Pub quiz on poker

Let’s start off with a little poll.  Please play along.

I’m going to stick my neck on the line here and suggest the pub quiz box is likely to be the clear winner.

Needless to say, always the contrarian, poker gets my vote. If you read my last post on this you’d already know that I consider poker to be a game of skill and therefore not really gambling. 

The biggest common denominator in all but one of the above options is that your investment (or stake) relies wholly on the performance of other people.  Except of course, poker.  Does this fact alone not distinguish poker from other forms gambling?  The way I see it, for poker to qualify as gambling you’d need to be betting on the outcome of a poker tournament – not actually taking part in one.

When you play poker for money you invest in your own ability.  It is your experience, knowledge and ability that will determine how well you do.  As I pointed out in my earlier piece on this, 75% of all poker hands win without any cards being shown.  By definition this means that 75% of the time what makes you a winner is not what cards you have been dealt, but how you play them.

I went to a quiz night at my daughter’s school a few weeks ago.  I remember one question in the music round was to identify the nationality of the mighty rock band Midnight Oil.  I knew the answer because I saw them perform live in a pub in Sydney during my gap year in 1979.  No one else on the team had a clue, so I guess we were lucky right?

Does that mean a pub quiz is a game of chance or a game of skill?  It’s a game of skill of course.  The winning team will usually be the most knowledgeable.  Just watch an episode of Eggheads if you doubt my wisdom on this.  Sure, occasionally skill, experience, and knowledge will be overcome by a bit of good fortune.  But generally speaking, in a pub quiz the strongest team will prevail.

Likewise with poker, the stronger players will generally progress further in tournaments than the weaker ones.  That’s why the same faces appear so regularly on main event final tables.

So what is the fundamental difference between a pub quiz and a game of poker?  And why is one classed as gambling and the other not?

Buggered if I know…

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