Poker is still in a legal limbo in the state of Texas. In fact, in order for Texans to enjoy poker, they have no other choice but to go to neighboring states. However, for the World Poker Tour DeepStacks, it has released details regarding the second half of its fifth season. And though there were some expected poker players and fans, one stop really did stand out—Houston, Texas.
The same state that was able to give the name to Texas Hold’em. This time around, Texas will be hosting $1,000 buy-in event from September 21 to 25 at the Freerolls Poker Club. What makes this special is the fact that it is a non-charity major tour poker tournament, which makes it the first of its kind in the Lone Star State.
Clubs Facing Legal Scrutiny
Many poker clubs in Collin County have already faced legal scrutiny from law enforcement. However, there are clubs in Austin and in San Antonio areas that have been allowed by authorities because of its “club dynamic”.
WPT officials already mentioned that everything in the event is legal. Players will be paying a membership fee in order to get in the door. However, in order to stay legal, the event will take no rake inside on any of the games whatsoever. This means that the buy-in for the event might be listed at $1,000 + 0.
According to the WPTDeepStacks executive director Chris Torina, “there are always concerns anytime a company moves into a new market for the first time”. Torina added that “Hosting an event in Texas presents challenges, sure, but luckily a lot of due diligence and research went into this decision”.
Part of what made WPT confident with their move to Texas is their partner FreeRolls Poker Club. Torina mentioned that “our partner in Houston, FreeRolls Poker Club, has assured us that they comply, and will continue to comply, with all local and state laws, and have given us a firm grasp on how the venue itself conducts business. We also looked at this event as a marketing initiative to help expand the game of poker not only in Houston, but in Texas as a whole”.
FreeRolls Poker Club
The possibility that WPT is able to land in Texas is somewhat a miracle at first glimpse. However, FreeRolls Poker Club is the wild card in this equation. For most card rooms, the card room operates by asking for an hour “seat fee”. This circumvention allowed different clubs to operate on a legal grey area. However, FreeRolls is quite different.
The FreeRolls Poker Club opened with a soft launch last week but is officially going to open on April 9. Trent Daniel who is the club co-founder and business development director mentioned that “FreeRolls is unique as we are really the only club in Houston that operates on a model that does not have the gray areas when it comes to the law”. He mentioned that “We do not charge any fees to our members beyond membership. So under our model, players pay one time and play all day. No seat rentals, no time charges, nothing”.