When you think of about poker, you think about Texas. That’s likely because Texas Hold’em came from there.

Texas Online Poker GuideTexas is a proud state and that’s in no small part (pun intended) to its physical size. It’s a state that is literally synonymous with being large.

With that in mind, it may come as a shock to hear that Texas is not big on gaming — far from it. Most forms of gaming are illegal in the Lone Star State. Exceptions include the state lottery, bingo halls, and horse racing, but not much else. And a state-regulated market for online poker is unlikely to materialize anytime soon.

But there is good news! Texas is the second-largest US jurisdiction where you can play online poker and win prizes that are redeemable for real cash money.

Although you have several options, we recommend sweepstakes online poker sites in Texas.

What is Sweepstakes online poker? Sweepstakes online poker sites are available throughout the US, including Texas. They operate under sweepstakes law and offer players the closest experience to real money games. Players can win real cash prizes. Sweepstakes sites host tournaments daily and offer a variety of poker formats, sit and gos, and cash games. Learn more in our in-depth Sweepstakes Online Poker guide.

There are two sweepstakes online poker sites that we recommend: ClubWPT and Global Poker. They work in slightly different ways at the front end (which is discussed later in this guide) but they ultimately function the same — offering players a chance to win real money cash prizes at online poker under sweepstakes law.

If you’re new to poker and just want to learn the game without spending any money, you can visit one of several free-play poker sites that available in Texas.

Can I Play Online Poker in Texas?

Yes, you can play online poker in the Lone Star State! You also have options, depending on whether you want to play for prizes that you can redeem for real money or you just want to play for free. If you’re looking for a chance to compete for cash prizes, we recommend sweepstakes online poker. We also recommend sweepstakes sites for players looking for a true online poker experience.

If you’re entirely new to poker, you can also try free-play sites. These offer the perfect space to learn about the game without spending any money.

Texas Online Poker: Key Facts
⚖️ Legal StatusSweepstakes, free-play, and social poker sites are all legal in Texas.
Main HighlightsPlayers on sweepstakes poker sites can compete in tournaments & win real money prizes. Free-play sites are great for new players.
🃏 Available GamesClubWPT and Global Poker both offer No Limit Hold’em and Pot Limit Omaha. Global Poker also offers cash games.
🎁 RewardsClubWPT Premium Rewards & ClubWPT Loyalty Bonus. Free daily rewards on Global Poker.

The Best Online Poker Sites in Texas

If you’re interested in playing online poker in the Lone Star State, we recommend visiting sweepstakes poker sites. These offer the best online poker experience in Texas.

Players can win real money prizes playing sweepstakes poker. It’s important to note that “sweepstakes poker” is actually an umbrella term for two types of online poker sites allowed under sweepstakes law: traditional subscription poker and so-called “modern” sweepstakes, for lack of a better term. You can win real money prizes playing on both platforms.

Modern sweepstakes vs. subscription sites — what’s the difference? Subscription sites are pretty straightforward — for a monthly fee, you can enter tournaments with real money cash prizes. Poker sites that follow the modern sweepstakes model are a little more complicated — players use real money to buy play tokens. These tokens can only be used on play-money games; they have no monetary value. But when players buy these, they receive another type of token as a gift — a Sweeps Coin. These tokens are considered prize entries. Players use Sweeps Coins to access ring games and tournaments, which award prizes that can be redeemed for real money.

Global Poker is the site we recommend if modern sweepstakes pique your interest. For subscription poker, we recommend ClubWPT. Both have reputations for being safe and trustworthy, and they operate legally under sweepstakes laws in Texas.

ClubWPT

ClubWPT online poker roomClubWPT is a subscription-based online poker site that’s based in California. Players gain access to a certain number of daily tournaments for a monthly fee. It’s a setup that’s very similar to Texas’ private poker clubs, which are discussed later in this guide.

Since the platform is focused exclusively on tournaments, players aren’t able to win real money prizes through ring games. But ClubWPT does offer plenty of daily tournaments, which offer real money prizes. Players can also win access to events on the World Poker Tour.

WPT Enterprises owns and operates the ClubWPT site. It also owns the World Poker Tour, one of the largest and most popular online poker brands in the world.

Read our full review of ClubWPT »

Global Poker

Global Poker online poker roomGlobal Poker is the largest sweepstakes poker operator in the US. It’s modeled on traditional sweepstakes, where players use real money to buy play tokens (aka Gold Coins) and are gifted Sweeps Coins. Players use the latter token to play on sweepstakes tables, where players can win prizes redeemable for real money.

