Whilst most people would believe that poker is a gambling game – who wouldn’t? It’s played in casino’s all around the world and you appear to ‘risk’ or ‘gamble’ money – it has recently been proven that playing poker is officially not classed as gambling.
A jury in Windsor, Colorado, USA have ruled against the Colorado Bureau of Investigation in a case that saw them accusing and arresting a well-to-do software consultant of both professional and illegal gambling. In essence, the man involved, Mr. Kevin Raley, was purely arranging a variety of poker games for him and his friends at a local bar. However, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation deemed this to be an unlicensed, professional gambling ring, making it illegal, and took steps towards arresting Mr. Raley further to an undercover investigation.
As most people would believe, Mr. Raley never thought he was committing a crime and believed he was arranging a couple of evenings of entertainment with his friends.
The case became so high profile that the national Poker Player’s Alliance paid for an expert witness to testify for Mr. Raley, explaining that as poker is predominantly a skill game and not a chance game, it doesn’t sit in the gambling field. As this isn’t the case, any charges of professional or illegal gambling can be classed as incorrect.
When looking at the Colorado state law, this is re-iterated in the section of illegal gambling, which is defined as “risking any money, credit, deposit, or other thing of value for gain contingent in whole or in part upon lot, chance, the operation of a gambling device, or the happening or outcome of an event, including a sporting event, or which the person taking a risk has no control, but does not include bona fide contests of skill”.
As the Poker Player’s Alliance expert explained, poker is not solely reliant on chance and that each player has the opportunity to change the play of the game and the end winner and result. For example, when playing Bingo, the outcome is solely dependent on which balls are randomly chosen. However, with Poker, the players not only rely on the cards that are dealt (both to themselves, their peers and the open cards), but on each player’s skill to playing the game, by knowing when to play, when to fold, when to raise and when to bluff.
The Poker Player’s Alliance expert also noted that almost always a poker player playing with a degree of skill will beat a poker player playing on chance, aiding once again to the fact that poker relies heavily on a large amount of skill.
Somewhat surprisingly, once all facts had been shown to the District Attorney, the case still went to court. As was expected, no charges were brought upon Mr. Raley and he is still protesting his innocence, explaining to anyone who believes he is guilty that he was simply arranging a past time, no different to anyone else arranging a fishing trip, golfing day or football event.
By Rakesh Gaikwad
Virgin Games offers a variety of quality casino entertainment online, with a wide range of Poker games for you to play, as and when you please.