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The Suite Blog >> Court Ruling Says Poker's a Game of Skill

 

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January 28, 2009 - The Poker Players Alliance (PPA) has long been an advocate for giving the game of poker more credence, whether in the eyes of lawmakers or the non-gambling public. In other words, the U.S. based PPA wants nothing more than to have online poker legalized in the U.S. I mean, that's what the PPA was pretty much formed to do in the first place. Founded in 2005, the PPA has certainly rode the online poker craze, which in many regards, still continues to this day.

The main point in the PPA's argument regarding why poker should be regulated is that it's not a game of chance, but rather, a game of skill. Always looking for something to help back this claim, the PPA was quick to draw attention to a recent court ruling in Colorado, where a man charged with conducting "professional gambling" activities was found not guilty. The real kicker, however, was that the jury stated prosecution did not prove poker was not a game of skill.

Apparently, what was most persuasive for the jury was testimony given by Statistics professor at the University of Denver, Robert Hannum. A well known statistician in the gambling sector, Hannum has written a popular book entitled "Practical Casino Math" (maybe a good to review and add to the OCS Gambling Books page). As part of his research, Hannum once simulated one billion poker hands in heads up play. One hand was played randomly while the other was programmed to raise on select hands. In other words, he left the first hand to "chance", while the second was shaped with "skill". For anybody who knows just how much skill the game of poker truly affords, it should be no surprise that the second hand programmed to raise won 97% of the hands.

I suppose you could argue that 3% of the hands were subject to chance. But c'mon - 97% is better odds than the lottery - and we know how much governments embrace lotteries. And it's definitely better odds than me getting a date this Saturday (That's okay, 'cause I'll probably playing online poker anyways).

So, good job PPA. Although I wish you would think twice about trying to separate poker from online casino gambling in your pursuit to have poker regulated in the U.S., I appreciate your efforts nonetheless. Now, its up to the Colorado Chapter to follow up on this court ruling and get regulatory efforts going. On that note, it's up to Pennsylvania - where another recent court ruling said that poker was not a game of chance -  and each individual U.S. State to start regulating one by one.

Originally published: January, 2009 | Categories: Online Poker

 

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