HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » Latest Breaking News (Forum) » Judge rules that poker is...

Tue Aug 21, 2012, 10:31 PM

Judge rules that poker isnít gambling under federal law

Source: Associated Press

A federal judge ruled Tuesday that poker is more a game of skill than chance and cannot be prosecuted under a law created to stop organized crime families from making millions of dollars from gambling.

The decision by Judge Jack Weinstein in Brooklyn was embraced by advocates of card games pushing to legalize Internet poker in the United States. The judge relied extensively on the findings of a defense expert who analyzed online poker games.

The ruling tossed out a jury's July conviction of a man charged with conspiring to operate an illegal underground poker club, a business featuring Texas Hold'em games run in a warehouse where he also sold electric bicycles. There were no allegations in the case that organized crime was involved or that anything such as money laundering or loansharking occurred.

... Attorney Tom Goldstein, who made arguments before Weinstein on behalf of the Poker Players Alliance, called the decision a validation for poker players, the tens of millions of people who play the game, and believe they are not gambling, taking a chance, but exercising skill in playing against each other.

Read more: http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2012/aug/21/judge-rules-poker-isnt-gambling-under-federal-law/

37 replies, 5558 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 37 replies Author Time Post
Reply Judge rules that poker isnít gambling under federal law (Original post)
Newsjock Aug 2012 OP
DJFrey Aug 2012 #1
kurt_cagle Aug 2012 #5
lunatica Aug 2012 #16
wysimdnwyg Aug 2012 #20
William Seger Aug 2012 #18
AtheistCrusader Aug 2012 #13
lunatica Aug 2012 #17
AtheistCrusader Aug 2012 #27
cthulu2016 Aug 2012 #25
ZombieHorde Aug 2012 #31
kestrel91316 Aug 2012 #2
oberliner Aug 2012 #3
ManiacJoe Aug 2012 #24
oberliner Aug 2012 #33
AtheistCrusader Aug 2012 #28
oberliner Aug 2012 #32
OnlinePoker Aug 2012 #4
harmonicon Aug 2012 #11
closeupready Aug 2012 #23
DJ13 Aug 2012 #6
Lucky Luciano Aug 2012 #7
Mosby Aug 2012 #8
Proletariatprincess Aug 2012 #12
defacto7 Aug 2012 #9
AtheistCrusader Aug 2012 #14
TrogL Aug 2012 #10
awoke_in_2003 Aug 2012 #15
JTFrog Aug 2012 #19
Poll_Blind Aug 2012 #21
brooklynite Aug 2012 #34
Javaman Aug 2012 #22
GodlessBiker Aug 2012 #29
Javaman Aug 2012 #30
GodlessBiker Aug 2012 #35
Javaman Aug 2012 #37
ManiacJoe Aug 2012 #36
Kingofalldems Aug 2012 #26

Response to Newsjock (Original post)

Tue Aug 21, 2012, 10:41 PM

1. what?

 

Right - you can only play the cards you've been dealt, kinda like life.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to DJFrey (Reply #1)

Tue Aug 21, 2012, 10:55 PM

5. Actually makes sense

Certainly chance is involved at the level of what you are dealt, but over a sufficient number of hands, there is a clear strategy that is used by professional poker players that can make the difference between winning and losing, which is not so much the case with other games - roulette, black jack, slots, etc. In many respects the reasoning is similar to that involving a stock trader - the movement of the stock market is chaotic - while you can observe patterns that recur, those patterns are seldom either guaranteed or necessarily even deterministic. A stock investor is in essence making a bet based upon observation, analysis and human psychology. Given the parallels, the judge was probably correct in making his ruling.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to kurt_cagle (Reply #5)

Wed Aug 22, 2012, 06:04 AM

16. How do you define gambling?

gam∑ble (gmbl)
v. gam∑bled, gam∑bling, gam∑bles
v.intr.
1.
a. To bet on an uncertain outcome, as of a contest.
b. To play a game of chance for stakes.
2. To take a risk in the hope of gaining an advantage or a benefit.
3. To engage in reckless or hazardous behavior: You are gambling with your health by continuing to smoke.
v.tr.
1. To put up as a stake in gambling; wager.
2. To expose to hazard; risk: gambled their lives in a dangerous rescue mission.
n.
1. A bet, wager, or other gambling venture.
2. An act or undertaking of uncertain outcome; a risk: I took a gamble that stock prices would rise.

gambler n.

