to sway a judge or jury.
 
"If you want to use a mathematical argument as the basis for legislation or court decisions, it has to be easy to explain, easy to follow and intuitive," he says.
 
McCulloch used an alternative method to explore skill and chance in poker, also based on real games.
 
Together with Paco Hope of the software consultancy Cigital of Washington DC, he looked at 103 million hands of Texas hold 'em played at the PokerStars online site and calculated how many were won as the result of a "showdown" - in which players win thanks to their cards beating their opponents' cards - versus those that were won because all the other players folded.
 
They argue that the latter hands must be pure skill, because no one shows their cards. Their analysis, released on 27 March 2009, revealed that 76 percent of games did not end in a showdown, suggesting that skill is the dominant factor.
 
John Pappas of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) in Washington DC says both studies are badly needed to help properly define the law. In many US states, judges and juries use a so-called "predominance test" to gauge skill and chance, based on the opinions of expert witnesses.
 
Although courts in Pennsylvania, Colorado and South Carolina have all ruled this year that poker is a game of skill, not all courts do. "It would not be wise for any of us to rest on our laurels," Pappas says. The PPA expects the Cigital study will now be used as evidence to fight court cases.



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NHL Odds: Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Washington Capitals on Tuesday - Auston Matthews and the Toronto Maple Leafs touch down in DC this Tuesday (7 PM ET on TSN) as one of the hottest teams in the NHL. They've tallied a ridiculous 26 goals through only five games played; that's more than five goals scored per game on average. They'll be up against an equally potent Washington Capitals team.

Pro League Reveals Sportradar Contract Details - The partnership between the PLC and Sportradar aims to provide a high-quality level of service to all Arabian Gulf League stakeholders in addition to making verified official data about players performances available to coaching and scouting staff and supplying match information to media outlets.

NFL Odds: Steelers Visit Undefeated Chiefs #TNF - The Kansas City Chiefs (5-0 SU and ATS) have been flawless as an NFL pick thus far. Their chances of remaining undefeated in Week 6 look good; after opening at –4.5, Kansas City is a 5-point home chalk for Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2 SU, 2-3 ATS), beginning at 4:25 PM ET on CBS.

Mega Moolah strikes again - The jackpot was hit on a mobile device on Sunday 1 October 2017 by a UK player on Betway, this time awarding a £1,448,116.31 pay day.

2 New Slots For Microgaming Casinos - David Reynolds, Games Publisher at Microgaming, comments: “On top of our branded title game Halloween, we’re delivering two more slots this October, each bringing exciting features and a different theme.

MLS Odds: Red Bulls vs. Whitecaps - The New York Red Bulls (12W, 12L, 7T) haven’t won a match since August 15, but they’re –165 favorites this Saturday against the visiting Vancouver Whitecaps (15W, 10L, 6T), beginning at 5 PM ET. Vancouver is a +475 underdog with the draw priced at +285.

Velka Pardubicka On RacingUK - Felix de Giles flies the British flag in Sunday’s Velka Pardubicka

Mega Moolah Jackpot Hits on 9/27/2017 - Another millionaire made on Microgaming’s Mega Moolah; 5th largest Microgaming payout

Simon Jones is crowned the Greatest Poker Player in the Universe - A €10,000 leaderboard tracked player progress throughout the series to determine who the Greatest Poker Player in the Universe was. Professional poker player/sports psychology lecturer, Simon Jones, took the crown with a €5,000 cash bonus and trophy to prove it.

MLB Odds: Yankees Favored in AL Wild Card Game - After a strong regular season, the New York Yankees (91-71, –1.00 betting units) opened as –235 home favourites for Tuesday’s AL Wild Card Game against the Minnesota Twins (85-77, +11.48 units). First pitch is at 8 PM ET on ESPN.

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