Texas Legal Poker Sites

Texas StateThe most popular format of poker might be named after this State, but you’ll find it difficult to enjoy much ‘Texas Holdem’ in the Lone-Star State itself. There is only 1 poker room in the entire vast territory, which is located out of the way near the Mexican border. Home games are permitted here and free to enter bar tournaments are also legal. There is no provision under TX law for online poker, and with a history of restricting gambling rather than regulating it, I can’t see Texas being one of the first States to allow this.

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This page gives you a detailed overview of playing poker games in the State of Texas. First of all below, you can find out more on the options for live poker card-room play. After that the different forms of social poker games are discussed, including home-games and bar poker leagues. Next online poker comes into the spotlight, including a look at offshore sites. Finally you can find out the details of the laws affecting poker players with a look at the Statute books.

Texas Live Poker Games

There is only one poker card room in the entire State. This is a tribal casino called the Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino. Unfortunately for most Texans, it is located in the far south of the State, close to the Mexican border. The journey time to reach this casino means that crossing State borders is a more practical option. With the gambling hotspots of Oklahoma and Louisiana to the North and East of this State – there are plenty of good options. Texans will find that there are casinos with poker card rooms which are conveniently located just across the borders from the main Texas population centers just waiting for you to come and play.

There have been attempts by tribes in other areas of this State to expand their casino operations to include poker – these have all failed in the courts at the time of writing.

Are Home Games Legal In Texas?

You can enjoy a home-game free from legal interference in TX, as long as the rules are followed. First, nobody can make a profit from hosting these games – for example from rake or entry fees. Second, there needs to be a genuine social relationship between the participants.

Bar poker leagues run in Texas, and according to an attorney general’s opinion are legal as long as no entry fee is charged to the participants. Prizes are usually minimal and provided by the bars who host the tournaments.

Charity gambling in Texas is very limited, and does not include provision for poker or ‘casino nights’ type promotions.

Texas Online Poker Games

Online gambling and online poker are assumed to be already covered by the existing Texas Statutes – which means there is no need for new laws banning this activity. With their generally restrictive attitudes towards gambling, it is not thought that Texas will be in line to regulate online poker sites at any point in the near future.

As things stand, offshore poker sites are still welcoming players from TX. These sites run from offshore locations including the Netherlands Antilles and Antigua in the Caribbean – and are legal and licensed within their own countries. Tens of thousands of American poker fans enjoy the real money poker games there every week, using creative methods to get around the deposit restrictions. Since Texas State law does not consider this activity legal, individuals need to take the responsibility to assess their own liability and risk before playing.

What Do The Texan Gambling Statutes Say?

Texas focuses on making a bet as the illegal aspect of gambling games. Their Statutes are detailed, their enforcement of these laws among the most active anywhere in the US and the penalties for the organizers and profiteers of gambling games are extremely tough.

Skill game arguments for poker would not work here, with the ‘element of chance’ phrasing covering games which cross over from pure-chance to skill. Just in case you were looking for an exemption on other grounds, Texas cover themselves with a  catch all definition of gambling games involving cards, dice, balls or ‘any other device’.

Here is the main definition of a bet under the Texas Statutes, this is from Chapter 47, part 1.

…an agreement to win or lose something of value solely or partially by chance…

Texas Poker – Summing It Up

Unfortunately for Texans, the opportunity to play the poker game named after their State are extremely limited. The best bet is to cross the borders into Louisiana or Oklahoma – and those States are aware of the cross-border traffic and provide casinos just over the State lines. Freeroll bar leagues are hardly the place to hone real money poker skills, which leaves just home-games or the grey area of online poker sites which are located offshore.

Even optimistic assessments do not see Texas regulating online poker any time soon.