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Monday, December 24th, 2007

Poker Rotten in Denmark

Written by Tom Somach in Poker News

A Danish court has ruled that private poker tournaments are illegal in Denmark because poker is a game of luck, not skill, making it gambling and against the law.

The Copenhagen Post, a Danish newspaper, reported last week that Denmark’s Eastern High Court ruled that poker tournaments run by the Danish Poker Federation, a private organization, are illegal.

The court, referring to a precedent-setting 1926 court ruling that found poker is a game of chance, not skill, said any and all forms of gambling in Denmark are only legal in authorized casinos, the newspaper reported.

The court also found the former president of the Danish Poker Federation, Frederik Hostrup-Pedersen, guilty of holding illegal gambling tournaments, and fined him 5,000 Danish kroner, the Post reported.

The Federation arranged poker tournaments in 2005 and 2006 and charged participants as much as 300 kroner to enter some of them, the newspaper reported.

“This has shocked me deeply,” current Federation president Bent Almskou told the Post.

“There is no doubt that poker is not a game of chance,” he said. “In the long run, a good player will always beat a bad one.”

Denmark’s legal casinos, which view private poker tournaments as competition, helped bring the case to court, the newspaper reported.

“We are running a business here that the Justice Ministry has high expectations of,” Erik Jansen, manager of the country’s legal Casino Copenhagen, told the Post.

“We cannot have others running the same game without the same high expectations,” he said of the unlawful private poker tourneys.

In the meantime, poker proponents in the nation best known for a mermaid statue and an amusement park plan to fight for their right to play poker wherever they want.

Their effort will be a two-pronged attack–judicially and legislatively.

The Danish Poker Federation said it will appeal the lower court’s ruling to the nation’s highest court, the Danish Supreme Court, the newspaper reported.

And a spokesman for the Danish government’s Conservative Party said he would initiate legislation that would make private tournaments legal, the newspaper reported.

(E-mail Tom Somach at [email protected].) =A0

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