Posts Tagged ‘South Carolina’

South Carolina Moves Closer to Less Crazy-Illegal Poker

Senate advances bill to legalize social home games

by , Jan 26, 2011 | 10:50 am

south carolina poker flag

Don’t Check-Raise Me: A South Carolina law permitting more-good real-money friendly poker appears be on the horizon.

Small-but-big victory for poker players in South Carolina yesterday … with the state’s senate judiciary committee voting 15-6 to debate a bill on the floor that would emphatically legalize poker home games.

The need to revise SC gambling laws came to the fore when players busted in a raid on a private residence in 2006 decided to fight their tickets on the basis that poker was a game of skill, and therefore not in violation of the an 1802 law that may or may not have made playing Texas Hold’em — and Monopoly or Parcheesi for that matter — ticketable misdemeanors. The Poker Players Alliance, in one of their first non-UIGEA undertakings, provided legal assistance in that case, which is currently pending in South Carolina’s supreme court … lower courts having already acknowledged that poker is indeed more a game of skill than chance.

The PPA has since led grassroots efforts in SC to get the current bipartisan bill to the Senate floor, and seems to have engaged the Spartanburg Tea Party’s support. To be honest, I wasn’t sure at first if their “action alert” was a call to push for passage or the opposite. However, the relative ease with which the bill moved through committee suggests Tea Partiers are finally coming around to see that most poker legislation lines up with their stated beliefs.

In addition to permitting home games (owhile forbidding taking a rake from such endeavors), S. 254 provides card players grounds for suing someone welching on a bet, and explicitly spells out the illegality of video poker. Not sure if any of those lines could be (mis?)construed to penalize anyone playing online poker in South Carolina or even just printing out hand histories … not to mention using a poker genie in your neighborhood sit-n-go. But still arguably better than the 209-year-old gambling law it looks to replace.

Read the full bill here, and below for the specific section relevant to poker played in private residences for no rake:


Another Shootout in South Carolina: Player Killed

by , Nov 14, 2010 | 10:08 pm

photo: WYFF4 – Greenville
No charges have been filed, despite yellow tape identifying this site of a deadly poker game as a crime scene.

This time it was player-on-player violence … leaving one man dead and another injured after a gunfight broke out early morning at a warehouse poker game in Anderson County, SC.

Jermaine LeCorey Scott, 34, supposedly was losing in the wee hours of a game last week, and at some point pulled a gun on five other players. Though not clear whether or not the triggering incident had anything to do with a bad beat or involved accusations of cheating, police contend Scott was attempting to rob his opponents … even though he was not wearing a mask like most (99 percent?) armed poker robbers.

From local news reports: Channel 4 (with video), more Channel 4, Channel 7

Players supposedly called flagged down police at a nearby intersection around 7 am on Tuesday to report the shooting, and deputies arrived to find two men shot, lying on the ground in the empty warehouse, which may or may not have been cleared of poker supplies before their arrival. Scott died at the hospital from multiple gunshot wounds a few hours later. The other player, unnamed, had bullet wounds to his hand and a concealed weapon permit. Police investigators have ruled the deadly shooting a matter of self-defense — justifiable homicide — and say they have no plans to press any charges.


Poker Raid in South Carolina: 1 Player, 1 Cop Shot

Violent standoff and hefty charges in uncertain battleground state [Pictures]

by , Nov 4, 2010 | 4:14 pm

A relatively routine raid of a low-stakes poker game in Greenville, South Carolina turned bloody yesterday night — as police tried to gain entry to a poker house. The game host, now known to be Aaron Awtry, 72, shot through the front door, striking sheriff’s deputy Matthew May with a bullet that went through his arm.

A vice squad in SWAT gear returned fire, hitting Awtry with multiple rounds in his arm and thumb … which was followed by a 20-minute standoff between cops and players, according to a spokesman for the Greenville County Sheriff’s Department. Both shooting victims were taken to the hospital where they are in stable condition.

There were 12 people and Awtry in the house at 502 Pine Knoll Drive when police arrived at about 9:20 pm last night. According to frontline witnesses, they had just finished a small buy-in dinnertime tourney … and a 1/2 cash game was just getting underway when someone saw 5-0 approaching on a security monitor. Before he could clearly vocalize an alert, a battery ram begin slamming the front door and players froze. Awtry, who players say has notoriously bad hearing in his senior years and presumably believed the game was being robbed, began shooting at the door with his pistol, firing “at least once” according to a player, “multiple shots” according to police. At least four officers returned fire at the door with at least 20 bullets from their higher-powered assault weapons.

