The circuit judge overseeing the appeal of five Mount Pleasant poker players convicted earlier this year has decided to reverse the players’ convictions.
In a letter that supports the argument that Texas Hold ‘Em is a game of skill, not one of chance, Circuit Judge R. Markley Dennis said this week it is his opinion the state Supreme Court would likely adopt “the dominate factor test” in deciding the case.
Under the dominate factor test, Texas Hold ‘Em is not gaming or gambling, the judge wrote, which would make it illegal under state law.
He also said the law covering the play “is ambiguous and must be construed in favor of appellants.”
The decision is not Dennis’ final order on the case and he asked that the attorneys for the five players to prepare a proposed order for his consideration and review.
Poker advocates have argued that “Hold ‘Em” differs from other poker games because of the bluffing, betting and card know-how involved. They were not quick to declare outright victory because appeals are likely to be pursued.
The five players were among about two dozen people charged in a Mount Pleasant police gambling raid on a private home in 2006.