Best Poker Rooms In Texas This Year

Poker is a popular card game. It is wildly popular in both land-based and online casinos, however, one place where it is starting to take hold is across the great state of Texas. It only makes sense when you consider that one of the most-played variations of the game is called Texas Hold ‘Em. But where are the best poker rooms in the Lone Star State? In this article, we will take a closer look at poker rooms and break down where the best ones are in Texas.

A Bit O’ History

Poker rooms are essentially card rooms. Card rooms have been around for quite some time, offering a place where gamblers can play card games for money. What sets card rooms apart from casinos is that the majority of them are stand-alone venues that only provide card games. There are no slot machines or other casino games available.

Card rooms are often the result of state laws that prohibit complete casino operations. As for the poker activity in a typical card room, depending on the location, specific variants of poker are the only games offered. They often include the most popular of the variants, such as Texas Hold ‘Em, Omaha Hold ‘Em, and Seven-Card Stud. Other poker rooms may include more games.

The most popular state for stand-alone poker rooms is Montana. In 2013, the state had a total of more than two hundred licensed card rooms. California was second with almost one hundred. Texas has jumped on the bandwagon in recent years and has experienced a quick growth of card rooms as the concept gained popularity early and continues to be of interest.

It is interesting to note that card rooms in California have a much longer history than others in the country. An example is a venue known as the California Grand Casino which has been a card-based gambling venue since the 1850s and although the word ‘casino’ is in the name, the site has always been and continues to be just a card room.

What Makes A Good Poker Room?

Before we get to our list of the best poker rooms in Texas, let’s look a bit at what makes a good poker room. These are the things you should be looking for before you decide to take a seat.

The Right Vibe

A poker room has to say “this is a poker room” to you as soon as you set foot inside of it. It doesn’t have to be flashy, but you should be able to tell from first glance that you are not in an ordinary games room but one that focuses entirely on poker.

Perks To Keep Regulars Happy

A good poker room will pay attention to loyal players. This means there should be something more to keep you coming back than free drinks. Regular tournaments, weekly or monthly leaderboards showing player standings, and similar things will keep regulars engaged.

Free/Cheap Eats And Drinks

If the poker room you just stepped into has a menu with prices that resemble a five-star restaurant, you are in the wrong place. Typically, well-run poker rooms use snacks and drinks as perks and normally charge either a nominal fee or nothing at all to retain players.

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Good-Quality Tools of the Trade

It may cost the poker room operators a bit more cash to invest in top-notch cards and chips, but in the long run, it is a sensible choice. Good-quality cards and chips will not only look attractive to any type of poker player, but they also won’t need replacement so often.

A Separate Room From The Rest of the Casino

Reserving a corner of the casino floor for poker players just doesn’t cut it anymore. A good poker room is a space that is isolated from the rest of the casino and is just for poker. It also keeps poker players focused on card games and not distracted by slot machines.

Game Variations

Just like your average slot machine floor where there is a mixture of progressives and classic slots, a poker room has to have various options available. This can be in the form of mini or lengthy tournament play, tables for Hold ‘Em, and other poker games.

A Sensible Rake

Having a rake in live poker games just makes sense from the point of view of the poker room operators. However, that rake has to be at a level where players can profit just as much as the room. High rakes do have their place, but with few exceptions.

A Good Cross Section of Players

Nothing makes a poker room uninviting for casual players than one that is dominated by professional poker players. Sure, there will be a number of them attracted to the poker room, but when there is a balance, casual players will be more likely to participate.

Player Activity

A good poker room has a steady flow of action. It may not be to capacity, but it should have enough players so that games are constantly underway. You do not want to be one of just a handful of players standing around hoping to get a game going when more people arrive.

Staff That Are Friendly and Know Poker

Probably one of the most important elements of a good poker room is the staff. With a staff that not only understands the mechanics of the game of poker, but is professional, personable, and capable, players will feel comfortable and will come back often.

The Best Poker Rooms In Texas – Small Rooms Worth Checking Out

Oddly enough, when it comes to poker rooms, size isn’t a factor. Here are a few of the smaller venues that have a following and are well worth taking a look at:

Houston – Gin Mill Poker Club

803 E NASA Parkway, Suite #102, Webster, Texas 77598

This poker room is inside the Challenger Plaza. It is not a very large venue but it does have a wonderful vibe. If you can picture a blend between your classic Texas saloons and a high-tech, modern poker room, then you have a good idea of what to expect here visually.

