Opening a Card Room in Houston (2 Viewers)

chicubs1988

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Why would a competing poker room stiffing players be bad business for Polk wanting to start his own poker room?
Because it creates bad press for the poker/social clubs and increases the chances that the state government will step in and close the legal loophole/grey area and shut them all down.
 

Highli99

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Why would a competing poker room stiffing players be bad business for Polk wanting to start his own poker room?
It could incentive the government to crack down on all rooms. Online poker never fully recovered from regulation, and the current environment is mostly unregulated. Also, recall that PokerStars essentially paid back FullTilts debts just to be in a position to keep operating and eventually enter limited us markets.
 

Frogzilla

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This was always the risk in Texas.
It’s much bigger risk in Dallas area specifically. Choctaw and Winstar have a big influence on the politics down here. Billboards for them everywhere. They’re a sponsor of all the sports teams.

Austin, San antonio are well insulated because they don’t compete with the border casinos. There was some fight in Houston (SIGH - “stop illegal gambling houston” is backed by the lake Charles, LA casinos three hours east) but they are smaller and further out, Houston area seemed to have prevailed

I think the pandemic is one of the only reasons TCH could have started here in a first place. The casinos weren’t offering poker for a long time, had cash flow issues from the pandemic demand, and sat back for a while. Now I guess they’re ready to put a fight back up. What a shame.
 

Legend5555

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It’s much bigger risk in Dallas area specifically. Choctaw and Winstar have a big influence on the politics down here. Billboards for them everywhere. They’re a sponsor of all the sports teams.

Austin, San antonio are well insulated because they don’t compete with the border casinos. There was some fight in Houston (SIGH - “stop illegal gambling houston” is backed by the lake Charles, LA casinos three hours east) but they are smaller and further out, Houston area seemed to have prevailed

I think the pandemic is one of the only reasons TCH could have started here in a first place. The casinos weren’t offering poker for a long time, had cash flow issues from the pandemic demand, and sat back for a while. Now I guess they’re ready to put a fight back up. What a shame.
I'll be interested to see if anything similar develops in the Atlanta area and burbs. The GA government has been pretty silent in the gambling front. GA has historically been very anti-gambling. Closest places to play are Cherokee in NC and Pearl River in Philly, MS. The GA government has been in talks before with Harrah's, but nothing ever comes of it. And despite my desire for a close place to play, I can't say I'm generally in favor of a full blown casino.

2 rooms have opened up in GA though in the northeast burbs. They are only about 5 miles away from each other, and the one that opened earlier is doing much better. But I keep wondering how long it will last. They are using the same model as TX, except that they apparently have to operate as a charity. So without any serious profit incentive, it's hard to imagine any quick expansion. They are both a little pricier than TX rooms a $15/hr. And they have capped buy ins, so they games don't get as nutty as TX. But I just am racking my brain trying to figure out how they government let's them operate.

Both are about 90 mins from me as I'm in the northwest burbs. I'd love to see something open closer to me. But no one seems very eager to try anything. And I can't blame them.
 

Frogzilla

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I'll be interested to see if anything similar develops in the Atlanta area and burbs. The GA government has been pretty silent in the gambling front. GA has historically been very anti-gambling. Closest places to play are Cherokee in NC and Pearl River in Philly, MS. The GA government has been in talks before with Harrah's, but nothing ever comes of it. And despite my desire for a close place to play, I can't say I'm generally in favor of a full blown casino.

2 rooms have opened up in GA though in the northeast burbs. They are only about 5 miles away from each other, and the one that opened earlier is doing much better. But I keep wondering how long it will last. They are using the same model as TX, except that they apparently have to operate as a charity. So without any serious profit incentive, it's hard to imagine any quick expansion. They are both a little pricier than TX rooms a $15/hr. And they have capped buy ins, so they games don't get as nutty as TX. But I just am racking my brain trying to figure out how they government let's them operate.

