The three-judge panel agrees that a skilled player can tip the
odds in his favor but says the player is always facing a loss at
the turn of a card. State law makes it a misdemeanor for any person or organization to operate a game of chance where players wager money, property or other items of value. But in 2004, Howard Fierman sought to open a poker club in Durham County and later sued when Durham County District Attorney Jim Hardin said it would be illegal. Attorneys for Fierman argued that poker was a game of skill instead of chance. But Richard Thornell, an officer for the North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement Division, argued that while skill may play a role, luck will ultimately prevail.