Local News

Group Wants To Put Poker Parlor In Durham

Posted November 30, 2004 5:56 a.m. EST

— A group known as the Joker Club wants to open a poker parlor in Durham, but some argue it would be illegal.

District Attorney Jim Hardin points to a state law that prohibits gambling. He said you cannot play a game of chance in which bets are involved and he thinks poker falls into that category.

"It's a game of chance because until you get to the end of the deck, you don't know what's coming up next," he said.

Attorney Marcus Hill, who represents The Joker Club, said games like blackjack are based on pure chance. However, he said poker involves more than luck.

"Many skills are employed in poker and more skilled players win more often," he said.

Jerry Reiter, a statistics professor at Duke University, said skill often beats out chance in poker.

"If you have a player who is very skilled and can calculate the odds of winning given a certain hand and that player is playing someone who doesn't know how to calculate those odds, the player who has those capabilities will win a large percentage of the time," he said.

It will be up to a judge to decide whether the poker parlor is legal. Some games of chance are legal under certain circumstances. State laws specifically address bingo and raffles.