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FreeRolls Poker Club To Raise Stakes For Game In Texas

by Brian Pempus |  Published: Sep 26, 2018

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The great Texas poker boom is underway, and a new poker club helping lead the charge is the FreeRolls Poker Club set to open the week of Sept. 17, 2018 in Katy.

Yes, you heard that correctly: Texas hold’em is hot in the state of Texas—finally.
Like its competitors in the fledgling social poker industry in the Lone Star State, FreeRolls will not take a rake. Rather, the club charges $10 per hour for access to the club, as long as you are a member. FreeRolls doesn’t charge seat fees, unlike some other clubs sprinkled around the state. Despite a rake-free model, the state-of-the-art poker room is as comfortable as any you’d find further west in Las Vegas.

Another key difference poker players will notice is that tipping of the dealers is prohibited. FreeRolls will employ about 50 people to deal and facilitate the games, depending on the time of the day.

Texas is notoriously anti-gambling, as lawmakers for years have struggled to pass legislation to allow Las Vegas-style casinos. So, how do the poker clubs operate within the strict Texas law? The fact that poker is a game of skill undoubtedly helps, but there’s much more to it than that.

Under the gambling statute, poker is allowed as long as the game is held in a private place, no person profits from the game itself other than the players in the game, and, except for the advantage of skill or luck, the risks of losing and the chances of winning are the same for all participants.

Thus, FreeRolls takes no rake. It’s a model that is very player friendly. One hundred percent of all prize pools and pots go back to the players. The club primarily makes money from its memberships.

Additionally, FreeRolls will implement a creative way to avoid the so-called seat rentals that other clubs charge. “We wanted to create a model where the player isn’t always getting stuck with the bill, and that’s how we came up with the concept for the advertising,” said the club’s founder, Trent Daniel.

“We have integrated seven-inch tablets into the poker tables, and we push advertisements to poker players while they are sitting there at the table. Another reason why we developed this is because, under our interpretation of Texas law, time charges that players are paying while at the table fit the definition of the house making money from the play of poker. While it is a loophole that other clubs are kind of exploiting, we believe seat rentals aren’t legal and they won’t stand up to legal scrutiny.”

FreeRolls is also in “regular communication with law enforcement” to make sure there is no illegal activity at the club, such as bookmaking. The club’s compliance with Texas law helped it land a World Poker Tour DeepStacks tournament slated for late September. The Card Player Poker Tour stopped in Houston recently, giving further legitimacy to the fledgling Texas poker club industry.

There’s currently no rule against poker clubs being 24/7, and that’s what FreeRolls plans on. However, at first the club will operate seven days a week, 11 am to 3 a.m. local time. Security is present to give poker players peace of mind inside and outside of the establishment.

FreeRolls will offer any game or limit that its customers want, as long as there is enough interest for a game. That’s another perk to not having to deal with a regulatory body overseeing the card games. FreeRolls plans to regularly spread $1-$3 and $5-$5 no-limit hold’em, as well as $1-$2 and $5-$5 pot-limit Omaha. Poker players should expect buy-in sizes comparable to their favorite Las Vegas poker rooms.

According to FreeRolls, it is the first and only poker club in the state of Texas with an RFID table and the capability to live stream the action. Members who are on the RFID table can invite their friends to watch them play via live stream on the club’s website or Facebook page. They will be able to see hole cards, along with chip counts, and percentages, just like any major televised tournament.

The dress code for the club is described as “casual but classy.” Shorts are allowed, but the club asks its guests not to wear tank tops or ripped t-shirts. It’s necessary for creating an exclusive club atmosphere, as FreeRolls also has a cigar lounge, a full-service bar and a wide assortment of non-gambling games.

“We really wanted to create this club as an adult relaxation and entertainment zone, as opposed to just a poker room,” Daniel said. TVs are sprinkled around the club for those interested in watching sports, and there are pool tables for those looking to get out of their seats and move around a little bit. You still have to pay the hourly fee for admission if you aren’t playing poker because that helps the club stay on the right side of Texas law. If there is ever any doubt about FreeRolls legal compliance model, feel free to shoot questions over to legal@FreeRollspokerclubs.com.

To protect its status as a private club, FreeRolls manages access consistently for all members. Every member must check-in and pay their membership fee each time they visit the club. FreeRolls has snacks and pre-packaged food, and it also has several partnerships with outside vendors that provide a full menu and delivery service. FreeRolls will have every convenience for poker players sitting down for a long session at the tables.

Interested in checking out FreeRolls for the poker games but aren’t sure if you are quite good enough yet? Don’t worry, the club will offer free group poker lessons. The club hasn’t ironed out a schedule for those classes yet, but don’t hesitate to attend even if you just think you have some holes in your game.

How does one become a member? It’s a simple process, but it takes a minute. FreeRolls will scan your government issued ID through its PatronScan system, which will connect to a database to make a determination of membership eligibility. If you are approved by the scan, the club will grant provisional membership and you then may leave a form of payment at the membership desk along with your ID. Approximately once per month the FreeRolls Poker Club Membership Committee meets and reviews provisional members and makes a recommendation to approve or deny permanent membership status.

FreeRolls opened its first poker club in Houston in April. That club will close as everything will be focused on the Katy location going forward. Daniel said the demand for poker in Texas is “growing every day.”

“We decided to move out to Katy was because it’s basically untouched territory,” Daniel said. “It’s a high density area, with high net worth individuals. The median income is $100K+. It’s just a great area. Clubs that open up in more affluent areas tend to do better.”

According to Daniel, poker has “exploded” in Texas in recent months because the poker community is realizing the benefits of bringing the game out from the underground setting. “If you are right there for the public to see, then poker is safer and a lot more people who would never set foot in an underground game are going to play in a legal room. That’s exactly what we want.” ♠