While live poker is now legal across much of the country, the status of poker in Texas is still fuzzy. It appears to lie in a nebulous grey area, much like online poker prior to Black Friday all those years ago. Last week when we published an article on the five best places to live if you love poker, several people reached out to advocate for poker in Texas. The strong response made us re-think our previous avoidance of the Lone Star state, and to investigate the situation.
Is There Legal Poker in Texas?
According to the Texas State Law Library “Because Texas laws on gambling are complex, determining whether or not a particular poker game is being conducted legally can prove challenging.” Additionally, statutes vary across Texas from county to county. Over the past several years, a number of poker clubs which charge membership and a “seat rental fee” rather than taking a rake have arisen across the state. They exploit a legal loophole around the definition of profiting from gambling. While there have been some high profile cases in which rooms have been shut down, these poker rooms have largely been allowed to operate without interference.