************

How does this definition not fit poker?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to lunatica (Reply #16)

Wed Aug 22, 2012, 09:21 AM

20. I say those definitions don't fit poker

Yes, there is some overlap, but when considered over a statistically significant time period (that period will vary greatly depending on the difference in skill level of the players), the outcome of poker is mostly due to skill.

Consider not the obvious hands (I have AA, you have KK, in which case I win 80% of the time, or I have AA and you have 72, in which case you fold 99% of the time), but the middle of the road hands. If you have JT of spades and the flop is AT3 with two spades, what do you do? Do you bet out? Do you check to see if I bet (implying I have an ace)? If I DO bet, do you call, hoping to catch your flush? How do you know I have an ace? What are the odds I have an ace? What are the odds you'll hit your flush? What if the next card is a face card, making it possible I have a straight? All of these questions and many more are considered by a skilled poker player, while a less skilled player just sees a paired ten and a flush draw.

Put me against a player with a low skill level, and I will take his money most of the time. While the outcome of this hand, or even this session, is uncertain, the outcome over the long haul is much more certain. It's how I've been able to get my friends to pay for my trips to casinos for years, and lately I've used their money (that I won playing poker) to buy a set of chips and a table for my new house.


So yes, you could say there is some uncertainty, you are playing for stakes (although I disagree with the "game of chance" bit), there certainly is some risk, and many people engage in reckless or hazardous behavior while playing (see that 1% of the time you play 72 against my AA). But none of those really apply when considering poker over a long period of time. I know with 100% certainty that I am better than a guy with whom I play poker (call him "Dean"). While Dean may win one evening, I know I will take his money more often than not.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to kurt_cagle (Reply #5)

Wed Aug 22, 2012, 07:24 AM

18. Blackjack is also a game of skill

It's much harder these days than in the past, but it's still possible to get an advantage over the casino by card counting and proper strategy.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to DJFrey (Reply #1)

Wed Aug 22, 2012, 01:32 AM

13. In poker, you're not playing the cards.

You're playing your opponent(s).

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #13)

Wed Aug 22, 2012, 06:05 AM

17. How does gambling not fit poker?

gam∑ble (gmbl)
v. gam∑bled, gam∑bling, gam∑bles
v.intr.
1.
a. To bet on an uncertain outcome, as of a contest.
b. To play a game of chance for stakes.
2. To take a risk in the hope of gaining an advantage or a benefit.
3. To engage in reckless or hazardous behavior: You are gambling with your health by continuing to smoke.
v.tr.
1. To put up as a stake in gambling; wager.
2. To expose to hazard; risk: gambled their lives in a dangerous rescue mission.
n.
1. A bet, wager, or other gambling venture.
2. An act or undertaking of uncertain outcome; a risk: I took a gamble that stock prices would rise.

gambler n.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to lunatica (Reply #17)

Wed Aug 22, 2012, 11:53 AM

27. Dictionary definition and legal definition are not always the same thing.

There are a couple different types of poker. Video poker, where you opponent is a slot-like machine is probably a game of chance. A table-game where you play other players, and NOT the house, isn't a game of chance at all.

That distinction is important, when looking at how federal law defines gambling.

Edit: To put it another way, an overly-expansive definition of gambling that includes poker, would likely include carnival games, where you 'bet' you can do X like knock a couple bottles over with a softball. It's really a game of skill, even though you ARE playing against the house, and not another player.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to DJFrey (Reply #1)

Wed Aug 22, 2012, 11:50 AM

25. Which you then fold. Duh.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to DJFrey (Reply #1)

Wed Aug 22, 2012, 12:37 PM

31. Poker is about betting. nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Newsjock (Original post)

Tue Aug 21, 2012, 10:49 PM

2. Playing ANY card games should not be illegal.

Nor should betting toothpicks.

