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South Carolina Judge Sees Poker as Game of Skill

Written by:
Guest
Published on:
Feb/15/2009
Poker

Though he hasn't rendered a decision just yet, a South Carolina judge did say he believed Texas Hold ‘Em Poker is a game of skill following closing arguments in a nearly three year old case.

The Mount Pleasant Municipal Judge Larry Duffy's final decision could change the way in which poker is viewed in South Carolina.  The state laws prohibits games of chance played with cards or dice.

"I have determined in my mind that Texas Hold ‘em is a game of skill," Duffy said toward the end of the hearing.

His opinion, voiced from the bench, came during a hearing in the case of five Mount Pleasant men arrested in a 2006 gambling raid. In all, about 20 people were charged, but the others resolved their cases by paying fines, according to the Associated Press.

The concept of Texas Hold ‘Em Poker being a game of skill or chance may be irrelevant in this matter, according to Prosecutor Ira Grossman, who claims that the defendants were arrested in a gambling house, and that is against the law in South Carolina.

Mike Sexton, a professional poker player and commentator on the World Poker Tour, testified skilled players win more than others, relying on ability ranging from knowing when to fold, how much to bet, mathematical knowledge and studying their opponents.

"It's the nation's pastime," Sexton told the judge. "People like to play. They should have the right to play in their homes."

On cross-examination by Grossman, Sexton said he received $5,000 from the National Poker Players Alliance to appear at the hearing. But he said that was not a factor.

"I'm doing it more for the love of the game than the fee," he said.

Poker advocates would like their favorite pastime to be carved out of current online gambling prohibition.  Online horse racing and fantasy sports betting is legal under the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act. 

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