Making yourself heard at a North Texas City Council meeting isn’t easy for most people over ordinary matters. But for a professional player who is worth millions, a fair amount of prejudice comes pre-flop before anyone even sees your cards. Enter Doug Polk and his bid to bring poker to a new part of Texas. A failed bid as it turned out.


A YouTube sensation, a viral broadcaster of poker content and a three-time WSOP bracelet winner. Doug Polk’s poker career to date has been win after win. This week, however, he was denied by the Farmers Bracnh City Council when his bid to bring a new poker room to the Dallas North Tollway area fell on deaf ears.

Polk, the owner and creator of Upswing Poker and part-owner of The Lodge Card Club in Houston, Texas, was looking not just to increase his empire in the Lone Star State but it would seem genuinely make it easier for people in the North Dallas area to play cards.

Tuesday’s vote went against Polk’s proposed new ‘biggest cardroom in the state’ as the ‘City in the Park’ area voted against him by 4 to 1. Poker rooms are legal in Texas but only if rake isn’t taken. The Lodge Card Club charge a membership fee that applies to players and seats. That way, players get to play without rake.

Those arguing against Polk stated that gambling is a negative influence on the community, and eventually, locals took this to heart, as the vote saw 80% of the people involved go against the resourceful and passionate Polk.

Doug Polk More Rake is Better


Addressing the City Council meeting directly, Polk got warm appleause in the middle of his speech play.

“There are card players all over your city,” he said to a rapt crowd. “I want to dispel the idea that this is somehow eroding the fabric of the community. This attack on poker players in general like they are bad people. I’ll tell you what, some of the best people I have met in my life are poker players. I started my career with $10 and I turned it into millions of dollars by becoming one of the best in the world. Poker gave me that opportunity, and I’m tired of people attacking poker players like they’re some kind of lowlifes.”

People in the area, such as local player Marcus was hopeful of approval, if only to save him catching the bus each day to play in another location.

“That costs money, and I’d like it to be here locally,” he said. “I know a lot of people here, they see movies where you go into this dark poker room or whatever, but it’s not like that. If any of y’all went into Texas Card House, y’all would see that everyone is friendly, nice and it’s a fun environment.”


Ultimately, Polk’s plans ran into a brick wall with one council member, Sharon Davis, saying: “I like to play poker, too. But that doesn’t mean I want it in my city.”

Fellow member Chris Davis said: “I don’t think card houses are a good alignment with the values that we have as a city. I came to Farmers Branch because it was a family-oriented city.”

Another lady went further, calling for Polk to get out of the North Dallas area entirely.

“Mr. Doug Polk, although you’re a nice man, you can pack your bags and go home,” she said.

Polk took the bad beat on the chin and later released a statement on the popular site Twitter/X which hinted he would appeal or resubmit at a later date.

“[I] want to thank everyone that came out tonight,” he said. “Lots of people came and spoke I appreciate supporting our concept. I also recognize lots of people who spoke against [what] we’re trying to do [want] what’s best for their town. Overall they were respectful. Lots of great people in Farmers Branch. Gambling in Texas is absolutely [legal] if it meets three criteria. There is debate as to the definitions of those criteria.”

You can watch the full Farmers Branch City Council meeting in full here and decide if Polk was right to put forward the proposal or not.

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Paul seaton


Paul Seaton, a poker luminary with over a decade of experience, has reported live from iconic poker events, including the World Series of Poker, European Poker Tour, and World Poker Tour. He’s not just a spectator; he’s been the Editor of BLUFF Europe Magazine and Head of Media for partypoker. Paul’s poker insights have graced publications like PokerNews, 888poker, and PokerStake, where he’s interviewed poker legends such as Daniel Negreanu, Erik Seidel, Phil Hellmuth, and The Hendon Mob’s, entire lineup. His exceptional work even earned him a Global Poker Award nomination for Best Written Content. In the poker world, Paul Seaton’s expertise is a force to be reckoned with, captivating enthusiasts worldwide.

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