Mike “The Mouth” Matusow will officially run a poker room in Texas. The four-time World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet winner recently announced that he and his partners will operate the Poker House of Dallas.
Matusow previously hinted at joining the growing poker market in Texas, initially expressing interest to invest in Johnny Chan’s 88 Social poker club. That did not materialize as the room has now been rebranded under a new owner.
Matusow and Partners Moving to Dallas
Details are still scarce as to the real identities of Matusow’s business partners but he did mention the names “Todd” and “Jason” when he announced on Twitter that they will be relocating to Dallas for their new poker club business.
His latest tweets are about a $250,000 freeroll tournament taking place at Poker House of Dallas this February. Matusow invited players to join their club for 10 bucks to qualify for the freeroll.
Matusow is the latest poker celebrity to jump onto the Texas poker scene. Earlier this year, Doug Polk, Andrew Neeme, and Brad Owen became the majority owners of The Lodge Poker Club, the largest poker club in Central Texas.
It’s easy to see why Texas continues to attract major poker investors. Obviously, there is a huge market for poker across the state, as reflected in the great number of poker clubs popping up anywhere. This is despite the quite complicated legal status of the game in the Lone Star State.
Houston for example is home to a busy live poker scene, and operators are going about their business there without any legal issues, which was what convinced Polk and his friends to embark on a new poker journey there. The trio bought a majority stake in The Lodge and their entrance into Houston is expected to give the market a further boost.
While gambling is illegal in Texas and casinos are nowhere to be found, locals can play poker via various poker clubs that operate without collecting any rake. Instead, these rooms charge seat and or membership fees to avoid clashing with the law. This is considered a legal grey area, though in some cities, authorities are firm in their stance that running a poker room is prohibited under the state’s gambling laws.
Dallas Poker Rooms Facing Legal Challenges
Matusow is entering Dallas at a time when city officials are revoking the permits granted to poker room operators. The Texas Card House was the first to fall victim, with its CEO Ryan Crow receiving a letter from the city informing him that his Certificate of Occupancy (CO) has been revoked for “keeping a gambling place”.
Another poker room in the area, Shuffle 214, also received a similar letter. Both clubs are still open and are now considering filing an appeal to the Board of Adjustment. Hundreds of jobs will be lost if these rooms end up ceasing their operations.
So was Matusow right in picking Dallas as the location of his new business endeavor?
If the city is successful in ordering the closures of Texas Card House and Shuffle 214, then the rest of the clubs operating in the city could be forced to shut their doors, including the Poker House of Dallas.
Matusow is confident though that at least one person within the council will help him and the rest of the poker room operators deal with the matter. Local councilman Omar Narvaez has thrown his support behind the poker rooms operating in the city and he thinks the council’s sudden change of policy is unfair.
If poker rooms ultimately overcome this ongoing legal challenge, then the trend might continue with more poker personalities joining the market to run their own poker clubs in Texas.