Midland – KoJack’s Poker Club

3205 W Cuthbert Avenue, Suite B-9, Midland, Texas 79701

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This is another of the smaller scale poker rooms but you won’t miss it from the road as the signage is quite obvious. If you are into the home game environment, then this is your place where the games do get big including the low-entry, no-limit hold ‘em ones.

Houston – 101 Poker Club

20900 Katy Freeway, Suite N1, Katy, Texas 77449

This is a very different poker room in that it has an extensive food and drink menu – sort of a rarity in Texas poker rooms. There are 12 poker tables, regularly scheduled freeroll tourneys, and much more. The place has the feel of a classic sports bar which makes it fun.

The Best Poker Rooms In Texas – Ones To Watch

There are a lot of new poker rooms opening up across the Lone Star State. Here is a look at a few that are just getting established and could be contenders:

Austin – 52 Social Club

2400 S I-35 Frontage Road, Suite 160, Round Rock, Texas 78681

This is a slightly bigger venue with 25 tables inside a contemporary and open space that includes a full-scale kitchen and bar. The Lodge, the largest poker room in Texas is nearby, so competition is heavy but this site still fares well.

Dallas – Shuffle 214

11411 E NW Highway, Suite 111, Dallas, Texas 75218

Located inside the Northwest Plaza, this venue has 31 tables and hosts several large poker tournaments. The room also offers a good mixture of cash games on the schedule as well making it attractive for players of all poker skill levels.

Richmond – 101 Poker Club

9371 Richmond Avenue, Houston, Texas 77063

This is a rebrand of an established poker room. It is one of the biggest poker rooms in Texas but has taken some time to get re-established following the change in ownership and name. Extensive reno’s have made this venue stunning and big money games are frequent.

The Best Poker Rooms In Texas – The Big Ones

Finally, our list of top poker rooms in Texas brings us to the big venues where a lot of things go on and a lot of players participate. Here is a look at some of these sites:

Austin – Lodge Card Club

1401 S I-35 Frontage Road, Suite #130, Round Rock, Texas 78664

This is the granddaddy of all poker rooms in Texas. This venue started with a total of 63 tables and regularly hosts major poker tournaments. This alone draws huge daily crowds to the venue. It is so popular that it has expanded to add a further 30 tables to the floor.

Dallas – Texas Card House

11834 Harry Hines Boulevard, Suite 135, Dallas, Texas 75234

This is another example of Texas big when it comes to poker rooms. There are plenty of tables here, a lot of player traffic, tons of perks to pull players into the venue, and an atmosphere that is fun, festive, and very much poker-related.

Dallas – Poker House

1676 Regal Row, Dallas, Texas 75247

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Spacious and modern are two terms used frequently to describe what you will find in this poker room. There are some amazing cash games in place, regular tournaments, and a staff that not only understands the game, but they are also as passionate about poker as the players are.

Houston – Spades Poker House

20798 Gulf Freeway, Webster, Texas 77598

This is an interesting combination of old-school and new-school. That blend extends from not just the appearance of the venue but also describes the customer base here. They are most certainly loyal due to the perks offered and how the staff treats the players.

Houston – Prime Social Club

7801 Westheimer Road, Houston, Texas 77063

If you are looking for a place that offers daily cash games with a cross-section of low to high stakes along with a fair number of tournaments, you may want to check this venue out. It has raised the bar on poker rooms in the region making it a true contender.

One More Thing About Poker Rooms

Just like legal land-based casinos, poker rooms regulations include state and federal laws. These laws will dictate what games are available, the hours of operation, the size of the venue, other activities that can be provided, and so on. It is also important to note that each poker room pays a portion of its revenue in taxes to the state as casinos do throughout the country. That tax income for the state will go to social programs, education, healthcare, infrastructure construction, and other places where it will help residents in Texas.

Final Thoughts

Not all casino goers are there to play the slots. In many cases, casino goers are card players. The typical casino only has a few table games as slots are the most popular item at your average venue. The popularity of card games – poker in particular – has been responsible for a growing interest in poker rooms. Card rooms have been around for several years and are common in states where gambling regulations are restrictive on casino establishment. A poker room tends to get around that as it is technically not a casino venue.

In Texas, poker rooms are popping up all over the place. What makes this so interesting is that these rooms have no standard size. You can find smaller venues that resemble a home games room as well as larger sites that contain many tables to accommodate big crowds and massive poker tournaments. Add drinks and food, and poker rooms become a great social venue for players not interested in slots. What makes poker rooms in Texas so interesting is that regardless of your skill level, you should be able to find a room where you will fit in and have some fun. The list above will help you discover sites you may not have visited yet.

 

PS: You may also be interested in reading our article on the best poker rooms in Las Vegas including the Venetian