Posts Tagged ‘Texas-Poker-Act’

Vote on Texas poker bill on Friday House calendar

by , May 7, 2009 | 9:15 am

For those wondering when HB 222 would make the Texas House calendar, this coming Friday is your lucky day. I’ll leave it to Dan or other Texas legislation experts to interpret the fact that it’s buried on the calendar, but it looks like it’s made some progress, so fingers crossed poker fans

Legislative Pulse …

by , Apr 9, 2009 | 5:13 pm

First, a link from the San Antonio Express-News showing that our efforts to legalize poker in Texas are taking hold:

Legalized poker rooms in Texas closer to a reality

And in Florida, which is in the midst of its own mini-poker boom after legalizing the game a couple years ago, is continuing to improve the game, pushing forth legislation to raise cash-game limits and allow for bigger buy-in tourneys:

Florida House plan raises poker stakes

What’s particularly interesting about Florida isn’t so much the poker, but the tax-tweaking related to it. And with that, the ussual opposition seems to be taking a different tack:

The House plans to expand poker and lower the tax rate are paired with an effort to shut down blackjack tables at Seminole resorts.

Fellow Republicans in the state Senate, though, have a different vision. To maximize revenues, senators want to authorize full casinos at Seminole resorts, complete with craps and roulette, as well as blackjack at South Florida tracks and bingo-style slots at facilities across the state. The Senate goes even farther than the House, allowing no-limit poker wagering.

Meanwhile, a pretty good summary of gambling-related initiatives in Texas comes from an email sent out by our opposition in the Christian Life Coalition. And the poli-blogger who subscribes acknowledges that while he is plausibly opposed to much that has to do with expanded gambling in the state, he still endorses Jose Menendez’s HB 222:

Of all the various gambling expansion options I’ve seen, allowing for poker seems to me to be the most sensible and least potentially harmful. Plus, as a bridge player who has had the chance to play for money legally, I think poker is a legitimate game of skill and should be treated as such. In fact, poker players in Pennsylvania and South Carolina recently won court rulings that agreed poker is a game of skill. As such, it’s not clear to me that the AG’s opinion would agree with the CLC about the inherent level of chance here. Of course, I Am Not A Lawyer, and Lord only knows what Greg Abbott will do.

Yeah. People are starting to get it. Go Poker!

RE: Texas Poker Bill up for Committee Vote Today (3)

Email buzz alert

by , Mar 25, 2009 | 12:09 pm

Click here to watch the meeting live

OK, here you go … click the link below to ping the House Licensing and Procedures Committee with your support for HB 222. And for those of you griping that the bill itself isn’t perfect … STFU! don’t worry, we can work on that … one step at a time … but first we have to get over today’s hump.

I’ll be letting them know that I am happy they are giving HB 222 it’s due consideration and that I’d like to weigh in with my enthusiastic support. I seriously hope you’ll do the same before opponents to our bill see this post and hijack this link for their own purposes.

Click here to insta-contact important representatives

Here’s the text I’ve included for you … but feel free to customize it however you feel necessary:

To: Edmund Kuempel, Jose Menendez
CC: Senfronia Thompson, Warren Chisum, Charlie Geren, Roland Gutierrez, Delwin Jones, Mike Hamilton, Chente Quintanilla
BCC: Pokerati
SUBJ: 222: please vote YES

Hi there your honors,

I know you have many important votes today. I recognize that HB 222 is a bill about personal freedom that protects Texas citizens while bringing economic benefits to our state. I hope you too will support this sensible government measure and let the voice of hundreds of thousands of Texas poker players be heard and given due consideration in the House of Representatives.

Thank you for your service,

UPDATE: Had Kuempel’s name spelled wrong in the first go at this … it’s been corrected … but just an fyi, in case you were a super-early sender whose email to the chairman bounced.

REMINDER: Don’t forget to add your name (and Texas city if relevant). One-click … type your name … click again … done — you have done your duty as an engaged citizen and contributed toward expanding gambling in Texas the betterment of the recognized skill game that is Texas Hold’em/making the world a better place.

