You would think that since one of the most popular poker variants is named after the state, Texas would be a hotbed of poker activity. You aren’t wrong, although you may be surprised by how few options players have to play the game. There are land-based card rooms, but the majority of the big games were played underground. The online poker industry helped bring the game to the masses, but today, the players that fell in love with poker by playing online are struggling to find relevant games.
This is where we come in. This page is dedicated to Texas poker players – your only necessary stop to find out everything about where to play the game, what games you will find online these days, and how to improve your game even if you can’t find a real money option.
Online Poker in Texas
Texas is the largest state in the nation, and as a result, it is harder for many people to get to poker games due to all the travel. This is why Texans flocked to online poker sites when they were launched back in the late 1990s. By the time Chris Moneymaker was shocking the world with his WSOP Main Event win in 2003, real money online poker was ready to explode, and in the coming years, thousands of players from Texas and across the U.S. were playing tournaments trying to win seats to events all over the world.
The operators providing the online poker sites were based outside the country, and this didn’t end up sitting well with the government, nor with the land-based casino industry that was seeing a decline in revenue. The government decided not to ban the game itself but made the payment processing for online gambling transactions illegal in 2006. This scared away the publicly-traded online poker companies, but sites like Poker Stars decided they would stick it out. Unfortunately, things caught up to them in 2011 when the government seized the remaining large poker site URLs and kicked them out of the country.
Since then, online poker players in Texas have had no legal real money option for online poker, but help may be some help on the way. With the changes in sports betting regulations sweeping across the U.S. since 2018, many states are adding online poker to their bills. As of early 2020, there are six states with online poker live or legal, and it is expected that many more, including Texas, will consider it in the coming months and years.
Land Based Poker in Texas
Poer has some serious roots in Texas, with some of the legends of the game like Amarillo Slim and Doyle “Texas Dolly” Brunson coming from the region. Texas Hold’em is the most popular poker game on the planet and has its origins in the state. The good news for poker players who learned the game online is there are many poker rooms around Texas and across the border into neighboring states.
Now, you won’t find poker rooms like those in Las Vegas in Texas – these rooms are much more modest, featuring a handful of cash game tables and usually one or two tournaments a week. However, since the real money online poker industry dried up, this is one of the only ways for players to try to win some cash playing their favorite game.
Here’s a list of the poker room locations in Texas:
101 Poker Club (Katy, TX)
52 Social (Houston, TX)
Abby J Card House (San Antonio, TX)
Austin Poker Palace (Austin, TX)
Champions Social (Houston, TX)
Freerolls Poker Club – Katy (Katy, TX)
Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino (Eagle Pass, TX)
KoJack’s Poker Club (Midland, TX)
Lions Poker Palace (Houston, TX)
Mint Poker (Houston, TX)
Prime Social Poker Club (Houston, TX)
Prime Time Social (Corpus Christi, TX)
Rounders Card Club (San Antonio, TX)
Rounders Poker Room (Spring, TX)
SA Card House (San Antonio, TX)
Shuffle 512 (Austin, TX)
SoHo Poker Club (Houston, TX)
Texas Card House North Houston (Spring, TX)
Texas Card House Rio Grande Valley (Edinburg, TX)
The House Club Poker Room & Lounge (Edinburg, TX)
Social Poker in Texas
Social poker sites are very interesting – they use a player’s desire to be social and also to be at the top of their social pack as reasons to play often on their sites. These operators seem to know what they are doing – millions of players ended up registering for sites and playing. Furthermore, many of those players actually paid for packages of play chips to unlock levels and move faster up the leaderboard. If you are interested in playing for the fun of it or just for bragging rights, then check out any of the social poker sites and apps that are available today.
Subscription Poker in Texas
For those looking for an alternative to social online poker, we suggest subscription or sweepstakes sites. They have found a way to manipulate sweepstakes laws to allow for poker games that offer cash prizes. The leader in the space is Club WPT, partly founded by the World Poker Tour. This site rewards those who pay a monthly membership fee with sweepstakes tokens that can be used at special tables where players can win prizes ranging from cash to trips to World Poker Tour events.
Online Poker in Texas FAQ
Is it worth it to learn other games aside from Texas Hold’em?
Definitely! There is so much fun to be had playing some of the games that aren’t as formulaic that Hold’em has become over the years. The land-based poker rooms in Texas all have dealers who can deal games like Omaha and Stud, and the World Series of Poker keeps adding events in these games as well as new variants like Short Deck.
We have a series of Poker Game Guides, which can help start you on the road to understanding these games. There are also lots of great videos and hand simulators out there that you can use to increase your knowledge.
Some of my friends continue to play real money poker online somehow – what are they doing?
Most likely, your friends are playing with one of the very few sites that still offer real money online poker to American players. These sites aren’t illegal to play at, but given how difficult it is to make deposits and withdrawals, these sites are always at risk of not having enough cash to pay players. This added risk makes these sites a non-starter for us, so we never recommend them to our readers