Texas Online Poker Sites - Is Poker Legal In Texas ? - Poker Law

Texas Legal Poker

Texas Players Accepted Online Poker Sites

Is it Legal To Play Poker in Texas?

The Lone Star State is home to the popular poker games of Texas Hold ‘em, and Omaha, and this legacy is reflected in a pretty fair set of gambling laws. While Texas still remains decidedly anti-casino, the laws don't condemn poker in the same way. To make sure your home games stay within the bounds of the law, though, you do have to meet a few requirements.


Want to play poker online from Texas? Learn which US online poker sites will accept players from the state of Texas


Home Poker Games In Texas

If you are thinking about hosting a poker game in your home, you're probably in the clear. I say "probably" because there are a few conditions you need to consider. Let's start with the bad news. According to Section 47.02 of the Texas Penal Code, it's generally a crime if a person: "plays and bets for money or other thing of value at any game played with cards."

Sounds like all poker games are illegal right? Well the law continues by stating some defenses to this piece of legislation. When it comes to hosting home games, you are free and clear if the three following statements are true:

* The actor engaged in gambling in a private place.
* No person received any economic benefit other than personal winnings.
* Except for the advantage of skill or luck, the risks of losing and the chances of winning were the same for all participants.

This means you must keep the game closed to the public, you cannot collect rake, and you have to keep the game fair! As long as you don't rake the pot, most of your home poker games should be perfectly legal in Texas.

Can you Play Poker in Texas' Casinos?

No you absolutely cannot, because casinos can't legally operate in the state of Texas under any circumstance. Looking at Section 47.03, it's clear that this is the case; It's illegal to: "knowingly operate or participate in the earnings of a gambling place."

What does the state of Texas consider to be a gambling place? In Section 47.01 we are told that a gambling place is:

"...any real estate, room,... or any property whatsoever, one of the uses which is the making or settling of bets, bookmaking, or the conducting of a lottery or the playing of gambling devices."

So in the end, this definition completely outlaws all casinos, and anything that may even resemble a casino. It also would include poker-specific card rooms and clubs that are popular elsewhere.

Playing Poker Online In Texas

Texas gambling laws do not specifically mention playing poker online, and the state has never prosecuted any online poker players, but we do know some things. First of all, it is illegal to own or operate an online poker room in Texas (or anywhere else in the United States).

As for actually playing poker online, it looks like it may be illegal, although there is no threat of enforcement at this time. The house is collecting a rake from the pot, so there are no applicable defenses for illegally gambling with an electronic device under the Texas Penal code.

View More USA Poker / Gambling Laws by State

Utah - Utah Poker Laws

Vermont - Vermont Poker Laws

Virginia - Virginia Poker Laws

West Virginia - West Virginia Poker

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