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toto hk is a Game of Skill, Not Chance

The toto hk Players Alliance (PPA), the leading poker grassroots advocacy group with more than one million members nationwide (nearly 10,000 in South Carolina), today expressed cautious optimism with a ruling in the Mount Pleasant, S.C. poker case and applauded the Court’s findings that poker is a game of skill, not chance.  Though disappointed with the Court’s initial conclusion that the defendants had committed a crime, PPA expects to prevail on further review.

“We are humbled by Judge Duffy’s thoughtful decision and applaud the effort put forth by the legal team defending these poker players,” said John Pappas, executive director of the PPA.  “The positive language in this ruling comes on heels of other key legal victories for the rights of poker players in Kentucky, Colorado, and Pennsylvania. It’s becoming quite clear the legal community agrees that this great American pastime is a game of predominant skill, not luck, and should not be considered gambling under the law.”


The defendants were charged with playing cards in a “house used as a place of gaming” and under South Carolina law, the term “gaming” means “gambling.”  PPA argued that the Court should adopt the rulings of other courts that gambling refers to a game in which the outcome is determined predominantly by chance, not by skill.


PPA provided for expert testimony, making the compelling case that poker is a game of skill involving the making of correct decisions rather that mere chance, and therefore not illegal gambling.  The South Carolina Court found that testimony persuasive and found that poker is a game of skill.


“While I am disappointed that the judge found my clients guilty by holding them to a standard that is not defined by the law, there are many positive elements that we can take from this opinion as we prepare for the appeal,” said Jeff Phillips, the lead attorney for the five defendants in South Carolina.  “Our solid legal arguments were superbly supported by the expert testimony arranged by the PPA.  The testimony of Mike Sexton and Professor Robert Hannum were invaluable and helped explain the skillful essence of poker to the court.  We are grateful for their involvement in this case.”


The trial court recognized that this is an “easy case” for acquittal if the proper test under South Carolina law is whether a game is predominantly one of skill.  But it concluded that a higher court must decide that issue.  PPA will work with the defendants to promptly appeal the case, and they expect to prevail through that appeal.  The Justices of the South Carolina Supreme Court who have addressed the issue have concluded that – consistent with the rulings of other states – the “predominance” test is correct.  In addition, the South Carolina Attorney General has expressly embraced the predominance test.


PPA has also been involved with a string of victories within the last three weeks.  Like the court’s finding in South Carolina, in Pennsylvania, Judge Thomas James, Jr. ruled that poker is predominantly a game of skill.  The Pennsylvania court took the next step and threw out 20 charges against the defendants, who held a poker game in their home.  Later in the month a Colorado jury found defendant Kevin P. Raley not guilty, again because the jurors found the poker league he formed was playing a game of skill, not chance.


“The court’s finding is a tentative victory for poker players and all concerned with the rights of individuals to play this game with their friends in their own home.” said John Ridgeway, the South Carolina State Director of the PPA.  “Poker is a game of skill that is enjoyed by thousands of South Carolinians, and we applaud the judge for recognizing that important distinction.  We expect a higher court to agree that under the proper standard, it is not illegal to play a game of skill.”


PPA’s Litigation Support Network has been involved in each of these cases by providing expert witnesses, preparing arguments for trial, and filing amicus briefs with the courts, which can be found along with a copy of the ruling


Annette15, Rizen Take Up Online Poker Challenge


BLUFF Magazine announced details, on Monday, of the 2009 BLUFF Online Poker Challenge.  Sponsored by Lock Poker, the competition will bring together some of the best online poker players and each will be given an opportunity to build a bankroll playing multi-table tournaments and sit-n-gos exclusively on Lock Poker.  Each player starts with $200 and has 30 days to build their bankroll.  The challenge begins March 1st and runs through until the end of the month.  The list of confirmed players includes Josh “JJprodigy” Fields, Bodog Ari, Annette “Annette15″ Obrestad, Sorel Mizzi, Eric “Rizen” Lynch, Jeff “Yellowsub” Williams, Garrett “GBecks” Beckman, Phil “USCphildo” Collins, Brett “Bhanks11″ Hanks, and Maria Ho.

The player who shows the greatest return will be featured on the cover of an upcoming issue of BLUFF Magazine.  “We wanted to find a way to recognize the best players online and give them a real challenge,” said Eric Morris, co-founder of BLUFF Media.  “By putting the winner on the cover of BLUFF we’re not only recognizing the achievement but also giving the players something to play for.”


To make the event as challenging as possible, players will not be permitted to reload their account at any time and only SNGs and MTTs are allowed.  Players are prohibited from playing in cash games as part of the challenge.  BLUFF Magazine will provide all participants with a Flip video camera to allow them to video blog on BLUFFMagazine.com. Players will be uploading new video posts on a daily basis throughout the challenge.


“The video blogs will give our readers some insight as to how these players are building their bankroll,” said Morris.  “Hopefully our readers will not only enjoy watching the competition but learn something from the videos as well as they build their own bankroll.”


Lock Poker is giving away one exclusive invitation to the challenge.  Beginning February 1st and running until February 28th players can play at LockPoker.com for a chance to win an invitation to the BOPC.  The person who collects the most Frequent Player Points over the month will be invited to participate.