Forced closure looms for Poker House Dallas after appellate loss

Haley Hintze Author Photo
Haley Hintze
Posted on: May 16, 2023 19:35 PDT

Poker House Dallas, one of a small handful of social-poker clubs currently operating within the city limits of Dallas, Texas, may close within a week in the face of adverse legal rulings in recent weeks. Currently, the room will have to cease operations by midnight on Tuesday after its motion for an emergency stay of the city's closure efforts was denied on May 8.

The situation involving Poker House Dallas is both alike and different from that facing other social-poker rooms in Dallas. Like the other rooms in Dallas, the city has attempted to revoke the club's certificate of occupancy, but that's where the similarities stop. The City of Dallas's argument against the other poker clubs, including Shuffle 214 and Texas Card House Dallas, is that the city issued those clubs' occupancy in error.

In Poker House Dallas's case, however, according to a lawsuit the city filed against the club last year, the background is different. The city's lawsuit asserted that the venue's certificate of occupancy was never issued in connection with a planned poker club, but was instead issued for "La Zona Roza Cabaret," a themed nightclub created by the venue's corporate owner, Badger Tavern LP.

Cabaret plans changed to social poker room

The La Zona Roza Cabaret concept dates all the way back to 2009, according to records filed in the case. In 2017, Badger Tavern LP filed an updated floor plan for the facility. Then, in 2021, Badger Tavern notified Dallas officials that “La Zona Rosa dba Poker House of Dallas” would allow patrons to play card games (meaning poker) "for a fee." Soon thereafter, Poker House Dallas opened for business.

What didn't happen, according to the city, was the filing of a revised floor plan or a revised description of use for the venue. Poker House Dallas's owners have argued in court that the cabaret-themed occupancy certificate remained valid, since the poker club was an "amusement," as was the planned cabaret.

Dallas officials saw it differently, and in their lawsuit against the club, declared that the poker being offered at PHD was illegal gambling. The case was swept up in the public's eye by the pushback from Dallas officials against all of the city's poker clubs, though it was always treated as a separate legal action by the city.

Appeal denied by 5th District court

In April, Poker House Dallas posted an update to the situation on its PokerAtlas page:


We have somber news to report; as some of you may have already heard, our owners were informed this week in a private hearing with the city of Dallas, that our CO for poker will be revoked in the coming weeks. Poker House Legal representation is going to appeal this decision, and its unknown at this time if the city will grant the appeal, as well as allow Poker House Dallas to continue to operate with an injuction. We will answer any questions we know answers to, and continue to keep everyone informed of any updates as we know them.

After having received a temporary stay in April, Poker House Dallas filed its formal appeal and request for the emergency stay to Texas's 5th District Appellate Court on May 4. The appeal was denied and dismissed on May 8. The appellate court also ordered Poker House Dallas's owners to pay the legal fees incurred by the City of Dallas in defending against the appeal, with a hearing on that matter scheduled later in 2023.

In anticipation of being forced to close next week, Poker House Dallas has offered reduced seat fees and other promotions to its customers in what are likely the club's final days.

Featured image source: Poker House Dallas