You would think that since one of the most popular poker games available is called “Texas Hold‘em” that it would be easy to find a poker game in Texas, but this is actually not the case. Although many Texans are prevalent gambler, the state itself isn’t big on gambling. Casinos and poker rooms are only available through Indian Tribes, and these are limited. The lack of land based options to play poker has only made playing poker online in Texas more popular.
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Can Players From Texas Play Poker Online?
Yes! Despite what many people think there are still a lot of US real money poker sites that accept players from the United States. A lot of the major poker sites stopped accepting players from the United States in 2011, but there is still plenty of money to win at the smaller sites. Since very little live poker action is available in the state of Texas the online poker market is booming here.
Is it Legal to Play Online Poker in Texas?
The legality of playing online poker in Texas is not a cut and dry issue. The state has not made laws that specifically target online gambling, but many of the laws that they currently have in place might pertain to online poker. We have a review of some of the Texas law that might pertain to online poker below:
- Texas defines a bet as:
Bet means an agreement to win or lose something of value solely or partially by chance.(Section 47.01)
- Another section of Texas law that could pertain to online gambling states
A person commits an offense of gambling if he plays and bets for money or other thing of value at any game played with cards, dice, balls, or any other gambling device.(Section 47.02)
- As far as we can tell gambling illegally in the state of Texas is punishable by a misdemeanor.
- Social gambling is permitted in Texas as long as no one is taking rake on the game.
- We have found no instances where an individual has been charged with gambling online in the state of Texas.
Texas Gambling History
Gambling halls and saloons were very popular with the early settlers in Texas. Playing poker in the saloons was common among the outlays like Doc Holliday and businessmen alike. Gambling was widely accepted for many years. There were a few attempts to shut down gambling in Texas in the 1800s, but they were unsuccessful. It wasn’t until mid-1900s that law enforcement started really cracking down on the illegal gambling establishments and shutting them down.
Over the years there have been many attempts to legalize gambling in Texas. Gamblers have won few concessions, but in general, Texas isn’t open to legalizing gambling. The voters approved a state lottery in 1992 which includes scratch off tickets so you will be able to participate in some gambling in the state.
Texans can also participate in pari-mutuel betting on horse and dog races. Several race tracks around the state hold a license, but very few of the tracks are still operating. The majority of the betting that goes on at the tracks that are still operating are simulcast bets because they don’t hold many live races anymore.
Indian tribes have had a long battle with the state of Texas for their rights to open casinos. In 1993, the Tigua tribe opened a casino in Texas. The tribe sued the state of Texas to negotiate the compact so that they could expand gambling. The tribe added slot games in 1996. The legal battle continued between the tribe and the state of Texas with the Attorney General suing the tribe in 2001. The tribe lost and closed their doors in 2002. However, they continued to offer gambling illegally and in 2008 the Attorney General filed an enforcement act to shut down the illegal gambling.
The tribes and the state continued to fight for many years. The licensed that were issued to the tribes were mainly for bingo halls. You will find a few Indian Casinos around the state of Texas today, but for the most part the state is not interested in having gambling.
It is interesting that the Legend of Poker, Doyle Brunson is from the state of Texas. Many people still refer to Doyle Brunson as “Texas Dolly.” The story of Doyle Brunson is an interesting story to say the least. He was raised dirt poor in Texas, but he was a great athlete. He was signed with the Minneapolis Lakers NBA team, but unfortunately his NBA career ended before it even started when he had an accident at work that shattered his leg.
Brunson was left with no career, and he had to figure out a way to make a decent living. He started playing poker, and he was very good at it. His ability to read people was uncanny. He quickly became one of the most respected poker players in the world. He has won 10 WSOP events, and cashed in numerous WSOP events aside from the wins. In 2006, he was named the Most Influential Force in the World of Poker by ESPN magazine.
Legalized Gambling Options in Texas
The state of Texas is not a pro-gambling state by any means, but despite their efforts to curb almost all gambling Texans like to gamble. The state lottery is sold throughout the state, and players can purchase instant scratch off tickets. Pari-mutuel betting is legal in the state. Aside from that there are a handful of Tribal casinos. Poker players should have no problems finding a game since home poker games are legal as long as no one is charging rake on the game. Charitable gambling is also legal in the state of Texas.
Will Texas Legalize Online Poker in the Future?
It doesn’t seem likely that Texas will legalize online gambling anytime in the near future. Many Texans have been fighting for commercial casinos for several years, but the debate still continues. Texas seems slow to accept gambling, but it definitely isn’t one of the most strict states when it comes to gambling either. If we have a federal mandate to legalize online gambling then there is a chance that Texas will come around.