Poker News

WPT DeepStacks Adds First-Ever Stops in Houston, Montreal

World Poker Tour DeepStacks North America announced this week the schedule for the second half of its Season 5 which launched in Hollywood on January 10. Along with the eight events in its calendar, the tour now adds five more, including the first-ever stops in Houston and Montreal.

The second half of WPT DeepStacks Season 5 begins August 31 after the end of the 2018 World Series of Poker with a trip to Canada. This is the first event for the tour in Montreal, Quebec and it will be held at Playground Poker Club with a buy-in of CA$1,650. Although the guarantee for this 6-day tournament is yet to be announced, the combined guarantees for all the newly added stops exceed $2 million, WPTDeepStacks Executive Director Chris Torina said in a press release.

The second stop of the tour is even more exciting for poker fans as it is a place where, traditionally, poker is prohibited. This is Houston, Texas, and WPT DeepStacks is one of the few series that have taken advantage of what is perceived as a loophole in the law. The tournament in Houston will be hosted by the FreeRolls Poker Club and will run from September 21 to September 25 with an announced guarantee of $100,000.

WPT DeepStacks North America then heads to Edmonton and Casino Yellowhead where the Main Event starts October 5 and runs through October 8. The buy-in is CA$1,100 and the guaranteed prize is CA$300,000. Following Edmonton, the tour stops at Oceans 11 Casino in San Diego but its dates are yet to be determined.

The season-ending event of 2018 WPT DeepStacks North America will take place at Grey Eagle Resort and Casino in Calgary, Canada from November 23. The Championship Main Event starts November 30 with a CA$2,500 buy-in and ends December 3 with a guaranteed prize of CA$1 million.

Is Poker Legal in Texas?

Poker games, including no-limit Texas Hold’em, are prohibited in the State of Texas. They have been for more than 75 years. However, private poker rooms have started to appear in recent years, claiming that as long as they do not take a rake, they are perfectly legal. The rake in poker games is the fee paid to the house.

Poker clubs across Texas, however, do not charge their members for each game. Indeed, they do not profit directly from the games and instead of paying the rake, players pay for daily, weekly or monthly membership. There are also “seat rentals” with hourly fees depending on whether you are taking part in a cash game or in a tournament.

While these membership-based poker rooms have found their way around the law as they are considered clubs for hobby players and the so-called “social gaming”, international poker series and tournaments are a completely different story. The World Poker Tour DeepStacks event which is supposed to take place in Houston does involve a rake, which is a portion of the buy-in for every event. In this case, the announced buy-in is $1,000 and whether it would be deemed a membership fee remains to be seen.