Saturday, April 07, 2007

Deep in the Hearts (and Clubs) of Texas...

The buzz about fully-legalized poker in Texas continued this past week with hearings at the state capitol in Austin. The bill, HB 3186, is a lengthy measure designed to make poker public in Texas in a widespread way with recent modifications to the bill including the possible stripping out of clauses that would have created a four-table-per-locale max (poochie and horsie tracks excepted) and required hosting sites to prove a million dollars in annual gross revenue.

That last was intended to eliminate hole-in-the-wall setups of dubious legitimacy from running shady games, though it really wasn't the funniest clause in the original measure, as proposed. That honor went to the section that said that new decks had to be brought into play every 50 hands, which, ummm... just ain't gonna happen. Go check out the WSOP: getting a new deck in play each day is more the standard of the industry.

Interested parties were out in force at the hearings, led by the Pokerati crew of Dan Michalski and Mike Lavigne. Lavigne is hardly a disinterested party, also treasurer of the Texas Poker Coalition and one of the people who worked to get this proposed bill created.

The Wednesday hearing drew some pro-poker forces, too. Speaking on poker's behalf were WPT founder Lyle Berman, PPA president Michael Bolcerek and top pro Erick Lindgren, among others.

It'd be kind cool if Texas Hold'em was fully legalized in the state giving it its name. After that, we could dare dream the impossible: Fully-legalized Omaha in Nebraska.

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