As Awtry fell back into the poker room entryway, he balked, “Why didn’t you tell me it was the cops?”

click to enlarge


Rabbit Hunt

by , Oct 26, 2010 | 9:59 am

Episode 23
The Rabbit Hunt is here, with special guest Corwin [vital]myth Cole and they’re talking about the latest WSOP-C and WPT news, Poker Hall of Fame inductees, the latest poker court cases in South Carolina and Illinois, and Ladbrokes Poker’s new anonymous tables.

South Carolina Supreme Court Hears Poker’s Case

PPA attorneys argue personal freedom, private residence AND skill

by , Oct 19, 2010 | 2:49 pm

The PPA speaks out on the South Carolina Supreme Court’s game-of-skill hearing, where they helped provide legal counsel for the five players contesting their misdemeanor illegal gambling convictions.

This case has nothing to do with casinos or video poker.  This case is about the freedom of adults to play a game of skill, like poker, in their own home and that is it.

– John Pappas, Poker Players Alliance

Fair enough. But it does stand to set precedent and interpretation that other states will at least look at upon (finally) recognizing their own old gambling laws may not really work in today’s day and age.

Sure, we all know that poker is a game of skill and therefore Truth is on poker’s side here, but that may not be the deciding factor when all is said and done. Likewise, the private residence argument could ring a bit hollow because we all know the difference between a self-dealt home game and a for-profit poker room.

But regardless, clarity in and of itself could be a worthy end-result, no? Is it legal to host a weekly sit-n-go and take a “rake” for pizza and beer? What about to pay for nice tables and utilities? Professional dealer maybe? Would it make a difference if you operated as a non-profit? And If an undercover cop wins the bad-beat jackpot, do they have make-up in their backing deal with taxpayers?

Obviously, the South Carolina Supreme Court won’t be making such scenario-specific determinations. However … assuming they don’t just kick it back like Kentucky and Washington did (saying essentially, “eh, not our call”) … this court is being asked to decide, ultimately, just how far the government’s reach extends when dealing with a game of skill played for money … and that’s a question powerful people are wrangling with in different jurisdictions all around the world.

If you haven’t already, help Pokerati determine where poker falls on the spectrum of luck vs. skill here, and read below for the PPA’s official take on today’s important poker activity in South Carolina:


S. Carolina Supreme Court to Decide: Game of Skill or Luck?

Unscientific poll on how much of each

by , Oct 18, 2010 | 9:53 am

Poker is back in the state-level Supreme Courts … this time in South Carolina, with five appointed justices set to decide if playing Texas Hold’em in a private residence is a crime.

The decision, which will likely reverberate throughout the Carolina underground and beyond, will rely heavily on matters of skill and chance involved in poker, as gamecock law calls for a “dominate factor test” to determine whether or not a game violates South Carolina gambling statutes. Like we saw in Kentucky and Washington, the SC SC will just be hearing arguments tomorrow, for about 30 minutes from both sides combined, and not issuing a ruling for a few months. But when they do … well read below for what’s at stake beyond a few misdemeanor convictions.

In the meantime … we know there’s skill in poker, but how much is often debatable. Where on the continuum do you draw the lines for these different “games”?


Gambling Charges Officially Dismissed against South Carolina Players

by , Oct 2, 2009 | 5:44 am

Just a technical update, I believe … but courts in South Carolina have officially and full-on thrown out gambling charges against five South Carolinians caught up in a poker raid (that nabbed 20), after having their convictions reversed at least in part on the grounds that poker is a game of skill.

“It is important to note that while we have successfully argued that poker – specifically Texas Hold’em – is a game that is predominantly skill, this does not open the door to any other game found in a casino, since we would agree that every other game found in a casino are unquestionably a game of chance,“ [Greenville Attorney Jeff] Phillips said.

“Although this opinion is a Circuit Court opinion, and thus has no binding authority over other courts in the state, this is a huge victory for the tens of thousands of South Carolina citizens who enjoy the great game of poker. It is our hope that other judges in other counties will see the tremendous logic of this opinion and find it to be persuasive in the cases that come before their courts. Should the Attorney General decide to appeal this decision, the Court of Appeals or Supreme Court will then have the opportunity to make this opinion the law of our state.”

