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“How much skill is involved in making money playing online Poker, Rummy, or Fantasy Sports?”
This question might have never crossed the minds of people who have already made their perception towards these games as a means of gambling. But the truth is that what people perceive is based on their intent.
Let’s take an example of the four main categories of players who have seen an advertisement saying that some random guy won millions playing on the XYZ platform, and their approach towards the game.
The Recreational Player
They would say, ‘I know the sport, I can figure it out, at least I’ll be better than the average Joes.’ This is the expected thought process of a recreational player. Recreational players tend to have irregular activity spells on the platform. It would be fair to call them seasonal users, specifically for Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS). What such a person may do to evolve towards a better winning rate is to consume relevant content to improve on the sport, such as Poker or DFS.
The Aspirational Player
Buying hope in small tickets consistently is a normal pattern for an aspirational player. These players select the toughest battlefield with the highest risk, followed by the highest reward possible. Glory hunting is a heavy-weight attribute while massive winnings are what ensures the loyalty of this clan. My recommendation for this clan would be to fragment and play smaller fields, break down your play and learn, simply reducing your stakes will help you get better at the game for a better ROI and opportunity cost. For example, play two tables of 25/50 instead of one table of 50/100 at the poker felts, or participate in smaller contests/tournaments in the DFS category.
The Free Rollers
The free rollers have a zero-deposit scheme. They are attracted by your typical ‘play and win for free’ strategy and many platforms offer free rolls for periodical engagement of such players. The free rollers often evolve to other categories, some take a long time, some do it almost immediately, while some evolve into the top category in a very short period.
The Skilled Regulars or ‘Regs’
These are the real winners, hardcore fans of the genre, if you will. They are here to stay and to win bigger than yesterday. They are dedicated to excelling and getting better at the game. Constant education about the subject, evolving their bankroll management skills, and most importantly, playing with responsibility are some of the key attributes of regs. The most profitable category of users, this crew is never going to retire and rarely may slip into the recreational/aspirational category.
One may evolve to any category in patches of a gaming career, one may be recreational at one sport and a skilled reg at the other. For example, one can be aspirational at DFS and a skilled reg at Poker. Even within one sport, one may play as a recreational user on one platform and as a successful skilled regular on the other.
As a gamer myself, personally, I want the people who have it in them to improve their gaming skills daily; just like a sportsperson would learn and execute the game theory, while also exploiting experience-based studies. Many countries have already established educational institutions for e-sports. Several top B-schools include Poker as a module of the syllabus, and I hope that expands to our country too. We are inherently good at math, and we must leverage this advantage professionally in the gaming space and evolve consistently.
Professional gaming has a very bright future for least the next half decade, as most players are playing at the amateur level. Anyone educating themselves on Game Theory Optimization (GTO) will have a heavy edge as opposed to the rest of the field. This is very visible in poker at the top of the pyramid and will likewise be visible in other fields. Globally in countries such as Canada, America, Russia and China one can choose to educate themselves specifically for particular types of games, such as e-sports like Dota, or skill games such as poker. One can win if one is ready to improve, evolve and learn.
- The article was originally published in Career Ahead July 2021 issue.