Over the years there has been a lot of debate about whether poker is a game of skill or a game of luck. The debate recently came to a head in Pennsylvania when two Pennsylvanians were arrested for hosting a game of no-limit poker in their garage.
The Pennsylvania residents were charged under state laws that ban people from taking part in illegal gambling in the state of Pennsylvania. However, the case was tossed out by Judge Thomas James when he ruled that a game only constitutes gambling if “chance predominates over skill.” Judge James ruled that the game of poker is based more on skill than on luck. This was a major victory for poker players everywhere, but the victory was short-lived.
The ruling was appealed by the Columbia County District Attorney’s office and was overturned on March 26. A whole slew of previous cases that said poker was a game based predominantly on luck were named in the case. Prior cases included cases going back to 1904 in states all over the United States, including New York, Missouri, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Kansas, Washington and North Carolina.
Judge Robert Freedberg, one of the overturning judges, said “while the outcome of poker may be dependent on skill to some degree, it is predominantly a game of chance.”