“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
—Inigo Montoya, The Princess Bride
In an article about a legal case currently wending its way through the system that involves a decision about whether poker is a game of skill or luck, author Wendeen H. Eolis references an influential 2006 article from the Fordham Intellectual Property, Media and Entertainment Law Journal by Bennett Liebman, the former executive director of the Government Law Center at Albany Law School who’s now deputy secretary for gaming and racing to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Eolis writes that Liebman lays out case history and terminology surrounding poker and gaming, then says:
Unmasked only at the very end of the article is Mr. Liebman’s apparent disposition toward poker as a game that requires a predominance of skill over chance and a game that should be removed from criminal prosecution and the clutches of gambling (as a matter of law).
She also reproduces the conclusion of Liebman’s paper:
It may be possible for poker in New York to reach the levels W. C. Fields suggested for it in the 1940 movie My Little Chickadee. Fields’ character, Cuthbert J. Twillie, is asked about a poker game by the prototypical rube Cousin Zeb, played by the actor Fuzzy Knight: “Uh, is this a game of chance?” Fields’ response is, “Not the way I play it, no.”
Mr. Bennett (sic) concluded in 2006, while at Albany School, “New York now has the potential to make Fields’ view of poker the correct one.”
Now, I’m just a humble Poker Mutant, not a journalist or a hot-shot lawyer, and while I can imitate people I’ve heard imitating W.C. Fields, I’ve never actually watched My Little Chickadee, but I’m reasonably certain that what Cuthbert Twillie is referring to in the quote above is cheating, which is, indeed, a skill, but probably not one that people hoping to get it recognized as a “game of skill” are hoping to associate with it.