Shamus's blog post today points to this blog post by "J.F." at The Economist. It's a worthwhile read, and a generally good riposte to the absurdly shallow and thoughtless discussion of luck versus skill in poker that was found in the New York Times piece to which J.F. is responding.
Finally, consider losing rather than winning. Can you deliberately lose a hand of poker if you tried? Of course: bet badly, fold with winning cards, and so on. Can you deliberately lose a game of baccarat or roulette? No: to play you have to bet on an outcome that might happen, regardless of what you do.This is just wrong. I don't even know how baccarat works, so I won't talk about that. But I do understand roulette. You absolutely can deliberately lose at roulette. Just bet the same amount on every one of the 38 spots (36 numbers plus 0 and 00). The ball will land on one of those slots, and you'll be paid 35:1 there. Suppose you bet $1 on each number. You will have spent $38 on every spin of the wheel, but win $35 back. If that doesn't constitute deliberately losing, I don't know what would. That thought experiment is, all by itself, sufficient to destroy the argument that any game at which you can deliberately lose is necessarily a game of skill.
Offhand, the only games I can think of in which luck plays no part at all are chess and go.Also not true. In chess, the decision about who gets the white pieces--and therefore gets the advantage of moving first--is made by chance.