This is a question that’s debated more so than not when it comes to betting. Is it luck or skill, or is it both? Let’s look at it this way, it’s impossible to be a successful bettor with just luck on your side, and there are plenty of successful bettors out there. But then again, there are plenty of games that are based on luck (like roulette) and surely luck plays a part in a team winning a game? When it comes to decision making, we often lean towards one side and if our choices come out on top, then we’ll put it down to skill, but if our choice fails us, then we’ll put it down as bad luck. There is a thin line between luck and skill, much like there is with gambling and investing.

Statistically, it’s all about skill

When it comes to betting, it’s all about making predictions, and predictions are all about piecing together difference factors of the event/teams/opponents or whatever. These factors will reflect ability and skill rather than good old luck. Let’s take horse racing for example, making a solid prediction at the race track is a drawn-out process and requires a lot of skill. There are many factors that could influence the performance of a particular horse, from past racing experience, jockey, trainer, track conditions and many more. To pick out the factors that really count and the aspects that will have an impact on the horse’s performance requires the collection of reliable information, observations on the races and plenty more. This takes time, dedication and skill. If you’re thinking about how many races the horse has run or the age before making a prediction then you’re using skilful knowledge before placing a bet. And if the horse wins then you have a straight up explanation of how you picked the winner.

If you predict the winner, then you’re predicting the future?

When it comes to sports betting, many punters have no idea what they are doing, they will bet for the fun of things, they don’t care if luck or skill comes into it. They will bet on their own team because they believe in their team. Many bettors will keep betting without much thought, no matter how many losing bets they have. Many bettors enjoy placing 12-fold accumulators on the football every week in the hope to win a few grand. Any accumulator that comes through is surely all luck? But what if someone studied all the different factors of each game, collating all the information and making an inform decision on each bet, that would be skill, right? It’s almost a choice between the way you place your bets.

There are professional bettors who spend a lot of time researching each game and each market, they see the sports bet as a financial investment and not as a hobby like many bettors do. A knowledgeable bettor will think in probabilistic terms for the individual outcomes, assessing what influences may impact the result of the event. There are those who play with skill and those who bet on luck.

Gamblers to get lucky, don’t they?

Luck is synonymous with gaming; the concept of luck has built the world of gambling to what it is today. Many punters who bet, will base their whole betting game around luck, listening to their gut instincts. Games of sheer luck are appealing to players for many reasons. There’s something about the thrill that the game of luck brings. Why do so many people player the lottery week in and week out despite the astronomical odds of scooping the jackpot? It’s because people believe in luck, luck can come knocking at anyone’s door. Why is roulette such a popular game in casinos? Why do people play slot games when they have no idea how to play them? It’s because of the excitement that comes with not knowing what could happen next. These games take the pressure off, bettors can lay their bets and just hope for the best, there’s no need to over think decisions like there is with games of skill. Playing games that are based on luck are arguably more fun to play than games that require a decent skill level.

Gambling is a game of chance…

The chance of winning a game set around luck is much lower than a game set around skill. If you can bring knowledge, experience and skill to your betting activity then you will improve your chances. The astute bettor will gather the collective stats and pay close attention to them to unearth an edge over the bookies before placing a wager. This is similar to poker players which think about all the ‘outs’ they have before making a decision on whether to call, raise or fold. Skilled gamblers know how to gather the information and interpret it while the less skilled or ‘lucky’ bettor will not bother with using much information to increase the bets potential. Luck will influence short term betting, if you have 5 successful straight bets come through, then you can put it down to an element of luck, despite the rigorous thinking behind each bet. So, luck or skill?