Online Poker in Texas: Top TX Poker Sites for 2022

Lawmakers in the Lone Star State have not regulated online poker in Texas at present. Texas poker players who want a real money card game therefore must play at offshore online cardrooms. Their only alternative is to play at local land-based poker clubs which officials might or might not view as legal, or drive out-of-state to play poker at nearby casinos in Oklahoma and Louisiana.

Because many Texas online poker players wonder if their gaming activities are legal, we've answered all of their questions below. In fact, we give an overview of all of Texas' gambling laws, then focus on Texans' options for real money poker gaming. Read our online poker Texas guide below for everything you need to know when gambling on cards in Texas.

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      Bovada Poker

      As far as poker sites go, you want a brand you can trust. With Bovada Poker you get exactly that. Plus, they accept Bitcoin. Choose from your favorite poker games like No-Limit Hold’em and Five-Card Draw, and try your luck at one of their many tournaments. This US-facing site also accepts players from Latin America.

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      Ignition Poker

      After launching in 2015, Ignition Poker has quickly become one of the more popular online poker sites on the Internet. With anonymous tables, customized cards and tables, and a fast-fold variation of Zone Poker, players will love this Bitcoin-friendly site. Plus, the sign-up bonus alone is enough to put a smile on your face.

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      Betonline Poker

      Whether you’re an advanced poker player or new to the game, BetOnline Poker has you covered. Choose from top poker games like Hold’em and Omaha or try your luck on more advanced games. Considered one of the best online poker sites for players around the world, BetOnline features deposit bonuses and about 300 real-money players online looking for opponents.

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    BlackChip Poker

    Known for their fast payouts, this is an online poker site not to be missed. Great for players of all levels, Black Chip Poker offers top games like No-Limi Hold’em, Sit & Go, Seven-Card stud and more. There are also tournaments, an ample sign-up bonus, and a Bitcoin-specific match offer that’ll grow your bankroll considerably.

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    Everygame Poker

    Online poker sites are a dime a dozen, but Everygame really sets themselves apart with their poker offering. There’s a vast selection of your favorite games and with a streamlined mobile interface, you can play a few hands on your phone while waiting in line at the grocery store. What more could you ask for in an internet poker website?

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Poker Online Tips: How to Choose the Right TX Online Poker Site

If you're new to online poker, you might have trouble choosing the best Texas online cardroom. We've provided a handy checklist of suggestions that help you narrow down the choice. Keep in mind the following online poker tips when it's time to create a player account and make a deposit.

  • Find the Best Welcome Bonuses: Good poker welcome bonuses range from $500 to $1000. Great ones, like you'll find at America's Cardroom, can be as high as $2000.
  • Choose Sites with Lots of Player Traffic: More players mean bigger tournaments, bigger prize pools, more betting ranges, and more event and cash game options.
  • Read Poker Site Reviews: To get a better feel for the software, game selection, and player community, read online poker site reviews.
  • Use Safe and Secure Banking Options: Choose deposit methods you use daily and trust. Visa, MasterCard, and Bitcoin are payment methods at most TX online poker sites.
  • Play in Freerolls When Offered: Freerolls provide cash prizes without risking your cash. Cardrooms offer freerolls for new player signups, first-time depositors, Bitcoin deposits, loyalty, and high-volume play.

Top Online Poker Texas - TX Online Cardrooms in 2022

Bovada Poker Review

Bovada Poker is our top pick for a safe and trustworthy online poker site. Bovada offers a $500 poker welcome bonus to new players. While that's the smallest bonus of our recommended sites, Bovada is the oldest and most respected operator among the bunch. Bovada is the US successor to Bodog Poker, the world-famous Canadian gaming site.

When you play at Bovada, you can enter a full range of tournaments, sit'n go events, and cash games. Bovada features popular play options like anonymous tables, Zone Poker, and knockout tournaments. It features the Monthly Million event with a $1 million prize pool, along with a guaranteed $1.5 million per week in prizes.

Ignition Poker Review

Ignition Poker is our #2 pick for a great Texas online poker site. Ignition Poker launched in 2016 when it bought Bovada's well-established poker community (since reestablished). Ignition Poker uses the Bovada/Bodog poker software and is a member of the PaiWangLou poker network. Texans can play against players from 11 other countries worldwide.