Global Poker hosts major tournament series every year with millions guaranteed. Subsidiaries of VGW Holdings Limited, an Australian company, operate the site.

Read our full review of Global Poker »

Social and Free-Play Poker in Texas

You can also play online poker for free in Texas through several free-play poker sites. Zynga Poker, Replay Poker, and Governor of Poker are some popular. Sometimes these are also called “social poker” sites.

There are many free apps that you can download to learn how to play poker for free. Social media sites like Facebook have them, too. Two of the biggest operators of real money online poker, PokerStars and WSOP, also have free-play sites. By offering a place where people can learn how to play for free, the operators hope that some players will stay on and eventually create a profile on their paid site — provided they live in states where regulated online poker is legal.

Remember that there is no way to win real money on a free-play poker site — it’s just for fun. Free-play sites are a great proving ground for new players — they can learn hand rankings, how to bet, the overall flow of the game, and many other aspects of online poker. One downside is that players on free-play sites aren’t really gaining any insight into poker strategy because there isn’t any real money at stake.

Real Money Online Poker in Texas

There is a lot to see and do in Texas (and they’re often Texas-sized!) but one thing you won’t find is a marketplace for legal regulated real money online poker sites like PokerStars and WSOP — meaning, sites where you deposit and withdraw real money directly. While these sites are available in a few states (e.g., Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania), they are not available in Texas.

Most forms of gaming are illegal in Texas. There are a few exceptions — the state lottery, bingo (including at tribal casinos), horse and greyhound racing, and raffles. Sweepstakes are also obviously legal, and you can win real cash prizes playing sweepstakes poker in the Lone Star State.

The status quo is unlikely to change anytime soon because Texas is a socially conservative state where Republicans hold all of the levers of power. Since the GOP’s base is traditionally averse to gambling, lawmakers haven’t introduced much in the way of gaming legislation. Texas doesn’t even have sports betting, which is much more widespread than igaming. An attempt to pass a sports betting bill fell short the Texas Legislature in 2023.

With that in mind, you should consider the next section of this lander, where we discuss what a legal market of regulated real money online poker sites would look like in Texas, as strictly hypothetical.

Not recommended — Offshore real money online poker sites. A few words about offshore online poker sites. In a nutshell, we strongly recommend against playing on them. Why? Because the sites have a bad reputation with players and you will have no recourse if your money is stolen or if you feel cheated in games. We recommend playing sweepstakes online poker instead. Read our Independent Guide to Online Poker to learn more.

Sites That Would Launch in Texas

Texas is the second-most populous US state, with 30.5 million residents. It would become the biggest US state to issue licenses and regulate real money online poker operators if it chose to do so, and barring any similar move by California.

Since Texas has such a large population, it doesn’t necessarily need to share liquidity with other states. There would obviously be bigger prizes if Texas did join a gaming compact with other states, but the Lone Star State could function as a segregated market. Consider that Ontario has a population less than half of Texas’ size but the Canadian province has a thriving segregated market for online poker.

That said, Texas could also opt to join the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA). It’s a gaming compact that allows operators to combine their player pools across its member states — which are Delaware, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, and West Virginia.

Allowing operators to combine their player pools creates shared liquidity, which in turn leads to bigger prizes for players.

The three major online poker operators in the US — BetMGM Poker, PokerStars, and WSOP — would want to launch in Texas if the opportunity arose. The state’s membership in MSIGA would make the market irresistible. There could also be a fourth operator: BetRivers Poker, a platform currently in development by Rush Street Interactive.

How Texas would set up regulated real money online poker remains a mystery. There aren’t any land-based commercial casinos in the state, so having a setup like Michigan or New Jersey — where operators are tethered to a land-based property — won’t work in the Lone Star State.

But Texas does have three tribal casinos and several horse racetracks that could serve as potential partners, or operators could be required to form a partnership with a professional sports team or stadium. Texas could also just decide to issue standalone licenses to operators.

