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Friday, August 07, 2009


I. Nelson Rose wrote, "If the argument is that poker is not gambling but rather a contest of skill..."
What if the argument is that poker is gambling, not a game of skill involving the ability to feint and bluff ones opponents?
Afterall, when money is staked and bets placed on poker hands and one either wins or loses money according whether ones final hand ranks higher or lower than that of other players at the table, that has to alter the premise that poker is a contest of skill to that of a gamble based on the fortuitious fall of the cards?
I also believe that where the final outcome of a game is dependent as much on luck (i.e. the fall of the cards), as it is in a players ability to bluff their opponents into believing the combination of cards they hold in their hand ranks higher (or lower) than that of their opponents, then poker is a much a game of skill as it is a gamble on whose luck is greater?

Poker would clearly be a game of chance -- if it did in fact depend on "the fortuitous fall of the cards." Courts have held that, but it is based on two false premises: 1) That people sit down and play a single hand of poker and then leave; and 2) That the cards determine who wins and loses. The first is obviously false, and the longer people play, the more chance drops out as a factor. And every study done on actual poker games shows that the overwhelming majority of the time the outcome is determined without there being an ultimate showdown. In other words, players win or lose most often in poker by the way they play, without anyone ever knowing if they actually had the best hand, and, in fact, the player with the best hand often loses.

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