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Is poker legal?

 
 
Reply Tue 12 Jul, 2005 03:49 pm
Ok, so I am very much into poker these days, it's a fantastic game involving logic, probability and social skills under pressure.

I play at casinos and house games and do very well (serious thoughts of mounting a bankroll and going semi-pro...).

Anywho, I am curious if house games are legal. We generally play for low amounts and I want to know if they are legal in California (and if, as I suspect, they aren't what the penalty is).
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Type: Discussion • Score: 2 • Views: 1,420 • Replies: 17
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Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Jul, 2005 04:32 pm
Last week's The New Yorker had a very interesting article on the world of the professional poker players in the "Annals of Enterprise" division: The Players: A new generation makes a card game a career choice" by Kevin Conley.

Unfortunately it is not available on line, but it is a double issue so it should still be available on newsstands.

Fact:

"In May, 1.8 million players bet two hundred million dollars online every day."

I found that astounding.
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Jul, 2005 04:48 pm
This isn't any sort of official citation but the 5th paragraph may answer your question:

http://www.gambling-law-us.com/Articles-Notes/play-online-california.htm
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fishin
 
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Reply Tue 12 Jul, 2005 04:59 pm
Ok, a little further research - Sect 330 of CA law says you can't play any card game if it is a "banked or percentage game".

Sect 330.11 further clarifies that and states ""banked game" does not include a controlled game if the published rules of the game feature a player-dealer position and provide that this position must be continuously and systematically rotated amongst each of the participants during the play of the game, ensure that the player-dealer is able to win or lose only a fixed and limited wager during the play of the game, and preclude the house, another entity, a player, or an observer from maintaining or operating as a bank during the course of the game."

It sounds like that as long as you are playing a typical poker game and the deal is rotated on a set schedule of some sort so that the dealer is also always a player in the game you are safe. You can't setup a "house" and have a house bank or collect any percentage from the palyers.

I haven't found anything that says there is any dollar limit for these games either.. Interesting...
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Jul, 2005 05:02 pm
Noddy, Yeah, I know a lot of legal poker is going on, but what of the ubiquitous house game?
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Jul, 2005 05:08 pm
Thanks fishin'! Looks really interesting.

Our CEO wants a company game, and I was wondering if this would be in the gray.

Since there is no rake and no "house" I think it would be legal.
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Jul, 2005 05:10 pm
fishin' wrote:
This isn't any sort of official citation but the 5th paragraph may answer your question:

http://www.gambling-law-us.com/Articles-Notes/play-online-california.htm


Isn't online gambling a horse of a different colour? As far as I know there is a specific federal law against online sports betting, and definitional disputes about whether poker counts.

In addition I am aware of some state laws that prohibit the amount of a bet or the amount of a bet over phone lines or somesuch.
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Debra Law
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Jul, 2005 05:26 pm
Homepoker.com
http://www.homepoker.com/news01.asp?ID=117&sectionID=10&fmpg=

Quote:
California Home Poker...Legal?

WEBMASTER'S NOTE: In our Home Poker and the Law section, we have set up the legality of home gambling in the state of California as we understand it from statutes contained in that state's criminal code. Below, California lawyer Lennie Augustine puts forth much more work and insight than we did to question what exactly is contained in the word of the law.

Note that this is an opinion column and not a legal analysis. We're probing the issue...not answering it. You gamble at home at your own risk....
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Debra Law
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Jul, 2005 05:40 pm
advice of counsel defense
To be on the safe side, you might consider formulating an "advice of counsel" defense prior to the questionable activity. If it's good enough for the President--it should be good enough for the rest of us.

Quote:
The Bush team was likely setting up what is known as an "advice of legal counsel" defense. Under this defense, if a person obtains legal advice from an assumed competent and knowledgeable lawyer regarding an area of criminal law that is somewhat complex, that person may defend himself in a criminal prosecution if he follows his lawyer’s advice, even if that advice is later found to be in error, by saying that he was only following the advice of counsel. Such a defendant cannot be said to have acted with criminal intent. Under our system, one cannot be convicted of a serious crime if one doesn’t intend to violate "a known legal duty."


Source
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Jul, 2005 06:06 pm
Craven de Kere wrote:
fishin' wrote:
This isn't any sort of official citation but the 5th paragraph may answer your question:

http://www.gambling-law-us.com/Articles-Notes/play-online-california.htm


Isn't online gambling a horse of a different colour?


On-line is different for sure which is why I said to llok at the 5th paragraph. Wink In it they specifically mention that having a card game at home is legal in CA as long as there is no bank, etc..
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roger
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Jul, 2005 06:37 pm
The general rule in California is that right turns on red are legal: everything else isn't.

Sorry, I couldn't resist. . . .
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prestochango
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Jul, 2005 06:55 pm
hey uhhh not everyone cares about california, what about Texas ? Smile lol


Not that anyone cares everybody does it here. i mean hell TEXAS hold em haha
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joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Jul, 2005 08:03 am
Don't charge any kind of entrance fee or table fees, even if they are used to pay the host's expenses.

Likewise, don't take a percentage of the pots for the house.

Don't charge for food, drinks, or ... well, anything else.

Don't do anything that would suggest that the host/game operator will make any money from hosting/operating the game.

Chicago went through a short period where the police were instructed to raid private poker games in which some or all of the foregoing happened. Hosts/operators were charged with running gambling houses (ultimately, the raids caused a lot of negative publicity and they were called off). Avoid the above-mentioned activities and you should be ok.
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Jul, 2005 05:51 pm
Sweet! We have our first company poker tournament tomorrow!
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gustavratzenhofer
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Jul, 2005 05:57 pm
Are you playing Texas Hold 'Em, Craven? Seems like that's the only game anyone plays anymore. Personally, I prefer dealer's choice. I find that a good poker player will win consistently at dealer's choice, while hold 'em, while requiring a certain amount of skill, more often than not the luckiest player at the table will win. Especially in the lower stakes variations.
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Jul, 2005 06:20 pm
I've only just taken up poker so I only know Texas Hold 'Em well. But I have dabbled in Omaha and others and done better than I tend to with Hold 'Em (which is pretty good).

I play all kinds of hold 'em tables, from Casino tournaments, casino live tables to house games for dollars or charlie horses.

I really like the game, and will often give everyone their money back to play it again.

I'm gonna master Hold 'Em before I take up other poker variations in earnest.
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gustavratzenhofer
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Jul, 2005 06:23 pm
Craven wrote:
I'm gonna master Hold 'Em before I take up other poker variations in earnest.


It has been said that Texas Hold 'Em takes a second to learn and a lifetime to master.
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Jul, 2005 06:13 pm
Yup, like every time poker is on tv...
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