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Casino Tycoon Sheldon Adelson: 'Poker Is Gambling'

Billionaire Asked About State Gambling Laws And DFS


Billionaire casino boss Sheldon Adelson, who has long tried to get the federal government to ban online poker out of moralism, took another swipe at the card game in a recent interview with Yahoo Finance.

The 83-year-old said “poker is gambling” and challenged the widely-held notion that it is predominantly a game of skill. He said that skill does play a role, but he apparently sees that as negligible.

“They say poker is a game of skill,” Adelson said. “I don’t know how skill can apply to somebody shuffling a deck of cards and randomly giving them out to you. You don’t have any control over it. Can somebody bluff and can somebody place bets better than somebody else? Yes. But that doesn’t make poker a game of skill.”

Many will disagree with what Adelson said, as the quality of cards dealt breaks even over a large enough sample size. Poker is a game to be looked at in the long-run, not just a single session. If you look at hands one by one, it can be easy to see poker as fundamentally a game of luck.

Adelson gave those comments after being asked a question about daily fantasy sports contests and state gambling laws. Adelson also believes DFS is gambling.

Gambling law in many states encompasses both poker and DFS, so technically poker is gambling under the law, though some have tried to reclassify it in order to circumvent state gambling statutes. An effort like that was recently unsuccessful in Nebraska. A successful effort in Maryland to remove criminal penalties for hosting a home game involved distancing poker from gambling by framing it as social gaming. The law stipulated the game must be among players who “share a preexisting social relationship.”

Meanwhile, the classification of poker as gambling has led to poker game raids this year in states such as Arizona, South Carolina and Kansas.

Back in 2012, a federal court, reportedly for the first time ever, took a look at whether poker is a game of skill. The answer was a resounding “yes,” as testimony included the fact that someone can make a living from poker, unlike other casino games. An analysis of 415 million online poker hands concluded that, depending on the skill of the player, after even just a few poker sessions, skill can “predominate over the element of chance.”

Ironically, a major DFS operator earlier this year echoed Adelson by saying that poker is not a game of skill. The FanDuel executive said in an interview: “There is a lot of academic research on this, what’s the skill versus luck kind of spectrum. The reality is within poker, every time you shuffle the deck, it creates an element of luck that trumps it basically to being much more a chance-dominated game than a skill-dominated game.” FanDuel CFO Matt King added that DFS “is truly a game of skill.”



5 years ago

this is the jackass who is blocking online poker in the usa write a poker story about that
i hope sheldon gets a heart attack and turns into basket case the fat greedy pig


5 years ago

The only people playing online poker are those cheating, and those too stupid to realize they are being cheated.


5 years ago


A good business man doesn't mean his a good player..
if what his saying is true, then we should have a lot of new names in the final poker tables... but no, we get almost same old names on the last table.

How can you call that luck?

why do you think people get poker coach, join course and even get training softwares?

why do people use HUD if its just luck...

lets just cool off and play online.. forget about this and just run your HUD and play in a poker site you want.
Lets just earn some greenies ..

or just run ace poker drills to go back to the basics..

lets just do something else then read something like this which will only make us tilt..


5 years ago

Let's stay in school and learn to write a legible response.


5 years ago

Adelson is a real beast. Pure capitalist at heart. He will use any advantage available to march his agenda forward. He is probably a great poker player, ironically.

But if he had never played poker and was taught the rules and given one hour to practice, then entered any poker game with more experienced players, would he fare as well as they would simply because of 'the shuffle'? is a ridiculous notion. He would be eaten alive over and over again.

Perhaps we should redefine poker as a game of experience instead of a game of skill?


5 years ago

good news is he will die soon.


5 years ago

In the long term, a skilled poker player will win eventually. However, if looking at the short term for several games, the luck factor was involved and sometime it is a critical element to win few games. That was it called "gambling".
Everyone will have lucks, but a skillful poker player will eventually maximize his luck, skill and experience to come out as a big winner.


5 years ago

Yes, he is correct, poker is gambling. Before a card is dealt a player could not guarantee winning a hand. However, skill is involved as well though, however, there is less skill involved I believe in online poker. With live poker you can see your opponents and read your opponents better. So I would conclude that online poker is pretty much the same as slot machines...a few people have said in the long run online poker players will win as short term variance is not a factor. However, I think the constant rake of circa 5% will eventually suck up most winning players profit. Also this idea of a professional poker player is total nonsense, as if a player goes bust he cannot afford to play, then in effect he is not a professional poker player. Poker players are people who can afford a buy in and are gambling. I hope everyone boycotts pokerstars also, they are just milking the poker community dry.


almost 5 years ago

You are wrong on every point. There is more measurable skill in online poker because you can play much more volume and play many different variants. Comparing something that has so many different decisions contributing to the expected value to a fixed odds slot machine is retarded. Most online poker with rake back has much less of a take then 5%, and a consistent good player has no problem having a consistent profit every year. Not to mention all that gets saved without parking, gas, tips to dealers, and other expenses incurred at brick and mortar places. I played over 10,000 2 player heads up tournaments every year, and always won 55% of my matches, and made 6 figures every year for 7 years in a row. You have no clue what you're talking about. There are many professional poker players, the concept is no different then people who trade commodities or invest, or run a business. And I've done all of those. You spend money in a quest for a return of more and you need to make sure you don't allow your spending or debt to ever compromise the ability to earn (meaning go broke or not be able to pay things to keep you playing, pay payroll,stay open, trading, or licensed). And to address your final point, PokerStars created a whole industry, and gave millions of players the opportunity to enjoy great games with highest return to their players and lots of fun for many, life changing scores for some, and a livlihood for the dedicated. PokerStars (before the Amaya takeover) was one of the finest companies I ever did business with, and I've done business with thousands. The ones who are bleeding people dry are the Zionist usury agents like Adelson and his minions who spend their billions to influence congressman to keep his monopolies and kill personal freedoms and deny consumers their best value.