Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

Features

September 22, 2012

Poker pro: Don't criminalize my livelihood

To a poker pro, it's brutally obvious that the game is one of skill, not chance. I've made my living over the past nine years by having an edge on my opponents. I didn't somehow get lucky over hundreds of thousands of hands, and I've yet to meet a person who thinks I did. Poker is a strategy game, requiring logic, mathematics, psychology and intuition to play well. This statement is hardly debatable — but it was still nice to hear a federal judge agree with it.

In United States v. DiCristina, U.S. District Judge Jack Weinstein ruled last month that poker is a game of skill and therefore not a violation of the Illegal Gambling Business Act (IGBA). The news is unequivocally good for poker players, setting a precedent that other courts may look to. And yet, it's hardly cause for celebration.

The IGBA was enacted in 1970 to crack down on organized crime. It was never intended to prevent ordinary people from playing poker — the statute does not include the game on its list of gambling activities.

But plenty of state laws do. In New York, where I live, poker is considered gambling; even home games are illegal, if common. The same is true in Maryland, New Jersey and many other states. Just this past week, delegates to the Republican National Convention endorsed a platform that includes support for "the prohibition of gambling over the Internet."

Against such opposition, Weinstein's ruling is a narrow victory. It does nothing to reverse anti-poker legislation, nor does it prevent Congress from passing more restrictions. I'm glad that we poker players are not gangsters in the eyes of the IGBA, but the IGBA hasn't been anywhere close to our biggest impediment.

What is it about poker that makes the game a target of paternalistic laws? It can't simply be the money at risk — billions of dollars are gambled on Wall Street every day with the enthusiastic support of the federal government. If wagers are legitimate in finance, then they should be okay in a card room. Poker isn't craps — a game in which, according to the laws of probability, players will always lose in the long run. In poker, there are good bets and bad bets, and players have to figure out which are which.

Text Only
Features
  • nws - bv081214 - schebler A Wales of a time While most college students covet having the summer off, Emily Schebler, a Ball State University sophomore, has spent the last six weeks delving deep into everything Welsh.The daughter of Rob and Marta Schebler, Batesville, was selected to participat

    August 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • nws - bv081214 - schebler A Wales of a time While most college students covet having the summer off, Emily Schebler, a Ball State University sophomore, has spent the last six weeks delving deep into everything Welsh.The daughter of Rob and Marta Schebler, Batesville, was selected to participat

    August 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • nws - bv080814 - EC orientation ECHS freshmen welcomed ST. LEON – East Central High School administrators and staff members decided to try something different on the first day of school. In the past, motivational speakers have discussed various topics with students, but this year, after the teens went to

    August 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • How county seniors stay young BROOKVILLE – “You don’t stop being active because you get old, you get old because you stop being active.” That’s how the modern altruism goes and that’s the reason behind the Franklin County Senior Center, according to executive director Cathy Pelso

    August 8, 2014

  • nws - bv080114 - roell car Retired farmer wins a new car Floyd Roell had a feeling. Last year, he bought a ticket for the St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway, but had no premonition. This year, the giveaway kept popping up in front of his face, reminding him about his granddaughter, but still no sixth sense.“This

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • nws - bv072914 - kids kick drugs (new) 'You can say no' to drugs About 50 youngsters participated in the Southeastern Indiana YMCA’s Kids Kick Drugs program July 26. Master George Dwenger (a person receives the title of Master after completing the 4th Degree Black Belt) told the youngsters, “First and most importa

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • nws - bv070814 - muething RAA gave theater founder his start When John Leo Muething was 5 and living in Batesville, his three older siblings and parents, Dr. Steve and Meg Muething, starred in the Rural Alliance for the Arts production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” but, much to his dismay,

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • nws - bv070814 - jeffers West Point graduation Jeffers savors West Point experience Tom Jeffers, a 2010 Batesville High School graduate, recently graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point. The Fort Sill, Oklahoma, resident is the son of former Batesville residents Tom and Kathleen Jeffers, Alexandria, Virginia,

    July 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • nws - bv062714 - STEM - sara bauer Students learn valuable STEM skills Two area students attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point’s Middle School STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) Workshop June 2-5.Alexandra Cottingham, Batesville, daughter of Rebecca Krieger Cottingham and Michael Cottingham,

    June 27, 2014 2 Photos

  • nws - bv062014 - Eckstein family Cancer hits home for local family Cancer survivors and those who have lost their fight with the disease will be honored during the June 21-22 Ripley County Relay for Life. One local individual who will be remembered is Mark Eckstein, Batesville, who worked for the Batesville Water an

    June 20, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
AP Video
US: We Do Not Pay Ransom to Terrorists Ferguson Teachers Training to Deal With Trauma Jon Hamm on the Unrest in Ferguson Tit for Tat? McDonald's Shuttered in Moscow Life on the Professional Video Game Circuit TX Gov Perry in Washington: 'Confident' in Case Hospital Releases Two Missionaries Who Had Ebola Ramen Health Risks: The Dark Side of the Noodle NYC Doctor-in-chief Seeks Community Approach Indonesian Police Fire Tear Gas at Protesters Raw: Shots Fired in Liberian Shantytown DOJ, Bank of America Reach Record Settlement Raw: Cubavision Airs Images of Fidel Castro Raw: Grief After Deadly Airstrikes in Gaza Officer Who Pointed Gun at Protesters Suspended Kathy Griffin Challenges Minaj to 'a Booty Off' Johnson: Six Arrests, No Tear Gas in Ferguson Raw: Rescue, Relief Efforts at Japan Landslide Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream California Drought Stings Honeybees, Beekeepers
Seasonal Content
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Facebook