As Stephen A. Murphy over at CardPlayer suggests, this news perhaps comes as a bit of a head-scratcher. But then again, poker players have come to expect high variance when it comes to state courtsâ€™ attempts to decide the issue of whether poker is a game of skill or chance.
Reversing a ruling from early last year, a Pennsylvania appeals court this week ruled that poker was more chance-based than skill-based, thus making it a form of â€œunlawful gamblingâ€ according to the stateâ€™s predominance test. The court voted 2-1, with Judge Robert Freedberg authoring the opinion. â€œWhile the outcome of poker may be dependent on skill to some degree,â€ wrote Freedburg, â€œit is predominantly a game of chance.â€
The ruling thus goes against the January 2009 decision in the case concerning a private home game of $1/$2 no-limit holdâ€™em. In that one, Judge Thomas James explained that â€œin conjunction with analyzing skill versus chance… it is apparent that skill predominates over chance in Texas Holdâ€™em poker.â€
The Poker Players Alliance chimed in to express â€œdisappointmentâ€ in the ruling. The defendantsâ€™ lawyer has suggested the case will likely be headed to the stateâ€™s Supreme Court.
Read more about the Judge Freedbergâ€™s decision over at CardPlayer.com.