Poker – is it just a game of luck, or is it a game whose deciding factor is skill? The question has been around ever since someone first said “full house”. Poker was played by US presidents, Supreme Court judges as well actors and popstars. Countless studies tried to prove that poker is a game of strategy and skill, while the legislation insisted that poker is pure gambling where chance is the most important factor.
Now, there is a court decision that can have a huge effect on American gambling laws. Brooklyn federal judge Jack B. Weinstein ruled that “poker is predominantly a game of skill and not a game of chance” in a court case involving a Staten Island poker parlor in August.
Judge Weinstein consulted among others poker expert, economist and statistician Randal D. Heeb. Mr Heeb analyzed 415 million hands of no-limit hold ‘em played at online gambling sites in United States, and concluded that a player’s skill “had a statistically significant effect on the amount of money won or lost.”
Mr. Heeb also said that “many people make a living playing poker and win consistently over time,” whereas “it is impossible to make a living and to win consistently playing casino games such as roulette,” where chance is the key factor in winning.
The legal definition of gambling in the US, as well as in most countries is based around a game of chance. Therefore, this decision theoretically could lead to enormous change in the market of operating poker rooms and online poker sites in United States. After all, the federal law bans illegal gambling…
And there’s more that could change the legal landscape of American online poker. In December 2011 the Justice Department concluded that Wire Act of 1962 is only applicable to betting, skill-free games such as bingo or lotto, but not poker. Can’t wait to hear what will happen in the next case involving poker.