The poker industry in Texas has been wild, to say the least. Some operators can speak of their success in the industry, while others will have nothing good to say. San Antonio Poker Palace will likely fall in the latter category.
This is after closing its property last week after failing to pay a promotion to a few winners. Patrick Danner of San Antonio Express-News reported that San Antonio Poker Club was running a $100,000 jackpot promotion. Like any other promotion, this promotion had its requirements.
For example, a winning hand of Aces full of Kings would win the jackpot if it were to be beaten by a straight flush, a royal flush, or a four of a kind. San Antonio Poker Club bet this was impossible as the odds of hitting such a hand is 1 in 71,000.
Unfortunately for the poker club, their worst fear came true on April 6, 2023. One player had a four of a kind while his opponent had a straight flush. This qualifies to trigger the $100,000 promotion.
According to the rules of the promotion, the four of a kind hand would have won $50,000 while the straight flush winner would have pocketed $25,000. The remaining $25,000 would go to the other players on the table.
San Antonio Refused to Pay
San Antonio did not pay the winning players. This led to an uproar from clients, most promising to never set foot at the establishment ever again. This would lead the club to close.
The woes following the club did not end there. Currently, the landlord of the property where San Antonio Poker Club sat is suing.
The landlord is asking for at least $250k to cover rent and other expenditures. A San Antonio Express-News journalist has tried to contact the poker club operators without success.
Rumors have it that Christopher Aarons and Richard Florestan were the alleged San Antonio Poker club operators. Their phones are not going through despite multiple attempts from Danner of Express-News.
Danner also found out that Florestan is possibly running another poker club in Texas. Florestan is listed as the President of Austin Poker Palace at Corporationwiki.com. Richard and his family also have other LLCs that they operate.
Controversial History of Texas Poker Rooms
Texas is home to one of the most popular poker variants, Texas Hold`em. Yet, the laws clearly state that it is illegal to gamble in the state except at Indian casinos and a few race tracks.
This did not stop operators from finding loopholes in the law, giving way to poker clubs. As long as a club is not taking rakes from a pot or buy-ins, the club is not breaking any law. Players pay membership fees to a private club setting to participate in poker tournaments.
This leaves the legal system powerless when it comes to issues such as San Antonio Poker Club refusing to pay winnings. Moreover, the District Attorneys are usually unsuccessful when mounting prosecutions brought against poker clubs in Texas.
The last decision is with the lawmakers. Unfortunately, they only meet every other year, leaving little room to legalize or close poker clubs.