Ignition Poker offers a $1000 welcome bonus to new players. It also offers a wide range of cash games, sit'n go's, and tournaments. Like Bovada, Ignition Casino features the Monthly Milly tournament. It also features Zone Poker, knockout tournaments, and anonymous tables. In many ways, Ignition Poker matches Bovada item-for-item, though we give Bovada the edge due to its longstanding reputation and experienced customer support staff.

BetOnline Poker Review

BetOnline Poker is another great option for online poker in Texas. BetOnline has truly global operations with dedicated gambling sites in many countries. It also offers one-stop gambling, because your BetOnline Poker player account gives you access to sports betting, racebook betting, eSports betting, and online casino games.

BetOnline Poker provides new depositors with a 100%, $1000 poker welcome bonus. It also features a huge list of poker tournaments, including the $1 Million Windfall and its world-famous Sunday Majors. Other tournament features include Nightly Monsters, Rebuy Frenzy events, progressive bounties, and tournament requests. If you play mobile, try BetOnline's Windfall Sit'n Go's.

Overview of Texas Gambling Laws

A state as large and populous as Texas is bound to have complicated gambling laws. The state allows lottery betting, charitable bingo, and pari-mutuel wagering at racetracks. It grudgingly allows a couple of land-based tribal casinos. Most other forms of gambling are banned, though online gambling exists in a legal gray area. Here's a quick review of Texas gambling laws.

  • Poker Betting in General: Land-based poker betting is illegal if the house charges a rake, though exceptions exist. Online poker sites’ servers cannot be based in Texas, though Texans can play at offshore online cardrooms.
  • Casino Laws: Texas has a ban on land-based casinos. Only federally-recognized tribal gaming authorities can have land-based casinos. Because Texas seized lands from certain tribes in the 1950s, not many land-based casinos exist.
  • Tribal Gaming: Tribal bingo is popular in Texas, though you won't find many tribal casinos. Texas has fought court cases against tribal casinos, though two land-based casinos exist legally at present.
  • Texas Poker Clubs: Local poker clubs exist, though these games are illegal if they charge a rake. Many have entry fees, seat licenses, and exorbitant prices for food and drinks as an alternative. Local law enforcement might or might not see such charges as legal.
  • 8-Liner Law and Revenues: 8-liners are slot machine-type EGMs that operate in gas stations. Communities can choose to make them legal or not, though they're only illegal if cash prizes are $5 or less. Called maquinitas by some Texans.

Texas Online Gambling Laws: Will Texas Regulate Internet Poker Sites & Casinos?

In 2013, State Senator Leticia Van de Putte and Representative John Kuempel introduced legalized online poker bills to the Texas Senate and Texas House. None of the online poker legislation made it past the committee stage. Since then, no one has introduced a bill to regulate and license Texas online poker sites and casinos.

That was at a time when New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware were in the midst of legalizing online gambling. At the time, Van du Putte and Kuempel were testing the waters on a new idea -- an idea that was shut down promptly. For the foreseeable future, Texas online gambling laws look as if they'll remain the same. Therefore, Texans must play at offshore online poker sites.

Current Updates on Texas Gambling Laws

The Texas Constitution bans land-based casino gambling in the state, which means the legislature would need to pass a casino bill by a two-thirds majority. That's not likely to happen anytime soon. In March 2021, State Rep. John Kuempel and State Senator Carol Alvarado introduced a bipartisan brick-and-mortar casino and sports betting bill. The bill would have made the state's four major metropolitan areas -- Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, and San Antonio -- casino hubs with destination resorts. Despite having some support from both Republican and Democrat lawmakers, the bill didn't have nearly enough support to pass.

While 33 other US states have passed land-based sports betting laws, Texas isn't likely to legalize sportsbook operations. In March 2016, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton declared daily fantasy sports -- a form of sports gaming with a more mainstream appeal -- to be illegal from his point of view. When betting on fantasy sports is up for debate in a state, sports betting has no chance of passage.

Currently, sports betting has a better chance to pass than online poker or casino gaming. In December 2021, Texas Rep. Dan Huberty told attendees at an Austin gaming conference, "I really believe there’s an opportunity here to pass sports betting in 2023. If you present it to the voters in the right way, it’s going to pass." The biggest obstacle might be Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who both are staunchly against legalized sports betting.