Both are about 90 mins from me as I'm in the northwest burbs. I'd love to see something open closer to me. But no one seems very eager to try anything. And I can't blame them.
It’s not about operating within the law, the Texas card rooms are all clearly afoul of the law. The law doesn’t say “everything good as long as you don’t rake the pot”. It says “no one can have an economic benefit from poker”.

The club access fee, ok, you can make a case that the club access fee is unrelated to poker. A tough case at some of the clubs that have ONLY poker. Easier if there is a pool table and a bar. But a case nonetheless.

But the time rake that is clocked in at the tables? And the tournament fees? These are economic benefit, and they are intrinsically connected to the poker.

This is more about whether the city wants to pretend its a “gray” area and let the clubs operate, knowing there is going to be a lot less side effects than underground clubs operating illegally
 

10centguitar

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It’s not about operating within the law, the Texas card rooms are all clearly afoul of the law. The law doesn’t say “everything good as long as you don’t rake the pot”. It says “no one can have an economic benefit from poker”.

The club access fee, ok, you can make a case that the club access fee is unrelated to poker. A tough case at some of the clubs that have ONLY poker. Easier if there is a pool table and a bar. But a case nonetheless.

But the time rake that is clocked in at the tables? And the tournament fees? These are economic benefit, and they are intrinsically connected to the poker.

This is more about whether the city wants to pretend its a “gray” area and let the clubs operate, knowing there is going to be a lot less side effects than underground clubs operating illegallI
.
I dont think the cardrooms are clearly afoul of the law, they are exploiting a loophole, which for now, is within the law. The Texas AG Ken Paxton, when pressed on the subject, declined to take a stand on it. Lets say that much.

Its like those beer n all places in TX. You can drive thru and get a massive 40oz daquiri and drive away with it because they put it in a heat sealed plastic bag. That, in my mind, is still clearly an open container, buts its legal now.

Its true the law also says no one should recieve an economic benefit aside from their winnings. For some i know, the interpretation for legality lies in the cash on the table. No one gets an economic benefit from the money "in play" besides the players. Players pay time and dues with different money. Therefore the money being played with is not raked in any way. Of course some places let people pay time with cash chips off the table.
As for time fees, a TX cardroom manager once told me, "people have to pay time even if they want to play go fish in here for free" its a private club and people pay membership. How, and how often dues are taken can be determined by the club.

For a long time the biggest area of legal contention in the TX industry was the tip chip. The question was whether or not dealers could be tipped with cash chips in play or not. Used to be, no cash chips could leave play unless they were cashed out. Now everywhere people just tip cash chips.

Used to be you had to buy special tip chips or tip cash. The way some cardrooms got around this was that dealers pay time as well. That way, when they take money off the table, they are considered a player. (Really dumb imho)
Others just dont worry about it bc dealers are essential to the game and they will let the courts decide it. They feel the law didnt consider professional dealers bc it was written when almost all poker was pass the deal.
 

Frogzilla

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I dont think the cardrooms are clearly afoul of the law, they are exploiting a loophole, which for now, is within the law. The Texas AG Ken Paxton, when pressed on the subject, declined to take a stand on it. Lets say that much.

Its like those beer n all places in TX. You can drive thru and get a massive 40oz daquiri and drive away with it because they put it in a heat sealed plastic bag. That, in my mind, is still clearly an open container, buts its legal now.

Its true the law also says no one should recieve an economic benefit aside from their winnings. For some i know, the interpretation for legality lies in the cash on the table. No one gets an economic benefit from the money "in play" besides the players. Players pay time and dues with different money. Therefore the money being played with is not raked in any way. Of course some places let people pay time with cash chips off the table.
As for time fees, a TX cardroom manager once told me, "people have to pay time even if they want to play go fish in here for free" its a private club and people pay membership. How, and how often dues are taken can be determined by the club.

