To date, no law directly addresses the question of online poker’s legality in Texas. The Texas District and County Attorneys Association has opined that the existing state of law “prohibits online wagering” but that opinion is open to debate where the computer servers involved are not located within Texas.
No bill proposing to regulate online poker has ever been introduced in the Texas legislature.
Surprisingly, despite the most popular form of poker taking its name from the Lone Star State, you won’t find Texas Hold’em spread in any casino in Texas. In fact, no form of casino gambling is permitted anywhere in the state (Texas Penal Code, Chapter 47) except at the remote Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino on the Mexico border, 150 miles southwest of San Antonio. The Lucky Eagle, which features a small poker room that spreads low-limit hold’em, is run by the Kickapoo tribe of Native Americans. They’re the only tribe in Texas that has sovereign-nation status and thus the ability to offer casino gaming under the Federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.
However, it’s perfectly legal to run a home game in Texas. As long as (1) the game is held in a private place; (2) no person receives any economic benefit from the game other than personal winnings; and (3) except for skill or luck, everyone’s chances are equal (TPC §47.02(b)), players can feel free to sling the chips without worry about a SWAT team raid.
In December 2012, Rep. Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin) introduced a bill in the state legislature entitled The Texas Poker Gaming Act of 2013. If enacted, the bill would allow live poker to be offered by bingo halls, tribes that don’t have sovereign-nation status, and pari-mutuel organizations like tracks.