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Dicristina Appeal Brings Poker Players Together

shutterstock_71912029Lawrence Dicristina is a semi-private poker game organiser who was acquitted by federal judge Jack Weinstein on gambling charges. During the appeal, numerous profesional poker players and amateurs, as well as organisations such as the Poker Players Alliance filed briefs in his support. These friends of the court briefs were aimed to prove that the games organised by Dicristina don’t qualify as gambling and that poker itself is a game of skill rather than luck.

EDNY authorities try to prove the contrary and their best argument is that they’ve brought the case under the IGBA despite the fact that the Illegal Gambling Business Act didn’t add poker on the lost of forbidden gambling activities. The federal judge who acquitted Dicristina affirmed that poker is rather a game of skill than gambling and it is this statement that poker players and organisations tried to build on.

The brief submitted by the Poker Players Alliance emphasised the fact that poker was intentionally left out of the list of gambling activities. Poker is one of the most popular games in the United States and has played a central role in American culture, which could explain the IGBA’s decision to omit it. The authorities on the other hand are relentless in their attempt of stretching the statute to cover poker and claim that it can be easily assimilated to gambling.

Poker pros Selbst, Sexton, Little and Raymer filed another brief that is aimed at proving that poker is all about mathematical skills, the ability to observe opponents and to weave intricate strategies. Their claims were supported by another brief filed by a Professor Hannum from the University of Denver who teaches Risk Analysis and Gaming. This is not the first time that mister Hannum assists poker players in their legal battles, with his former briefs serving their interest in another Colorado court case.

The interest of Chamath Palihapitiya is easier to explain, as he is both an investor and a poker player, who owns the Social Capital Partnership venture. Amateur poker players from New York got involved as well with their brief using Sheree Bykofsky’s book as a reference in support of their claims that poker is a game of skill. Bridge and Scrabble professional players found several similarities between poker and their games of choice and suggested in their briefs that all of them are based on strategy and expertise.

Former lawyers Robert J. Cleary and Roscoe C. Howard filed briefs of their own, in which they claim that the government is wrong to tie the game of poker with the organised crime.


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