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South Carolina poker players win appeal

21 September 2009

CHARLESTON, South Carolina -- As reported by The (Charleston) Post and Courier: "It isn't time to go 'all in' just yet, but five poker players busted for gambling in Mount Pleasant three years ago apparently have scored an early appeals win.

"The judge overseeing their case wrote this week he is reversing the outcome of their February trial, essentially tossing out their convictions.

"In a one-page letter, Circuit Judge R. Markley Dennis Jr. said it was likely that the players' chosen game of "Texas Hold 'em" - which relies on bluff, bet and card know-how to be successful - would withstand the legal test of being a game of skill versus an illegal game of chance.

"'When faced with the issue, it is my opinion that the S.C. Supreme Court will likely adopt the 'dominate factor test,' Dennis wrote attorneys from both sides of the case. 'Under the dominate factor test, Texas Hold 'em is not gaming or gambling,' he said.

"Additionally, the judge said a section of the state's anti-gambling laws, as applied to this case, is ambiguous and 'unconstitutionally vague and overbroad.' The municipal court decision 'must be reversed,' he said..."

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