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$132K Prize Pool Money Seized in Texas Poker Room Raid

Written By: Maya Michaels | October 12, 2022 | Posted In Poker News

Over the weekend, the Watauga Social Lounge Poker Club in the state of Texas was raided by police during the middle of a tournament. Several people reportedly were arrested.

The warrant signed on Oct. 7. stated that police were allowed to seize “currency, gambling proceeds, financial instruments, and or other items of value … relating to obtaining, transferring, secreting or spending large sums of money made from engaging in specified unlawful activities.”

The venue was described as follows: 

“All of the windows for the poker room are … preventing anyone from seeing inside. On either side of the door are large images of playing cards [with] black, blue, and white poker-style playing chips.”

Authorities were also searching for other gambling equipment, such as dice, roulette wheels, and video gambling machines, per the report.

Unfortunately for poker players, the raid came during the middle of a tournament. It was the second day of a $420 buy-in tournament with a $100,000 guaranteed prize pool. There was also a $20 add-on available.

According to PokerNews, less than 50 players out of 369 were remaining in the event when it was raided. The prize pool was more than $132,000.

The prize pool was seized by police.

The poker room had been open less than a year. It’s worth noting that the mayor of Watauga attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony in January.

The poker room, like others around the Lone Star State, is considered a private social club. Poker players pay daily, monthly, or yearly membership dues, as well as fees for club access. A traditional poker rake isn’t charged in order for the business model to square with existing law. Poker is a game based on skill.

There have been other crackdowns on poker in the state. Another high-profile situation came in January when the Texas Card House in Northwest Dallas was notified its permit from the city had been revoked.

The Texas Supreme Court is expected to eventually weigh in on the ultimate legality of social poker rooms. There are around 60 poker rooms in the state that are operating under the social club model.

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