The Gujarat Hight Court has summoned the state government to clarify whether poker falls in the category of gambling, which is illegal in the state, or a 'game of skill' as claimed by the Indian Poker Association.
Hearing a petition filed by IPA, Justice Sonia Gokani sought government's reply about the legal aspects of the popular card game and adjourned the hearing to November 9.
IPA secretary K N Suresh filed the petition after the city police restrained the association from holding poker games at the YMCA International Club here.
The petition, filed through advocate Maulin Pandya, claimed that IPA entered into an agreement with YMCA Club to start poker at its premises a month ago to promote the game and produce players who can represent India at international tournaments.
However, Anand Nagar police allegedly started harassing him and asked the association and the club authorities to stop poker games or "face consequences", the petition alleged.
Advocate Pandya argued today that police's action was "illegal" and "arbitrary". Poker was a "game of skill" and not covered under Gujarat Prevention of Gambling Act, he said.
Citing several past judgements of other high courts as well as a notification by the Union Sports Department, Pandya said as poker was a game of skill, IPA was not required to obtain police permission.
Poker is played widely online without any permission from the government, he claimed, saying the IPA too should be allowed to carry out its activities.