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Contracts and Poker: Filling Gaps in the Rules

by Scott J. Burnham |  Published: Aug 16, 2017


Players at a multi-day tournament complain about the odor emanating from a player at their table. There is nothing in the rules that addresses this situation. Can the Tournament Director take action? Rules in contract law come largely from two sources – the common law (past customs and court decisions) and statutes. One of the strengths of the common law is its flexibility, for a rule is always a function of the facts and circumstances that gave rise to it, and if those facts and circumstances change, then the rule can change as well. Statutes appear to be less flexible. Nevertheless, many statutes provide for some wiggle room in their application. For example, the Uniform Commercial Code, which provides state law for many commercial transactions, provides in § 1-103(a): The Uniform Commercial Code must be liberally construed and applied to promote its underlying purposes and policies, which are: (1) to ...

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