The Four Types of Luck and How They Operate in Poker

min read
A poker player reveals a royal flush.
BetMGM Oct 28, 2022, 7:10 AM

If you’ve ever watched or played casino games, you’ve probably wondered: is poker about luck or skill? Whether you prefer to play in-person or online poker, both are big elements within the game. The important thing to remember is that the two can work cohesively – a player’s skill allows them to maximize their luck. Having a run of good luck throughout a game is great, but if you don’t know how to play accordingly, you’re restricting yourself from maximizing your luck effectively.

We discuss the four types of luck and how they operate in poker.

Skill vs luck

Both skill and luck are great to have on your side, but it’s hard to increase your stack if you have high-level skills and no luck during a game. The same applies to a beginner who has a series of strong hands but doesn’t know what to do with them. A good player knows how to play a hand whether it’s strong or weak – there are strategies for both scenarios.

Playing online poker for real money can be long and tedious, so you will experience good and bad moments throughout. The key is knowing how to increase your odds no matter the situation. For example, a player with a weak hand can bluff to scare off opponents who are holding a stronger hand. An individual with a strong hand wants to keep as many players involved to increase the pot. This can be achieved in several ways, such as slow playing or letting the opponents do the betting for you.

When a player makes use of both skill and luck, they’re going to be a problem around the table. Thanks to Dr. James H. Austin’s 1978 book titled Chase, Chance, and Creativity: The Lucky Art of Novelty, we are able to dive deep into the four types of luck – an important aspect of poker theory. Let’s look at what they are and how to make the most of them.

1. Luck in preparation

From sports and casino games to university and work, preparation is fundamental to success. Without it, people can crumble in the face of adversity. With it, you’re well-equipped to counter situations with the correct strategies.

There are a lot of external and internal factors to prepare for in poker. Players can expect many different scenarios, from a string of weak hands and losing to a player on a flush to winning the first few rounds and then plateauing for hours. Preparation is a way to keep focused during crucial parts and make the right calls at the right time. For beginners, the more you play, the better your preparation will become.

2. Blind luck

Out of the four types of luck, blind luck is the most common. Sometimes novice players experience blind luck without knowing it, such as not noticing they’re holding a straight. It’s important to constantly monitor your and the dealer’s cards, identify potential hands and know what the strongest hand available is. Blind luck can come in the form of a four-of-a-kind, straight flush or another winning hand – you definitely don’t want to miss it if it happens to you.

3. Luck unique to you

At a certain stage of your gambling “career,” you’ll start being able to create your own luck. Players start to notice your skill and make out-of-character bets to beat you as you get better and become more respected in the community.

Your reputation is the standard against which other players decide their game tactics. If you’re a beginner and unheard of, players won’t be scared to give you a run for your money and play aggressively. However, they will think twice about doing so against an expert.

Be sure to carry yourself professionally when playing offline or online poker. With persistence and skill, luck can come your way. The more skills you have, the more exposed you are to good fortune around the table.

4. Luck from motion

Luck from motion is the most available of the four types of luck. It comes from constant action in the form of persistence and hustle, creating momentum. When a player has momentum, they’re tough to stop. We see this in live sports all the time. Once a team receives the ball, gains a couple of chances at a goal and scores, opponents find it increasingly hard to regain control of the game.

This can be achieved in poker, too. For example, the more games you enter, the more hands you play and the more experience you gain. The more you play, the more you expose yourself to luck. From here, you grasp new strategies, learn from opponents and mold these into your game.

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Actress Vanessa Hudgens flipping casino chips next to the text "The King of Casinos"
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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.