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The New Gambling
 
Is it against US law to place bets on the Internet? That's a definite maybe. It is against federal law for cyber-casinos to accept bets, but the relevant laws have never been applied to bettors, and it is unlikely that they ever will be. The Internet Gambling Prohibition Act (popularly known as the Kyl Bill) sounded threatening at first, but the penalties for casual bettors were removed. To date, there have been no federal or state arrests of e-casino gamblers, even those publicized in the media. This follows the pattern of sports wagering, where for years fans have used the telephone to place bets offshore with little to no molestation.
This is a murky situation; the federal government has no laws with which to prosecute bettors, but on the other hand it has not specifically legalized it either. Some states do have new laws, and officials in a few other states claim that old laws apply, but these opinions have not been tested. Every person has to make his or her own evaluation of the risks involved. This page will try to help make that choice an informed one. At the conclusion, there is a state-by-state list of laws that were current at press time.

The ambiguity of cyber-betting is due to both legal and political factors. Most statutes were written decades before the Internet even existed, and authorities have not been eager to arrest millions of citizens for violating antiquated laws that may or may not apply. For one thing, just where does the gambling occur, inside the player's computer or on the offshore server? Some argue that the gambling takes place offshore since wins and losses are determined by a random number generator located on servers outside the US; only the results are sent back to the player. A New York court has ruled that this makes no difference, but that is only one state's interpretation, and not a national precedent.' If other courts determine that the player's computer is not the gambling location, then there is no jurisdiction to prosecute. Another complication: if a player deposits money m an offshore account, then tells someone outside the country to take some and wager it, it is not crystal clear that the Internet is being used to send bets. Of course, it can be argued that it is, but nothing is certain until a judge says so. Not only are the laws old and of unclear applicability, they may be impractical to enforce even if they are legally sound (more on this later).

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Pot Odds
 
Once again, your pot odds, strictly defined, are the ratio of the amount in the pot to the amount of your bet. From equation 4, we can see that increasing pot odds have an increasing effect on your expectation. All else equal, therefore, bigger pot odds are favorable for you. The way you maximize your pot odds ratio is to play for a large pot while keeping your contributions to it as small as possible.
It follows immediately that the more players in a hand, the bigger your potential pot odds. For example, if you sit down at a table with only two other players, no pot that you have a chance to win will ever be larger than three times the total amount of money you put into it. On the other hand, if you sit down at a full-size Holden table with room for ten players, the pot could potentially be ten times the amount of your total contribution. Therefore, with respect to the pot odds, the more players in a hand, the better.
 
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