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Texas Poker PAC: Fighting for Poker in the Home State

Organization Wants Texans Everywhere to Join


It's ironic that almost everywhere in Texas, the popular card game that bears its name is illegal to play thanks to laws that have been on the books even before the first World Series of Poker champion Johnny Moss was born.

A new organization, the Texas Poker PAC that was founded by people who want to stand up for the card game they love to play, is hoping to help change the unclear, outdated, and randomly enforced rules.

The Texas Poker PAC came to life in November after a group of media guys, players, lobbyists, and other professionals who also happen to play poker decided that it was time to organize a group that would work to protect poker and its players in Texas, which just happens to be the place that some of the greatest poker players who ever lived were born.

"More and more poker players are becoming more sophisticated about poker. They're realizing what's at stake," said Dan Michalski, a founding member of Texas Poker PAC and a current board member.

During the last year, law enforcers have been forced to cancel quite a few charity poker tournaments because of Texas laws. Headlines were made everywhere when last May the Phil Hellmuth Poker Challenge, an event that was to raise money for the Houston chapter of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, was cancelled.

According to one of the organizers, the event was cancelled after someone contacted authorities questioning the legality of the tournament. The event was expected to raise a minimum of $250,000 for cancer research.

Even charity "poker runs" have been cancelled. Poker runs have just about as much to do with a poker game as Benedict Arnold has to do with eggs Benedict, but that doesn't matter. It's still a form of poker, and outside a few small cardrooms, it's illegal in Texas.

Because of the antiquated laws, the threat against poker in Texas is very real. The Texas Poker PAC was founded to fight against this threat and to ensure that poker players' voices are heard whenever lawmakers talk about gaming in their state.

Recently, a bill that would allow bingo parlors to hold poker tournaments for charities didn't even make it out of committee. Michalski says there's a reason the bill didn't make it too far.

"The point wasn't made well. The movement behind this bill didn't have strong backing," he said.

The lack of organization doomed this bill, Michalski said. If the Texas Poker PAC had been around when this bill was born, things might have been different. A concerted effort to educate politicians and the public about the positive things that come out of charity poker would have been launched, and who knows how the politicos would have responded.

In the near future, the Texas Poker PAC will surely have its chances to step up and fight for its players. Like a nation building an army in preparation for war, the organization is focused on increasing its membership. The more members it gets, the stronger the organization becomes.

Then members of the Texas Poker PAC will try to convince Texas lawmakers to revisit the charity poker bill. Rules regulating charity poker have been successfully implemented in other states, and plans are to use these states as models.

Texas and the poker scene are just too big for its players not be involved in this fight, Michalski said.

"There's a big enough poker scene here that we want to make sure Texas is on the forefront," he said. "The is going on nationwide."

To become a member or to learn more about the Texas Poker PAC, visit the website,