Why host a Texas hold ’em poker tournament?

A Texas hold ’em poker tournament for a corporate event is an excellent team-building. Why is it perfect? My answer is a quote from a famous poker player. 

“Poker defies all social barriers such as age, gender, race, or professional status. It’s the only place I know where a 21-year old urban male and an 80-year-old farmer can and will find common ground. Texas hold ’em poker is a timeless game, bringing people together in the most natural way. “ – Kitchen Billy, Infamous Poker Player in Pittsburgh and beyond, and V.P. of Elite Casino Events. 

Where to begin planning your poker tournament

The first thing to know is that holding a private Texas hold ’em poker tournament for money in most states in the USA is illegal. Charging people to play in the event is perceived as ‘consideration’ or a fee to enter or play. Awarding any prizes from the ‘collected funds or fees paid’ would be a ‘reward’ and would be seen as gambling in the eyes of the law. You can learn more about the elements of gambling as defined in Pennsylvania law here.

Does this mean that you cannot host a Texas hold ’em poker tournament  for co-workers, team, and VIPs? Yes, you can; be sure that there is no fee to enter or participate in playing. The laws in Pennsylvania are strict, and it’s a wise choice to consult your local municipality if you’re planning any event open to the public. The rules vary throughout the USA; however, in Pennsylvania, the law states: 

“All gaming must be complimentary’ no purchase required to play.”

Poker is as old as time and ever-evolving.

The laws are still ‘grey’ in many states as to whether Texas hold ’em poker  is a game of skill or chance. This definition is still debatable for poker, and it’s a matter of perception in most cases. However, if you want to host an event for your team or VIPs and are careful not to require anyone to ‘pay to participate,’ the intent is clear it’s not for risk/reward, but rather entertainment purposes. This format would be the best choice for a team-building event.

Could you award prizes to winners?

My answer is yes because if no one paid to play, there is no risk/reward or consideration/reward and thus could not be considered ‘gambling.’ We once did an event for a company of attorneys, who ironically serviced the local casino. They invited ‘gaming representatives’ to the party. These are State licensed individuals whose job is to protect the integrity of play in the local casino and throughout the State.

Once the party started, I had an interesting conversation with one of those individuals. He was a little gun-shy to play because of his job. When he realized that no money was involved and it was all for entertainment purposes – I soon found him at a blackjack table having a blast. Ironically he was cheating too! “Who cares – it’s a party, and it was fun!” he said with a devilish grin when I caught him cheating! 

Texas hold 'em poker tournament
Texas hold 'em poker tournament

Everyone loves a trophy!

I also will note having a grand prize trophy or gift for your top winners is acceptable as long as no one has any money invested in play. This idea adds extra excitement to participate as the trophy and bragging rights can be an excellent reward for your winner!

Meanwhile, you build camaraderie as your guests from different divisions, locations, stations, and departments sit side by side playing poker. You could order a trophy that reads ‘ Winner Texas hold ’em poker tournament 2021.’

Maybe even consider doing one award for each place first, second and third such as these coin medallions. Haha – you could also have a ‘Biggest Loser’ trophy for the first person to bust out of the tournament, as this always brings a good bit of laughter! 

 Texas hold 'em poker tournament
Corporate Poker Winner
Texas hold 'em poker tournament

What you will need to host a Texas Hold’em poker tournament

  1. A plan for your registration & seating assignments or seat cards for guests 
  2. Pre-event planning of your poker tournament structure & blinds
  3. Tournament announcements to explain the rules of play before the shuffle-up begins.
  4. Plastic cards, poker dealer buttons, and tournament casino chips 
  5. One poker table for every ten to nine players with chairs or poker table tops 
  6. Professional poker dealers & Tournament director 
  7. Tournament clock (Online options, based on timeline and starting chip counts your assigned poker tournament director would handle this) 
  8. Big screen TV to Bluetooth the tournament clock 

How to make your tournament authentic

Hire pros to service your Texas hold ’em poker tournament. Can you pull this off yourself, probably to host something that creates excitement, flows smoothly and runs timely, and handles any poker upsets that might happen – you need the pros.

Most local casino party rental companies such as Elite Casino Events can help you host a Texas hold ’em poker tournament. They usually have all the supplies, including the talent to organize and execute the event flawlessly.

This way, you can mingle with your guests, team, and VIPs and make the event about building relationships and stronger connections. This plan is a win/win as you are also helping to support local small businesses, and your team gets a fun night out to play poker! 

 Texas Hold'em Poker Tournament Dealer
Texas Hold'em poker tournament

More poker help!

Here are two great resources for new players; we suggest sharing them before the event! These will help everyone prepare and get their A-game on! Be sure to download this Texas hold ’em poker  strategy card, too – it’s helpful for new players to use during play to understand the ranking hands of poker. 

Texas Hold’em poker, a tutorial for beginners. 

 Poker etiquette, 7 Unspoken Rules of the Game

Article by Dawn & William Takacs, game developers & casino executives with an extensive background in poker