Games of Chance vs. Skill Games: Learn the Difference

games of chance

11 minutes

Last Updated: August 6, 2022


There are two distinct categories when it comes to casino gambling. First is the ‘Game of Chance,’ which requires good old-fashioned luck. The second is called the ‘Game of Skill,’ which requires talent and knowledge.

Although both these game types have many differences, even when it comes to legally defining them, sometimes there is a crossover between skill and luck-based games. 

For instance, poker is a game of skill, but if you get unlucky, knowledge won’t help you win a particular hand.

Similarly, online slots are games of pure luck because the reels decide whether you’re going to win or not. But slight know-how can sometimes help you win online slots more often.

This article will discuss these casino game types with examples to explain key differences between games of skill and luck.

By the end of this post, you can draw a clear line between these two game types and pick your favorite one. So, without further ado, let’s get started.  

What Is Game of Skill?

As the name suggests, games of skill require a basic understanding of gameplay and expertise to win.

The overall success depends on the player’s awareness of rules and how effectively everything is planned, analyzed, and strategized throughout the game.

At the same time, you can master the game of skill with regular learning and constant practice.

The skill-based games mainly test the physical and mental level of the player’s expertise rather than the favor of Lady Luck.

You win these games based on your experience and knowledge as a player.

One of these games’ key benefits is exploring your capabilities and understanding your playing limits. You don’t need to be an expert before you sit down to play, though.

Games of Skill Examples

Texas Hold’em Poker is probably the best form of example for the skill-based game in the iGaming industry.

The players duke it out in this game while playing against each other instead of the house. 

Rummy is also another popular game of skill because there are many ways to play and win this game. Some popular variants include canasta, gin rummy, pinochle, and 21-card rummy.

games of chance vs skill

No matter which variant you play, the main objective is to create melds called runs and sets.

Spades also fall in the category of skill-based games where you need the ability to estimate how many tricks will help you win correctly.

Each game turn is called a trick, and you must lay down the card with the highest value of the matching suit. 

What Is a Game of Chance?

The chance games have nothing to do with the overall skills and expertise of the players. Instead, external factors like luck or chance mainly govern the game.

As a result, you don’t have any control in predicting the game’s final outcome.

That being said, if luck is on your side, you can win big. This doesn’t happen all that often, though.

The games of chance have been developed for a very long time. Hence, they offer a wide variety and exposure compared to skilled games.

You will be surprised to learn that animal bones were used back in 3600 BC to play games of chance.

Also, the six-sided dice date back to 2500 BC. Interestingly, dice are still used today and constitute a fundamental part of gambling.

Games of Chance Example

Roulette is by far the most popular and quintessential game of chance. It is one of those games with a minimum house edge.

American Roulette offers a house edge of 5.26%, while European Roulette offers a 2.7% house edge. 

Poker is another popular games of chance example for people who don’t like pure gambling.

This is a game of skill with a slight element of chance, but not the other way around. Professional poker players might win tournament after tournament just because they have refined their skills and have a proper strategy.

Blackjack is another popular game of chance where you can use your expertise and skills to improve the winning chances.

games of chance examples

Here, the house edge is around 1%. Still, some professional players can reduce the house edge to 0.5% by devising unique strategies. 

Craps is also chance based game because you’re wagering money on the dice roll. But what makes this game interesting is the number of side bets you can place.

For example, you don’t need to bet on 7 or 11; you can wager against the shooter and improve the odds of winning.

Some Games are a Mix of Skill & Chance

Most casino games have a tiny element of chance. All popular games worldwide appear to be luck-based on the surface. But as a player, you must devise proper strategies to succeed.

Poker is one such game that is both skill-based and chance-based. Other games like bridge and backgammon are also a mix of skill and chance.

In this category of skill and chance mixed together, you must hone your overall playing skills to improve the odds of winning.

For instance, try to read other person’s minds, devise specific strategies, and understand game rules to help improve the winning outcome.

Even in skill-based games, game mechanics, including random elements, can add overall value to the game. These mechanics include:

  • Ensure gameplay is competitive and balanced for players with varying skill levels
  • Help the game designer to delay or prevent players from mastering the game
  • Improve decision-making and help create dramatic moments in the game

9 Key Differences Between Game of Skill vs. Chance

The majority of casino games have elements of skill and chance in specific proportions.

Mentioned below are some key characteristics that set a game of skill different from a game of chance. 

1. Opportunities and Strategies

Skilled-based games like FreeCell allow players to execute specific strategies with practice to excel over time.

With every game, you learn and can devise an execution plan to play better. In addition, playing the skilled-based game gives you a clear idea of what’s working for you and against you. 

With your experience, you can execute the game better and improve the chances of winning.

On the other hand, games of chance focus on luck instead of skills. As a player, you might not be able to use certain strategies and expertise to improve your performance.

2. Goals and Progress

Skill-based games often have clear objectives, and you can make noticeable progress by chalking out a plan.

