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Friday Marks National Poker Day In The U.S.

Holiday Created To Celebrate The Game

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Players and fans from around the country may have a better reason to head to a casino or host a home game on Friday. April 19 has been recognized as National Poker Day and may be as good a day as any to take a seat at the tables.

The distinctive day was begun in 2019 by a Dallas-area radio host named Rick “DJ Rick” McNeely, who grew up with a fascination with holidays. He’s also the man behind numerous other “holidays” such as National Hip Hop Day (Aug. 11) and National Baseball Day (April 22).

“We are trying to make this a holiday and festival because poker is a very fun sport to play,” McNeely noted on a Facebook page for the event. “We also are reaching out to various casinos and resorts if they like to have a national poker event in their establishment.”

Other Gambling Holidays

As of Tuesday, no major events had been scheduled for National Poker Day. However, this day of distinction may have been trumped after the launch of Doyle Brunson Day after the poker legend’s death in 2023.

That day is celebrated on Oct. 10 (10/2) in honor of the final hand Brunson was dealt to win the World Series of Poker main event in both 1976 and ‘77. Several poker rooms and online sites held special events in honor of the day.

Whether National Poker Day catches on remains to be seen. McNeely launched the distinctive day in conjunction with some tournament events in the Dallas area. He also produced the “world’s largest poker chip” to help promote the day as well.

Poker isn’t the only gambling endeavor that is recognized with its own special day. National Blackjack Day was last month on March 2 and was begun not only to celebrate, but also to highlight the falling numbers of games that actually reward payouts of 3:2 for being dealt a blackjack. Many properties now only reward payouts of 6:5, which adds even more to the casino edge.

“National Blackjack Day is a fun project to highlight the biggest and best casino game,” a website devoted to the holiday notes. “We are also bringing attention to the declining amount of 3:2 payout tables and other changes that have negatively impacted the odds to win and ultimately reduce the enjoyment of the game for both skilled and amateur players.”

For craps players, National Dice Day is also celebrated on Dec. 4 each year. It seems the organizers wisely avoided July 7 (7/7).