If you ask a poker player whether or not
poker is a game of skill or luck, you're likely to hear skill over luck, and
maybe even the opinion that it's a little bit of both. You're also likely to
hear some players to go so far to say that professional poker is a sport.
And when you stop to take a look at the WSOP, WPT and other high-stakes events
getting televised coverage (ESPN coverage at that), it's hard to argue the case
that poker isn't a sport.
The Poker Players Alliance (PPA) has long
been an advocate of making poker a sport, not to mention legalizing the online
version in the United States since the passing of the Unlawful Internet Gambling
Enforcement Act (UIGEA). Recently making a claim at the same, is the Czech
Association of Poker Clubs (CAPC), which has been working hard at lobbying
government officials to declare the game of poker as a sport.
As reported by the Prague Post this week,
the CAPC has engaged the internationally reputed professional services
organization, Ernst and Young, to advise a campaign to make poker legal. And the
way things stand now, there's a plausible chance it could happen.
Officials in the Czechoslovakia Finance
Ministry are allegedly ready and willing to introduce new legislation aimed at
streamlining gambling regulations. With a presentation timeframe set for late
2008, the CAPC is doing everything they can to have a hand in the drafting
process. An uphill battle to say the least, current law does allow poker playing
outside of brick 'n mortar casinos, but without real stakes.
And any serious poker player will tell you
it's all about the stakes. Sure, people play poker for fun. But the Ministry
could not possibly delude itself thinking that real money poker games don't take
place outside of casinos. Like in the U.S. where players continue to gamble on
the internet at online casinos, real money games are going to take place whether
the government says it's okay or not.
The idea is that with proper regulation,
organized crime rings can be prevented. Considering the propensity for crime in
an economically depressed area to begin with, regulation does look tempting.
While there's no doubt that poker has become very popular in a short time period
in Czechoslovakia, the only worry is that not enough Czech's yet view the game
as a serious profession, rather than a lifestyle or diversion.