So, whether you win or lose at the end of the game, you gain experience and knowledge that can be used for the upcoming games.

In contrast, there’s no such thing with the game of chance. Even if you continue playing, you won’t make any progress with overall skills or mastery of the game. 

3. Scope Level

When you regularly play the game of skills, you’re honing your expertise and improving the win rates. As a result, you can improve your performance and progress level consistently.

On the other hand, chance-based games don’t have long-term improvement because the outcome isn’t tied to the player. 

There’s hardly any consistency level because you never know whether you will win or lose.

This can be discouraging because we humans crave to get impressed by visible results and progress, which is, unfortunately, lacking in the game of chance. 

4. Complete Control

Skill-based games aren’t random. They’re consistent, and outside factors don’t influence the game outcome.

Instead, these games are played skillfully, and the player’s ability to master the game is the deciding factor in determining the winning outcome.

how to win games of chance

On the contrary, games of chance are entirely random. Every single gameplay can have millions of outcomes. No two games can be identical.

Here, luck and chance determine the game results. If you’re someone who wants to have control over the outcome, you will find games of skill far more satisfying.

5. Winning Outcome

The outcome of casino games based on chance depends on robust computer programming called Random Number Generator or RNG.

It generates several million random results at a given time and is not influenced by external factors. Simply put, your skill level often can’t help you win this game. 

On the other hand, in skill-based games like blackjack and poker, your loss or win solely depends on how well you have played the game and applied the basic skills and strategies.

If you’re a newbie, you might initially lose money while playing games of skill because it takes time to develop your expertise. 

6. Opponent

Skill-based games are generally played with a group of people (minimum of two), whereas in the game of chance, you play against the house.

For instance, in poker, you can use your skills to bet against your fellow players. 

On the flip side, while playing bingo or roulette, there aren’t any opponents, and you’re playing against the house. If you win, the house pays; if you lose, your money goes to the house.

7. Uniformity and Consistency

The games of chance have rules that are uniform and rigid. No matter how many times you play, the procedure is the same, and results are more or less consistent based on rules.

It might sound monotonous and boring to some players. 

With skill-based games, you have numerous possibilities of exciting pathways from start to finish.

It is up to the player to decide which path the game will take and determine the winning outcome. 

8. Degree of Activity

In comparison to the game of skill, chance-based games are passive. For example, while playing roulette, you don’t have to rack your brain while placing the bet.

Once you place your wager and the ball is set in motion, you just have to wait to see if you’ve won or lost. 

can you win games of chance

If you win, you’re rewarded; if you lose, the money goes to the house. Unlike Texas Hold’em Poker, there is no need to think and put your senses to practice.

In this game, you must be proactive and think twice before making an action. Also, you have to speculate what’s going on in your opponent’s mind.

9. Excitement Level

Your mental well-being decides whether you have a craving for a game of chance or you will enjoy the game of chance more.

It is so because these casino games offer different excitement levels and adrenaline rush to the body. 

Suppose you experience joy in exploring the unknown and don’t want to overthink while playing. In that case, you will undoubtedly enjoy a game of chance.

It’s because you feel the excitement level in anticipating a completely unexpected outcome.

You might also be one of those players who like to plan, strategize and implement to direct the flow of the game to bring results.

In that case, you will certainly enjoy games of skill because you’re contemplating beforehand while playing.

How Casinos Make Money with Game of Chance?

By now, you have a fair understanding of the game of chance and know how it works.

But you might be confused about how casinos make money from the game of chance. 

Take the example of flipping a coin where you can bet on either heads or tails. So, you have a 50-50 chance of either winning or losing.

But this would never be the game that casinos would offer the players. 

Why is it so? Casinos only offer those games where winning chances are always in their favor.

So, if the coin landed heads 60% of the time and you could only bet on the tails, then the casino would offer this game to you.

This is how games of chance are set up at land-based and online casinos. The casinos do a splendid job at moving away the house edge without making the players realize it.

They aren’t trying to appear deceitful. Casinos only offer games of chance where the house edge is in their favor most of the time.

So, to answer the question above, casinos earn money by offering games of chance that have a long-term statistical edge.

If you play the game repeatedly, casinos will have the house edge and make a lot of money.

In short, casinos have a mathematically proven way of making money off players you can’t exploit or beat without cheating. 

Final Thoughts

Both games of chance and skill have their share of perks and drawbacks. These games can sound boring to some people, while others can derive greater joy while playing.

So, we recommend you try each game type and find out which sounds appealing to you.

Nowadays, games of skill are becoming hugely popular with every passing day.

For many, these games are not just a way to pass time but also a source of income.

As a result, you can find many professional gamblers putting their expertise and experience to the test to win big.

No matter which game you choose – skill-based or luck-based- you must play responsibly and control your bankroll.

You should never forget that casino games are just a fun and enjoyable way to escape life’s stress and anxieties.

Have fun and safe gaming!


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