Much like the fields of crypto zoology and psychic studies, poker is full of myths that have become inflated to the point where they’re accepted as fact by many people who aren’t familiar with the game, and by a shocking number that are. We’re going to do a blow-by-blow look at three of the most popular ones and explain why they are myths and not based on fact.
Poker Myth #1: Poker is a game of luck.
Mark Twain popularized the phrase “Lies, damn lies, and statistics,” and that’s how a lot of people look at poker. The myth that you have to be lucky to play poker and winners are somehow juking statistics in their favor is one of, if not the most, pervasive myths about the game. Even with the amount of education that is easily available for interested players, poker’s connection to luck is so strong that even Congress and courts around the nation have debated the game’s merit.
The truth of the matter is that poker is a game of skill that contains an element of luck to it. Even if you are lucky and get the best possible cards hand after hand, it is still possible for you to lose a game because of how others play. Meanwhile, a good poker player can take mediocre cards and maximize them while minimizing their losses elsewhere, something that can not be done by choice in a game such as Roulette or Craps. Poker is as much psychological as it is math and thus deserves to be treated as a game of skill.
Poker Myth #2: You can’t consistently win in poker.
Good poker players are ones that are able to use strategy and outthink and outplay their competition. This myth falls apart with any real examination and is directly tied in to the first myth about the game’s dependence on luck and actually connects to the third.
Poker Myth #3: Poker games are crooked.
While it is possible for you to run into a game that’s mismanaged or, worse yet, out-and-out aimed at pilfering your wallet if you play in circles where there’s little in the way of supervision, such as back-room games or, worse yet, private games in someone’s home, the vast majority of games out there are professionally run with an eye firmly placed on the concept of fairness. Casinos want to be known as a place where players can return to again and again for the best game possible.
Outside of the general desire to ensure that players have the best possible experience and refer their friends to their site, any online poker site worth its salt knows that players talk and as the recent past has shown, they are able to quickly analyze a situation and figure out if there’s anything amiss. The myth of crooked poker games can usually be traced to players who believe that the first two myths exist and have run afoul of a cold deck or the like.