RE: Texas Poker Bill up for Committee Vote Today (2)

Meet the peeps currently deciding poker’s future

by , | 11:12 am

We all know the value of selective aggression … and here’s what’s up in the next couple hours:

The committee voting on us consists of 9 members … so we need the support of five of them. Looking back at past voting records (and combined with some lobbyist intel), we can feel “really good” about four of them, and probably good about one. But two will definitely vote against us; one probably will … and then the big wildcard — we have no idea how he’ll vote — is the committee chair, Edmund Keumpel (R-Seguin). And if I understand committee dynamics right, even with support of the others, he has the power to derail us.

Ed Kuempel, Chairman
House Licensing and Administrative Procedures Committee


OK, so you got that? He wants to hear from us. So this is where you guys come into play … NOW would be a good time to hit their Blackberries with your support for HB 222. You don’t need to explain the reasons or anything … they know the basic arguments — personal freedom + citizen protection + economic benefit = sensible government — but would love to get a last minute reminder that people out there actively care to see them vote yes and send this bill to the House of Representatives so a meaningful percentage of the Texas citizenry can have their voice, issues, and concerns heard by the people in a position to make a difference for them.

I’m working on a special email link so one click will let you hit them all. But in the meantime, here’s Kuempel’s page with his email and phone info.

Legalize Poker in Texas, Take 2

by , Nov 24, 2008 | 4:44 am

Dave in Grapevine (from the Yestbay1 poker blog) wrote in on Friday with a reminder that the Texas Legislature is about to be back in session (the state congress meets every other year there) and our second go-round with Make Poker Legal is starting strong out of the gate:

Hey Dan,

I heard a news story on the radio way home today which you or someone else on the Pokerati staff is probably all over already, but I thought I would e-mail you about it anyway.

It appears that Jose Menendez has (re-)introduced his bill to legalize poker in Texas. I found a couple of links to news blurbs about it, although nothing of much substance:

These short articles are all pretty much the same thing, with quotes from Menendez about his reasons for the bill.

I look forward to reading more about it on as things develop.

Dave Westbay
Grapevine, TX

Thanks much, Dave, for the heads-up. These articles may not be big, but session isn’t even underway yet, so it’s a good sign that poker is already getting early ink and airtime from the non-poker press. Indeed, Pokerati can’t help but to be all over it as the legislation moves forward. We (Texas poker people) got further than expected in 2007 … and if we can successfully punch Menendez’s bill through this time (re-branded as the “Poker Gaming Act of 2009”) … well, hey, Vegas has been nice, but you can expect this not-so-humble little poker blogger to return home posthaste from self-imposed exile.

RE: State of Dallas Poker Cases

by , Sep 26, 2007 | 7:35 pm

Another late comment on an older post, semi-related … comes from Marisa in the Midwest:

I have been a licensed poker dealer in the midwest for 13 years, and I have been waiting many years for Texas to legalize poker rooms in Texas. I am originally from the midwest, but lived in the Dallas area from 1981 to 1989 and have wanted to move back to the area for quite some time, but I would like to stay in the poker industry. I am currently employed by the largest poker room in the midwest (34 tables), and it is located at a horse racing track. We are a card club/horse track only. It has been a wonderful combination. From the rake we take in the poker room, at least 25% of that is put toward the horse racing purses which has allowed our horse track to increase its payouts and draw more and better quality horses. We also have a “casino games” room in which we spread blackjack, carribian stud, pai gow poker, let it ride, 3 and 4 card poker. Although those games are normally considered “house games” ours are not. The only “profit” that the house makes from these games is by taking a fifty cent rake from these games put up by the player. Any monies lost by the player are put into a “player’s pool”. This money must be given back to the players by the end of the year. It is given back in the form of bonuses for each of the different games (example…get 3 blackjacks in a row, win an extra $500. And for every blackjack in a row after the intial 3, the player is awarded $1,000 bonus for each consectutive blackjack).


You Gotta Fight…

by , Jun 4, 2007 | 5:00 pm

AUSTIN–Sorry it took so long to get this Legislative Wrap-Up out, but I needed a little break.

The poker bill (HB 3186) indeed died this session. We most likely will not have legal poker in Texas before 2009. That’s the bad news.

