I really like this reply and I have had the same beliefs. However, I have since gone back on this a bit. Luck in poker is short term. Over the long term, luck disappears for strong players. Therefore, luck doesn't exist in poker. Consider that a casino's earnings on a given game graphed out will trend exactly to the house edge of that game. In this context, luck might be better described as variance. In short term winnings, variance is the ups and downs on your graph. Long term (zoomed out) the variance smooths out for a good player. One minor niggle on your example though... This is because they are celebrities. They get backed by sponsors and build a brand. With this backing they were able to play insane games which were good for performance. The shows on T.V. want to show the same faces or else they wouldn't rate as well. This doesn't necessarily mean they are the best at poker. However, the fact that they are well backed does mean they can spend more time playing poker and playing the best at these shows. A more common profile of someone getting rich playing poker back in the day would be someone playing steady and under the radar at home where they can play as many tables as they can handle online with a possibly 24/7 schedule. You don't get rich playing WSOP, that's just where you build your brand. Same for boxing. Is Mayweather the best? He had the best record partly because he was able to pick his fights. He was able to shape boxing with his brand recognition. People involved with the sport were incentivized to help Mayweather do all of this. He's still a d*mn good boxer though. And the same with music. Are the stars you see on T.V. the best? No, it's brand recognition. But these musicians do get very good by going on tour for years to support their albums. And now my disagreement. As mentioned, variance is a much better descriptor than luck. The only way you can smooth out your variance to see if you have an edge (positive expected value) is to get long term results based on your play. A rule of thumb for poker players is that you need to play 10,000 hands once you have changed your game to see what the effects are (this isn't even feasible in a casino because it's slower than online poker.) Life is FAR more complicated than poker. Even though poker is a complex game, it's still limited to a deck of cards and fixed number of permutations. Life is functionally unbounded. Variance in driving is such that you could be a bad driver (but good enough for basic operation of the vehicle) and never get in a wreck. As you get through life, you might think that you are a great driver, but really you were just lucky that one of your bad driving habits didn't end badly. And the risk is such that just one accident could cause your death. In contrast, poker is far more constrained. You can get lucky with one session, but in multiple sessions you will lose everything you put into the game for that session. Lack of skill won't take you far. You can get relatively low variance by investing in a scheme which tracks the S&P 500. You can get low variance in the results of your work with strong processes. But as you zoom out to a point which encompasses our whole lives, then the variance is such that luck is a major factor. First up, where were you born? Who were your parents? What mentors did you have when you grew up? Who was there to influence you? So, I agree with your last post, but only if you limit the scope.