We are in the final stages of preparing for our first
Real Poker is pleased to FINALLY offer Arizona poker players a viable option for traditional tournaments conducted outside of “Indian Country”. Since 2015, our poker tournaments have been successfully registered with the Arizona Attorney General’s office as intellectual amusement gambling pursuant to A.R.S. §§ 13-3301.1.d.iii and 13-3311. The amusement exclusion is different than the defunct social exclusion, which has seen over fifty gray market cardrooms closed down over the past decade, including a dozen raids and indictments. Real Poker’s exempt purpose is “to increase competitive play of the sport of poker in Arizona”.
Under the amusement gambling exclusion for intellectual games or contests, Real Poker provides carefully structured, open and transparent, traditional poker tournaments for its members. The Club manages competitive monthly and annual points races as well as player ratings. Real Poker also offers an amazing, annual freeroll championship event (that doubles as our annual membership drive). The Club lawfully operates as a not-for-profit 501c7 exempt organization so that members can enjoy regular, competitive poker tournaments that use professional, non-participating dealers. The Club has very little overhead, no rent or utilities, as our Real Poker tournaments are played at neighborhood venues, residences, clubhouses, or third-party commercial venues, such as your favorite sports bars and restaurants or pizza parlor.
To non-members, Real Poker events may look like “free pub poker”, which is one of the reasons we differentiate ourselves with our name. We do not want Real Poker to be confused with social poker games, which is the main reason why we register our events with the Arizona Attorney General’s office. Exempt 501c7 organization’s do not need to register intellectual amusement gambling contests with the State, but Real Poker continues to do so every year, as a form of civil notice. The only appropriate response to civil notice of intent – our registration – is a cease and desist order, in which case we put on our suits and ties and march up the steps of the Maricopa County Courthouse and argue the merits of our position.
Real Poker uses casino-quality, oval tables with custom felts and padded armrests, composite clay chips with custom inlays, and professional, plastic playing cards. We retain a group of professional, non-participating, hourly-wage event staff (dealers, directors). Club founders have been serving the poker community since 2009.
Real Poker’s (May 30, 2017) registration with the Arizona Attorney General can be viewed here.
Amusement gambling poker tournaments under the intellectual exclusion aren’t new. The first successful registration we found was by the Mesa Alcoholics Anonymous, conducting a fun and alcohol-free $1,000+ New Year’s Eve event.
All activities are conducted in furtherance of the Club’s exempt purpose, including our singular membership drive and annual freeroll event we call “The ‘Real’ Arizona State Poker Championship”, which will rival the $1M+ prize pool of the other Arizona State Poker Championship -- which isn’t even conducted on State land! BIA reservations are federal land, like national parks and military installations. Real Poker is using poker to reclaim the sport from the unconstitutional usurpation of all forms of potentially regulated gambling by the gaming tribes of Arizona.
Real Poker can only provide amusement gambling poker tournaments -- at least at this time. Our grassroots efforts should help pave the way for regulating all forms of poker, as well as daily fantasy sports and the myriad of national sweepstakes and contests that almost always exclude Arizonans. We are using poker to reclaim poker from the BIA reservations in our State. We believe that it was unconstitutional for the State to allow tribal leaders to use a citizen’s initiative to “negotiate in good faith” the terms of the 2003 gaming compacts, which we believe (at best) represents an illegally-conspired, all-or-nothing proposal where no negotiation was possible on any of its terms, and which expanded on virtually all of the negotiable terms, limits and and conditions of the 1993 compacts, including the privatization of a grossly conflicted State Gaming Department, the deadly poison pill clause (which should be reverted to the 1993 poison pill clause language), a revenue sharing plan with no negotiation on the rates, the establishment of a special slush fund, and nothing short of legalized kickbacks to local municipalities, and other issues. Through Real Poker, with proper legal representation, we can file a mass action complaint before the 2027 compacts expire that will at best, revert the poison pill clause to the 1993 language, and at worst, hopefully prevent the use of a citizen’s initiative to negotiate the next standard form compact terms and conditions.
Poker can do more for Arizona. Through a one-of-a-kind error in a Freedom of Information Act request in 2012, we learned that tribal poker rooms only share about $1.3M annually with the State (on $30M in aggregate poker revenue - empirical data that was errently shared as reported by the Arizona tribes to the NIGC in 2011). If Arizona mirrored California’s cardroom model, the State would very quickly see about $20M for the General Fund (adjusted for population and market saturation) from an industry that has always existed, and is not going away any time soon.
The State has spent at least $1.3M a year protecting the tribal oligopoly over regulated poker on BIA reservations. All gray market cardroom investigations and prosecutions this past decade have been initiated by undercover Gaming Department agents. The Department, compromised, conflicted and privatized as has been since 2003, takes a special interest in poker because of the rights claimed by their paymasters, the tribal casinos.
Real Poker provides the blueprint for the potential of a federation of affiliated poker clubs throughout the State, particularly in those counties that don’t even have access to regulated tribal casino poker room.
Our club is similar to non-profit chess clubs, offering regular tournament events with an entry fee and cash prize pool. Chess clubs routinely promote events with “85% to 90% of entry fees returned to players”. We aim to generate only only enough revenue to pursue our exempt purpose and exempt activities, which includes offering comparable, if not better, poker tournaments for our members... events that are closer to home, friendlier, and which we, the members, collectively operate and control.
Real Poker is “your home game away from home”.
RANDOM POKER QUOTE:
Real Poker Membership Brochure (PDF) or click JPG images below for larger image in new window.
Real Poker offers legally regulated poker tournaments throughout Arizona. The enabling laws required by A.R.S. § 13-3306(b)(i) and A.R.S. § 13-3302 consists of the statutory requirements and obligations regulating intellectual amusement gambling under in A.R.S. § 13-3311 and A.R.S. § 13-3301.1(d)iii. Real Poker’s books are open to inspection and all required taxes are paid. All legal opinions expressed on these page(s) are the opinions of private individuals, not an attorney.
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