Here are some relevant snips from the current Texas statutes. Please note that any sworn officer is able to act to enforce the law - local police, state police, officers serving special jurisdictions, constables, TABC officers (booze regulators) - basically anyone with a badge in Texas. The state AG has ruled that something as trivial as getting a "you are the winner" printed page is a thing of value. Also ruled that a group buy of pizza or other food turns a legal poker game into an unlawful game. (because the cost per slice is lower due to the collective purchase rather than individual purchase.) Best I know, these are untested in court. But the point is the State has an exceptionally aggressive, expansive view of what a thing of value is. I have no doubt that seat fees, door charges, the sale of food and drink and dealer compensation are all considered things of value. Please note that the owner of a leased building used for poker plus his/her managers are all subject to prosecution under the statute. Same thing for all the players, employees and independent contractors. There is a "safe harbor" defense listed below. It is notable that Texas has several precedent cases involving "men's card rooms" at country clubs where the courts found the country club was a private place and that the fees to join and remain a member of the country club were not "a thing of value" related to poker played there. This is the entire defense for all the new crop of card rooms here in Texas. A poker room with only a membership fee but no other charges is likely safer from prosecution than ones with a door charge, seat fee and under the table dealer tips. But even a card room trying to be lily white is running some risk. Shoot - - even my home game runs some faint risks. See the discussion about ordering pizza at a poker game. I think every commercial poker room is running on borrowed time. They all rely on the discretion of local and state law enforcement. So far, things have gone ok. But tomorrow is another day and on that day the cops could come to break up the game. DrStrange Texas Statutes CHAPTER 47. GAMBLING § 47.01. Definitions In this chapter: (9) "Thing of value" means any benefit, but does not include an unrecorded and immediate right of replay not exchangeable for value. § 47.02. Gambling (3) plays and bets for money or other thing of value at any game played with cards, dice, balls, or any other gambling device. § 47.04. Keeping a Gambling Place (a) A person commits an offense if he knowingly uses or permits another to use as a gambling place any real estate, building, room, tent, vehicle, boat, or other property whatsoever owned by him or under his control, or rents or lets any such property with a view or expectation that it be so used. (d) It is a defense to prosecution under Subsections (a) and (c) that: (1) the device, equipment, or paraphernalia is used for or is intended for use in gambling that is to occur entirely in a private place; (2) a person involved in the gambling does not receive any economic benefit other than personal winnings; and (3) except for the advantage of skill or luck, the chance of winning is the same for all participants.