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Supreme Court Will Get Final Say In Pennsylvania Poker Issue


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People who play the game of poker in the comfort of their own homes thought they had a victory last month when Pennsylvania Judge Thomas James ruled in a case that poker was a game of skill. He dismissed charges against two defendants that were running house games.

Then, this week, another Pennsylvania judge, Richard McCormick, contradicted James ruling by making one of his own that poker was a game of chance. That took some of the air out of the poker playing community.

Now, after those two separate rulings, it appears that the decision as to whether poker is a game of skill or one of luck will be up to the state Supreme Court. That ruling could come down in the near future.

In the second case, which took place in Westmoreland County, the defendant was taking a piece of each hand that was played. In poker terms it is called a rake. The fact that the game was being played for house profit makes it a slightly different situation that the case in Columbia County.

Judge James’ ruling was an important one because never before had any court in the state of Pennsylvania acknowledged poker as a game of skill. State law is specific to illegal gambling being defined as a game of chance.

Due to the current popularity of the game of poker and the amount of criminal cases that are popping up because of the game, attorneys in Pennsylvania do not expect there to be a long delay before the Supreme Court rules on the matter.

Fifteen Poker Gambling Arrests Made In Sandy Springs, Georgia

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The game of poker is moving along, not harming anybody, yet authorities still like to make the game a scapegoat for their gambling busts. The latest instance occurred in Sandy Springs, Georgia.

Fifteen people were arrested at a residence where authorities claim there was illegal commercial gambling taking place. Police raided the $650,000 house on Sunday. Lt. Steve Rose was quick to point out the seriousness of the crimes.

Rose, the spokesman for the Sandy Springs police department said that “enormous” amounts of poker chips were found along with two poker tables in the basement at the home. Chairs, a bar, and food were also being served at the house.

“In order to play poker, the game requires poker chips, cards, chairs, and tables. Just because these items were found at the house does not mean there was any illegal activity taking place. authorities really have to find something better to do with their time than bust these friendly house poker games,” said observer Brian Tridwell.

Of the people that were arrested, eleven were men and four were women. Three were charged with felony counts of commercial gambling and will have to face a judge in Fulton County Superior Court. The others will have to appear in Sandy Springs City Court.

Judges in Colorado and Pennsylvania have recently thrown out poker related charges after ruling that the game of poker was one of skill and not luck.

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