If Texas does establish a regulated market for real money online poker and subsequently joins MSIGA, we think operators will establish the following networks to include the Lone Star State:

Operator Likely Texas Brand Hypothetical Network Plans
BetMGM Poker BetMGM TX Could create a four-state network of MI-NJ-NV-TX, but needs to launch in Nevada and combine its MI and NJ player pools first.
PokerStars USA PokerStars TX Would look to set up a three-state network that includes MI-NJ-TX.
BetRivers Poker BetRivers Poker TX A poker platform being developed by Rush Street Interactive (RSI). Like PokerStars, a network across MI-NJ-TX appears the most likely.
WSOP USA WSOP TX Could establish a four-state network of MI-NJ-NV-TX, just like BetMGM. WSOP is the only operator in Nevada, but it lost access to Delaware at the end of 2023.

Live Poker in Texas

Live poker is also available in Texas! There are about 60 private poker clubs across the state and most players are within driving distance of at least one club. Texas has strict gaming laws, but the clubs are allowed to operate because they don’t charge a fee (or rake). Instead, the clubs charge membership and hourly fees. Clubs usually offer daily, monthly, and annual memberships.

The private poker clubs offer a variety of games, but by far the most popular option is No Limit Hold’em (NLH). Clubs also routinely host tournaments, most of which are also NLH. You will find clubs that offer tournaments every day, and some offer free play every morning, including on weekends.

For more information on live poker in Texas, please refer to our online guide, Poker in Texas.

The Largest Private Poker Clubs in Texas

According to the website PokerAtlas, these are the five largest private poker clubs in Texas, in terms of the number of tables available. All are in major metro areas:

City Private Poker Club Tables
Austin The Lodge Poker Club 68
Dallas Shuffle 214 31
Houston Elite Social Club 63
Texas Card House Spring 32
San Antonio Rounders Card Club 30

Texas Online Poker FAQ

Is online poker legal in Texas?

Yes, online poker is legal in the Lone Star State. You also have several options available, depending on whether you want to play for free or for real money cash prizes. We recommend:

  • Subscription poker sites (e.g., ClubWPT) — for a monthly subscription, players gain access to daily tournaments that offer redeemable cash prizes
  • Modern sweepstakes poker sites (e.g., Global Poker) — players use real money to buy play tokens (aka Gold Coins) that they can only use to play social table games, which have no cash value. Players are then gifted Sweeps Coins from the operator. Sweeps Coins can be used to play on sweepstakes tables, which offer redeemable cash prizes
  • Free-play or social poker sites (e.g., Zynga Poker) — these are sites where you can learn the basics of online poker without spending any money, making them an excellent choice for new players

Offshore and unregulated online poker sites are also available from Texas, but pokerfuse does not recommend them (see the red box of text just one section earlier).

Are there online cash games in Texas?

Yes, cash games can be found on Global Poker. Players must use Sweeps Coins to participate in games that offer redeemable cash prizes.

Can I play in online tournaments in Texas?

Yes, you can find online tournament action on ClubWPT and Global Poker every day Both sites offer weekly and monthly tournaments, and they both offer their own custom sets of regular series. The price of buy-ins varies. There are some tournaments with as much as $500,000 guaranteed!

What types of poker games are available online?

No-Limit Texas Hold’em (NLH) is the most popular format for tournaments on ClubWPT. NLH tournaments are also run on Global Poker, but you can find other variants on the site, including Crazy Pineapple, Omaha, and Omaha Hi-Lo. Bounty tournaments and sit-and-go (SNG) tournaments are also available.

Is PokerStars legal in Texas?

No, you won’t find PokerStars operating in Texas. PokerStars only operates in markets where it can legally do so. That said, if Texas were to one day establish a regulated market for real money online poker, PokerStars will likely want to launch there since the state ranks second in terms of population (30.5 million residents).

Will Texas regulate online poker anytime soon?

It’s difficult to see Texas setting up a regulated marketplace for online poker operators anytime soon. Most forms of gambling are illegal in the state, including sports betting. The state has a socially conservative constituency traditionally opposed to gaming and backs the GOP. But the state’s demographics are slowly changing, and its possible that several years down the road we could see BetMGM, PokerStars, or WSOP in the Lone Star State.

Can I play online poker on offshore sites?

We don’t recommend playing on offshore poker sites because they do not offer the same level of consumer protection as legal, regulated sites. When players disclose their financial and personal information on offshore sites, they are at risk of identity theft. Federal officials have warned US citizens not to play on offshore sites because there is no legal recourse to collect winnings owed to them.

If you or someone you know has a gambling problem and wants help, call the Virginia Council on Problem Gambling (VACPG) helpline at 1-888-532-3500