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Chance and skill to Texas Hold'em: Swedish court

Chance and skill to Texas Hold'em: Swedish court

Published: 06 Apr 2011 09:52 GMT+02:00
Updated: 06 Apr 2011 09:52 GMT+02:00

The Supreme Court in Sweden ruled Wednesday that it is both chance and skill that decide the outcome in the poker game Texas Hold’em.

What is key is what form of the game that is being played and how long it is played for, according to the Supreme Court.

“We have found that the main tournament and its side tournaments were not random chance games, but that skill does come in to it,” judge Göran Lamberth told news agency TT.

However, the court has found that the freer form of Texas Hold’em cash games are in breach of Swedish gambling laws. In the cash game players can play when they like, bet when they like, and leave the table at any time.

"We find this form to be a game of pure random chance," Lamberth told TT.

In 2007 four men were convicted of violating Sweden's gambling laws for organising a multi-million kronor tournament in Grebbestad, which had hundreds of participants and lasted several days.

Two men were acquitted when the case was appealed in 2008, while the remaining two had their sentences reduced in part because the appeals court accepted arguments that the tournament involved a game of skill rather than chance.

In order to be convicted of serious illegal gambling crimes in Sweden, it is necessary for the game being played to depend to a substantial degree on chance rather than a player’s skill.

Expert witnesses testified in February that skill is critical for succeeding in the game. An experienced poker player gave the judge a tutorial in how the game is played and argued that it takes a lifetime to become a skilled player.

A maths expert from Chalmers University claimed that the element of chance is limited to the first dealt card.

Despite this however the court found that the outcome of the game is too reliant on random chance to be viewed as a purely skill-based game.

If the court had shared the views of the expert witnesses it would have opened up for Swedish betting companies to hold poker tournaments.

TT/The Local/rm (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

15:22 April 6, 2011 by Swedesmith
I tried a little Texas Hold 'em move in a bar the other night and got slapped!
18:41 April 6, 2011 by maxbrando
Holding on takes on new meaning.

Texas bronc riding: The couple are doing it doggy style. The guy whispers into her ear, while squeezing them he says, "Your tits are just as nice as your sister's."

Then he has to stay on for 11 seconds.
19:30 April 6, 2011 by bramblebush
A person over 18 should have the legal freedom to choose what he wants to bet on or not as long as the odds are known. Go to Las Vegas for some real fun...
23:09 April 6, 2011 by mojofat
How is the element of chance limited to the first dealt card? BS.
15:12 April 8, 2011 by tadchem
The 'chance' comes up in which cards are dealt. The 'skill' comes up in how the cards are played.

"Every gambler knows

That the secret to survivin'

Is knowin' what to throw away

And knowin' what to keep

'Cause every hand's a winner

And every hand's a loser

And the best that you can hope for

Is to die in your sleep."

- "The Gambler", Kenny Rogers
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