The South Carolina legislature will likely consider a bill proposed by Senator Glenn McConnell that would make some sense of gambling activities throughout the state.

More on that bill here and here.

South Carolina Appeals Court Reverses Poker Convictions

Judge says Texas Hold’em a game of skill

by , Sep 18, 2009 | 3:26 pm

Five South Carolina poker players convicted of gambling in February — after a raid on a private home in 2006 — had their convictions overturned on appeal yesterday.

From the Post and Courier:

In a letter that supports the argument that Texas Hold ‘Em is a game of skill, not one of chance, Circuit Judge R. Markley Dennis said this week it is his opinion the state Supreme Court would likely adopt “the dominate factor test” in deciding the case.

Under the dominate factor test, Texas Hold ‘Em is not gaming or gambling, the judge wrote, which would make it illegal under state law.

He also said the law covering the play “is ambiguous and must be construed in favor of appellants.”

The South Carolina law the judge is referring to was written in 1802.

Both sides expect the state to appeal the appeal to the SC Supreme Court.

Good News from the US! Bad news from the EU!

Perspectives Weekly

by , Mar 14, 2009 | 6:50 pm

Online gambling gets some good news in America, as the new US Trade Representative promises to follow the WTO rules! This as the European Union puts the online gambling in the back seat. Plus, what the hell is wrong with the government of South Carolina?

Barney Frank Aims to Flat-out Erase the UIGEA

Perspectives Tuesday

by , Feb 24, 2009 | 5:01 am

Why nueter the UIGEA regulations when you can just repeal the whole damn thing? That’s what Barney Frank says he’s going to do next month! Plus we are following industry news from California to South Carolina, stopping along the way to talk about a few affiliate programs.

Perspectives Friday: Legal States

by , Feb 20, 2009 | 4:18 pm

We wrap up the week in online gambling with our exclusive interview of Nick Jenkins from about his battle with the Washington State Gambling Commission. Plus, breaking poker news from South Carolina and the European Union’s next move!

South Carolina Courtroom Updates

Poker a game of skill, judge says, but you’re still guilty of gambling!

by , Feb 18, 2009 | 12:45 pm

Game of Skill ruling expected tomorrow … can we get another state to testify? All looks good for poker.

The PPA is there covering the proceedings via Twitter.

UPDATE: The ruling is now in, and the judge states there’s “overwhelming” evidence that poker is a game of skill. However, the five defendants were found guilty of running a gambling house.

South Carolina Court to Decide: Is Poker a Game of Skill?

Kentucky courts update, too

by , Dec 15, 2008 | 9:10 am

Poker is having its day in court, that’s for sure. One case getting press all over South Carolina comes from a busted $20 tourney being held in a private home — raided in 2006 by heavily armed police — where 5 of the 25 arrested have refused generous plea bargains and are trying to persuade a presumably non-poker jury that poker Texas Hold’em is indeed a game of skill. A judge has ruled that the defendants do indeed have the right to present witnesses and evidence to make to support this claim. A court date is expected to be set for later this winter.

More here ( and here (Up for Poker).

This is exactly how California became California, poker-wise — it took arguments about skill in the courts to pave the way for all the great poker there. I don’t know the details of the cases, but Mike Caro was one of the guys who testified, bringing charts and graphs to show statistics of specific games — hold’em, Stud, and 5-card Draw, I believe.

Meanwhile, also going on last week and drawing lots of non-poker attention (Lexington Herald-Leader, Business Week, … a Kentucky Court of Appeals will attempt to begin to start to decide: Does a single US state have the right to venture across its own borders to seize internet domains of businesses based in Costa Rica and run out of a protected Indian nation in Canada … and who will get to hold onto these domains while the courts figure it all out. The court will supposedly be making its decision in January, and judicial facial tells suggest poker is leading in this court 2-1.

You know, the evidence thing has me thinking … one of the hardest things for Kentucky to prove in their case will be that online gambling does actually hurt regulated Kentucky gambling interests. You don’t have to look much further than the WSOP to present actual numbers refuting this claim. So what evidence will Gov. Beshear and the state be able to present — they have the burden of proof, after all — that suggests the opposite? I don’t think it exists, at least nothing stronger than what the poker side could present.