Games of Chance And Games Of Skill – The Technical Difference

There are many types of games available at casinos, and elsewhere, and each have their own particular allure and entertainment value to gamblers.

While, basically, each and every game involves “some” level of skill and know-how in regard to playing, and winning, only some utilise actual skill in regard to, in particular, how the outcome is affected.

There are therefore two main categories, which are commonly known as – games of chance, and games of skill.

Games Of Chance

Games of chance are basically what epitomise what most people think of as “gambling”, and they generally make up the large bulk of gambling games.

Technically, a game of chance is a game that has a completely random outcome, that is determined by “chance”, at every turn, no matter what. They are further designed so that no amount of skill employed in utilising the device that generates the randomness, will, or should, affect the outcome. Gamblers must therefore rely purely on knowledge of odds and probability, or simply on “luck”, in order to win.

The most common devices that generate random outcomes for games include:

  • Dice
  • Spinning wheels and tops
  • Playing cards
  • Numbered balls drawn from containers
  • Random Number Generators (RNGs) – used in electronic and digital games

And the most common types of games of chance are:

  • Craps
  • Roulette
  • Baccarat
  • Hi Low
  • Slots
  • Video Poker
  • Bingo
  • Lottery

Games of Skill

A game of skill is one where the outcome is, or can be, influenced, or determined, by the mental and physical skill of the player.

The most common example of games of skill are:

  • Poker
  • Blackjack
  • Sports betting

Note: Though sports betting is not a casino game, it is nevertheless a form of gambling, and considered to be skill-based in terms of the players knowledge of the sport.

Examples of how skill can affect the outcome in these games are:

Psychological Tactics – In poker, bluffing, taunting, and confusing opponents during play can affect the outcome in one’s favour.

Deductive Reasoning – Through careful attention, skill, and knowledge, players can gain the upper hand by potentially deducing the outcome, or a range therein.

The Grey Area

As mentioned, games of chance, depending on their type, do often have some level of skill involved. Furthermore, games of skill can be modified or regulated to effectively become games of chance, and vice versa.

Many would say baccarat, for instance, requires great skill, and there certain types of slots games that incorporates mini-games, such as Space Invaders, which technically make them skill-based to a degree.

Another way of looking at it is to say that gambling games range from the most skill-based to the least skill-based, with poker and blackjack on top, baccarat somewhere in the middle, and say, lottery, at the end.

Chance, however, remains at the core of all gambling games. Otherwise, it would no longer be considered gambling at all.