There is much more good news though. Before this session, legal poker was little more than an intangible wish. It is a lot closer to a reality now. Our bill explicitly outlined a workable system for legal poker. Because of this, we gained a lot of legislative support as the session wore on and legislators could study our proposal. This gives us a huge leg up next session. Rather than explaining how the bill works, we will be able to be considered alongside a number of other revenue generating proposals.

We got a lot farther than most predicted. We did win a vote in committee and in the Calendars committee. We were even set on the house calendar. This is great considering the fact that the state didn’t need the extra revenue this year. Unfortunately the clock ran out on us despite having enough votes lined up in the State House to pass it. We even had a Senate sponsor ready to pick it up.

We had a great media day on the day of our committee hearing. The story was picked up by press all over the state and even CNN and some foreign outlets.

Because of all the work we did this session, we have something that the idea of legal poker never had in Texas: Credibility. With this new asset, we can continue the fight.


How a Bill Doesn’t Become a Law

by , May 24, 2007 | 5:03 am

The Texas legislative session is coming to a close, and save for the chance of hitting a miracle half-outer on the river, the Texas Poker Act is dead. Bummer. But better luck next time, right? And until then, I guess it’s off to Oklahoma we go!

Good article in the DMN about how Dallas essentially got its butt kicked
on many issues that might matter to this city. What poker people might also find interesting is discussion of House Speaker Tom Craddick. He, of course, was essentially the guy who killed the poker bill. I mean he didn’t kill-kill it — officially he declared his neutrality — but he had the power to put it somewhere better on the calendar and chose to go the other way. Craddick, followers of Texas politics may know, has some hot water of his own to deal with right now — as a lot of people within the Republican Party want to replace him.

Mr. Craddick is in a pitched battle to retain his post as speaker. Three Republicans who have signaled their intent to replace him are from North Texas: Reps. Jim Pitts of Waxahachie, Fred Hill of Richardson and Brian McCall of Plano.

I don’t know much about Fred Hill. But Jim Pitts … in addition to advocating the execution of highly problematic pre-teens, was part of the minority declaring intent to vote against our beloved HB 3186. And lest you think nepotism abounds in Texas politics … this despite the fact that his brother and nephew, John and John Jr., were the chief lobbyists on legal poker’s behalf.

As for Brian McCall, despite his being one of the more liberal Republicans in the state … well … Pokeratizens know all too well that we’ve got some work to do in terms of endearing him to our cause.

ALT HED: Murmur?

Down, But Not Out

by , May 12, 2007 | 3:04 pm

Sorry I didn’t post immediately after HB 3186 saw its untimely demise this week, but I went out and drank to bed Thursday night after it became evident that we weren’t gonna get there.

Lets bring the vitriol down a notch and look at the big picture here. I’ll do a proper post-mortem later, but for now lets remember a few things:

1) All good bills take time to pass. I was one of the primary organizers behind the legislation to give Texas teachers paid health insurance. That took us about 4 1/2 years in a time when the state was pretty flush with cash. Not because we did anything wrong, not because the system doesn’t work, but because that is just how long it takes to tell everyone what you want to do and why. We are WAY ahead of the curve on this one.

2) Nobody expected a bill this good to get filed…much less out of committee, through calendars and given a slot on the floor.

3) Our bill didn’t die because legislators don’t like/want poker. Our bill died because there were some major bad bills ahead of it that legislators didn’t want to get to. That is just the way it goes. Frankly, we are probably better off that some of those bills didn’t get voted on.

So, where does that leave us? That leaves us with about 2 1/2 weeks left of session. The possibility does still exist that we could amend our language onto another eligible bill that has already made it through one chamber. I’ll spare y’all the procedural civics lesson for now, but it is a possibility.

If that doesn’t work, we have 1 1/2 years to get ready to do this again. That isn’t very long. We will need to build up a better organization, raise money and stand together until then.

Stay tuned. The fatcats may be singing, but the fat lady isn’t even getting warmed up.

Mr. 3186 says “I May Die!”

by , May 10, 2007 | 11:06 pm

HB 3186 explains that he is one of the lucky ones and it’s not easy to become a law.

See his story here!

