A South Carolina municipal judge has struck a blow for poker players everywhere by deciding that poker is a game of skill and, therefore, not an illegal pasttime.
South Carolina law forbids gambling on games of chance, such as craps. Up til now people playing poker in the privacy of their own homes were subject to arrest by local police.
As anyone who has ever calculated the odds of drawing to the flush or inside straight knows, there is far more skill to playing winning poker than meets the eye. Poker is all about making the correct choice at every step of the game: knowing what starting hands are worth playing, knowing what cards are still in the deck, knowing the pot odds, knowing the tendencies of the players sitting at the table with you. Put some hard earned money behind those decisions and you can feel the pressure mounting.
Those skills you used at the table last night are the same skills used in defending fellow citizens accused of breaking the law. Every case is worth fighting, but you have to know the stakes for which you choose to fight: an acquittal, a reduced charge, a lesser sentence, probation, deferred
adjudication, pretrial diversion, etc. You have to be able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your case and weigh them against the hand dealt to the state. You have to be able to read your opponent and know how far you can push. Finally, you have to have the courage to put it all in the middle of the table.
Postscript: As South Carolina criminal defense attorney Bobby Frederick pointed out, the gentlemen were convicted of running a gambling house.