Best Texas Online Poker Sites by Event Type and Rewards

Players might be searching for a specific factor when choosing a new online poker room. To help in the search, we've created the table below where we rate Texas online poker rooms according to certain categories. Readers should keep in mind that we have a couple of ties in two categories. Bovada Poker offers many of the same cash game advantages as Ignition Poker, while America's Cardroom offers many of the same promotions as its sister site, BlackChip Poker.

Best TX Online Poker Sites by Category

Poker Site Name Category
Bovada Poker Best for Sit & Go's: Jackpot SNGs on Mobile Phones
Ignition Poker Best for Cash Games: Texas Hold’em, Omaha, Omaha Hi-Lo - buy-ins as low as $0.50
BetOnline Poker Best for Tournaments: $1 Million Windfall, Sunday Majors, Progressive Bounties
Blackchip Poker Best Poker Promotions: Million-Dollar Jackpots, Bombpots, The Beast
Everygame Poker Best Rewards Program: Frequent Player Points & Loyalty Levels
America's Cardroom Biggest Bonus: $2000

Texas Gambling Facts

The following gambling facts might not seem like they're related to Texas. In fact, they're directly related to the gamblers of Texas' two biggest metropolitan areas: Dallas and Houston. While Texas bans most casino gambling, it shows that Texans love to gamble as much as any gaming demographic in the world.

  • Shreveport and Lake Charles, Louisiana: For decades, Texans would drive from the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex to casinos in Shreveport and Bossier City, Louisiana. Those casinos' main customer base was Dallas gamblers. At the same time, Lake Charleston, Louisiana is home to 9 land-based casinos because of the city's proximity to Houston, Texas.
  • Winstar and Choctaw Casinos: These days, two Oklahoma casinos, WinStar World Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma and Choctaw Casino in Durant, Oklahoma are among the largest casinos in the world. Both are miles across the Texas-Oklahoma border about a one-hour drive north of the Dallas metropolitan area. Some of the biggest casinos in the world owe most of their revenues to North Texas gamblers.

Texas Land-Based Gambling Venues

  • Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino Hotel: The Kickapoo tribe operates the Lucky Eagle Casino in Eagle Pass, Texas (near the Mexican border).
  • Naskila Gaming: The Naskila tribe operates a legal land-based casino in Livingston, Texas.
  • Texas Card Rooms: At present, 32 poker clubs operate in 16 different Texas cities. Many exist in Houston and San Antonio, while mid-sized cities like Beaumont, Corpus Christi, Killen, Midland, and Odessa also have at least one.
  • Texas Dog Tracks: Two pari-mutuel dog tracks exist: Gulf Coast Racing in Corpus Christi and Valley Race Park in Harlingen. These mainly exist as off-track betting facilities (OTBs).
  • Texas Horse Tracks: Four horse tracks also exist: Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie (Dallas), Sam Houston Race Park in Houston, Gillespie County Fairgrounds in Fredericksburg, and Retama Park in Selma.
  • Bingo Halls in Texas: Charitable bingo has a major presence in Texas. We counted 148 bingo halls in 66 different Texas cities.
  • 8-Liner Industry: Legal gaming machines that exist in Texas convenience stores and gas stations. A billion-dollar industry, Texas towns can make them legal -- so long as cash prizes as $5 or less. Groceries, gas, and lottery tickets are also allowed.

Famous Texas Poker Players

Since poker's most famous game is known as Texas Hold'em, it's no surprise that Texas has some of the world's most successful and famous poker players. Legendary players like Doyle Brunson, Amarillo Slim, and Johnny Moss are Texas natives, while the Horseshoe Casino's original owner, Benny Binion, also hailed from Texas originally.

Brunson, Slim, and Moss played poker in Texas in the 1950s but moved to Las Vegas by the 1960s because high-roller Texas poker games at the time were controlled by organized crime. At the time, more traditional games like Five-Card Draw and Seven-Card Stud were more popular variants of poker. When they moved to Las Vegas, that generation of Texas card players brought with them Texas Hold'em.

Texans Dominated the World Series of Poker Main Event

When Benny Binion launched the World Series of Poker in 1970, he chose Texas Hold'em as the event's official poker game. The early years of the WSOP were dominated by Texas players. For instance, Johnny Moss was voted the WSOP Main Event's winner in its inaugural year (1970), then won the event outright in 1971 and 1974. Amarillo Slim won the WSOP Main Event in 1972, fellow Texan Sailor Roberts won in 1975, and Doyle Brunson won it back-to-back in 1976 and 1977.

