Jan 24, 2022 - News

City of Dallas revokes poker room permit

A strip mall card room
This strip mall poker room attracts hundreds of players every day. Photo: Brandon Donner for Axios

The Texas Card House in Northwest Dallas received a letter from the city attorney revoking the permit that allows the business to operate, noting that the card room has been “keeping a gambling place,” according to a report from CBS11.

Why it matters: Texas Card House has been open to the public since 2020, after the city approved the permit. Hundreds of people gather there every day to play poker.

  • City Council member Omar Narvaez, who represents that area of Dallas, has said he supports Texas Card House and called the new change of city policy “unfair.”

Details: Texas Card House doesn’t take a “rake” — a portion of each pot — like casinos do. Instead, players pay $13 per hour to play there. Those rules have allowed the card room to operate within state laws that outlaw gambling.

  • Texas Card House has three other locations in Texas: Austin, Houston and the Rio Grande Valley, all of which remain open.

Zoom out: Card rooms in Texas have become especially popular in the poker world, attracting the most popular poker vloggers on YouTube and card players from around the globe. TCH often live streams big games.

  • Texas poker players have earned a reputation for betting wildly. It’s not uncommon to see thousands of dollars bet on a single hand.

What they’re saying: “We spent about 2-and-a-half years trying to find a location that we could open that the city approved of,” Texas Card House CEO Ryan Crow told CBS.

  • In a post on social media, the card room said it expects to "overcome this battle," but believes the process will take a long time.

The big picture: Before these legal card rooms opened, North Texas poker players had to travel to Oklahoma casinos or play in illicit underground games that were prone to robbery and cheating.

What we’re watching: There are several other card rooms open in Dallas. It’s not clear if those businesses have received similar letters from the city attorney.

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