For a long time the biggest area of legal contention in the TX industry was the tip chip. The question was whether or not dealers could be tipped with cash chips in play or not. Used to be, no cash chips could leave play unless they were cashed out. Now everywhere people just tip cash chips.

Used to be you had to buy special tip chips or tip cash. The way some cardrooms got around this was that dealers pay time as well. That way, when they take money off the table, they are considered a player. (Really dumb imho)
Others just dont worry about it bc dealers are essential to the game and they will let the courts decide it. They feel the law didnt consider professional dealers bc it was written when almost all poker was pass the deal.
Paxton declining to comment doesn’t mean it’s a loophole, it could simply means he doesn’t want to enforce that law.

The law doesn’t say “economic benefit from money in play”. It just says economic benefit.

Let’s talk about tournaments for a minute. And to my knowledge, all major clubs in Texas offer tournaments. The tournament usually looks something like $100 entry to prize pool plus $25 tournament “access fee”. You pay $125, $25 to house, $100 to prize pool. Here is guidance from Paxton on whether nonprofits can hold charity poker events for fundraising. Where’s the supposed loophole?
“ It is legal for individuals to play poker or other casino activities in a private place, defined as "a place to which the public does not have access." They can bet money and win money. However, all money must be redistributed to the participants. The "house" cannot keep a cut, thus it would obviously be difficult for a nonprofit to raise funds in this way.”
 

10centguitar

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Paxton declining to comment doesn’t mean it’s a loophole, it could simply means he doesn’t want to enforce that law.

The law doesn’t say “economic benefit from money in play”. It just says economic benefit.

Let’s talk about tournaments for a minute. And to my knowledge, all major clubs in Texas offer tournaments. The tournament usually looks something like $100 entry to prize pool plus $25 tournament “access fee”. You pay $125, $25 to house, $100 to prize pool. Here is guidance from Paxton on whether nonprofits can hold charity poker events for fundraising. Where’s the supposed loophole?
“ It is legal for individuals to play poker or other casino activities in a private place, defined as "a place to which the public does not have access." They can bet money and win money. However, all money must be redistributed to the participants. The "house" cannot keep a cut, thus it would obviously be difficult for a nonprofit to raise funds in this way.”
Well we are open for now and it doesnt much look like its changing. Im glad we are.
As far as i have heard its a county to county decision for now.

Also i know what the law says, i was commenting on how certain parties were interpreting it, hence the money in play comment.
As for loopholes, not a single card house would have opened in TX if they felt there wasnt a loophole somewhere in the law, which they saw way before Paxton decided "not to comment" on the issue in 2019. If the politicians in Dallas getting lobby money from OK casinos want to keep fighting cardhouses thats their business.
As for me and all the cardhouse people i know, we will keep fighting the good fight.
 

MrCatPants

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Here's the story about the attempted robbery at Legends Poker Room

https://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/...iple-shots-fired-no-serious-injuries-1801754/

And here's video from the club of the incident. The gun going off multiple times while the security guard struggles with the gunman is nuts!

https://www.instagram.com/p/CZCrjgYluXo/
One of my regulars was there when it happened at told us about it at our live game last week. On video it looks like the tables have no idea anything was going on until the shots started going off.
 

Frogzilla

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Didn’t attend the appeal yesterday, but from pics looks like a good crowd there to support. 40-50 folks with a lot of “save Dallas poker” shirts. There was some audio posted on Facebook, TCH made a great case and were extremely polished and professional. Didn’t see any audio from the city making the case against TCH if that even happened From what I understand, they ran out of time, the hearing will continue March 22.
 

JustinInMN

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My wife tried to convince me a few weeks back to start a poker room here in GA similar to Little Kings and Queens over in Buford, GA. I'm still not convinced how they run is legal. They basically use the TX model + are a charity. I told her the overhead of all that is more than I'd want to deal with, not to mention the very questionable legality.
Wife of the year award!

