Poker considered game of skill by court


Against heavy odds, a poker tournament organiser was declared not guilty by the criminal court of The Hague last Friday, Algemeen Dagblad reports.

Earlier judgements, including one of the Dutch High Court had, held that poker is a game of chance. The defendant, who had organised a Texas Hold’em tournament in The Hague in 2006, argued successfully to the contrary.

The three judges weighed expert opinion, the opinions within the poker community (the prosecution had claimed that poker was generally considered a game of chance), and the opinion of the defendant. The court also held that a general principle of law such as presumption of innocence had to be adhered to: the prosecution was expected to show scientific evidence that poker is not a game of skill.

Finally when looking at the little scientific evidence available, the court favoured the research by Peter Born and Ben van der Genugten (2009) over psychologist W.A. Wagenaar’s study. The latter argued that whether a poker game is a game of chance also depends on the individual players’ perception of the game. The judges felt that this made Wagenaar’s model unsuitable for predicting whether a specific game or tournament is a game of chance.

In the Netherlands, the government has the monopoly over games of chance.

Are there any lawyers in the house willing to predict what this verdict will mean for future poker tournaments in the Netherlands?

1 Comment »

  1. […] in July, an organiser of a Texas Hold’em poker game in The Hague was found not guilty, as his tournament was considered a game of skill rather than a game of chance. This, of course, […]

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