QUA 24 DE ABRIL DE 2019 - 03:02hs.
In Sao Paulo, Brazil

Judge rules that poker depends on maths and is not a game of chance

Poker is not gambling, but rather a math and behavioral psychology game and so there is nothing in the legislation that would prohibit its practice. This was the verdict of Judge Victor Garms Gonçalves, of the 1st Court of Palmital (Sao Paulo, Brazil), who cleared a man accused of exploring gambling for organizing poker tournaments.

The defense of the accused, made by the lawyer Luiz Ronaldo da Silva, based his strategy precisely on the claim that it is not a game of chance. He also pointed out that the accused does not raise money to profit, but only to cover expenses with cards, tokens and others.

The lawyer presented an opinion made by the expert Ricardo Molina: "It is a game of skill, because it was verified that the ability of the player participating in this game depends on the memorization, the characteristics (number and color) of the figures presented, in the course of the game and the knowledge of the rules and strategies in function of these factors, being, however, the final result of this mode of random play.”

Another argument of the accused is based on a report published on the ConJur website in 2012, which reports the Santa Catarina court ruling that the card game deals with skill rather than chance.

Battle in the green cloth

Judge Garms Gonçalves justified the defense and pointed out that poker does not depend exclusively or mainly on luck. To illustrate his point, the judge made an account of a match waged on the green cloth:

In poker, the real or fictitious value of the cards depends on the player's ability, especially as an observer of the opponent's behavior, sometimes quite sophisticated, extracting information that leads him to conclude whether or not he is bluffing. In turn, these opponents may be craftily adopting certain patterns of behavior, also to bluff. For example, if he is OK with his cards, he shows himself unsafe, in order for the opponent to raise the bet, or if he has a bad hand, he can express himself safely for the opponent to give up. In short, it is a game of mathematics and behavioral psychology.

Source: GMB / Conjur