May 8, 2024

Doug Polk's Plans to Open "Largest Poker Room in Texas" Denied By City

Key Takeaways:

  • Doug Polk's proposal for a new, large poker room in Farmers Branch, Texas, was voted down by the city council.
  • Despite Texas' strict anti-gambling laws, poker rooms operate legally by not taking a rake, charging membership and seat fees instead.
  • The decision highlighted the ongoing debate over gambling and poker's place in Texas communities.

Two years after acquiring the largest poker room in Texas, Doug Polk aimed to expand his footprint by establishing another significant card room. However, his aspirations were thwarted on Tuesday night when the Farmers Branch City Council voted against a proposal that would have permitted card rooms in the small town northwest of Dallas. Despite this setback, the founder of Upswing Poker is undeterred and plans to find another Texas location for his second poker club.

Doug Polk's Plans to Open "Largest Poker Room in Texas" Denied By City

PokerNews was present at the contentious city council meeting in north Texas and spoke with Polk before the proceedings commenced.

Texas hosts numerous poker rooms, ranging from large establishments to smaller venues, navigating the state's stringent anti-gambling legislation. Under Texas Penal Code 47.01, poker rooms can operate legally provided no rake is taken. Establishments like The Lodge Card Club circumvent this by charging membership and seat fees instead.

Yet, poker rooms face significant opposition at both state and city levels, particularly in Dallas, where efforts have been made to close clubs like Texas Card House. The resistance to poker originates from community concerns about gambling, anti-gambling religious sentiments, and lobbying from traditional casinos in adjacent states.

Polk faced considerable opposition to his proposal for "the largest poker room in Texas" during the Farmers Branch City Council meeting, attended by both supporters and opponents of card rooms.

Polk argued against the notion that poker negatively impacts community values, emphasizing the positive aspects of poker and its community. "Some of the best people I have met in my life are poker players," Polk stated, highlighting his own success story from a modest beginning to becoming a millionaire through poker.

Residents like Sharon Davis and Chris Davis expressed their opposition, citing concerns about the alignment of card houses with the city's values and its family-oriented nature.

Despite the objections, supporters, including professional poker players, advocated for the proposal, emphasizing the friendly and fun environment of existing poker clubs.

Following hours of debate and numerous comments, the council voted 4-1 against the proposal. However, they informed Polk that he could resubmit his request. Polk remained optimistic, indicating on social media his intention to "be back."

Polk had chosen a location near the Dallas North Tollway for the potential poker room, a site approximately 15 minutes from the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), not far from Texas Card House Dallas, another poker venue just outside Farmers Branch city limits.

Hear More About Poker In Dallas From On Tilt Nick!

This episode in Texas poker expansion reflects the broader challenges and debates surrounding poker and gambling in the state. Despite legal hurdles and community opposition, the passion for poker and its potential for growth remains strong among enthusiasts like Polk and his supporters.

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