Sign Up For Card Player's Newsletter And Free Bi-Monthly Online Magazine

Maryland Poker Home Game Bill Becomes Law

Legislation Decriminalizes Rake-Free Poker Games


Legislation that makes hosting and playing in a poker home game legal in Maryland became law Thursday after a signature from Gov. Larry Hogan. The Poker Players Alliance, a D.C.-based poker lobbying group, said it was there for the signing.

Not a single lawmaker in either the Maryland House or Senate voted against it, according to the bill’s legislative history.

Card Player spoke with Delegate Kirill Reznik, the bill’s sponsor, in February after a unanimous vote gave him confidence that the bill would pass this year.

A previous version of HB 127 called for a $500 limit on the amount of money that can be on a poker table, between all the home game players, at any given time. The bill was amended to raise it to $1,000. Reznik originally wanted $2,000, but he had to compromise to get the bill moving forward.

Reznik’s bill removes the law on the books that said you could have gone to jail for up to a year and be hit with a $1,000 fine simply for playing in a home game, no matter how small the stakes are and even if there is no rake or fees of any kind.

The bill becomes effective on Oct. 1, 2016.