HomeTexas Online Poker

Texas Online Poker

Online poker for money isn’t legal in Texas, and it might be some time before that status changes. In this piece, we’ll review the legislative hurdles and how online poker could come to the Lone Star State.

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Many forms of online gambling in Texas are illegal under law, and that extends to real-money online poker. Texas outlawed gambling in 1903, and while efforts have been made to roll back those restrictions (for example, lottery games and bingo contests are legal, as are tribal casinos), as recently as 2023, plans to expand casino gaming have failed, which is a bad omen for online poker legalization.

In this piece, we’ll look at what legislative hurdles stand in the way of online poker in Texas, as well as what to expect if the legal status changes.

Best Texas online poker sites

There aren’t any legal real-money online poker sites in Texas, but once such gambling platforms are legalized in the state, we expect these options to be among the best.

No, online poker is not legal in Texas. Not only is online poker illegal but most forms of live poker are restricted as well. Texas Penal Code §47.02(a)(3) states a person has committed an offense if that person “plays and bets for money or other thing of value at any game played with cards, dice, balls, or any other gambling device.”

There are exceptions that allow poker rooms to exist; for example, they are permitted to charge a membership or seat fee for players in a way that complies with Texas law (this is done instead of taking a rake). Additionally, social/sweepstakes casinos are allowed in Texas and can run tournaments without offering cash prizes/payouts or charging real money for entry.

As of January 2024, online poker is only legal in Delaware, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

When could Texas legalize online poker?

Texas could legalize online poker during the 2025 legislative session, but this seems highly unlikely. The path to legal online poker likely starts with permitting land-based casinos to offer poker first, as this would be a more “middle ground” step between Texas’ current laws and the more controversial way to play.

Gambling proponents claim Texas loses $5 billion in gambling revenue annually to neighboring states, and while online poker isn’t legal in any states that border the Lone Star State, legalizing online poker and online casinos in Texas could cut into those losses. On the other hand, critics of online poker argue that the ease of access will make it easier for players to develop gambling addictions and engage in problematic betting behaviors.

How will you be able to sign up at a Texas online poker site?

If online poker sites are legalized in Texas, you’ll be able to sign up at one of those sites by following these steps.

  1. Look for a referral code or bonus code: We’ll review each of the licensed Texas online poker sites once they become available, and as part of the reviews, we’ll link to the signup forms and provide any applicable bonus codes to help you maximize your registration bonus.
  2. Set up your login credentials: Once you’ve opened the form, you’ll need to provide an email address and password to use when logging into your poker account. You may need to enter the password more than once to verify it. Picking a security question and answer for account security could also be done at this step.
  3. Verify your identity and eligibility: Next, you will need to affirm your betting eligibility by providing your legal first and last name, birth date, address, phone number, and the last four digits of your social security number. This information will be required by Texas law in order to participate.
  4. Agree to the terms and submit your registration: There will likely be a few boxes to check at this step to agree to the privacy policy and that you will abide by the terms of use. You may also have the option to receive promotional communications from the online poker site (either through email or text message) which can get you exclusive bonuses. When you’ve checked all the required boxes, you can click “submit” to finalize your signup.
  5. Make a deposit and start playing: Lastly, make a deposit using your preferred payment method. It’s unclear what options will be available, though you’ll likely be able to use a debit card, PayPal, Play+ account, online banking, and/or a wire transfer to fund your poker account. As a reminder, make sure the amount you deposit is within the range of eligibility for the welcome bonus.

Texas casinos with poker rooms

Texas casinos are all considered Class II gambling facilities which means they are limited in how they can allow poker games (they would need to be Class III before allowing blackjack, slot machines, roulette, and a full range of poker rooms, among other gaming offerings). To play poker, you need to be a registered member at the casino.

Here are the Texas casinos with poker rooms.

  • Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino Hotel: 794 Lucky Eagle Dr, Eagle Pass, TX 78852
  • Speaking Rock Casino and Entertainment Center: 122 S Old Pueblo Rd, El Paso, TX 79907

Which online poker games could be available in Texas?

Once online poker games are legal in Texas, we expect the following games to be available.

