Pennsylvania Judge Rules that Poker is a Game of Skill reports that a Pennsylvania judge has ruled that poker is a game of skill. His ruling dismissed a case in which Walter Watkins was charged with running an illegal Texas Hold’em game.

Most state anti-gambling laws prohibit games of chance when money is involved. However, games of skill usually have less restrictions.

In issuing his decision, Judge James cited the large number of poker books available, among other factors, as proof of the game’s skill elements. Said James, “Simply, if chance predominates, Texas Hold’em is gambling. If skill predominates, it is not gambling.” Later, James closed with, “It is apparent that skill predominates over chance in Texas Hold’em poker.”

3 Responses to Pennsylvania Judge Rules that Poker is a Game of Skill

  1. Clint says:

    I guess the burning question is — does skill include “skillful use of strategy”, since poker has a lot of strategy. Also, is a photographic memory a skill? If so, counting cards, which greatly helps, is a matter of skill too.

    Does skill include strategy, LEGALLY, though?

    If I had to make a false dichotomy of “skill games” vs “luck games” — which would a pure strategy game with NO luck come into? If skull, then I would say skill includes strategy, and poker definitely has strategy.

    This is indeed a maddening game of semantics we play. Why can’t we just let people do what they want to do?

  2. LulzRulez says:

    Thank you for this…

    Can’t help but ask: Has any judge ever ruled that marriage is an illegal “game of chance”?


  3. megan says:

    I hope with justification like this from a judge will increase the possibility of poker to become legal.

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