Poker players in America who have been debating over whether the game of poker is one of skill or chance can now refer to the recent ruling issued by a US judge in Brooklyn. The judge issued a ruling that stated that poker was considered to mostly be a game of skill and not luck as it had been previously argued.
The judge, Jack Weinstein made this statement in a case related to Lawrence Dicristina, a resident of Staten Island, who had been running Texas Hold’em contests that were not supposed to take place.
This ruling is remarkable only because – it is the first time that a US judge had declared that poker could be considered as a game of skill and not chance. The case describes poker as a game that cannot be considered as illegal gambling. Although this decision may be considered as a small ruling, it is quite likely that it will be used as a precedent for other case rulings. The ruling could also make a strong statement in favour of poker legislation.
According to the judge,
While players’ actions are influenced by chance events, their decisions are based on skill. By bluffing, for example, players can overcome the power of chance and win a hand despite holding inferior cards.
However, it must be noted that poker games carried out in secret or in private houses will fall under the law. Poker may now be considered a game of skill but it is still a gambling game and as a result is subject to all US gambling laws.
This ruling could become an issue as the state of New York has defined gambling as any game that is based on luck. Now that poker has been described as a game of skill and not luck – it could give poker gamblers an edge.
The judge’s decision has created a lot of excitement in the poker community. The PPA in particular are happy with the decision. John Pappas, the head of the Poker Players Alliance, described the ruling as “a major victory for the game of poker and the millions of Americans who enjoy playing it.”
The judge seems to favour the game of poker above all other casino games as he denied the possibility of games like blackjack and other table games being considered games of skill.
The judge also commented that poker was the only casino game that required the player to use a lot of skill and expertise – more so than luck. Poker he claimed needed “expertise higher than 50 percent.”