  • Texas Hold’em: One of the most popular poker games at online and land-based casinos is Texas Hold’em, where players try to score the best five-card hand using two held cards and five community cards. Players go head-to-head with the others at the table rather than playing the house.
  • Blackjack: Though it is technically classified as a table game as opposed to a poker variant, Blackjack is another game that could be offered at online poker sites. Unlike Texas Hold’em, Blackjack is played against “the House,” meaning when the player wins, the casino site loses and vice versa. Players must try to score a hand that beats the dealer’s without surpassing a total value of 21.
  • 7-card Stud: 7-card stud used to be the most commonly offered poker variant in the U.S. before Texas Hold’em and Omaha rose to prominence. Similarly, players create the best five-card hand, though this time around, players are dealt seven of their own cards without community cards available.
  • Omaha: There are two big differences between Texas Hold’em and Omaha; first, Omaha players receive four cards during the deal instead of two. Secondly, while there are still five community cards, players must use exactly two of their own cards and three of the community cards when putting together their five-card hand.
  • 5-card Draw: 5-card draw is rather easy to learn and moves quickly with only two rounds of betting. Players are dealt five cards (no community cards) and can choose to discard from their hand while receiving a new one for each they discard. The highest five-card hand takes the pot.

Expert advice when playing online poker in Texas

We asked our online poker experts for their best advice so you’ll be set up for success once you can play online poker in Texas. Here’s what they shared with us.

  • Get consistent with low-stakes games: Practicing your poker tendencies on low-stakes tables will help you develop strategies and gain a feel for reading players when you can’t see their faces like you would at a standard table. This will keep you from getting into a hole while getting comfortable with the games in an online environment, where you’ll see many subtle differences from in-person gaming.
  • Limit the money and time you spend playing poker: While practice will help you improve your game, limiting the amount of time and money you spend playing will keep you from developing poor betting habits and help combat gambling addiction. Getting up and walking away from an online poker table will also help you clear your head; take at least a five-minute break for every 30 minutes you spend playing.
  • Raise before the flop if you’re planning to play: While playing live poker, it’s rather common to call the big blind without a raise before the flop (limping in). However, online poker games usually have more pre-flop betting action than in-person play. Paying attention to which players raise pre-flow and which ones limp in can help you target players as you make bigger wagers throughout the game.

Pros and cons of a mobile poker app vs. an online poker website

One of the main debates when playing online poker is whether to play through a mobile poker app or an online poker website. While both options have their merits, we’ve listed a few of the pros and cons to help you find the right fit.

Pros

  • Some operators have mobile-only bonuses: While it isn’t particularly common, poker operators may offer bonuses that can only be claimed through their mobile apps. These bonuses are typically betting credits that can discount a buy-in to a table or even result in a free play.
  • Mobile apps make playing on the go easy: You should always be comfortable but focused while playing poker. Playing through a mobile app can allow you to get up and move around or take a seat on your couch while playing without having to forfeit your hand by being away from your computer like you could while playing through a website.
  • Notifications make great reminders: Whether you’re getting an alert for a game that is starting soon or to remind you to use a bonus before it expires, notifications only serve to enhance your online poker experience. It’s much easier to get notifications from an app than a website, and web notifications can be easy to miss.

Cons

  • Mobile apps zap your battery: Because you’ll need to have geolocation services on while playing through a mobile app to ensure you’re within state lines, these services will run in the background on your mobile device whenever the app is open. This can drain your battery quickly especially if you don’t have access to a charger.
  • Mobile apps require updates: Few things are more frustrating than finding out you can’t make it to a table because your app needs an update. While the update installations don’t usually take long, they can keep you from playing or make things more difficult. When using a website, you’ll always have the latest software running on your machine.

FAQ

Do all casinos in Texas have poker tables?

No, not all of the casinos in Texas have poker tables. Only Kickapoo Lucky Eagle in Eagle Pass and Speaking Rock in El Paso have poker tables that operate in a members-only capacity.

Is it recommended to play at offshore poker sites in Texas?

No, it is not recommended that you play at offshore poker sites in Texas. Offshore poker sites would be illegal under state law and they do not have to abide by any regulations for fair play or consumer safety. If any problems arise while gaming (such as identity theft or refusal to pay out winnings), you will have no legal recourse against the operators. Only play at legal betting sites!

Are there any local poker clubs or card rooms in Texas?

Yes, there are local poker clubs and card rooms in Texas. These rooms typically charge a membership fee rather than collect a rake so they can still operate within state laws.

Are there any age restrictions for playing online poker in Texas?

Yes, once online poker is legal in Texas, you’ll find there are age restrictions. Players will almost certainly need to be at least 21 years old to participate in online poker games.

Can I play poker online with friends in a private game in Texas?

Yes, you can play poker online with friends in a private game, but these games cannot be played for real money. Instead, you’re limited to playing in a “for fun only” capacity.