Poker Players Bill of Rights


Poker is a national pastime, enjoyed by millions of American citizens, in their own homes, in legal card rooms and on the Internet. Poker is a contest between the players, where the deal of the cards is the random chance portion of the game and players’ bets are the strategy and skill portion of the game.

Poker is best defined as:

Any of various card games in which, following each of one or more rounds of dealing or revealing the cards, the players in turn make tactical bets or drop out, the bets forming a pool to be taken either by the sole remaining player or, after all rounds and bets have been completed, by those remaining players who hold a superior hand according to a standard ranking of hand values for the game.

1. Poker players have the right to enjoy their poker play without unwarranted interference from government or policing authorities.

2. Poker players have the right to organize and play poker games in the privacy of their own homes without regulation or taxation as long as no one is receiving an earned income from the activity of hosting or running the game, at least to the betting limits set for poker play by state law or compact for legal card rooms or casinos of the state in which they are playing.

3. Poker does involve betting of real money and as such should be considered an adult activity that requires safeguards of the same form and intent as those employed by gambling enterprises against underage gambling and compulsive gambling,

4. Any legislative bills or court proceedings should recognize that poker is a game whose outcome is determined predominantly by skill, not chance.

5. Taxing authorities should recognize that poker is a zero sum game, and therefore follow these guidelines in all tax regulations for poker players:

a. Poker players who play poker only as a recreational or hobby activity should not be taxed on their winnings, nor allowed to count their losses as a deduction against their taxable income.

b. Poker players who play poker as a profession should be allowed to net their win for any tax period, reporting only the total of their winnings less their buy-ins and loses as taxable income, or reporting their total buy-ins and losses less any amounts won as a loss of income.

6. Poker players have the right to equal access to any poker game offered by electronic means by any enterprise that is licensed and regulated in any jurisdiction, as long as the regulations of the jurisdiction in which the enterprise is licensed are at least as strict in protections against underage gambling, compulsive gambling and for consumer protection as any regulation of poker, live or electronic, of the jurisdiction in which the poker player is physically located at the time of play.

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