(Texas) Hold'em

On Tuesday, the House Licensing and Administrative Procedures Committee passed HB 3186 out of committee by a vote of 6-2. Sponsored by San Antonio Democrat Jose Menendez, the bill would legalize poker -- under the regulation of the Texas Lottery Commission -- at horse tracks and four tables at non-horse tracks. So, Texans would be able to play Texas Hold'em again.

Chuck Blount of SAEN got Texas Poker PAC leader Mike Lavigne on the phone to talk about the bill's chances:

Lavigne says the move by the Texas House to move for a vote next week is good news.

"The bills typically don't make it out of the subcommittees and see the floor unless they have a good shot at getting passed," he said.
Lavigne reports that his organization has received word of 60-65 commitments from Texas lawmakers that favor the bill, with only 35 firm "no" votes. That leaves approximately 55 votes up in the air, with only 15-20 needed to get to the magic number of 76 needed to pass the bill.

"(The bill) is very much alive," Lavigne said.

Is the Speaker one of the "no" votes?

Anyway, I thought of this because of today's front-page Wall Street Journal article.

Four-time poker champion Howard Lederer makes a plush living playing cards. His scholarly calm at the table has earned him the title "The Professor," along with $3.3 million in tournament prize money.

Just don't call him lucky. To describe poker as anything but a game of skill, he says, "is just wrong."

Now poker fans in academe are jumping in to help prove that point, most recently with a daylong "strategy session" at the Harvard Faculty Club bringing together poker pros like Mr. Lederer, game theorists, statisticians, law students and gambling lobbyists.

The skill debate has been a preoccupation in poker circles since September, when Congress barred the use of credit cards for online wagers. Horse racing and stock trading were exempt, but otherwise the new law hit any "game predominantly subject to chance." Included among such games was poker, which is increasingly played on Internet sites hosting players from all over the world.

By making the case for poker as a skill, aficionados hope to roll back the law, and even win the game newfound freedoms in states where wagering on poker is currently banned.

In the short-run, poker results are often about luck (to varying degrees...different games have different mathematical mixes between luck and skill, in the short-term). In the long run, poker results are solely about skill.

Posted by Evan @ 05/03/07 12:07 PM


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