Sweden's Top Judges Given Poker Lesson To Prove SkillFebruary 23, 2011 10:38 am
Some of Sweden’s highest ranking judges lined up for a lesson in playing poker recently, as part of a case to determine whether Texas Hold’em is a game of chance or skill.
A successful and experienced poker player was tasked with helping convince Sweden’s Supreme Court that skill was by far the biggest factor in winning at poker.
At the heart of the case is a poker tournament which took place in 2007 at Grebbestad, where four men were either imprisoned or fined for organising the event involving around 700 people.
In Sweden, an illegal gambling crime is committed where the luck factor in a game far outweighs any skill involved and in 2009 the Court of Appeal reduced the men’s charges because the game was Texas Hold’em and the tournament was held over several days.
Now poker fans are hoping for a change in Swedish law that will permit tournaments to be organised by businesses outside of the state gaming monopoly, Svenska Spel.
The experienced pro involved in convincing the Swedish judges of the skill involved in the game was quoted as saying:
“Courage, patience, experience, mathematical and psychological knowledge are some important characteristics [for success in poker].”
Also, according to another expert witness Erik Broman, random chance is only a factor when the first card is dealt, after which skill becomes the key to success. As he explains:
“After the first card, skill is what matters. It’s about how one reacts in different situations, bets, and calls.”
Broman then went on to explain a fundamental point in playing poker, whereby: “A little advantage in the start of the game can lead to greater dividends in the end.”
As the landmark case continues, Swedish poker fans across the country will be hoping that the judges will eventually be able to see that, as Broman explains:
“A talented player has a greater chance of winning than a less talented player.”