Roulette is a game of pure chance; no strategy can give players advantages, the outcome is determined by randomness.

A game of chance is in contrast with a game of skill. It is a game whose outcome is strongly influenced by some randomizing device. Common devices used include dice, spinning tops, playing cards, roulette wheels, numbered balls, or in the case of digital games random number generators. A game of chance may be played as gambling if players wager money or anything of monetary value.

Alternatively, a game of skill is one in which the outcome is determined mainly by mental or physical skill, rather than chance.[1]

While a game of chance may have some skill element to it, chance generally plays a greater role in determining its outcome. A game of skill may also may have elements of chance, but skill plays a greater role in determining its outcome.

Gambling is known in nearly all human societies, even though many have passed laws restricting it. Early people used the knucklebones of sheep as dice. Some people develop a psychological addiction to gambling and will risk food and shelter to continue.


Some games that involve an element of luck may also require a certain level of skill. This is particularly evident when players need to make decisions based on prior knowledge or incomplete information, as seen in games like blackjack. In contrast, games such as roulette and punto banco (baccarat) rely more on chance, with players having the choice to determine their bet amount and selection, leaving the outcome largely to luck. Consequently, these games are categorized as games of chance, although a minimal skill component is still involved.[2]

The distinction between 'chance' and 'skill' is relevant because in some countries, chance games are illegal or at least regulated, but skill games are not.[3][4] Since there is no standardized definition, poker, for example, has been ruled a game of chance in Germany and, by at least one New York state Federal judge, a game of skill there.[5]


Main article: Problem gambling

People who engage in games of chance and gambling can develop a strong dependence on them.[6] This is called psychopathology (addiction) of "pathological gambling". According to psychoanalyst Edmund Bergler, there are six characteristics of pathological gamblers:[7][8]

  1. They must play regularly: the issue here is to know when the subject performs "too much".
  2. The game takes precedence over all other interests.
  3. There is optimism in the player that is not initiated by repeated experiences of failure.
  4. The player never stops until they win.
  5. Despite the precautions that they originally promised, they end up taking too many risks.
  6. There is in them a subjective experience of "thrill" (a shivering sensation, excitement, tension, both painful and pleasant) during the phases of play.

See also


  1. ^ Dervishi, Kay (2019-06-18). "Other games of chance and skill on Albany's agenda". CSNY. Archived from the original on 2021-05-18. Retrieved 2018-06-25.
  2. ^ "Baccarat Strategy Guide". Archived from the original on 2012-11-19. Retrieved 2013-03-06.
  3. ^ McManus, James (2012-08-24). "Poker, an American Pastime and a Game of Skill". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2018-06-26. Retrieved 2018-06-25.
  4. ^ Drape, Joe (2016-08-04). "Win for DraftKings and FanDuel Opens Door for Sports Betting in New York". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2018-06-26. Retrieved 2018-06-25.
  5. ^ Secret, Mosi (2012-08-21). "Poker, a Game of Skill, Is Not Truly Gambling, a Judge Rules". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2018-06-26. Retrieved 2018-06-25.
  6. ^ "Gambling and chance". SetThings. 24 November 2014. Archived from the original on 9 February 2021. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  7. ^ "Player Psychology". todayspsychology (in Italian). 2021-08-31. Retrieved 2024-01-24.
  8. ^ Edmund Bergler. "The Psychology of Gambling (1957)". Archived from the original on 2015-11-23. Retrieved 2017-07-06.