Earlier this week, Federal Judge Jack Weinstein from New York ruled that poker is not gambling because it’s primarily a game of skill (this is something poker players have always known). The ruling resulted in a dismissal of a Federal indictment against a man convicted of operating an underground poker club.
Archaic laws on the books
This ruling is hugely significant in the lives of poker players in the U.S. because most states have similar archaic laws on the books that essentially say it’s illegal to play any games for money with “cards or dice” because they’re games of chance. Poker has now been blessed by a Federal judge and I’m expecting many states to change their archaic laws and agree with Judge Weinstein’s 120 page opinion that poker is a game of skill and not a game of chance.
As a game of skill, poker will no longer be deemed illegal, meaning people will be able to play in their homes without fear of legal repercussions. And this will apply to home poker games as well as to internet poker.
A couple of years ago I testified as an expert witness in a similar court case in South Carolina and that judge also ruled poker was a game of skill (something I was quite proud of) but it was a local judge, not a Federal judge. I’m scheduled to again testify as an expert witness in an upcoming Federal case this fall in Norfolk, VA (that guy is being indicted like the guy was in NY for running a poker game). This NY ruling will certainly help, not only for the upcoming case in VA, but for any other similar cases coming up in any state.
This ruling is a GREAT day for poker players and online poker sites!
Mad Marvins Back to Back Wins!
On another note, the poker world is still buzzing about PartyPoker team pro “Mad Marvin” Rettenmaier’s back to back WPT wins. He won the Season X WPT World Championship at Bellagio and followed that up with a win in Cyprus in the kick-off WPT event of Season XI. In the eleven year history of the World Poker Tour, no one has ever accomplished that feat – back to back wins. “Congratulations, Marvin!”
And special kudos to Mad Marvin for trying to make it three in a row. The day after winning in Cyprus, although very tired, he made arrangements to take the long flight to Philadelphia, PA for our WPT event at PARX casino. He entered on Day 1b (meaning he had just one bullet and couldn’t re-enter) but went out early there. Still, just the effort he made to get to Philly to try for the hat-trick is worth noting. So, what do you say about his early elimination? How about, “Welcome back to earth, Marvin.”