Card Player: Oklahoma casinos a big player in poker scene

"On paper, Oklahoma shouldn’t be such a big deal in the poker world. The Midwestern state ranks only 28th out of 50 in the U.S. in terms of population, and it is known to outsiders mostly as a Bible-Belt state with a propensity for tornadoes.

As recently as 2004, Oklahoma didn’t even have legal poker rooms. But today, Oklahoma is a major player on the U.S. poker scene. The reason? Location, location, location.

After Oklahoma’s government and the National Indian Gaming Council allowed tribes in the state to offer poker in 2005, the gambling industry in the state surged, thanks in large part to Oklahoma’s neighbors. The panhandle state borders six others — New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, and, most importantly, Texas.

In the great state of Texas, the second-largest state in the U.S. both in terms of land and population, they sure do love their poker.

“They don’t call it Texas hold’em for nothing,” said Jay Wiles, the poker manager for WinStar World Casino, the largest casino in the state, located just north of the Oklahoma-Texas border. “Texas is our constituency, our main demographic.”

WinStar is about a 90-minute drive from Dallas."

Get the Story:
The State of Poker in Oklahoma (Card Player 4/8)