Sweden Court Rules Poker a Game of Skill
A Swedish appeals court has greatly reduced the senteces of four men who were convicted of arranging a Texas Hold’em poker tournament of 700 players. The Court Of Appeal concluded in its ruling that the number of hands dealt in a long poker tournament reduces the importance of chance to the game’s outcome.
Experts believe this ruling could pave the way for competion to the gambling monopoly Svenska Spel, which currently runs the country’s only online poker room.
Organizing a poker tournament in Grebbestad Sweden in March 2007 lead to the men being convicted of serious illegal gambling by Uddevala District Court in April 2008, which in Sweden means the game must depend substantially on chance rather than player’s skill. The new appeals court ruling stated that a player could have been dealt 40 cards during the tournament, which would reduce the importance of chance to the game’s outcome. In a tournament this large, the players’ ability to analyze the game was more important than the cards dealt to them.
All charges were changed from serious illegal gambling to illegal gambling. The tournament also included a large number of side games where a significantly lower number of hands could be dealt, which the court ruled to increase the importance of chance to the outcome. It stated that this is why the charges of ‘illegal gambling’ still applied.