Thus, modern poker traces its origins back to Texas. Once ESPN began to television the World Series of Poker Main Event in the 1990s and early 2000s, Texas Hold'em became a global phenomenon. Nowadays, Texas Hold'em is the standard main event poker game for every major poker tournament in the world. This is due to famous poker players like Johnny Moss and Doyle Brunson, along with fellow Poker Hall of Famer Benny Binion.

Other famous Texas poker players exist, of course. T.J. Cloutier is the all-time money winner among Texas card players with $10 million+ in career winnings. Cloutier was born in California, though he resides in the Dallas suburb of Richardson, Texas. Benjamin Tollerin ($9.5 million in all-time winnings) was born in Fort Worth, though he now lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. David Williams ($8.9 million) was born in Dallas and lives in Fort Worth. Keith Tiltson ($7 million) resides in Austin, while William "Bill" Perkins ($5.4 million) lives in Houston.

Texas Online Poker FAQ

Are there any Texas-licensed internet poker sites?

No, there are not. Texans can play at offshore online poker sites for real money, but no licensed online cardrooms exist. Sweepstakes poker sites exist, too, which are considered to be legal online poker sites at the moment.

Are online cardrooms legal to play in Texas?

Texans can bet at offshore online cardrooms without being fined or prosecuted. While the Lone Star State bans Texas-based online cardrooms, it cannot prosecute offshore online poker site operators. Furthermore, Texas doesn't prosecute individuals who play online poker for real money.

The main concern Texas poker players have is safety and fairness, because they play at offshore sites. Trustworthy and reputable poker sites exist, so read online cardroom reviews before depositing your hard-earned cash in a site.

Are there any Mac-compatible poker sites?

Absolutely. Sites like Ignition Poker and Bovada Poker don't require a download, so you'll be able to play using Mac and Linux devices. Mac players should look for online poker rooms where the desktop games open in the web browser, because this circumvents compatibility issues. Typically, these sites advertise that they are an "Instant" poker site instead of a desktop or downloadable site.

Are there any licensed live cardrooms in Texas?

Yes, there are. Texas poker clubs operate in the Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, and Houston metropolitan areas. A poker club cannot charge a rake, though the clubs often have inventive other ways to charge players. 

Depending on how inventive these charges are, legality is determined at the city level of government, usually by local law enforcement agencies. If the county sheriff or local police department deems a live poker club to be illegal, it might be raided and everyone involved might get fined.

Is it possible for me to run my own online gambling business in Texas?

Absolutely no -- not if you charge a rake or otherwise make a profit from the game. Running a real money online poker game in Texas will get you prosecuted and you'll go to jail for it.

While individual Texas residents don't face fines or prosecution for playing real money online poker, Texas law bans people from running Internet-based gambling businesses where you host the server in Texas. The most you can do is build a site that offers free online poker.

What is a Dallas Straddle?

Dallas Straddle is a 9-handed $5/$5 game of Pot-Limit Omaha was has a $25 mandatory "Dallas" button straddle. For the $25 bet, the person with the button receives an absolute guarantee of the last action preflop. The button only acts once, after all other players have closed their actions (bets, raises, calls).

What is Ultimate Texas Hold'em?

Ultimate Texas Hold'em is a table game based on the rules of Texas Hold'em. Instead of playing against other players, you play against the dealer's hand. While you won't find the game in Texas online poker rooms, you will find it in Texas online casinos. BetOnline Casino, which you can access with the same player account at BetOnline Poker, has a version simply called Texas Holdem.

Is Ignition Poker legal in Texas?

Yes, it is. While Texas does not regulate online poker, it doesn't prosecute individuals who play online poker for real money. The ban on online poker is directed at operators -- not players – so you can certainly play Ignition Poker in Texas without concerns about fines or prosecution.

Are there mobile-friendly online poker sites for Texans?

Every one of the Texas online poker sites we recommend also is compatible with mobile devices. Whether you use an Android smartphone or tablet, an iPhone, or an iPad, you'll be able to play mobile poker on the go. Sites like Bovada Poker and Ignition Poker don't require a poker app download. Instead, the games open in the mobile web browser, making the process quicker and easier.