Friday, April 06, 2007

Poker in Texas

Poker News has a story about the bill being considered in Texas to allow raked poker games in certian situations. I'm bothered by the lede:

The game of Texas Hold 'Em is, oddly enough, not legal in the state that gave the game its name.

Actually poker is legal in Texas. It's not legal to have public, raked games. Legal games are easily found at Elks clubs, VFW's, Country Clubs. In many counties the local sheriff will allow such clubs to host raked games so long as the games are small and the rakes just cover expenses. Although that's illegal it's long been the practice in Texas for the Rangers to overlook such games if the Sheriff allows the games. I comment on this from time to time at

When a writer starts a story with a statement that's just not true I don't know if he's lying to me or he's just incompetent. It's one or the other. Whichever it is there's no point in paying attention to him.

I am paying attention because I don't understand why the lies? Either PokerNews is lying or someone is lying to them. I don't think you can live in Texas and be a poker player and not know poker is legal.

It makes me worry that this new law will outlaw un-raked games -- require state registration for existing legal games. I don't really know. But I don't expect anyone to tell me the truth if they can't be truthful about current laws about poker.

I'm a big fan of the truth.


Blogger Dantana said...

Gary, if you would like to read coverage about this bill from a fellow Medilldo, you can find some here:

(I'm Dan, the Medill guy. The other dude writing about it on Pokerati is Lavigne in Austin ... not a journalist, but the instrumental force behind creating this bill.)

It's by no means perfect legislation, but it is a step in the right direction for those of us who are sick of playing poker in games with the threat of robbery and/or SWAT team raids.

And for the charity minded, we look forward to being able to give prizes away to the winners of fundraiser tourneys again ... you know, the same way it works in golf and fishing.

10:19 AM  
Blogger Dantana said...

PS ... this bill would in no way outlaw unraked games.

And yes, you are right ... for a long time the cops turned a blind eye, since even running a room is a misdemeanor offense. but that changed when -- perhaps coincidentally, perhaps not -- when Oklahoma opened poker rooms and started sending money to Texas to anti-poker politicos.

here's a video of how cops were handling these games a few months ago:

and here is some more about it:

The Dallas District Attorney is in favor of the bill because we are tops in the nation for violent crime ... and he would really prefer to not have to prosecute these traffic ticket-level offenses.

OK, I will get off my soapbox, but just thought you might want to know that a lot changed in 2006.

10:41 AM  
Blogger John said...

Gary -

John, Editor-In-Chief of here. Upon original review, I felt the second sentence clearly implied what the lead was trying to say. But, you have a point, and I have adjusted the article accordingly.

10:59 AM  
Blogger Bio said...

Unfortunately for me...most of the private "legal" games have rules against women playing. If you know of some where I am welcome then by all means put me on the list.

11:22 AM  
Blogger Gary Carson said...

Bio --

I know games in Victoria, Ingleside, and Wimberly where I know you'd be welcome. It's been a while and I don't have phone numbers any more, and the games might have dried up, but I could tell you where to look if you're in those areas and you email me.

The game in Ingleside didn't have any women in the game, but they'd be welcome and I think that's the only game I've played in since the Navy that didn't have a woman playing. Maybe once in college it was all men, that was in a male dorm.

To the others --

I thought it probably wasn't a bad law, but I just really got turned off by the lede in that PokerNews story. Glad they corrected it.

11:36 AM  
Blogger Michele Lewis said...

Sorry, my account was set up at bio. Anyway, I'm in Houston so it would have to be close for me to get out and actually play.

1:14 PM  
Blogger Dantana said...

Gary, I LOVE that you are one of the few people who knows the proper spelling of the word "lede."

You are probably also aware that, thanks to the way blogs spread, the inverted pyramid is back, baby!

2:12 PM  

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