Brooklyn Federal Court Judge Rules That Poker Is Legal
Posted on September 13, 2012 at 12:09pm
Brooklyn judge Jack Weinstein in an unprecedented move ruled that poker is a game of skill and not merely a game of chance. It depends on abilities that poker players must learn as they play and abilities they apply to the game like bluffing, card counting, wagering and formulating strategy. Players definitely are capable of influencing the outcome of games because of their level of skill.
Therefore, the judge ruled that a back room poker operation in Staten Island was not illegal, and that poker is legal. This unique ruling kept the operator of that poker game out of jail. The operator, Lawrence DiCristina, was facing a potential ten-year prison sentence for operating an illegal gambling venture.
The judge compared poker to real games of chance like roulette or slot games, and decided that since there are factors that influence the outcome of poker games that require skill of the player, poker is really a game of skill and should not be illegal. Professional poker players that have a lot of skill can make very high salaries, much like the salaries of professional athletes or entertainers.
The ruling was received to applause and praise by The Poker Player's Alliance. They have worked steadily for years to prove that poker should be legalized because of the fact that skill plays a large part and not just chance. Not only do poker players need to have skills like analyzing other players and determining what other players will do, they also need to know just how much to wager and when to make wagers or increase wagers.
These skills are learned over time. Poker players that are highly skilled can continuously win big amounts, further proving that skill is involved more than chance. Judge Weinstein ruled that players and those operating poker games should not be punished under law. He made this decision while lawmakers in other states are still trying to decide whether poker should fall into the class of illegal gambling.
This decision is huge and could influence other states to follow suit. The ruling is considered to be a great victory for those who have claimed for years that poker should be legal. Millions of players that enjoy the game are thrilled by this major victory. They hope that other states will follow the lead of New York in this matter.