Cradle of Texas Hold'em mulling poker bill

The birthplace of Texas Hold'em is considering a proposal to legalize and license poker games across the state. The Texas legislature is reviewing a recommendation from Rep. Jose Menendez to allow designated venues and charitable groups to host poker games.

Supporters of the game are expected to converge at the Texas Capitol today for a hearing before the House Licensing and Administrative Procedures Committee.

U.S. lobby group the Poker Players Alliance - which has more than 20,000 members in Texas - is throwing its weight behind the bill, which aims to create a safe and regulated environment for both live and electronic versions of the game.

Up for debate, as usual, is the age-old question of skill versus chance. The bill proposes that poker is not a lottery game, which is banned under the state's constitution.

The current law states that gambling on a card game is allowed only if it is done in a private place, if no one receives an economic benefit from the game other than personal winnings and if the risk of winning and losing is the same for all participants.

The bill will see the Texas Lottery Commission decide whether poker tables would be allowed in places such as race tracks and bars, but doesn't address Internet gambling.

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