What are Underground Poker Games?

A game of underground poker can take place in a variety of locations, from a garage in the countryside of Alabama to a penthouse in the heart of Manhattan. But no matter where it’s located, you can bet that there’s a certain element of law-breaking going on. That’s because underground poker is synonymous with “illegal poker”; otherwise, why would it be underground in the first place?

How Underground Poker Works

The rules of underground poker are the same as the versions you’ll find online or in casinos. The locations vary, however, from darkened basements to high-rise condos. These underground clubs flourish in cities and states where poker is illegal, but you can find them almost anywhere.

Another difference is that there’s no oversight when it comes to paying income tax on your winnings. People who go to an underground poker club don’t like to leave paper trails, so any winnings are likely to go unreported to the IRS.
The club’s profits are collected in one of two ways. The first option is known as the “rake,” which is a small percentage that’s collected from each pot. Other clubs charge a seat fee, also known as a “time drop.” This is a fee to play for a certain period of time, and it can be charged as often as every 30 minutes.

The Dangers of Underground Poker

While underground poker still exists, it has decreased in cities such as Dallas and New York due to two factors: police intervention and robberies. Since these poker rooms operate illegally, it’s not unheard of for the place to get raided by the police. Customers don’t usually have to worry, but the people who host the game will definitely be in trouble.
Of course, everyone has to worry when it comes to a robbery, especially one that involves firearms. In 2007, for example, a player was shot and killed after a gun accidentally went off during the robbery of a game on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue. And since clubs are operating illegally, criminals often assume that the victims won’t even bother to report the crime.

How to Find an Underground Poker Game

If underground poker sounds like your type of game, you may want to use one of the following methods to locate a game:

Social Media – Sites like Facebook and Twitter have numerous people looking for or advertising underground poker games.

Message Boards – Your best bet is to find an online message board devoted to poker in your area. You’ll be amazed at how soon you’ll get invitations to clandestine games.

Craigslist – They’ve got everything else on Craigslist, so why not ads for poker games?

The Local Bar – Many neighborhood bars host a poker night. While a lot of idiots will show up, it’s also a good place to make connections with underground players. If someone decides to let you into their circle, you’ll likely be given a password to repeat to the doorman.

I don’t suggest you play underground poker, especially if it violates any laws in your state or local jurisdiction. There’s also the danger of getting robbed, an event which can turn tragic if guns are involved.

Underground games do provide a rush of excitement, however, and many players can’t get the same thrill from an online poker game. If you decide to give it a try anyway, just be aware of your surroundings, manage your bankroll, and try to have some fun along the way.