An IIT-Delhi study has affirmed that Poker and Rummy are games of skill. The study “Online Poker and Rummy- Game of Skill or Chance?” reinforces the importance of cognitive and other skills required for success in the two games.

The study was recently conducted by IIT Delhi cadence chair professor of artificial intelligence and automation Tapan K. Gandhi, along with his team. It analysed the impact of experience and learnable skills in the game and the role it plays in the player’s long-term success in it.  

Gandhi believes that their study will debunk the yesteryear myth of the games being driven by luck and highlight the skill required in order to be successful. “Amidst ongoing conversations around online gaming and biased perception terming it as a taboo owing to preconceived notions, the exhaustive study examines the gameplay of various players to understand if the game in reality focuses on skill or element of luck prevails. Throughout our research, we were presented with compelling cases that made it clear that these sports indeed require a level of innate understanding that  aided in building the cognitive abilities of the players. Not just limiting the skill aspect to the sport, we also noticed that the player’s softer skills like that of understanding social cues, taking decisions under high pressure situations, memory retention amongst others advancing throughout the time they were playing consistently.”

IIM Kozhikode strategic management associate professor Deepak Dhayanithy, who was instrumental in publishing an earlier report verifying Poker as game of skill, shared his views on the research, “In the realm of online card games like Poker and Rummy, the analysis leaves no room for doubt: skill, not chance, is the driving force behind long-term success. The non-linear trends in skill variables and winning percentages defy randomness, pointing unmistakably to players’ expertise and patience. Both online and offline, skill reigns supreme, reducing variability like in other sports such as Cricket, Golf, etc, as players rise to the challenge. The research establishes that skill prevails, enriching our comprehension of cognitive prowess in the gaming arena.”

The IIT study provides a quantitative analysis using mathematical tools to determine whether long-term success in online Poker and Rummy can be attributed to skill. The data was analysed covering a larger set of user data who had played between 30 to 100 games in two-player, three-player and six-player formats. The findings indicated that in both the games, skill variables improve as users play more games. Furthermore, the measured correlation between users’ win rates was 0.904, indicating a positive relationship and emphasising the persistence of skill in the game. This highlights the significance of skill over mere chance in shaping outcomes over consecutive period of time. The consistency in win rates highlights the fact that mastering the game’s nuances and strategies can significantly enhance one’s performance. Such a strong correlation suggests that players who invest time and effort in understanding the game’s intricacies have better chances of maintaining a higher win rate.

The study concluded that: 1. there is no difference in online and offline versions of Rummy and Poker from the perspective of requirement of skills and 2. In both the games, there is preponderance of skills over chance to succeed.