August 10, 2010

The battle to outlaw poker rages on

Filed under: Gaming,General by Orangemaster @ 10:57 am

Back 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, irritated the Attorney General who wants to outlaw these poker games and is appealing the decision. Since the government has a monopoly on games of chance, it is missing out on this poker money.

In the mean time, while the Dutch have been months without a government (we had elections, but the parties can’t agree who will form the coalition), a café in the town of Glane in Twente is playing poker to its heart’s content. The current (‘demissionary’) Minister of Justice told the café to stop, but the court ruling is still on the café’s side: poker is currently considered a game of skill and not a game of chance.

So, the question still stands: will poker games be outlawed or will the appeal work? First, a new government and then we’ll see.


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July 3, 2010

Poker considered game of skill by court

Filed under: Gaming,General,Sports by Branko Collin @ 2:15 pm

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?

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