Players Alliance backs Colorado appeal

Colorado Rocky Mountains

The Poker Players Alliance has come out behind an appeal of a Colorado court's ruling that poker is a game of chance not skill.

"Given the Weld County District Court judge's ruling that poker is gambling because of the small element of chance in the dealing of cards, one could easily presume that any game that depends even a little on chance - from Monopoly to Yahtzee to Candy Land - is gambling and therefore illegal in the state of Colorado," said John Pappas, executive director of the PPA.

"We clearly think this is the wrong interpretation of the law, especially in regard to poker."

In 2008, five people were arrested and charged with illegal gambling at a $20 buy-in No Limit Hold'em tournament held in a Colorado bar, including tournament organizer Kevin Raley.

After arguing that poker is a game of skill, and therefore not gambling, Raley was acquitted and charges were dropped against the other four defendants.

During the trial, University of Denver professor Bob Hannum was called to testify that poker is indeed a skill game.

In an effort to clarify Colorado's laws regarding poker, the state appealed the ruling that Hannum be allowed to testify.

On Aug. 4 a County District Court Judge ruled poker is already considered gambling under Colorado law and Hannum's testimony should not have been allowed.

Although the state will not re-file the charges, Raley is now planning to appeal of the decision in the Colorado Supreme Court.

"The choice to petition the Colorado Supreme Court is about more than me or my friends," Raley said. "It's about all poker players' opportunity to ensure that current Colorado law recognizes that poker is a game of skill and is based on much more than the luck of the draw.

"So much has changed regarding poker and how the game is perceived publicly; it is disheartening to see this great game treated as a crime because of a misapplication of the law."

The PPA has more than one million U.S. members including more than 13,000 in Colorado and is standing firmly behind Raley.

"The PPA is going to do everything in its power to support Mr. Raley's efforts in order to protect PPA members and all poker players in the state of Colorado," said the PPA's Colorado State Director, Gary Reed.

"I am especially alarmed because this ruling ignores the abundance of research that proves poker is a game of skill and confuses rather than clarifies the matter for law enforcement."

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