Someone is holding a poker game, would it be legal for a minor to participate? This is in Texas.

  • The question seems to assume that this is for real money stakes, although it could be more clear. It isn't illegal, in general, to play poker in Texas.
    – ohwilleke
    Jun 23 at 23:09
  • 1
    @ohwilleke If it were, there'd be some serious question as to why one of the most popular variants of the game is called "Texas Hold'em"... Jun 24 at 13:52
  • @DarrelHoffman Russian roulette isn't legal in Russia.
    – ohwilleke
    Jun 24 at 14:13

Generally, it would be a juvenile offense for a minor to gamble and a crime for an adult to do so (assuming that the minor is old enough to be prosecuted for juvenile delinquency, you can't prosecute a two year old for playing poker).

There are affirmative defenses to this crime (and the parallel juvenile offense) if:

  • the actor engaged in gambling in a private place;

  • no person received any economic benefit other than personal winnings; and

  • except for the advantage of skill or luck, the risks of losing and the chances of winning were the same for all participants

  • 2
    The affirmative defences would likely apply to most private poker games. So would they also apply in the case of minors? Your answer doesn't make this clear.
    – Muzer
    Jun 24 at 11:22
  • Almost every criminal offense is also a ground for a juvenile delinquency charge for an old enough minor (only a few offenses, like murder, are allowed against children just barely old enough to be charged). When a criminal offense is also a juvenile delinquency charge ground, the elements of the crime and the defenses to it are the same.
    – ohwilleke
    Jun 24 at 14:12

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