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Casino Gambling - Better than Poker?

New Rand CasinoAlthough it is clear that casino games come with negative EV and it is (at least theoretically) possible in poker to play with positive Expected Value, the debate whether poker or casino is the “better” way to spend your fun-money, rages on.

Given the absolutely senseless nature of the debate, it is amazing how many articles and blog posts are still written on the subject.

People of various affiliations argue in favor of one or the other, their arguments often bordering on the ridiculous.

I’ve recently read an article by someone who plays at some of the Best Asian Casinos and is fiercely protective of casino gambling, which mocked the arrogance of poker players who belittle their blackjack and roulette playing peers for “wasting” their money on a negative EV game. The author went on to bash poker players, stating that these guys obviously didn’t realize only about 10% of all poker players ever got to play with EV+.

While that data may be correct, the conclusions drawn by the article were absolutely haywire. The author drew the bottom line at the fact that casino gambling was better than poker due to the fact that the EV+ all poker players boast about, is much scarcer than one would think, and the poker rake bites into winnings too, therefore most poker players are nothing but amateurs who consider themselves good at poker, while in fact they suck at it.  

Sure, I’ll have to agree with most of the facts presented in the above statement. Indeed, most poker players are long term losers and the fact that once you start reading a poker forum all you see there is “uber successful” players posting and dissing their peers, is hugely misleading. There are far more losers in poker than there are winners, and nothing proves the skill based nature of the game better.

My question is: how does that prove that casino gambling is better than poker? If I have a 10% chance to play with EV+ in poker, giving that up (and getting 0% at casino games) leaves me where? Mathematically speaking, this is an aberration. At the poker table, one is given a fair chance to improve and to eventually make it to the 10% who play with EV+. That is by no means a testimony to poker’s inferiority, nor is it one proving its superiority.  

Most casino gamblers know that they play against adverse odds and they know that’s the way the game is played. The argument according to which casino gamblers know they’ll lose and thus they treat their game as a pastime for which they’re prepared to pay (whereas poker players don’t) won’t hold any water either. There are countless recreational poker players and casino players as well. Not everyone at the poker table is out to get rich.

The bottom line is, if you like poker, then poker is the best for you. If you like roulette, blackjack or slots, then casino gaming is the best for you. Don’t listen to anyone telling you what you should like. Stay real and enjoy yourself responsibly. Both poker and casino gambling are dangerous if abused, and both of them are perfectly safe and fun if you know your odds and you play like a responsible adult.

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Casino Gambling vs Poker