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Games of Skill vs Games of Chance: How They Compare?

While many may effectively conclude the meaning of the terms without first knowing of them, games of skill and games of chance have taken on a much more complex meaning to many. The laws surrounding games of skill vs. games of chance can be complicated, mainly due to what defines participating in a game as gambling or not. This obviously presents a much more complicated dilemma as to whether certain games should be available to those under the age of 18 and whether certain regions decide to ban them entirely or not. The argument isn't the definitions of these terms but rather what categories specific games fall into. So, scroll down to learn the differences between games of chance and skill.

Games of Skill vs Games of Chance - Main Differences

Before we dive deeper into any of these concepts, let's shortly analyze their main differences.

  • Games of chance or games of luck are random, and players cannot impact the outcome.
  • Games of skill require better skills for better results.
  • Traditionally, casino games are games of luck, while video games are games of skill.
  • Casino games – even card games – are predominantly games of luck, even in situations where skill may slightly help players in the long run.
  • Anyone can play games of luck.
  • It takes time to learn and master games of skill.

Games of Chance

Games of chance are a formal term for casino games, including slots and table games like Blackjack and Roulette. Lotteries are also considered chance games, which is a catch-all term for games that prominently feature a random element that money is generally staked on. All of these are perfect examples of a game of chance.

Games like this have existed for thousands of years, with some remaining relatively unchanged for hundreds of years. Being synonymous with gambling means that many chance games were popularized in casinos and other such establishments, and new innovations are continually being made in an industry worth hundreds of billions of dollars. You can play these casino games on your mobile phone, laptop, or PC. The device won't change the fact that all the outcomes are 100% random, and you can't do anything to impact the final result.

Basically, games of chance are games where the player cannot impact the outcome. No matter what the player does, the final result won't be affected in any way. Games of chance or games of luck don't involve strategies or require any skill. Typically, they're as simple as randomly choosing several numbers or pulling the slot lever.

What Is The Difference Between Games Of Skill And Games Of Chance?

Skill Casino Games

Skill-based casino games are more defined as a competitive activity that draws upon experience, game sense, and an intimate understanding of the rules to win. So, there's no one answer on how to win at skill games.

For instance, in blackjack, anybody can be lucky enough to be dealt an Ace and a Jack. However, if you prefer skill-based gambling, there are several strategies you can implement to increase your chances of a positive result. If you want to play blackjack more efficiently and find the best blackjack sites, you can check out our blackjack online guide.

A large aspect of casino games of skill for money is understanding you're competing against the casino, not the other players. This can, however, blur the lines, as games like poker have often been argued back and forth as to whether they should fall under skill-based card games or games of chance. More on that below.

However, it's also important to understand that the actual skill games are video games. Where the player strategizes and uses their experience and knowledge to have better results. Gambling games like blackjack, even though slightly affected by smart moves, are still in their essence games of luck. Even if you do card counting and know all the smartest decisions, you can't affect the drawn cards. That, by default, makes casino games – card and table games included – games that are heavily based on luck.

Daily Fantasy Sports and Poker

Daily Fantasy Sports and Poker deserve their own special mention, as they have often been hotly contested between being games of skill vs. games of chance. Prior to 2018, the majority of US states did not have regulated sports betting markets, especially so for online markets. This led some clever people to Daily Fantasy Sports sites and services that were marketed as being online skill games for money.

This skill was argued as being born out of a need to know fixtures and statistics to make the best picks. Many argued, however, that the element of skill was so minimal and comparative to typical casino games. In blackjack, for instance, a skilled and experienced player may win more than a novice, but the odds will always be stacked against them. Wherever Daily Fantasy Sports truly belonged, it worked and reigned supreme for a long time, while traditional sports betting remained restricted in most of the US.

Now, if you're wondering, "is poker a game of skill?" the answer would be a positive one. All poker variants are considered skill-based casino games, and the reason behind this is simple. Players are playing against each other and must use their ability to read other players and calculate the likelihood of certain card combinations. But once again, the cards that appear are random, and that's where the "chance" part lies. So, yes, knowledge will help you perform better on poker in the long run, but it won't make you a sure winner.

Betting strategies can also be applied to force other players out or bring yourself back up from a losing streak. The element of chance comes from the draw of the cards, but it is generally understood that veteran players can still make consistent wins even with a bad hand.

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Nerijus Grenda
Nerijus Grenda
Last Update: 13 Mar 2023
Nerijus Grenda is a prolific contributor to the GoodLuckMate site. With a deep understanding of the online casino industry, gained from his own experience as an avid player, he offers valuable insights on what sets the best casinos apart from the rest. As a writer, Nerijus shares his expertise through expert analysis and thoughtful commentary on various topics related to online gambling, including casino reviews, game guides and industry trends.

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