Skill, not Luck, Wins at Duplicate Poker
Gaming fans have always found Poker attractive because it combines the luck of the cards with the skills of assessing odds, betting and bluffing, so a player is more in charge of their own fate than, say, a roulette fan. However, the element of random chance in the shuffling of the cards gets Poker firmly classified as a gambling game, which can be problematic in many jurisdictions.
Duplicate Poker removes this problem at a stroke; the player must still deal with the vagaries of the cards, but they aren’t really playing against the table or the dealer. Instead, they are competing against other players in corresponding seats at identical tables, being dealt identical cards. So the object is to play each deal as well as possible, and do better with the same cards than the opposing players.
Solving a Knotty Legal Problem
Duplicate Poker was inspired by Duplicate Bridge, which is perhaps recognised as the card format requiring the most skill from players. Because it works on the same principles, Duplicate Poker is classed as a game of skill. As such, it can be played in many countries where games of chance for money are banned, but games of skill are legal.
In the United States, for example, legislation around online gambling at casinos has recently been tightened up, and many Poker variants were among the casualties. However, because Duplicate Poker undeniably relies on ability over luck, players in many US states still have legal access to it.
How Can Poker be a Skills Game?
Duplicate Poker can only be played with certain Poker variants, such as Texas Hold’em or Omaha. In these games, all cards drawn once the betting starts are communal, so even if a player at one table folds, it does not affect the placement of future cards with the respective players. This is important, because Duplicate Poker only remains a game of skill as long as two or more players can occupy corresponding seats at separate tables being dealt the exact same sequence of cards.
Creating duplicate decks that are nevertheless randomly shuffled is much easier in online casinos, where random number generators do all the work. The players place blinds and bets as usual, receiving the normal number of face up and face down cards in the same sequence, and betting proceeds through the designated number of rounds for whichever version of the game is in play.
The object, for the player, is not necessarily to beat the entire table, but to fold the losers cheaply and bet well on the big winners. Winning the table is a great bonus that indicates excellent play, but ending a tournament with higher winnings overall than one’s opponents at the identical tables is the real object of Duplicate Poker.
Improving Players’ Poker Brains
At its heart, good Poker play requires a sound knowledge of odds and psychology. Knowing when to fold bad hands because an improvement from the community cards is unlikely is just one aspect; knowing when other players are trying to build a pot for a big win, or are just bluffing in the hope of over-awing the competition, is just as important. By letting players compete with exactly the same cards at each table, so that a player can lose chips overall but still end up beating other players in the corresponding seats, Duplicate Poker helps players practise both skill sets at the same time.