Luck Vs. Skill

By Davida Mintz, Jan 12, 2014 

You just made your straight to take four out of five rows and win the game. Next round, you see your opponent is likely to complete a flush, so you surprise him with a full house and win again. Final round…all-in and you take your opponent for the last of his chips. You’re on a lucky streak, and it feels like you just can’t lose.

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Logically, you know luck alone is not enough to win at Five-O Poker. You may get the best cards in the deck, but you’ll lose if you don’t know the correct way to play them. The skill comes from analyzing the board and constantly deciding the optimal way to position your cards. Matthew Hilger wrote in his book on Texas Hold’ em odds and probabilities, “One of the most common mistakes made by many players is assuming they will win when a particular card improves their hand.”  An example would be if one of your hands in Five-O Poker contains four clubs.  You may make your flush, only to find your opponent completed a higher flush, or an even stronger hand. What does this mean?  Get good at recognizing at all times what hands your opponent may hold or be drawing to that beat you.


A specific skill set is required to stay one-step ahead of your opponent and improve your odds of winning. These skills include:

Five-O Skills


– Speed

-The ability to make quick decisions under pressure

-The ability to keep track of your own hands as well as your opponent’s

-Strategic thinking


-Learn how to read your opponents

-Learn to see things from your opponent’s point of view

-Study some basic poker math.  Do a little reading on poker odds and probabilities through books like I mentioned above, or watch some videos.
-Fight against tilt.  Be mentally prepared to suffer some seemingly shocking disappointments.

Bad Beats

You know those games when you’re at a heightened state of awareness and everything is clicking. You’re playing brilliantly, but you just can’t catch a break. Bad beats are out your control. Having a healthy chip stack takes some of the sting out of losing. Even so, a streak of bad luck when you’re playing your best feels like a betrayal. I lose hands I should have won every day in online poker. I also win hands I should have lost every day. The same is true for Five-O Poker. Just remember, luck can change at any time.

Poker Debate

The skill vs luck debate in poker has become increasingly popular as Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey now have legal online poker. Countless scientific studies have researched the skill vs luck factor, and the overwhelming conclusion…poker is a game of skill. Still, there’s no denying that luck plays a significant role. In the short term, say a week or a month or two, poker pros aren’t surprised when a rookie takes their money. They know in the end, skill determines who wins and who loses. In one of his infamous outbursts while losing a game, poker pro Phil Hellmuth went so far as to say, “I guess if there we’re no luck, I’d win every one.”

Want to get Lucky?

Five-O Poker seems to have a nice balance of luck and skill. The game is a never-ending learning process with countless new skills to develop. Still, luck gives everyone the chance to win. Were it a game of 100 percent skill, only the best of the best would have a reason to play. Luck is a part of success. Embrace it.

click here to download Five-O for your smartphone

9 thoughts on “Luck Vs. Skill

  1. This is a very interesting post. One comment on FIVE-O POKKER as played on Facebook (I mentioned this once before), there should be limits on which games a player may be an opponet. For example, I was playing in a 2,500 game at the Classic Table and had been winning a few hands and suddenly my new opponet was a player with over 1.300,000 chips. What is he doing in that level of competition? There should be some limits made, based on your total chip count, on what tables you can play at. For example, there are 3 tables: CLASSIC, PRO and V.I.P.. Within each table there are various levels you can play at based on how many chips you have. That same principle should be applied to which of the 3 tables you can play in. After you chip level reaches a certain amount, you have to up from CLASSIC to PRO, and vise-a-versa, when it falls below a certin level you have to go back from PRO to CLASSIC. I think this would be more fair. Another idea is to create a bank account for players into which the player can deposit his chips and then draw out an amount he wishes to play with, and then go to the table that is approriate for the amount of chips he is using. These are just a few suggestions I feel would improve the enjoyment of this great game, Thanks for the opportunity to give some input to the game.

    On Sun, Jan 12, 2014 at 7:41 AM, Five-O Poker

  2. Patience is part of skill. Maybe it’s the essence of skill. I know when I’m on a win streak, but I never bet more than I’m willing to lose. I only know when I have a sure thing if I’ve patiently studying the table and fellow competitors. I know when I’m on a losing streak also, and how to remain patient. I lose big more often when I get impatient than I do by an intelligent bluff.

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