Monday, January 26, 2009

Texas Hold'em Soon To Be Legal--In Texas???

Poker Inches Closer To Legalization In Texas!

It is kind of ironic that the state which has given its name to the most played gambling and poker card game in the world, TEXAS hold'em, has steadfastly outlawed Texas hold'em and all other poker and gambling games. But now that may finally change, giving "real" legitimacy to Texas's sons' favorite poker game.

Poker advocates in Texas are making a serious push in the upcoming legislative session to legalize the game, according to a story with the Dallas Morning News.
Currently there is no casino gambling of any kind offered in the state of Texas but the underground poker scene seems to be exploding and with it the amount of police raids. Dallas alone had 10 raids on poker rooms between 2006 and 2007 with a total of 270 players arrested. Poker advocates are arguing that with the newly elected House Speaker Joe Straus (who many see as much more open-minded about the issue than his predecessor) the time is right to legitimize No-Limit Hold'em in the state.

Perhaps the most positive development for poker fans has been that Rep. Jose Menendez has submitted HB 222, which would see poker games operated under the authority of the Texas Lottery Commission. The bill's supporters say that Texas is missing out on a huge financial opportunity and that legalized games would bring more safety to poker players in the state.

"Right now, you don't know what kind of game you're walking into," said Mike Lavigne, Texas director of the Poker Player's Alliance in the Morning News article. "It could be a game with cheating. There could be collusion. There could be guns. The bill gives the players a safe place to plan in an honest game."

Last session the HB 3186 bill (which was similar to HB 222) made it through committee but never to the full House. It was estimated the bill would bring over $1 million to the state of Texas over two years time.

One of the biggest supporters is Dan Michalski, the editor and founder of poker blog Michalski is a former Dallas resident and mentioned the danger of not legalizing the game in the article with the Morning News.

"It can turn into a criminal enterprise, which is something we don't want it to be," he said. "When you make something legally questionable it has to underground, it starts to attract people who are looking to make money in an off-the-radar way."

Ironically some of the world's best poker players including Doyle Brunson and the now deceased Johnny Moss and Sailor Roberts all hailed from Texas.

Michalski is encouraging Texas poker fans to write emails of encouragement to both Straus at and Menendez at