Let's Not Kid Ourselves: For Most People, Poker is All About Gambling, Just Like Slots or Blackjack!

2 months ago
Let's Not Kid Ourselves: For Most People, Poker is All About Gambling, Just Like Slots or Blackjack!
01 Dec

Poker is and has been an immensely popular card game to grace both online and land-based casinos. Many people put their skills to the test with this exciting card game, offering an “edge” to those who can demonstrate the required skills successfully. Many people watch professionals who earn a living playing poker and believe with a little practice and the right strategy; they can replicate the same level of profits. However, the truth is far from this.

This post takes a deeper look into the game of poker and how profitable it can be, if at all. Return to player comparisons, poker strategies, and the dangers that come with this game will all be covered, giving you a more realistic understanding of the game of poker.

The Dangers Of Playing Poker

Just like any form of gambling, playing poker for money has a list of potential dangers that can affect the participant. Whether that be feelings of regret, spending less time with your loved ones, spending your savings, or more serious mental health issues - they are dangers we all want to avoid.

While these dangers can be experienced with all forms of gambling, they are amplified within the game of poker. Unlike other typical games found at online casino platforms and bingo sites, poker has a more significant focus on skill rather than luck, but this does not go without saying that luck is also part of the equation.

Learning the necessary skills and strategies required to play poker can help improve your “edge,” therefore improving your win rate, which put simply, is how professionals improve their game. However, many people underestimate the time and money that goes into becoming a successful professional poker player, and in reality, very few people earn enough to call it a “living.”

A certain study showed that just 30% of players taken within the sample ended the game profitable after the rake. In addition, while the biggest winner collected a $7,480 prize, a much larger sum of $15,151 awaited the loser.

The added winning potential that poker offers, above other card and casino games, is what makes it even more dangerous. Believing that a sustainable profit can be made by playing poker is one factor leading to the huge 40% of poker players demonstrating moderate to severe gambling problems, as shown in a study conducted by the Australian Gambling Research Centre.

Can The Average Poker Player Be Profitable?

The truth is, there is always the potential of being profitable playing poker as an average player. However, the chances of this are minimal, especially the longer the duration you attempt to remain profitable for. Winning one game of poker is completely possible, but winning day in and day out is a different story.

Since there is a lot of skill involved when playing poker, you will quickly notice when you are at a table where the other players are more skilled and experienced than you. At a professional level, it is common for poker players to use various software and mathematical models to enhance their game and exploit other players.

Independent Chip Model (ICM)

The Independent Chip Model (ICM) is a mathematical model used in poker to calculate a player’s overall equity in a specific tournament they are competing in. By understanding the value of the chips on the board at different stages of a tournament, players can work out essential aspects, such as how much they can expect to win, how much they can afford to wager, and their overall situation in the tournament.

The calculations involved in the ICM are far from simple, and the average poker player has little chance of doing them correctly. This model alone shows the difference in skillsets between a professional poker player and the average player.

Return To Player (RTP) Comparisons

Every game you find available at a casino will have a Return To Player (RTP) figure or percentage. Casinos use these figures to describe the percentage of players’ money spent that will be awarded back to the player when the game pays out in an ideal world. Games that demonstrate high RTP %s are likely to pay out more often than those with a lower figure.

RTP percentages are a good way of gauging the winning possibility that a casino game offers. Still, it is important to remember that these figures can change from one casino to another, even for the exact same game.

As you can see, the Texas Hold’em poker game offers a high RTP percentage, which is only beaten marginally by blackjack. However, when playing poker, you are not playing against the house like you are in roulette, blackjack, or baccarat. Instead, you are competing against whomever else is on the table. Of course, poker games are available that eliminate the need to play against real-life players, which is when the RTP percentages come into effect.

Casino Game

Return To Player (%)

Poker - Texas Hold’em



99.5% - 99.8%


97.3% - 98.7%



Online Slots

70% - 99%

The Truth About Poker

If you were to ask the average poker player if they have ever calculated their opponent's hand ranges or used the ICM model or even poker software to enhance their game. Then, chances are, they wouldn’t have any idea what you were on about. A huge amount of work goes on in the professional world of poker, and the average player has little knowledge of this.

While information is available to help understand where you place on the poker hierarchy, hundreds of average poker players would benefit from this if it could be found on poker platforms. Poker is an exhilarating game to play for all players, but not understanding the level of your skills could lead to a multitude of monetary losses.

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Writer and semi-retired poker pro from Edinburgh (UK).Read more


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