Posts Tagged ‘Supreme Court’

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


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”?


Washington State in a Time of War

AgentMarco Monologue

by , Oct 1, 2010 | 12:18 am

One relatively new, outta-nowhere media person I’ve taken note of lately has been Marco from QuadJacks. He definitely brings something different to the tournament-interview table … and now seems to be working his shtick in current-events commentary.

From QuadJacks (download)

It’s a unique take on the poker world, imho, at a specific moment in time — specifically, here, amid the hubbub over PokerStars’ decision to shut down ops in Washington State.

Rally in Washington State Fixin’ to Get Underway

But will the Supreme Court fix online poker felony law?

by , May 27, 2010 | 9:02 am

Just to be clear for any poker players who may not know … Supreme Court decisions, both state and federal, are not made according to American Idol-style voting. Still that doesn’t mean the PPA can’t get together to bring issues to light, regardless of how the gavel falls … and that’s what they’re doing today in Washington State as Lee Rousso’s constitutional challenge to the Internet Gambling Ban gets heard.

Click here to watch public live public-affairs coverage from the Supreme Court in Olympia as the highest court in the far-far Northwest tackles the issue that has online poker players peaved like all get-out. Right now, the Court is asking questions about “welching” in online gambling … in a case apparently serving as the opening Act for Lee Rousso’s big show.

And click below for the results from a completely unscientific survey declaring four out of five poker players who chew gum prefer to not be imprisoned for playing on Full Tilt:


Elena Kagan Plays Poker

Supreme Court nominee noted in media as “accomplished player”

by , May 12, 2010 | 1:54 am

I know poker players sometimes forget there’s a whole non-poker world out there, but really there is … and one of the big stories in the big media these days is the nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan for US Supreme Court.

Turns out Kagan is known amongst her posse as something of a poker player. The only contemporary Kagan I could find in the Hendon Mob any player database is Matthew Kagan, from Cambridge, MA, who min-cashed in the 2005 WSOP main event. Definitely not her, but who knows, she’s got strong Harvard ties, maybe related … ?


Amongst the non-ideological superlatives: ABC’s Diane Sawyer trumpeted the “historic nomination” of the “five foot three inch powerhouse,” CBS’s Crawford insisted “her interests reflect her openness. She loves softball and poker” (poker reflects “openness”?) and NBC’s Pete Williams hailed her as an “accomplished poker player, opera lover.”

From CNN:

Kagan also plays poker and drinks beer, according to Litman, who described her as “someone who from early on has focused on the law’s impact on people’s lives.”

The Daily Show:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Release the Kagan

(Poker part at 1:30)


Kentucky Supreme Court Domain Hearing Today at 11AM ET

by , Oct 22, 2009 | 5:42 am

The Kentucky Supreme Court will be holding a hearing at 11am ET today regarding the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s efforts in seizing 141 domain names. A live stream of the arguments will be available on the Supreme Court site for those wanting to watch the proceedings, with updates available over at the Poker Players Alliance website. iMEGA’s site should also have their own analysis of the proceedings this afternoon.

For those interested, video of the hearing is now available below:

Kentucky Domain Case Goes to State Supreme Court

by , Sep 13, 2009 | 7:13 am

Mark it on your calendars (or just check back here) around October 22. The case of the Governor Beshear and the Commonwealth of Kentucky trying to claim the ability to seize 141 online gaming domains, or “gambling devices” as they were called, to keep them from accessing Kentucky residents will see the halls of the KY Supreme Court next month on an appeal from the Commonwealth.

Many months ago, a group of organizations representing internet freedoms and the rights of online gambling companies won an important appeal in the Kentucky court system, and that victory prohibited the Commonwealth from proceeding with its attempted seizure of those domains. The state promised to appeal to the Supreme Court, and that latest appeal was granted this month. Those fighting the state on the matter include iMEGA (Internet Media Entertainment & Gaming Association), PPA (Poker Players Alliance), ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), CDT (Center for Democracy and Technology, EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation), Internet Commerce Association, eBay, and Network Solutions. (Can we win on number of appellees alone?)

According to iMEGA’s announcement:

The Supreme Court has set oral argument in Commonwealth of Kentucky v. IMEGA, et al for 11 a.m. on Thursday October 22, 2009 in the Supreme Court courtroom. The order allots 15 minutes for each side.

“We’ve been waiting for this for a long time, and we’re going to win again,” said Joe Brennan Jr., iMEGA’s chairman. “From the beginning, Kentucky law has clearly supported our position, and a win in the State Supreme Court will put the final emphasis on that.”

Supreme Poker

by , Aug 21, 2009 | 1:00 pm

The Hoover Institution Archives at Stanford recently released a slew of papers kept by the late Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist. Interestingly enough, a fellow home game player Walter Berns had a few notes included about the last games played with Rehnquist, as well as the names of other Justices who currently play – Roberts and Scalia. The Blog of Legal Times noted:

Reached at AEI, Berns said this week that Rehnquist had first announced his illness to his fellow poker players during a game the previous fall. It was the last game he attended, a sad occasion. Berns, who joked that he is the “corresponding secretary” of the games, said he has records of more than 200 poker evenings going back to the 1980s.

The games go on, Berns said. “The new chief [John Roberts Jr.] replaced the old chief.” Among others who play, according to Berns, are Justice Antonin Scalia, D.C. Circuit Court judge David Sentelle, and Robert Bennett, a partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.