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Games of Chance vs Games of Skill: Is There a Winner?

Round Head IconAugust 19, 2020 - CasinoBloke

It will not surprise you to hear not all casino games are equally luck-based. Yes, at the end of the day, luck plays a factor in all releases. That said, to what extent this is true is very important. Let us take blackjack for example. Employing the right strategy can give you an advantage there! That means following guidelines and counting cards gives blackjack an element of skill.

However, just because some games reward you for skilful play does not make them skill games. Debates have been raging over what constitutes as a game of chance and what does not for a while now. The distinction can mean the difference between being able to play a release or not! Join us as we look into what existing regulations have to say and which of these two casino games you should go for!

Making a Skilling

When we talk about skill, most of us consider it through the lens of the outside world. Nobody can deny that football is a game of skill. It all comes down to how good you and your team are, and if you can beat the opponent. For this reason, titles where your skill is the primary decider of the result are considered games of skill. Unfortunately, casino games do not fit into such neat classifications.

Online poker played against other players is the perfect example of this. Skill is undeniably a factor when facing off against opponents. You cannot get away with not knowing the rules or trying to guess your way through. Punters must know the rules. They must know how to play their hand and how to read other players. Bluffing is an integral part of poker, and is the reason why so many punters love it.

All the same, there will be times when a round is decided by nothing but luck. Put two equally talented players in front of one another, and they will learn each other’s tells. At that point, the results are being decided by who got luckier with their card draw. An element of chance is present in poker, and prevents it from being fully classified as a game of skill. It floats in a grey area, and the distinction is often made after a long shouting match between lawyers.

Give Luck a Chance

Many releases played in online casinos do not suffer from this problem. Take Dice Duel, which we covered in our lesser-known live dealer games article. There, the dealer throws two dice. One of the dice is red, and the other is blue. After rolling finishes, the die with the bigger value wins the round. Players bet which colour they think will have the bigger number at the end of the round.

There is no way to predict what the result of this release will be. How the dice land is completely random, making it a pure game of chance. No matter what strategy you attempt to employ, it can never chance the outcome. The result is impossible to predict or influence, making Dice Duel completely reliant on luck to win. You will find many online casino games fall into this category, too.

Just about any dice game is a chance-based game. Other notable examples include titles like Keno and Bingo, baccarat and roulette. No matter what roulette variant you choose, the result is always determined by the ball landing on a spinning wheel. This makes games of chance much easier to start playing and enjoy. However, it also makes sure these titles cannot use any excuse to circumvent a ban on games of chance.

Making a Distinction

Fortunately, we usually do not have to bother with the definitions of what makes a game of skill versus a game of chance. People who know how to speak legalese are the ones that have to deal with the definitions. Even then, the rules are not universal. What might be a game of chance in one country could be a game of skill in another. In fact, it can sometimes be different between different regions of the same country.

This makes things rather complicated to keep track of. Let us look at the United States as an example. Most US states use the “dominant factor” test to determine what aspect is more predominant in a game. Using this test, we put pure skill games on one end, and pure chance titles on another. We then compare the relevant game to other examples to come to a decision. It works in most cases, but it can be unclear in cases like online poker, where both are present.

Other US states look to the “material element” test instead. Here, if chance plays a material, but not a dominant factor, a release would still be considered a game of chance. Under this system, poker would not have a case for being a skill-based game. Then you have some states, like Arizona, that just do their own thing.

As you can see, there is no one rule fits all. The exact rulings can be different between parts of the same country, let alone other countries! That said, if gambling is banned in your country, we doubt this technicality will let you play in an online casino. Nearly all games there fall under games of chance. Which raises an important question: are skill games better than games of chance?

Which Road to Take?

It can seem like games of skill are the obvious choice here. After all, they only depend on your own talent as a player, right? However, no casino releases we can think of exist that do not have some elements of chance involved. Even with an extensive blackjack guide, there will be times you lose. No matter if you played everything right, a bad card draw can ruin you, and there is nothing you can do to stop it.

As a result, going for games of chance versus games of skill does not work for online casino titles. Anything you play with an operator has that element of chance that gives them a house edge. No online casino will ever host a game where the player can win every time, after all. That said, some releases are more skill-intensive than others are. These titles, that mix both strategy and chance, are your best bet.

Blackjack and poker are two standout candidates in this field. When played correctly, both can bring the house edge under one percent. Factor in a bit of luck and these games are fantastic for grinding wins. Really, their downside is the fact you cannot win huge sums of money. You can do that if you play poker against other players, but that requires a lot of skill to pull off.

For most players, bigger wins will usually come from other casino games. Evolution Gaming’s game show genre has exploited this desire for massive jackpots expertly! You can win some incredible sums in these games. However, you pay for the increased rewards with a house edge floating around 3% or 4%. Even higher if you opt into some side bets!

Either way, online casinos give us a large list of options to choose from. If you want our advice, your best bet is simply to experiment with several releases to see which ones appeal to you more. Do you enjoy the methodical conquest of a game through strategy or the thrill of a big win awarded by chance? The choice is yours to make.

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