After months of anticipation, the WPTDeepStacks event has finally pushed through in Houston. The event kicked off on September 26 with close to 200 players having registered. The event had a good start and is going to finish with a great first impression, thanks to the sheer effort and hard work exerted by the staff of both the WPTDeepStacks and FreeRolls Poker Club. The event will come to a close on October 1.
The WPTDeepStacks Houston $1,000 Main Event in partnership with FreeRolls has gone underway amid a legal row on poker clubs in Texas. Some establishments have closed for good following criticism from local law enforcement and legislators in the state. Houston offers a new market not only for WPTDeepStacks but also for poker tours, considering that laws around poker in Texas have been in limbo for the past few years.
Legal Dispute Over Poker Clubs
Poker clubs in the Lonestar state are not always well-received as the legality of their operations is always put into question. Numerous clubs have been forced to shut their doors after being targeted in a series of crackdowns.
Though major poker tournaments and events are new to Houston, history can attest to the city’s involvement in developing Texas Hold’em – a poker variant that is played all across the world. Interest for the game is very much alive prompting local businesses to actively push for legal poker throughout the state.
Establishments wishing to operate as a poker club must comply with three requirements. The first is that games must be held privately, secondly no individual shall be able to receive any economic benefit other than personal winnings and finally the risks of losing and chances of winning should be equal for all participants. The second requirement has been the subject of ongoing debate, eliciting different interpretations.
FreeRolls Poker Club – Great Host
The vast majority of these poker clubs are charging seat fees to satisfy the requirement. However the FreeRolls Poker Club came up with a totally different idea – the club is adopting an advertiser-supported model along with a club membership fee. This makes FreeRolls the only club in Houston that is clearly in line with the rules.
In a statement, Trent Daniel, FreeRolls Business Development Director said “From the player standpoint, we are hearing from many of them how impressed they are with the first-class presentation here at FreeRolls. The first major poker event has been really important to the Houston community and we have gone the extra mile, in every aspect, to give our players the best experience possible.”
Demand Was High For WPTDeepStacks in Houston
The WPTDeepStacks event underwent a number of changes in dates and venue. It was supposed to take place on September 21-25 but was moved to September 26 – October 1 instead due to unforeseen circumstances. The initial plan was to hold the event at the Palacio Maria Event Center but organizers eventually chose FreeRolls as the final venue.
WPTDeepStacks Director Chris Torina said they needed to reschedule and hold the event at a much bigger venue as demand was high. It has always been their dream to bring a big tournament to Texas with huge prize money and it has now become a reality, Torina said.
WPT’s VP of Global Tour Management Angelica Hael said the event in Houston comes in line with their goal of putting in flags and tapping into new markets. The company also recently embarked on an Asian tour, holding events in Japan and South Korea, and later this year in India and Vietnam.
More Events In The Pipeline
Torina is impressed by the FreeRolls team’s exceptional quality and the commitment of each member of staff to make the WPTDeepStacks event possible. Player feedback has been great from day one and everyone is satisfied with the first-class presentation at the venue. Torina said they wanted to give the best experience possible as this first big poker event is important to the Houston community.
Torina said they are eager to make Texas a regular stop on tour and would love to cater to the numerous players and poker enthusiasts not just in Houston but in Texas as a whole. The company will continue to keep an eye out for great partners in organizing more major events in the future.
Major events like WPTDeepStacks offer a potentially huge market in Texas and if authorities could come up with laws to make it legal, other big poker tours will be encouraged to follow suit.

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