Court Verifies Poker Game of Skill, Not Gambling
A Pennsylvania judge ruled Friday that the evidence proves poker is predominantly a game of skill, and therefore does not meet the definition of gambling as set by Pennsylvania statutes. Judge Thomas James made the decision after presiding over a case involving the bust of a friendly house game of 1-2 No Limit Hold'em.
James held that, while there is an element of chance in poker, studies indicate that good players gradually pull ahead of poor players over time, and stated, "... money flows from the bad players to the strong players."
John Pappas, Executive Director of the Poker Players Alliance, told Poker News Daily that the case established an excellent precedent for future poker court cases. Pappas said his organization would seek to employ the ruling where possible in other poker litigation around the US.
The defendants in the case were the host of the house game, who did not take a rake, and his girlfriend, who was one of the dealers, who all received tips. Most law enforcement agencies have made a point of turning a blind eye toward games in which the house does not take profit, but Pennsylvania has operated a zero tolerance policy regarding any gambling other than that offered by the state.
Texas resident and sometime poker player Roger Ellison says of the case, "It's great that the judge had common sense, and decided that what everyone already knew was the truth. But do I have to get handcuffed, printed, go to jail and spend a fortune on lawyers to get the right to be left alone in my house? Doesn't seem fair."
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