Texas is among US states with the strictest gambling laws, banning all forms of casino gambling. However, it isn’t illegal to run a poker room in the state provided that the establishment does not profit from the game by taking a rake, contrary to how a normal poker room operates.
To avoid prosecution, poker clubs in Texas charge membership or seat fees instead of collecting rake, but one of them recently attracted controversy after a poker player found out that it tried to charge a rake on the players’ add-ons.
Poker Room Allegedly Attempted to Rake on Add-Ons
The incident happened during a $100 buy-in tournament at the Watauga Social Lounge this past weekend. Ben Ross was among the participants in the tournament but he ended up being kicked out after calling the room a “rathole” for secretly charging what appeared to be a 20% rake on the players’ $60 add-on.
Ross was getting close to the money when he discovered that things weren’t adding up. He claimed that the poker room took $12 for every $60 add-on and players were unaware of it.
The card room did not advertise the 20% rake prompting Ross to ask for a transparent breakdown of the money. Ross decided to expose the truth resulting in an argument between him and the tournament staff. Caught red-handed, the poker room eventually returned the money back to the prize pool.
It wasn’t the only subject of dispute between Ross and the venue though, as he also questioned the room’s interpretation of the rules about big blinds and antes.
He was eventually escorted out of the venue after a confrontation with staff. Ross alleged that he was given no warning and penalty; he was just told to leave the room or face trespassing charges. Ross was left with no choice but to go home, unable to finish the tournament.
Adding insult to injury was the fact that he was told to leave the game when he was just two places off the money. While his buy-in was eventually returned to him alongside the seat fee and $225 in accumulated bounties, Ross just couldn’t let it pass.
In a post on the poker room review forum PokerAtlas, Ross, under the name Jamin99, shared how he discovered the prize pool disparity which led to him being ejected from the tournament. Ross claimed that Watauga Social Lounge stole $396 from the prize pool when it deducted $12 from each of the $60 add-ons from players. All in all, the tournament had 33 add-ons.
Ross also vented his frustration at being removed from the tournament with just 7 players left. Five of them took home at least $347 in min-cash, while the winner walked away with $1,551. Had he stayed, Ross could have earned more than the $225 in bounties he was able to accumulate. He also warned other players not to say anything against the room if they choose to play there as they could also be told to leave, in reference to his “rathole” comment.
Ross also revealed in his post that the Watauga Social Lounge cancelled his membership after the incident.
Poker Club in Question Remains Silent
As of this writing, the Watauga Social Club has remained mum on the incident. It remains unclear whether or not the room committed an offense, but authorities are expected to look into the matter.
Based on his Hendon Mob profile, Ross has been competing in tournaments across the country since 2016. He has $116,311 in total live earnings and won his biggest cash at a $240 No-Limit Bounty event at the World Poker Tour Choctaw back in July 2021.