Swiss Supreme Court Rules Texas Hold 'em a Game Of Chance

Published Wednesday, June 02, 2010 -

Switzerland has always appeared to present a neutral stand on many issues but as far as playing poker goes the courts there have defined the game as one that depends on chance and not skill.

Switzerland's supreme court has presented the opinion that Texas hold 'em is a game of luck and thus has banned tournaments of the poker game outside of brick and mortar casinos.

"Today is a black day for all amateur poker players in Switzerland." said, the Swiss Poker Tour web site, which keeps poker players in Switzerland in touch. The game has been getting very popular in Swiss cafes bars and hotels with interest growing rapidly with internet streaming and televised tournaments. With the new Supreme Court rule this enjoyable activity will be considered illegal and those participating in a friendly game of Texas hold 'em will be prosecuted. The highest court in Switzerland has said, simple math, tactics and psychology were less important than luck in determining a winner.

This decision was a coup for land based casinos who presented an appeal to the Supreme Court after a lower court ruled that Texas hold 'em was a game of skill and could therefore be played anywhere. The lower court ruling stated that poker matches could be played for money among friends in informal settings without the need for any government intervention. Games of luck such as roulette and slot machines are restricted to licensed casinos in Switzerland which pay 50 percent of profits to the government.

The head of the Swiss Federation of Casinos, Marc Friedrich, suggested that organizers of private tournaments were not paying the tax and undermining the profits of casino businesses and the government. According to an Associated Press report Friedrich said, "A parallel sector started to develop that did not have the same regulations and rules as casinos," Casinos must identify participants, prevent money laundering and fight gambling addiction, but private Texas hold 'em events did not have these requirements commented Friedrich. The AP report estimated at least one hundred unlicensed unregulated poker tournaments were taking place every weekend which basically amounted to unfair competition. The decision of the Supreme Court in Switzerland is final.

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