Betting actual money, well, that's another thing entirely.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Newsjock (Original post)

Tue Aug 21, 2012, 10:54 PM

3. Far-reaching implications

Get ready for online poker explosion in the US.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to oberliner (Reply #3)

Wed Aug 22, 2012, 10:55 AM

24. One can hope.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to ManiacJoe (Reply #24)

Wed Aug 22, 2012, 12:59 PM

33. I've got mixed feelings

Hopefully it can be well-regulated so we don't have, for instance, 12 year old kids stealing parents credit cards and the like.

Though I've heard that happens with various games now.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink



Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #28)

Wed Aug 22, 2012, 12:57 PM

32. That's crazy

Though I must say, I have a bad feeling about the ramifications of widely available online poker.

Especially since there are so many kids who like to play.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Newsjock (Original post)

Tue Aug 21, 2012, 10:55 PM

4. About frigging time someone figured that out.

This was never about gambling anyway. It was the U.S. government not being able to tax the winnings of players because they couldn't access the corporations that were running them (almost all of them offshore). Fortunately, being Canadian, the ban hasn't been much of an issue for me except less players online. Pokerstars hasn't really suffered. They still have around 90,000 players playing at anytime. What I find interesting is I've played against people from places like Iran, Vietnam and even Cuba, but the U.S. bars people from spending their own money how they see fit? Doesn't sound like the land of the free to me.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to OnlinePoker (Reply #4)

Wed Aug 22, 2012, 12:33 AM

11. The "free" bit is usually read as "free to impose a puritanical way of life on others."

Regardless of what benefits they may have (I don't want of open a thousand cans of worms here), that is the real reason for so many laws and taxes dealing with alcohol and tobacco.

However, I don't really have much of a problem with the government regulating or controlling gambling (or non-gambling card playing, as is the case here, I guess), as it is a form of commerce, and I think one of the only reasons to have a centralized government is for the regulation of commerce.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to OnlinePoker (Reply #4)

Wed Aug 22, 2012, 10:08 AM

23. "Free" meaning "you are free to make 1% casino corporations rich."

nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Newsjock (Original post)

Tue Aug 21, 2012, 10:55 PM

6. If he hadnt ruled that way the NYSE would have to be closed

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Newsjock (Original post)

Tue Aug 21, 2012, 11:42 PM

7. Good ruling. Poker is great highly intellectual game if skill.

I don't play anymore because the last thing I need to do on the weekends is to sit on my ass after working on a desk 12 hours a day. I enjoyed it very much in grad school though in the LA card clubs. Helped train me in the art of negotiation after getting a real job.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Newsjock (Original post)

Tue Aug 21, 2012, 11:50 PM

8. this judge is going rogue in his old age

Is Judge Jack B Weinstein Right about Child Porn?

Last Friday's NY Times reports that Judge Jack B. Weinstein, who sits in the United States District Court in Brooklyn, has twice thrown out convictions that would have ensured that the man spend at least five years behind bars. He has pledged to break protocol and inform the next jury about the mandatory prison sentence that the charges carry. And he recently declared that the man, who is awaiting a new trial, did not need an electronic ankle bracelet because he posed "no risk to society."

There is little public sympathy, for collectors of child pornography. Yet across the country, an increasing number of federal judges have come to their defense, criticizing changes to sentencing laws that have effectively quadrupled their average prison term over the last decade.

Last week, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit vacated a 20-year child pornography sentence by ruling that the sentencing guidelines for such cases, "unless applied with great care, can lead to unreasonable sentences." The decision noted that the recommended sentences for looking at pictures of children being sexually abused sometimes eclipse those for actually sexually abusing a child.

Judge Weinstein has gone to extraordinary lengths to challenge the strict punishments, issuing a series of rulings that directly attack the mandatory five-year prison sentence faced by defendants charged with receiving child pornography.
"I don't approve of child pornography, obviously," he said in an interview this week. But, he also said, he does not believe that those who view the images, as opposed to producing or selling them, present a threat to children.

"We're destroying lives unnecessarily," he said. "At the most, they should be receiving treatment and supervision."

