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.
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:
-The ability to make quick decisions under pressure
-The ability to keep track of your own hands as well as your opponent’s
-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.
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.
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.