In what comes as a welcome surprise to the state’s numerous poker fans, the World Poker Tour’s DeepStacks recently announced it will be making a stop in Houston, Texas, located at 10739 Gulf Freeway. That’s right, despite Texas’ strict no gambling laws, the city of Houston will play host to the $100K GTD WPT DeepStacks Main Event from September 21-25. The $1,000 buy-in tournament will take place at the FreeRolls Poker Club.
Why is this such a big surprise? Because poker clubs in Texas have to adhere to stringent requirements in order to offer poker at all. Their games must be held in a private place; all players must have an equal chance of winning; and all payments taken must be paid out as winnings to participants. The last provision, of course, makes it impossible for card rooms to earn any money from games, so all gambling at membership clubs are“non-profitable activities”.
The FreeRolls Poker Club, however, (along with other up-and-coming poker clubs that have also figured out the winning, and completely legal, formula) offers daily, monthly, or annual subscriptions allowing members to play at the venue for as long as they like, with no further associated costs. The club also earns some extra money, via advertisements shown on touchscreens located on each individual table.
In order to enter the WPT DeepStacks Houston, a player must first pay a $100 membership, with all other funds collected subsequently going directly towards the tournament’s prize pool, meaning any re-entries will cost just $1,000. In other words, the card room will earn its revenues only from memberships fees, in addition to money derived from its advertisers and sponsors.
Meanwhile, WPT DeepStacks executive director, Chris Torina, says that his brand is excited to be leading the way in Texas, and was hopeful that the “first-class live event” would pioneer the way for future tournaments to be held in Texas. Furthermore, the event has already attracted a great deal of buzz on social media, indicating that it was likely to be an extremely popular event.
The question is, how many of our Texan followers will rush to enter this event. We can think of several who are probably already salivating, let us know who you are.