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/my-mother-my-father-my-money/201005/is-judge-jack-b-weinstein-right-about-child-porn

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Mosby (Reply #8)

Wed Aug 22, 2012, 12:34 AM

12. Thanks for your post. I didn't know that about Judge Weinstein...

I have always felt that the US is a little over the top about child porn in that it is in the eye of the beholder in some cases. Just look at the cherubs in classical art and you can imagine some puritanical zealot making an issue of child porn.
People's lives should not be ruined because they looked at pictures...or art. Abusing children is a far different crime. I am glad to see some enlightenment on this issue from the bench. I fear that some men are prosecuted on these charges for other reasons.
I think of Bernie Ward, KGO radio host who is doing time in prison for researching the issue for a book he was writing. I think it was political payback for his liberal views (The Lion of the Left was his handle). He was set up. He should have been more careful because of the right wing enemies he made over the years...including the Catholic Church. I believe he really thought it was ok to research this issue because he wanted to open the discussion on how we deal with it in this country. He was wrong about that. Now his life is ruined forever.
I think that is a shame and I do not believe that it has made any child safer because he is doing time and away from his own 7 children.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Newsjock (Original post)

Wed Aug 22, 2012, 12:01 AM

9. Poker is not gambling but

online poker is as gambling as you can get! You think there is skill in that? Online? Think again.

Play with friends, play in a professional surrounding... but online gambling of any kind is worse than playing the big wheel in a casino.

'wouldn't trust it.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to defacto7 (Reply #9)

Wed Aug 22, 2012, 01:34 AM

14. You can do online poker against human opponents.

And yes, it is slightly different, in that you have to 'read' their betting habits, but it can be done. You don't need to see your opponent to play.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Newsjock (Original post)

Wed Aug 22, 2012, 12:15 AM

10. Reminds me of the W.C. Fields quote

on poker being a game of chance - "not the way I play it".

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Newsjock (Original post)

Wed Aug 22, 2012, 04:26 AM

15. Yes it is gambling...

but it shouldn't be illegal- it should be taxed.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Newsjock (Original post)

Wed Aug 22, 2012, 08:12 AM

19. Excellent news. n/t

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Newsjock (Original post)

Wed Aug 22, 2012, 09:27 AM

21. Pinball didn't used to have flippers. They were added purely to turn it from a game of chance to...

...a game of skill. "Games of skill" are viewed differently in legal situations such as this.

Very interesting documentary on pinball viewable here on Hulu. The first portion of the documentary covers the legality of pinball in America with all kinds of crazy-awesome facts about pinball. For instance, pinball was outlawed in most major American cities from the 1940's to the mid 1970's.

PB

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Poll_Blind (Reply #21)

Wed Aug 22, 2012, 01:04 PM

34. Ditto the elimination of the "free game"

It wasn't gambling if you couldn't "win" anything.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Newsjock (Original post)

Wed Aug 22, 2012, 09:42 AM

22. All gambling requires some level of skill.

this a ridiculous

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Javaman (Reply #22)

Wed Aug 22, 2012, 12:00 PM

29. Slot machines?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to GodlessBiker (Reply #29)

Wed Aug 22, 2012, 12:12 PM

30. Modern slots no, but the old ones (non-electronic) yes. nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Javaman (Reply #30)

Wed Aug 22, 2012, 04:38 PM

35. Pulling a lever on the side of the machine takes skill?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to GodlessBiker (Reply #35)

Thu Aug 23, 2012, 08:32 AM

37. The old non-electronic machines weren't based on Algorithms as they are today.

They were a simple form of ramdom generation via machanical means.

In other words, if you had the time, you could "count cards" on the machine, but like anything, it took a really good memory and an eye for patterns.

The creators of these machines would periodically "reset" them to try and discourage "counters" but not everyone was dilligent about resetting them.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Javaman (Reply #22)

Wed Aug 22, 2012, 06:01 PM

36. Some of gambling requires no skill.

An understanding of the odds can be helpful, but that is not skill:
- any game of a random number, like slot machines and roulette
- any game with dice, like craps

Games using cards usually require some skill. Games like poker require enough skill and decision making that the house does not play.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Newsjock (Original post)

Wed Aug 22, 2012, 11:53 AM

26. I'm all in on this one

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread