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When New York federal judge Jack Weinstein ruled last week that poker is indeed a game of skill, he based the decision off defendant Lawrence DiCristina's 120-page report that included this striking chart showing the difference in earnings between the ten best and worst poker players in a study.

DiCristina took the chart from economist Randal Heeb, who studied 415 million hands of No Limit Texas Hold’em on website PokerStars in the course of a year. The y-axis represents cumulative earnings and the x-axis is time. 

As you can see, top winners keep winning, and top losers keep losing. Heeb concluded that though luck played a role, “[t]he fact that the winning players tend to win consistently and the losing players tend to lose consistently demonstrates that there is a skill differential between these groups.”

This and other charts convinced Judge Weinstein to rule that an electronics dealer was not violating a gambling law on the premise that poker is, in fact, more about skill.

Chart from (pdf) via flowingdata

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