Poker: luck or skill?

Poker belongs to the billion dollar market of the gambling industry. Online poker in particular has a worldwide turnover of three billion US dollars. This is a staggering figure. Experts expect even further growth in this global market. A consequence we have to thank the digital age for.

Even if the poker pros of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) are role models for some poker fans, the subject of poker in Germany is not without controversy. The obvious question: is poker a game of skill or a game of chance? What really prevails in the game of poker? The skill or the chance? Can it be measured at all? The German penal code has already found an answer to this question. Afterwards poker play for money is forbidden in Germany in principle, if neither publicly nor habitually is played. This is standardized in paragraphs 284 and 285 of the German Criminal Code (StGB).

Poker luck | Photo: quinonesnaomy,, Pixabay License

Skill or chance: What prevails in poker?

For a game of chance to be defined as such, the following characteristics must be present:

  • for the acquisition of a winning chance a payment is required
  • the profit is completely or predominantly dependent on the coincidence

The result of a poker game must depend on chance to a degree of more than 50 percent for it to be considered a game of chance. In the case of poker, this is difficult to measure. It cannot be denied, however, that skill also plays a role in poker. Investigations on this were already made and also published. However, no exact determination could be made. Scientific institutions and universities are happy to deal with this topic. A scientific investigation of the University of Hamburg dealt for example with the attempt to determine the coincidence over the play repetition, and to attach over it the critical repetition frequency a value. The result: poker tends to be more of a game of skill under certain conditions.

Does online poker also fall under the legal prohibition of the penal code?

In Germany, participation in an online poker game is possible in principle. For professional gamblers, however, it is true that they have to pay taxes for it.

Poker belongs in the political landscape to the controversial games. Although the law prohibits poker play under certain conditions, there is legal uncertainty. Despite the clear legal punishment regulations this sounds at first contradictory. This is due to the lack of measurability of the game.

While the law puts the emphasis on chance and the remunerativeness, the question of the influence of gambling on the social environment remains unconsidered. Perhaps this is also intended by the legislator. Finally not every gambling can be classified immediately as socially harmful. A definition of gambling that attempts to cover socially harmful games cannot exist across the board. In this respect, there will probably be a certain degree of legal uncertainty for some time to come.


Who likes to play online poker, the way there is not denied in any case. On the Internet there are numerous portals for the game online. Because more people now use cell phones than computers, apps for playing poker on the go are also quick and easy to install. There is no need to worry about breaking the law in this context. Who would like to experience however the flair at a correct Pokertisch live, the way stands to the Casino freely.