SkillBet is a Legal Online Poker Alternative
A quick search of the world wide web reveals a multitude of online poker sites that accept US players. However, just because these dominantly off-shore operators are willing to take deposits from Americans does not make them 100% legal. Without some form of US regulation they cannot be guaranteed safe, either. Unfortunately, there are so many of them, it’s easy to overlook a rare find like SkillBet, where it’s not only legal for many US online poker players, the base of operations is actually located on American soil.
How could a real-money online poker site operate legitimately in the US? Aren’t there specific laws that prohibit, at the least, financial transactions to/from online poker sites? Yes, and no. Poker, in general, is looked upon as a game of chance and skill combined. American law defines gambling as a game of chance, leaving poker in a gray area that many aren’t so certain about. What most states do allow is wagering over the internet on games that are considered 100% skill ““ games like chess, backgammon, even checkers.
How Did they Do It?
How do you make a 100% legal US online poker site? You increase the level of skill required to win. No, SkillBet is not designed to cater to professional poker players. It is designed to pit two players of appositely equal experience against one another in such a way that only the most skilled of the two can come out on top.
SkillBet Poker never puts two live players at the same table. Instead, the two that are competing will be at separate, identical tables. Each table will have the same number of computer opponents to contend with. Each human player will compete in 30 hands against their computer opponents. Each deck of cards is mimicked perfectly so that the human players are dealt the same cards on each hand number, as are their parallel AI opponents.
Let’s say you invite a friend to a $5 poker game. You and your friend would each post $5 as the wager, creating a $10 pool. You are then seated at a poker table with 4 computerized players. Your friend is also seated at a table with 4 bots, identical to those at your own table. If your first hole cards are 10h-Qd, your friend’s first hole cards will also be 10h-Qd. If the computer player to your left is dealt 7-7, the computer player left of your friend will receive 7-7. If the board plays out 4h-7h-Ac-Ks-Ad on the first hand at your table, it will be exactly the same on the first hand at your friend’s table. All hands are perfectly identical for the entire duration of the 30-hand competition. When the 30 hands are over, whichever player has the most chips in front of them wins the $10 pool, minus a small commission taken by SkillBet.
By making things perfectly parallel between the players, SkillBet is presenting itself as a skill-based competition. Obviously the player who outwits and out-performs their AI opponents, making higher bets/raises at the most opportune moments and conserving chips in deleterious situations, will come out on top.
SkillBet is the innovation of Christophe Prevost and Craig Jones. These guys did not initially set out to create a US legal online poker site. Instead, they were looking to give poker players a more interactive way to build their skills. They devised a range of poker bots with artificial intelligence designed to mimic that of various poker styles, both weak and strong. Some of the bots were even based on the strategic play and behaviorisms of real poker pros. In the end, they had developed every characteristic type of player, from weak, over-betting aggressors to tight, perfect-strategy bots.
The whole idea was to produce an elite poker training site. However, when April 15, 2011 struck ““ the Black Friday of online poker, as it is more commonly known ““ Prevost and Jones altered their course. They came up with the ultimate, 100% skill-based online poker room. Acquiring a patent for their concept, SkillBet was launched, and the face of online poker in the United States was forever changed.
US States where SkillBet is Legal
Not all Americans are able to play at the online poker room. There are some US states where online wagering is strictly prohibited, regardless of the skill level involved, or where the legislation for online wagering is so patchy that it was more prudent for the operator to avoid memberships from such regions.
Territories where SkillBet is legal include (in alphabetical order): Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, District Of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Territories where SkillBet is prohibited include (in alphabetical order): Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Washington.