More and more are we seeing people coming to the conclusion that poker is a game of skill. Most recently, a judge in the state of Colorado has ruled that poker as we know it is indeed a game of skill and not luck. This happened for the second time in exactly as many weeks: a poker player has been acquitted on charges of illegal gambling activity relating to poker.
A quote from the Colorado State Director of the Poker Players’ Alliance, Gary Reed: “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.”
The defendant in questioned got arrested on grounds of having organized bar poker games with his friends. The man in question, an individual by the name of Kevin Raley, did not think he was breaking the law in any form whatsoever, but he was still arrested.
The PPA officials then stepped to the rescue. They gave significant assistance and also provided an expert witness to testify to make it clear to everybody involved that poker is a game of skill, and because of this cannot be treated as “gambling” under any state law, but specifically Colorado. It seems that Colorado law specifically exempts “bonafide contest of skill” from being prosecuted. The Expert witness, a University of Denver statistics professor by the name of Robert Hannum, then presented all the pertaining evidence to make poker’s high skill element obvious to those not versed in the game.
Accordingly, his raid went just like what you saw in the Michael Moore’s movie “Fahrenheit 9/11” in which a government agency sends an undercover cop into a group of old people who gathered weekly to drink milk and cookies, and discuss the weather. In the real life version, undercover officers infiltrated the game, which was run twice weekly at the Barleycorn’s. The game in question was organized by the semi-private poker club of Kevin Raley, and not by the bar itself. Colorado revenue officials then had the smart idea of mixing the wrong variables together, arguing that since the game took place in a place where alcohol was served, it broke a statewide ban against games of chance in such locations, and therefore the defense could not argue that the game came in accordance with Colorado’s allowance for social gambling. Needless to say, the judge exerted common sense, and struck it down.
First, Kentucky claimed to be the owners of the Internet, and then they send some undercover brothers to ruin a bar game. What’s next? Making it mandatory that all drinks must come in easy-open cans, since bottle opener’s can be used to kill people? It’s getting really amusing, and at the same time really sad.
Tax dollars well spent, apparently.
It seems like finally a good dose of common sense has struck a few of the people in command in the USA. While presence of luck is undeniable in any given poker hand, the skill element overshadows it big-time, and this is most apparent (or better said: becomes most obvious) in the long term. Poker is unique in being a marriage of the exactly right mix of luck and skill to make it fun and lucrative for everybody involved. If you cannot see how poker is a game of skill itself, ask yourself this question: how many books and websites and resources have been dedicated to poker?
If it’s all gambling, it would not have been possible to make such a vast amount of resources, only to tell you to “bet on black” would it? FlopTurnRiver.com would consist of a single page, telling you to “make sure you bet all your chips on black!”
Remember guys, even though today’s battle was a victorious one, the war is not over. We must remain vigilant.