A federal judge ruled today that poker is more a game of skill than chance, a ruling embraced by advocates who want to legalize Internet poker in the United States. Judge Jack Weinstein in Brooklyn relied extensively on the findings of a defense expert who analyzed online poker games. The ruling tossed out a jury's July conviction of a man charged with conspiring to operate an illegal underground poker club. He was prosecuted under a law created to stop organized crime families from cashing in on gambling.
"Because the poker played on the defendant's premises is not predominately a game of chance, it is not gambling" as defined in the federal law, the judge wrote. Attorney Tom Goldstein, who made arguments before Weinstein on behalf of the Poker Players Alliance, called the decision a validation for poker players, the tens of millions of people who play the game and believe they are not gambling, taking a chance, but exercising skill in playing against each other. (Read more poker stories.)