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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 January 2007, 19:30 GMT
Accused claims 'skill' in poker
Derek Kelly
Derek Kelly says poker is a game of skill
Poker gives every player an "equal opportunity" and it is skill that decides the winner, a court has heard.

Derek Kelly, 46, denies two counts of contravening the Gaming Act by organising poker games at the Gutshot Club in Clerkenwell, central London

The act says a licence is needed to host games of chance but not games of skill, like chess and quiz machines.

Snaresbrook Crown Court heard Mr Kelly said he could prove that poker is a game of skill.

The prosecution said the club owner continued to take a cut from the prize pot as well as charging the players for participating.

'Non-profitable' aspect

In excerpts of his interview with police he said: "Poker is a game of equal opportunity. If I sat down to play with you (Det Insp Darren Warner) nothing would detract from who is the best player other than skill.

"If you do not believe that, I could produce volumes to show you that the best players in the world continue to win competitions," he said.

During another interview in March 2005, he said: "Poker is very much a non-profitable side of what we do."

The court heard that when police visited the club on two occasions between December 2004 and January 2005, they found a charge was being levied on the winnings.

On 7 December for 2,165 winnings, the club kept 270 as its cut.

On 27 January players were asked to pay 22 to enter the game and given 20 worth of chips, netting a profit of 2 per person, the prosecution said.

The trial was adjourned until Friday.

Jury to rule on nature of poker
10 Jan 07 |  London

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