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Jody Wheeler is betting on a business model he bills as a legal and texas place to play poker. He hired lawyers to ensure that his private social club operated within the law. And he's been up front with city officials about what he's doing. Whether he's successful depends in part on texs and their interpretation of the law.
Several card clubs in Dallas and Plano have shut down in recent weeks over questions about their legality. Several others looking to capitalize on the popularity of these so-called poker rooms have put their plans on hold. Gambling is illegal in Texas. But state law offers a defense against prosecution when gambling takes place in a private place where no person receives an economic benefit beyond personal winnings and the chances of winning or losing are essentially the same except for the advantage of skill or luck.
That means the house can't take a percentage of the pot. Dealers can't earn tips either. Clubs that run afoul of Texas law are often found to be violating the private aspect or making money in connection gambling tips for video poker the game.
Instead, he makes his living running poker tournaments for bars and gambilng through his business, Community Card Player. His model lets people play poker for free to try room win cash prizes. His money comes from the venues, which pay a flat fee, regardless gambing how many people show up to play. Wheeler said he modeled his business after private country clubs, where poker rooms are common.
FTN Poker charges a monthly membership fee as well as an hourly fee that members pay as soon as they enter the club. With nine custom-made tables, poker is the predominant game. But a smaller table is available for backgammon, chess and other board games. Ten flat-screen TVs line the walls. And people who just want to hang out get charged the same hourly fee as those playing poker. FTN Poker has attracted more than members so far during open enrollment, which lasts another month. After that, prospective players will have to be sponsored by a member to join.
The Texas attorney general's office has no formal opinion on poker rooms. A casino dealer schools pointed to the gambling law for clarification. Police filed a report alleging the keeping of a gambling place. The case inn under investigation. A department spokeswoman declined to release any texas information.
The club has since closed, its website and Facebook page have been shut down, and its operators could not be reached. The club jn late last year in a strip center storefront on Parker Road off Independence Parkway. It reportedly attracted scores of players each night. Its website states that it "is working with local authorities to resolve operational issues. The website for Lucky's Card Room in Fort Worth says the club is temporarily closed while it works on a new location. And the site for TopSet Poker Club in Plano stated that its grand opening, formerly set for September, has been delayed while it considers options in light of problems identified at similar businesses.
Owners Fred and Heather Zimmerman said they did their homework to ensure that they would be legal. Three weeks later, they shut down to avoid arrest. The couple said they were transparent about their club as they sought a city permit to open. Only after they started gaining members did they receive "threatening letters" from police stating that their business model violated the state's gambling law.
Plano City Attorney Paige Mims said certificates of occupancy are about the fitness of a building and have nothing to do with the activity inside. Police spokesman David Tilley declined to go into details about his department's conversations with the poker rooms. The Zimmermans started a GoFundMe page to help raise money for their legal efforts.
They have renamed their business Big Texas Game Club and have added a pool gakbling, an air hockey table gambling rooms in texas other games. But police aren't giving them much gambling rooms in texas about what's acceptable, Fred Zimmerman said. They cited the success of Texas Card House, which has been operating since early in Austin and now has two locations.
It's believed to be the ropms of its kind to use a membership model and charge players by the hour to play poker. Most of the poker rooms around the state have used a similar model. He said the Austin club revised its business model four months ago after talking with attorneys.
No longer is the club's revenue tied to the amount of time players spend seated at the poker table. Members now get charged upon entering the club, whether they play poker or not, Crow said. Crow said he had been poised to sign a lease to expand into Dallas last teexas when the other clubs shut down. Dallas police won't give him a straight answer about what's allowed, he said. Shutting down the poker clubs doesn't stop people from playing.
Many return to underground games, where the operator typically takes a portion of the pot from each hand, which violates the law. Get Unlimited Digital Access. Don't miss gambling story. Like us on Facebook. Get Unlimited Digital Access Your first month is less than a dollar. Poker Rooms of Texas, shown last month, remains shut down at W. Parker Road in Plano. Wheeler believes there's nothing to decide, but acknowledges that his hands are tied, gambling rooms in texas.
Gambling rooms Now Already a subscriber? Powered by the Parse.Gambling is strictly prohibited in Texas, but people still try to skirt the law. Game rooms are one of the most popular forms of illegal gambling in Texas. State law that describes criminal offenses related to gambling. Texas Bingo, Raffles, Gaming Rooms and Other Gambling Issues Under Texas Law [PDF]. Gambling is illegal in Texas, but there are exceptions. Many "game rooms" have popped up in East Texas. These consist of electronic.