Re: More Important than Poker (2)

by , | 7:00 pm

Lavigne in Austin just called me with something close to a concession speech. He won’t say it’s definitely not gonna get through, but he would be surprised. They’ve made it about halfway through the calendar in about eight hours. We have until midnight by house rule to get this done.

Lavigne says he has seen them disable the clock before so they could go past the deadline, but that seems unlikely … because what we have been seeing go on right now is something called “chubbing” — where people on the same side of an issue ask each other questions simply as a delay tactic. Apparently there is some very contentious bill on page 19 or 20 … and many of the members would rather not get to that. If they do, then it will have a long debate.

“We’re getting blinded out,” Lavigne says.

This reminds me of watching the UIGEA go down … with the clock ticking it looked like they might not get to that. But there, the man with the gavel (Sen. Bill Frist) had every reason to make sure they did. Not the case here with Speaker Craddick.

Meanwhile, in the Florida Legislature, they flew through the gambling and poker bills — correcting some betting limit problems passed in the last session — even though it upsets some of the conservative bedrocks of that state.

The Stars at Night are Big and (B)Right

by , May 9, 2007 | 6:07 pm

Deep in the heart of Texas tonight HB 3186 will be waiting to hear the news of its existence and position. Lets take a moment to thank Dan and Lavigne of Pokerati for their great efforts in trying to legalize poker in Texas. Not only have they put a tremendous amount of work into getting the bill to the floor but they have done an excellent job informing the public.

No matter what happens tonight – Thank You for getting off the soapbox and taking real action.

Re: Poker Lawmaking on the Air

by , | 1:39 pm

Dale Hansen comes out of the closet to admit that yes, he has played and will continue to play illegal poker. You know, he is pretty good on the radio. He should so think about getting into podcasting.

Hour of Hansen
ESPN 103.3 FM – 5/8/07

Part 1: Dale Hansen speaks with Rep. Jose Menendez about HB 3186 and why legalizing poker in Texas is an uphill political battle / scared Republicans (and problems caused by redistricting) / luck vs. skill / Lottery hypocrites / the Governor will sign if it gets to him.

Part 2: Hansen speaks with Pokerati about underground poker in Dallas and the hypocrisy of the state not taking a rake on poker / what about fishing tournaments? / Oklahoma and Louisiana advertising on the highways / the impact of raids.

Part 3:
Hansen takes calls / a sweet old lady busted in the VFW game / would Dale legalize drugs?

My only regret is that I forgot to push the charity angle … and talk more with Dale about how his attempt at a major benefit (Cards for Kids with DallasCAN!) was stymied, and would not have been under the purview of a new law.

Poker Lawmaking on the Air

by , May 8, 2007 | 6:03 pm

Tune in to Hour of Hansen on ESPN radio (103.3 FM) here. He’s talking poker right now. Rep. Menendez is currently speaking with Dale Hansen from Austin on how far we’ve come and the obstacles we still face.

Sew*, I was thinking of gettin’ in the kitchen and stirrin’ the pot odds

by , | 3:13 pm

Yes, we women think from time to time — or at least the men allow us. Especially down here in Texas where all men are rednecks and women are stupid, no? Offended? See fine print below. Anyway, I was thinking about HB 3186 and the paradox of why we are unable to play raked poker in Texas. Here is just one example:

Considering the process of Natural Selection, poker tournaments are a great example of Darwinism. When the first poker hand is dealt, Herbert Spencer’s phrase “Survival of the fittest” becomes most poker player’s motto. We are forced to learn this scientific theory in our public schools while forbidding Creationism. Let’s get something clear right now…Creationism over Evolution is not the point of this post. Darwinism vs. Creation or Intelligent Design is not the point of this post, either.

My point is … why do we force children to learn the scientific theory of evolution over the 5,000-year-old historical book of Genesis only to tell postgraduates they’re unable to practice the forced theory and make decisions on their own in life. Isn’t it confusing the government will choose what you learn in school such as capitalism, free trade and freedom (which we pay for) only to forbid these things later in life? Is it me or does it seem the government takes religion away from children and then uses it against adults?

*Sew – Pun on women being stupid and knowing how to sew. Also read the comments on this post.
*Fine Print
The statement pertaining to Texas men being rednecks and Texas women being stupid is not true. State names have been changed to protect the ignorant innocent.