August 12, 2009

Poker test of skill or luck?

The Colorado Supreme Court will have to judge whether poker is a game of chance or a game of skill, a poker players' organization said.

The appeal stems from a criminal case that began when the Colorado Bureau of Investigation arrested five people over a Texas Hold 'Em tournament with a $20 buy-in at a bar in Greeley, The Denver Post reported Wednesday. One defendant was acquitted in January and prosecutors then dropped the charges against the other four.

While that criminal case is dead, officials decided police and prosecutors need clarity on Colorado's gambling law. The state appealed a ruling by the trial judge that allowed the calling of an expert witness, Bob Hannum, a University of Colorado professor.

He testified for the defendant that poker is a game of skill, while the law bans wagering on games of chance.

A district court disagreed with Hannum, finding that poker is a game of chance. The Poker Players Alliance has asked the Supreme Court to review that decision.