You should definitely do this and call it "The Hanger"! Maybe use blue LEDs in the floor marking a pathway to the tables like taxiway lights. How about TV screens but instead of arrivals and departures its the table #, game type, blinds and wait list! How about a rewards program modeled after a frequent flyer program? A small bar in the corner called the Captain's Club?

@Av8tion please disregard my above post. I just discovered that the name I picked already exists, I spelt it wrong and that you recently played there!

Excited about you doing something, let us know when you settle on a theme and I’m sure the ideas will pour in.
"Hey Sarge, I caught a hangar."
 

Legend5555

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Wife of the year award!
A few things:

1. My wife plays poker as well. Actually how we met.

2. She has always wanted to start her own business.

3. We used to run an illegal game. So we have some experience and can both deal.

4. She actually has a Herndonmob result. I don't. But to be fair, I play more cash.
 

TX_Golf_N_Poker

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A few things:

1. My wife plays poker as well. Actually how we met.

2. She has always wanted to start her own business.

3. We used to run an illegal game. So we have some experience and can both deal.

4. She actually has a Herndonmob result. I don't. But to be fair, I play more cash.
OK, OK, we get it! Wife of the DECADE then...
 

sam8686

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So after contributing to @TwoHomie 's post about opening a card room in Texas... it got me going back to the drawing board on my idea of opening one on my own... and the more I talk with my co-workers about it, the more of a real possibility it becomes.

Here are the initial thoughts:

Relatively small space, probably no more than 2,000-3,000 sq ft

Located within walking distance of the IAH airport hotels that are frequently occupied by airline crew members.

5 regular tables and a "feature table" for high-stakes games, tournament FTs and maybe a weekly/monthly live-stream

Lounge area with couches, food/beverages, maybe one of those coin-operated pool tables and some arcade games.

Catered to attract transient airline crewmembers and travelers, who will in turn attract regs looking to make money off of them.


If I end up going ahead with the idea of getting this off the ground, I will share the journey here on the forum and elicit suggestions/ideas from the members here. This would be a unique chance for the forum to help with the formation of a poker room... making sure it's built and run the way poker players would want it to be run.


Let me get the obvious comments/questions out of the way...

NO, I am not getting Paulsons... the reasons for that are many and obvious... most likely they will be ceramics...

YES, I will offer to sell our $1s and $5s at face value + shipping to the membership if there is interest for it.... and I will order enough chips to handle a massive harvesting operation if need be... I might even add in a Grand Opening run for this purpose...

I will be contacting PokerAtlas for a quote for their TableCaptain system to allow for live waitlists, player-tracking, etc... it seems like good system and a lot of card rooms around here use them.



I am curious to see what some of you have to say about the idea. While the Houston poker scene does seem to be a little crowded, the only one reasonably close to the airport is The Hangar, and they aren't going after the same player type and they aren't as conveniently located for those without cars as I plan to be. Any and all constructive feedback is welcome.

If you live in the Houston area and are interested in partnering up to get this off the ground, let me know and maybe we can work something out. Also, anyone who would like to help out in the design of the chip labels, custom cards / cut cards / dealer buttons / etc. let me know and I'll get in touch with you if this does actually launch.
I am in works of opening a poker room and looking for a room manager.
Let me know if you know any.
 

sam8686

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This is quite the first post! Welcome to PCF. Where is the room going to be located?
I have couple of potential sites narrowed down.
One by i-45 near spring/ woodlands.
One closer to fuqua road south east of houston inside the belt way.

If someone's serious about it, i can have a call and possibly meet sometime soon.
 

Nick@TPS

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I have couple of potential sites narrowed down.
One by i-45 near spring/ woodlands.
One closer to fuqua road south east of houston inside the belt way.

If someone's serious about it, i can have a call and possibly meet sometime soon

Give me a call 512-836-8365 for tables, chips and accessories.
 

Anthony Martino

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TCH Dallas won their appeal today!


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