Poker Coverage: Poker Tournaments Casino News Sports Betting Poker Strategy

U.S. Supreme Court Says 'No' To Poker Case

High Court Won't Give Lawrence DiCristina Chance To Appeal


The U.S. Supreme Court decided to reject the appeal of Lawrence DiCristina, who was convicted of running an illegal gambling business thanks to spreading a poker game in a New York warehouse. The operation had a five-percent rake and employed people such as dealers.

Some people were worried that the case could signal the federal law being broadly applied to other poker games, but the government has said that the case in no way means that home games are criminal. In other words, DiCristina was considered large-scale, meeting certain significant conditions, such as bringing in more than $2,000 in revenue daily.

The case also involved some debate over whether poker is a game of skill, but the courts weren’t actually making a ruling on that muddled topic, either. It simply was relevant in DiCristina’s case to know whether poker would be considered gambling. If it wasn’t, the government’s case wouldn’t work. However, it was determined that since the state of New York considers poker to be gambling, the federal law would be applicable.

Poker has as significant skill component, but also does contain large amounts of luck.

The 1970 federal law was originally intended to combat organized crime, a fact that some said was worth noting because DiCristina was in no way acting as a gangster. According to Bloomberg, the federal government used the statute to prosecute 334 people nationwide from 2007 to 2011. There’s no official tally on how many were for poker, like DiCristina.

Originally convicted in 2012, DiCristina at one point had his conviction overturned.

DiCristina had garnered support from the poker world, including the Poker Players Alliance. Card lovers, including bridge players, reportedly felt the case had significance.

The Supreme Court offered no comment in its rejection of hearing the case.

DiCristina faces 10 years in prison.

Tags: Poker,   Supreme Court