Poker has been ruled a game of skill, not chance, by a United States federal judge.
The ruling is a massive boost to poker players all over the United States and means that poker game operators should not be prosecuted under the federal law that prohibits the running of an illegal gambling business.
United States District Court Judge Jack Weinstein threw out the conviction of a man who was charged for hosting a high-stakes poker game in a New York warehouse.
“The government must demonstrate that it is more probable than not that poker is predominated by chance rather than skill. It has failed to do so. Expert poker players draw on an array of talents, including facility with numbers, knowledge of human psychology, and powers of observation and deception,” he wrote. “Players can use these skills to win, even if chance has not dealt them the better hand,” Judge Weinstein wrote in his 120-page opinion.
The ruling has been celebrated by the entire poker community.
The Poker Player’s Alliance, a nonprofit organization with more than one million members worldwide, were ecstatic that their hard work protecting the rights of poker players had finally paid off.
“As we worked for years defending players against vague gambling laws, we have patiently waited for the right opportunity to raise the issue in federal court. Today’s federal court ruling is a major victory for the game of poker and the millions of Americans who enjoy playing it,” said John Pappas, executive director of the PPA, in a statement.
“Judge Weinstein’s thoughtful decision recognizes what we have consistently argued for years: poker is not a crime, it is a game of skill. As the judge’s opinion aptly notes, poker is an American pastime that is deeply embedded in the history and fabric of our nation and his decision sets aside the notion that the vague laws render the game criminal.”
The decision is likely to be used as leverage for those advocating the legalization of Online Poker.