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Portland Asks Poker Rooms To Have Players Deal The Games Themselves

City Deals Blow To Local Poker Scene


Portland City HallThe city of Portland wants local poker rooms to cease using permanent dealers and instead make the poker players deal the games themselves, passing the deal around like in a home game.

Anyone familiar with poker knows how cumbersome that can be.

According to a report from the Portland Tribune, the city last month sent a letter to 15 area poker rooms telling them that “designated dealers are not allowed” under state law. In other words, the dealers can’t be employees or volunteers.

Some of the poker rooms had come under fire thanks to the volunteer dealers, who earned tips instead of wages. There were at least two cases of dealers filing complaints over not making at least minimum wage at the for-profit rooms.

Oregon’s constitution has a prohibition on nontribal casinos, so the poker rooms took in revenue through entrance fees and food and drink sales, rather than a rake.

The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries investigated the complaints, and so Portland decided to crack down on the games. According to the report, Portland had previously let the games be even though regulators knew the use of the dealers was questionable.

Soon after the July 12 letter from the city, the Encore Poker Club in Northwest Portland closed its doors. Two of the largest rooms in the area—Final Table and Portland Meadows—reportedly are still using permanent dealers and are in talks with the city. Others have complied.