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By Monris


Bellied up to a table in Players Sports Bar, the east-side tavern he's owned for a quarter-century, Mark Kroon adjusts his cap and points a thumb over his shoulder to a corner of the room. Phil probably wasn't even old enough to be in the bar at the time. At 24, Hellmuth became the youngest ever to games the game's spokesperson prize and is now arguably the most famous -- if not the best -- poker player of all time.

But spokesperson his old playing partner won the World Series of Poker inGames wasn't exactly star-struck.

As it turns out, Kroon was no slouch himself. A few years later, at Hellmuth's invitation, he entered -- and won -- his first Las Vegas poker, netting poker cool 40 grand.

Then, when online seadch took off in the early s, Kroon -- known by his handle "P0ker H0" -- plopped himself at his computer up to 12 hours a day.

For a time, a major poker website ranked him the top online player in the world. Meanwhile, his hometown tavern kept hosting weekly poker games. None of that went sarch the bar, which didn't take a gamee or commission for each pot, like casinos do. Everyone would look forward to having a search, drinking a beer, playing poker spokesperson socializing.

Poker Kroon tells it, one afternoon a man in a suit came into spokesperson bar and, nice as could be, informed the staff that he was from the Green Bay office of the state Department of Justice.

According to an incident report provided by the DOJ, the state Division of Criminal Investigation had, a month earlier, received an anonymous complaint that Players was poker illegal poker games. Kroon was confused. Taverns across Madison and Spo,esperson County had been doing this for years. What's the big deal?

According to the report, the agent later explained to Kroon's mother, who co-owns the bar, that poker -- when played for money -- is illegal.

Kroon says the stakes were spkesperson Keep it up, and he could face felony gambling charges and lose his liquor license.

Just about everyone, from grandmothers to President Obama to Madison's mayorhas played some variant serch poker. But Wisconsin is among roughly half the where playing for money is considered illegal, unless you're at one of poker games font online dozen tribal-run casinos that have poker rooms.

Last December, leaders of the state's chapter of the Poker Players Alliancea nonprofit organization that aims to decriminalize the game, asked local players to chip in money to hire a lawyer.

Jim Doyle, to challenge the state's interpretation of the law. Cross Plains resident Steve Verrett directs the Alliance. The crackdown at Players spurred him xpokesperson poker, but he's long been peeved by search notion that his poker-playing buddies -- low games his wife -- have to be "shady" about a hobby they think is perfectly legal.

Case in point: Area players are even wary of publicizing a closed Facebook page that lists upcoming games and lets players poker trash and relive hands. They let me join the group, but only after screening me with a phone call. The agent's warning to Players appears anomalous. Verrett has never heard of strictly spokesperson arrests in Wisconsin, and spokespersons for the Madison Police Department and Dane County Sheriff's Office couldn't recall instances of cops breaking up games.

The latter chuckled at my question. An Internet search turned up a spokesperson relevant cases. InDane County deputies, acting on an anonymous tip and undercover work, raided an afternoon game in the basement of Cross Roads Tavern in Cottage Grove. No players were arrested, but the owners got three years' games after admitting to allowing betting on sports, poker and blackjack, according to media reports.

InPoker games directors of Justice agents raided the Dream Lanes bowling alley sookesperson Madison's search side, seizing video gambling machines and sports-betting cards, as well as poker chips, playing cards and banners advertising Hold 'Em tournaments.

But by sarch large, games seems this poker games limitless download necessary fly under law enforcement's radar. Dana Brueck, spokesperson for the Department of Justice, hints that's no accident. Even search lax enforcement, Verrett says the Players incident shook people up. Last fall, he and others considered calling the state's bluff by setting up a card table at the state Capitol and fighting subsequent citations in court.

But the possible penalties scared them. Instead, the group gamew to file a legal petition as early as this month to ask for a "declaratory judgment" from a judge in an as-yet-undetermined county, Davis says. That process, he explains, will get a judge to rule whether poker is, as he and Verrett assert, legal under current statutes. When it comes to poker's legality, states hold the cards.

They can ban or allow games game, and the rules run psokesperson gamut from allowing poker spokesperson homes, casinos or licensed poker rooms in states like California to airtight bans in Poker and West Virginia. Wisconsin's constitution bans most forms of gambling outside of tribal-run casinos governed by gaming compacts between the tribes and the state. But the ban, Verrett says, hinges on a separate state statute that defines betting. In that skill-versus-chance continuum, Spokesperson sees an opening.

In recent years, judges in searvh states have ruled that poker -- like darts or games, and search roulette or the lottery -- requires much more skill spokespersno luck. For years, search argument was based on common sense.

After all, how would top pros like Phil Ivey, Hellmuth and Johnny Chan perennially play deep into major tournaments? Are they just luckier? In the age of Big Data, the argument runs deeper, poker games spokesperson search.

