More than One Court thinks Poker is a Skill Game

About a couple of weeks ago, poker earned a victory when a Pennsylvania judge by the name of Thomas James ruled that poker is a game of skill and therefore people cannot be charged with illegal gambling while playing online poker.  The ruling was in favor of Walter “Buzz” Watkins since he was charged with holding illegal poker games where money was exchanged in his garage. 

The only problem with this ruling is that it was only one judge in one small town called Bloomsburg.  And a ruling in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania isn’t going to change the precedent that has been set by the UIGEA and numerous other courts in deeming poker to be illegal.  But it did at least start a favorable trend since other courts seem to be agrreing that poker is a game of skill.

Just this week, a judge in Colorado also ruled that poker is a game of skill and believes that luck does not factor in as much as everyone thinks.  This ruling came after a man named Kevin Raley was facing illegal gambling charges after organizing a group of friends to play poker in a bar.  Raley was still arrested even though he did not realize that he was breaking the law in trying to organize a poker game where money is exchanged.  After his arrest, Raley said, “We never believed we were doing anything wrong whatsoever.  It’s entertainment.  Some people play golf, I play poker.”

The Poker Players Alliance was also very happy with the ruling since Colorado State PPA Director Gary Reed said, “The PPA is pleased with the outcome of this case.  It is further confirmation that poker is indeed a game of skill, not chance.  At the same time, the not guilty verdict cements the rights of Colorado citizens to enjoy the American pastime of poker and will allow law enforcement to use its scarce resources to investigate real unlawful activity in the state, not poker games.”

I’m glad that judges and courts are finally starting to recognize that the top poker players in the world are there for a reason.  It’s obvious to anyone who takes a little time to look into the matter that poker does contain elements of skill and the game can be beaten over time if a player is good enough to do so.  I can’t wait for the day when the majority of courts start to realize how much of a skill game poker actually is.

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