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Pennsylvania: poker organiser guilty as jury favours chance over skill

The Pittsburgh Post reports that a Pennsylvania poker game organiser's defence that poker is a game predominentely of skill and therefore falls outside gambling law restrictions has failed in a local court.

65-year-old Lawrence Burns was charged with twelve different illegal gambling misdemeanours in 2007 after enforcement officials accused him of running poker tournaments at two local fire halls.

Although he admitted to organising the tournaments, Burns argued that it fell outside the definition of illegal gambling because the games involved skill and the application of learned techniques to win, more than chance.

Calling expert evidence to bolster his claims, Burns was supported by University of Denver professor Dr. Robert Hannum, who testified that poker is not a game of chance, referencing a computer simulation that showed skilled players winning 960 million times out of one billion over non-skilled players. The professor has also been used as an expert witness in a Colorado case.

Burns also called a second expert - Susquehanna University professor Matthew Rousu - who testified and produced statistical evidence that poker is a game predominently of skill.

But after two hours of deliberation, the 12-person jury rejected the expert opinions, finding Burns guilty on all counts as the week ended.

Burns is planning to appeal the case.

Source: InfoPowa News

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