Question: What is the correlation between lifetime profitability and luck? Can luck last for many thousands of hands? Have you noticed profitable players going all in with weak hands and winning?

My observations: I admit I have done limited research on this phenomenon, but it is very noticeable even within the small sample of 10 players I have studied.

We are on the bubble. Two players with similar stacks, A stack Bigger than B. The board is 3 5 10 rainbow B checks A bets half pot B goes all in A calls A has 10 J, B has 10 8 Next come two 8s. Unless you are going to defend B's play as optimal, he made a bad decision, though he doubled his stack.

But this is variance right? In the long run, players with good decisions will win and players with bad decision will lose, right?

Now comes the fun part. I have identified and studied many players who make all ins with weak hands and win. Guess what they are winners in the long run. Going all in with 33 or K7 suited and winning? Well, lifetime earnings over $250K. Going all in with AA and losing? Lifetime losses $50K.

But my research is focused on "lucky all in players". They draw my attention with a couple lucky all in wins. Then I follow their game. A pattern or lucky all in wins emerges. Then I check their lifetime earnings, they're making good money.

Somehow the guy who went all in with his 33s against 77s and his K7 suited against AK and won, is not a just someone who made a bad decision and got lucky. It is a highly profitable player. It seems in the long run, good luck pays better than a good decision.

Do me a favor. Next time you see a KJ win an all against QQ, go check the winner's lifetime earnings. He is probably a profitable player.

  • Do you think Phil Ivey and Tom Dwan are just lucky?
    – paparazzo
    Commented Jul 25, 2018 at 21:11
  • Sure, that's a decent way to believe things, but in that case poker is all luck and it's not any fun. I'd sure hate it if it turned out to actually be that way.
    – user45266
    Commented Nov 2, 2018 at 5:25

1 Answer 1


If these players are profitable long term then they must be doing something right, not only getting lucky.

Maybe those bluffs you saw induce a fold most the time, so the fold equity outways the money at risk when called.

Maybe their crazy loose appearance means that opponents pay off thier monster hands.

Also, how are you checking their lifetime earnings? I get the impression that a lot of people keep a record of all thier best wins, but forget thier losses.


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