Freakonomics Professor says Poker is game of Skill

Written on  5/12/11 By staff writer Anthony Aperman :

Working paper based on information from 2010 World Series of Poker
Professor Steven Levitt, a University of Chicago economics professor and author of bestseller Freakonomics along with fellow Professor Thomas Miles have published a working paper entitled "The Role of Skill Versus Luck in Poker: Evidence from the World Series of Poker".
Analysing information from the 2010 World Series of Poker in which 57 tournaments attracted 32000 participants with combined prize money amounting to $185 million, the duo deduced that there is significant evidence that poker is indeed a game of skill.
Information gleaned from the tournament concluded that players who were assumed to be skilled, earned 30 percent on their investment, compared to all other players, who lost 15 percent. In monetary terms, and excluding the highly-skilled "Main Event," high skill players earned an average of $350 per tournament, while other players lost $400 on average.
Levitt and Miles say that the world's top poker players are blessed with similar levels of skill as Major League Baseball players and that "state courts that have ruled on whether poker is a game of skill-versus-luck generally have done so in the absence of any statistical evidence".
The paper can be read at