Is poker gambling? Colorado Supreme Court may decide |

Is poker gambling? Colorado Supreme Court may decide

Andy Vuong
The Denver Post

A battle over the legalities of poker is headed to the Colorado Supreme Court.

The Poker Players Alliance, an advocacy group, said today that one of its members will petition the state’s high court for a review of a district court’s ruling this month that poker is considered gambling under Colorado law.

“We clearly think this is the wrong interpretation of the law, especially in regard to poker, and the PPA is committed to helping demonstrate to the Colorado Supreme Court the broad academic research that exists showing that poker is indeed a game of skill,” PPA executive director John Pappas said in a statement.

The case stems from an undercover probe by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation last year into a $20 buy-in Texas Hold’em tournament at a Greeley watering hole.

Five people were arrested and charged with illegal gambling. In January, a county court jury acquitted Kevin Raley, one of the organizers of the game and the first defendant to go to trial. Charges against the others were then dropped.

During trial, Raley argued, among other things, that poker is a game of skill and not a game of chance. Illegal gambling occurs when a game has chance, risk (such as a buy-in) and reward. If poker is deemed a game of skill, then it would not fall under Colorado’s gambling statutes.

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