Home Poker Game Law Overview

DISCLAIMER: The following is our layman interpretation of the home poker laws. We have consulted various sources in an attempt to make the home poker laws easier to understand. It should not be taken as legal advice and should be used as a guide only. Gamble at home at your own risk.

In the United States, about half of all states provide some kind of exemption in gambling laws that allow for home poker games, so long as the players are the only ones profiting from the game, or do not have any written law regarding the matter at all.

For home poker laws in other countries please post on the Home Poker Law forum so we can help you find out more.

Most state gambling laws are aimed at the prevention of commercial gambling. That means you can’t open a home poker game and charge $5 at the door, or take a rake from each pot or any player’s chip stack. It has to be an equally profitable game where only the players exchange money.

Basic Social Gambling Guidelines

Let us briefly define the guidelines of a “home poker” or “social gambling” experience:

  1. The host, or home owner, may not receive economic gain for hosting the game; only from personal winnings therein.
  2. There can be no advantage to one player over another. All must have an equal opportunity to win.
  3. The poker game must occur in a private setting, like within the home, or a private social club.

We will now define the home poker laws of each state, in plain English, referencing sources for those who prefer to decipher the language of law writers.


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