Judge Declares: Poker Is A Game of Skill

Published on January 21st, 2009 6:17 am EST

american flag - kentucky ruling - judgeCould the tide finally be turning?

Could online poker finally be gaining some positive momentum in the courtrooms of the United States of America?

Judge Thomas A. James Jr. made some waves late last week when he ruled in favor of Walter Watkins and Diane Dent.

Watkins and Dent were both facing 20 charges each that were related to the operation of a "home" poker game. Watkins ran the game, while Dent was one of the dealers.

There were no rake taken at the game, however players were encouraged to tip the dealers.

The two were arrested during a raid, and were forced to spend a night in prison.

Judge James Jr. ruled that poker was a game of skill. This cleared both Dent and Watkins of all of the charges, and possibly set a precedent that could be used in future court cases related to online poker.

Many in the industry have been working to have poker declared as a game of skill. This would result in the legalization of online poker. Only games of "chance" qualify as "gambling" pursuits.

The ruling, while a minor one, could pave the way for similar rulings in the future.

It seems ridiculous to me that a person could risk jail time for the operation of a home poker game. It seems to me that there are far more serious matters to prosecute.

There is nothing stopping a person from selling their house, flying to Las Vegas and losing all of their life savings on one spin of the roulette wheel. As a matter of fact, they will be "comped" by the casinos.

But someone operating a $1/$2 home game for the fun of it risks going to jail and having a black mark on their record permanently?

It's just a matter of time (I hope) before this ridiculous legal situation in the United States is resolved.