Days after cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar faced a backlash for promoting online gaming. a study by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) - Delhi concluded that Poker and Rummy are games of skill.
Even as the nation is engaged in a debate over the pros and cons of online gaming, Tapan K. Gandhi, Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering, Cadence Chair Professor of AI and Automation, IIT Delhi, and his team conducted a study titled ‘Online Poker and Rummy- Game of Skill or Chance?’ They concluded that cognitive and other skills are required for success in Poker and Rummy. The findings of the study were published on arXiv, a curated research-sharing platform.
Prof. Gandhi said that the study debunks the myth of the games being driven by luck, and highlights the skill required in order to be successful.
‘More you play, better your skills and lesser are variables’
The data for analysis was a set of users who have played a minimum of 30 games and a maximum of 100 games on 2-player, 3-players, and 6-player table.
“We found that both in Poker and Rummy, the skill variables improve as the users play more games. This is a precursor that the mean of the winning rate as the user plays more and more games is not zero, which implies that long-term success cannot be considered a random phenomenon,” according to the study. This observation lends weight to the argument that the outcomes are not purely products of random chance, but rather are influenced by the players’ skills and expertise.
The study found that the performance of a player, as they play a greater number of games, becomes consistent and the variability gets reduced.
“From the studies undertaken, we conclude that there is no difference in online and offline versions of Rummy and Poker from the perspective of requirement of skills, and in online versions of Rummy and Poker, there is preponderance of skills over chance to succeed,” the study concluded.
‘Improvement in soft skills visible’
Prof. Gandhi said, “Amidst ongoing conversations around online gaming and biased perception terming it as a taboo owing to preconceived notions, the exhaustive study examines the game play 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,” he said.