Time to Fold Online Poker Ban

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 15, 2009 8:42 AM CDT
Former New York Sen. Alfonse M. D'Amato, chairman of the Poker Players Alliance, arranges his hand during his regular card game at Oheka Castle in Huntington, N.Y.    (AP Photo/John Dunn)
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(Newser) – The government's online poker ban isn't just hypocritical—given that state lotteries are "the nation's most aggressive promoters of gambling"—it's unfairly slandering a sport that requires great skill by labeling it mere gambling, George F. Will writes in the Washington Post. Professional poker player Howard Lederer—known as "The Professor"—believes lawmakers need to look at mathematicians' work on game theory, and realize that playing poker requires a brain-straining ability to calculate probabilities, use logic, and bluff.

People playing poker, unlike those buying lottery tickets, watching a roulette wheel spin or pumping coins into a slot machine, are applying skills learned through experience, Will writes. "It is a poker skill to know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em," Will concludes. "Congress probably should fold its interference with Internet gambling and certainly should get its 10 thumbs off Americans' freedom to exercise their poker skills online."