The news and politics of poker

  1. 2009-01-19 04:21:30

    Major Win for Poker Players in Pennsylvania

    A Pennsylvania judge has ruled that poker, specifically Texas Hold'em, is a game of skill. This is great news! One of the reasons that poker is much more regulated than, say, Bridge, is that lawmakers think that poker is a game of luck, not skill. They must think that anything involving cards is based on luck. This isn't casino war here, people! Fortunately, a judge agrees:

    In a ruling handed down by Pennsylvania Judge Thomas A. James Jr. in Columbia County on Friday, it was ruled that Texas Hold?em is a game of skill and therefore not gambling under state law. The ruling sets an ???excellent bar? for future poker litigation, according to Poker Players Alliance (PPA) Executive Director John Pappas.

    The basic question, according to Judge James??? ruling, is whether poker is dominated by chance or skill. He commented ?Simply, if chance predominates, Texas Hold?em is gambling. If skill predominates, it is not gambling.? In Pennsylvania, video poker machines are not allowed because their outcomes are primarily due to chance, not skill. In the case of Texas Hold?em, however, Judge James explained that extensive literature exists that describes winning strategies to play the game. He even cited Mike Caro?s ???Secrets of Winning Poker? by saying, ?the money flows from the bad players to the strong players.?

    Go read the whole thing - the case revolved around something familiar to many on this site - a home poker game staked out and busted by the police. The good news is not only that the defendants were acquitted--as a result of this, it will now be harder for people running honest home games to be convicted.

    I wish I knew enough about law to speculate on whether this decision will have national implications.

    Posted by Ethan at 2009-01-19 04:21:30

Comments on “Major Win for Poker Players in Pennsylvania”

    • avatar for Jason M
    • i like it :) thanks for the info, yo.

    • anonymous
    • That judge should be on the supreme court!

    • avatar for Tony Gags
    • Yeah I read about this. Seems like a positive step towards some relief for poker and those who play in general.