The Week That Was: Poker Ruled a Game of Skill; Cartwright and Smith Prove It

Dan Smith won his fifth title of the year at EPT Barcelona. (Photo Courtesy PokerStars/ Neil Stoddart)

For as long as people have been playing poker, poker players have been telling anybody that would listen that poker is a game of skill and not luck. This week a high-ranking judge in New York agreed and ruled officially that the game played by millions of Americans is all about who the better player is, not who’s got the best cards. Not that Judge Jack Weinstein needed any help, but he got some help from some of the game’s most respected grinders this week as Kyle Cartwright and Dan Smith both posted historic wins.

NY Judge Rules Poker as a Game of Skill

The biggest news of the week came on Tuesday when Judge Jack Weinstein ruled that poker was a game of skill and can not be considered gambling under the Illegal Gambling Business Act. The ruling came in a case involving Lawrence Dicristina, who had been convicted of running an illegal gambling business for being the man behind a No Limit Hold’em game, saw the original ruling overturned.

“Poker is a game in which skill predominantly determines the outcome. In poker the players compete against each other on a level playing field, and use an array of talents toinfluence and indeed control the outcome of the game. Although the deal of the cards is a chance element within the game, it only rarely determines the outcome of a hand, and does not determine the outcome of the game over the long run,” Judge Weinstein ruled.

The Poker Players Alliance, who worked with Dicristina’s legal team, was celebrating the decision.

“As we worked for years defending players against vague gambling laws, we have patiently waited for the right opportunity to raise the issue in federal court,” said Poker Players Alliance Executive Director John Pappas. “Today’s federal court ruling is a major victory for the game of poker and the millions of Americans who enjoy playing it. Judge Weinstein’s thoughtful decision recognizes what we have consistently argued for years: poker is not a crime, it is a game of skill. As the judge’s opinion aptly notes, poker is an American pastime that is deeply embedded in the history and fabric of our nation and his decision sets aside the notion that the vague laws render the game criminal.”

The PPA has posted the full 120-page ruling available here.

Five Rings for Kyle Cartwright

Prior to Monday only one player had earned five WSOP-Circuit rings. That all changed though when Kyle Cartwright won the WSOPC Main Event in Biloxi, MS. Cartwright beat a field of 300 players to win $107,992 and his fifth gold ring.

Now that Cartwright has filled up one hand he has plans to move on to filling up his other hand.

“It’s been about two years and I hope to get a lot more in the next few years. If someone gets six, I want seven. Whatever the record is, I want it,” Cartwright said after winning.

Former November Niner John Dolan finished third for $48,429.

Cartwright won his fourth ring in April and won the first three in 2011.

WSOP Circuit Biloxi Main Event Final Table Payouts

  1. Kyle Cartwright – $107,992
  2. Brad Johnson – $66,744
  3. John Dolan – $48,429
  4. Cory Wood – $35,730
  5. Jesus Cabrera – $26,798
  6. Dennis Pasentine – $20,421
  7. Tony Hatley – $15,804
  8. Peter Shashy – $12,420
  9. Patrick Eskander – $9,909

By the Numbers: WSOP-Circuit Biloxi

Dan Smith Wins EPT Barcelona Super High Roller; Takes Over Player of the Year Lead

Dan Smith is having a helluva year. On Sunday he claimed his fifth win of 2012 and second seven-figure score when he won the European Poker Tour High Roller event in Barcelona, Spain. Smith won €962,925 ($1,188,933 US) after beating a field of 55 players in the €50,000 buy-in event. The  final table included Erik Seidel, Mike McDonald, Ilari Sahamies and runner-up JC Alvarado.

The win not only boosted Smith’s bankroll but it also moved him ahead of Marvin Rettenmaier for the lead in the BLUFF Player of the Year race. Smith also won the $100,000 Challenge at the 2012 Aussie Millions and three separate $5,000 buy-in events at the EPT Grand Final in April

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Lance Bradley

Editor in Chief at
Editor in Chief: Lance Bradley began working with BLUFF in March 2008 and was named Editor in Chief in August 2009. Prior to joining BLUFF Bradley launched an independent poker blog, in 2006. Before entering the world of poker media he was the Poker Room Manager for Bodog from January 2004 until June 2006. He graduated from the Applied Journalism program Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Vancouver, Canada.
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