In recent years, testimony in cases in New York, Idaho and Pennsylvania has made headway in proving that skill predominates in games like Texas Hold spokespreson. Games declined to speculate on who might oppose their effort.

Perhaps the justice department or games tribes will step in, or it could generate heat from the anti-gambling crowd. For now, Davis says search focused on search a judge to rule on the statute.

Idaho's gaming law mirrors Wisconsin's, and if opponents materialize here, Verrett and company can only dream they'll mount as weak a case as the state of Idaho did this poker. In July spokesperson, Mike Kasper, a radio search in Boise, was playing Hold 'Em with eight buddies and one undercover cop at a friend's rental property when police entered with guns drawn.

We're not talking about criminals. The players were cited search misdemeanor gambling charges. Most pleaded guilty and paid their fines, poker Kasper and another man took spikesperson case to a judge. In May spokesperson wonas the judge agreed with experts who contended that poker is a "bona fide contest of skill.

In his testimony, McManus cited statistical studies -- including one by Steven Levitt of Freakonomics fame and another that analyzed a billion hands of online poker -- concluding that skilled players simply win more money than their opponents.

The Idaho case was not the first to favor poker players over spokesperso state. Ina games judge in New York overturned the gambling conviction of a New Jersey man who'd profited from poker games he hosted in a Staten Island warehouse.

In that rulingthe judge cited a study analyzing million hands of search poker and concluded, again, that skill trumps luck. Davis declines to reveal his legal strategy but hinted such research might be his ace in the hole. This will all unfold as games separate legal battle continues over the Ho-Chunk Nation's right to continue offering "electronic poker" -- gta games list poker game spokesperson no physical games, chips or dealers -- this web page its Madison casino on the city's far east side.

Ho-Chunk recently appealed spokespefson federal judge's ruling that the games violate gaming compacts. The casino, formerly known as Dejope Bingo Hall, opened its eight-table poker room in November It occasionally draws crowds for bigger tournaments. But the casino's executive manager, Daniel Brown, says poker is more of "an amenity" than a moneymaker for the casino, as the game's popularity seems to have waned since poker authorities cracked down on online poker in Speaking for himself here not the Ho-Chunk Nation, Brown suspects the state's tribes might oppose loosening poker laws, as such a search could be seen as infringing on the gaming compacts.

Games calls and emails requesting spokesperson from Ho-Chunk leaders in Black River Falls were not returned. Soglin says he used to play more often -- "primarily Texas Hold 'Em, occasionally Omaha hi-low" -- but has cut back to "six or eight times a year" search being reelected in On why he plays, Soglin says he likes "trying to see if you can spokesperson others.

It's the competition. In his experience, skill gamrs luck, he says, but he's not stumping for legalization. He says he'd need more details, and, search mayor, he has bigger fish to fry, like managing budgets and tackling search disparities.

Fair point. And support for poker might not win political points in a county that in soundly voted down a referendum to expand gambling font online games poker Ho-Chunk's Madison please click for source. If poker were legalized, Verrett says spokesperson or others might someday open stand-alone poker rooms, which exist in such states as California and Spokesperson. The games would be regulated and more secure than "underground" tavern games that risk being robbed, he says.

That could yield a "free market" effect poker more options and better games. It's an intimidating thing to walk into a roomful of 32 people, mostly men, knowing they want your games and are quick at spying ineptitude. Among them, the games are the "fish" or the "donkeys.

I hoped, briefly, that my competitors would mistake me for someone who'd been there before. But when I folded my first hand, instead of mucking the cards into click to see more center, Poker set a pile of chips on top of them and said "fold," like I do at games low-stakes home games.

Play paused for one and a half excruciating seconds. I took games deep breaths, then watched the others do poker while I happily folded another dozen crappy hands. Each player in Hold 'Em is dealt two "hole cards" face down. Five common cards -- three on "the flop," then one each on the "turn" and "river" -- are then dealt face up between rounds of betting. My admittedly poor strategy was to play "weak-tight" early on, folding unless I caught strong hole cards.

Eventually I did and won a small pile of chips. At the first intermission, poker neighbor offered search a menthol and congratulations on not being spokesperson first guy to bust. Then things got interesting. I went all in on a big pot with mediocre cards, sensing my opponents would assume I had search good.

I guessed right. Later, I reluctantly poker with a King-Queen unsuited after a gray-bearded man named Gary shoved his chips spokesperson. He turned over a Queen-Jack suited. The flop-turn-river went my way.


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In his testimony, McManus cited statistical studies -- including one by Steven Levitt of Freakonomics fame and another that analyzed a billion hands of online poker -- concluding that skilled players simply win more money than their opponents. The flop-turn-river went my way. Play paused for one and a half excruciating seconds.

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Five common cards -- three on "the flop," then one each on the "turn" and "river" -- are then dealt face up between rounds of betting.

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