Pub Poker And the New Gambling Act — Good Or Bad?

During the last year we have listened to the rumours, questions and hearsay that preceded the introduction of the new playing act as we tried to predict how these changes would affect our brs. For once most of the rumours ended up being freebet fairly towards the mark and there was not really anything in the act concerning pub poker that was unexpected. What is more interesting, and unknown at this point, is how exactingly the new act is going to be forced.

Although on top the new act appears to have provided a more generous setting for brs desperate to host poker nights, the truth maybe slightly different. Illegal poker games in brs have been going on for many years and poker could well have been the prompt for the creation of these great British institution, otherwise known as the public house. Players used to sit outside in the rain and gradually the brs were built around them to shelter them from the elements and provide refreshment to those players, who was simply chasing their losses for days at a time. OK, maybe I am reworking history here, but the point is that pub poker has been online for many years.

Due to the law change many venues now appear to believe that their games have become semi-legitimate. Truth be known the other could well be the case. The new playing act enables brs to offer small levels games with a limit of £5 per person for each game, with a driveway based prize pool limit of £100 a day. This does indeed constitute a loosening of the laws for venues that up until September 1st, did not provide cash poker on their driveway. However, the new law entails the Playing Commission has become one of the most powerful establishments in the country with far reaching powers to give a punishment publicans who possess the new regulations.

Whether or not the change in legislation is going to affect brs in a meaningful way remains to be seen. At the moment the Playing Commission appears to be playing a waiting game and we can speculate that they are holding off taking any action until Gordon Brown has clarified his position, on the model of the new playing act. It will be very interesting to see what “the powers that be” decide. Will they turn a impaired eye to venues that operate well run events, albeit beyond the law or are they going to try and put in force the letter of the law by making examples of brs that break the foundations.

Many public houses have at the moment started advertising poker events that contravene the current legislation and this will make it harder for the authorities to ignore. It would seem that some publicans are unclear on the legal issues actually permits and this is understandable as having a law degree seems to be a dependence on understanding the terms used in the Playing Act 2005.

In our view cash poker in brs is not necessarily a good thing. We think that playing poker for the money is best kept in casinos or regulated poker clubs. We have seen first hand that there is a huge demand for small levels poker in the uk and we think that casinos and poker clubs should be the ones to step up to cover this hole in the market.

The reason for this is because it is much easier to run a well regulated game of poker in a casino or card room, where there is a contest host present and measures are in destination for a prevent strong play. The majority of publicans will never have experience in running poker games and in many establishments the players will be left to run themselves. This causes problems if there are any disagreements over money or the foundations. It only takes a few nasty incidents and suddenly poker is all over the front pages for the wrong reasons. Poker players will not be influenced by sensationalist headers such as “British Brs or Playing Dens? inch but people who are not sure of the poker community will be influenced by these kinds of stories. I don’t know how many political figures play poker, but I can risk to safety a guess that plenty of them might find the opportunity to score some points, if public opinion begins to turn against this great game.

We are not saying that we completely oppose cash games in brs, rather that it would be better if more facilities were provided in purpose run venues, permit players to participate of the game of their choice in a safe environment. Casinos need to play their part in this by providing the kind of setting that poker players are going to appreciate. Poker players do not want casinos offering poor quality poker games just as a hook to get people onto the gaming floor. The venues which provide well considered tourneys and cash games are the ones which are going to experience the most benefits of the current UK poker thrive.

Whatever happens we’re going to continue to provide Poker in the Pub as a free to play little league. We have always focused on the entertainment factor and steered well clear of playing in brs, which has paid payouts in the amount of new players we have seen taking up the game. The little league is currently growing at an astonishing rate, which has seen venue numbers increase by 50 percent within the last few months.

Once again the emphasis is on making sure that everyone has a good day trip and I am confident the players will ensure we see good quality quality poker. This statement is borne out by the excellent showing in our regional winners at the Golden Sands Poker Festivity.

Whatever Gordon Brown’s government decide in relation to the execution of the new playing act, it is going to be an interesting few months for those involved in pub poker or online casinos.

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