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Is Poker a Game of Skill or Chance? [Poll]

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Internet gaming and gambling has come under fire as of late, and one story in particular involving the conviction of a man who was running a poker club advertised exclusively by word of mouth and through text messages. The man’s lawyers were appealing his conviction and all eyes were on that appeal. On Tuesday, a federal judge in New York ruled that poker is a game of skill and not chance, thus, tossing out the conviction.

Lawrence Dicristina ran a poker club in the back room of his warehouse on Staten Island and was arrested and charged with violating the Illegal Gambling Business Act from the 1970’s, created as a means to crack down on organized crime.

The definition of gambling, as outlined in the Act, lists slot machines, lotteries and bookmaking as primary forms of gambling. Dicristina’s lawyers argued those forms were games of chance and poker could not fall into that category under federal law because it is a game of skill and Federal District Court Judge Jack Weinstein agreed.

Weinstein said in his ruling that, “In poker, increased proficiency boosts a player’s chance of winning and affects the outcome of individual hands as well as a series of hands. Expert poker players draw on an array of talents, including facility with numbers, knowledge of human psychology, and powers of observation and deception.”

If you have ever played poker, you know that you can win a hand if you can bluff your opponents into ‘folding’ without any of the cards even being revealed. If you can bluff, you just removed the luck of the draw element because the actual cards you are holding have nothing to do with whether or not you can win the hand.

Legal experts of course fear this ruling could open a Pandora’s Box in terms of authorities cracking down on gambling, particularly online gambling or gaming. John Pappas, executive director of the Poker Players Alliance said, “Today’s federal court ruling is a major victory for the game of poker and the millions of Americans who enjoy playing it.”




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