So I work in a bar that does free roll poker, all good and well, but is there a way to weed out non buying customers from winning? Would that not fall under loitering for gambling purposes under the no loitering law???

  • What country/state is this bar in ? Jun 17, 2015 at 7:30

3 Answers 3


Not Sure if it breaks laws, but you could give paying customers an advantage by adding to their chip stacks if they buy products. As long as it's obvious to everyone of course.

However, that may mean it's not neccesarily a "Freeroll" anymore.

Ethically speaking, "weeding" out non buying customers from winning may amount to cheating on the poker providers side, essentially fixing the results! That can't be good for business or poker.


I own a poker tour in Colorado that specializes in "bar poker". I feel your pain in the sense of not wanting people who aren't spending money to win anything, but the way the law is interpreted in my state it's just a change you are going to have to take. As an owner, I don't want non-paying customers to win any more than the venue (bar) does. Generally if the player is not supporting the bar, they aren't supporting my dealers either. Granted tipping is not required, but it is a courtesy most of the time (assuming you have dealers who are good at what they do). The problem is that you are advertising "Free Poker" and because of that the customer is not required to purchase anything to participate. It's a very grey area when looking at it as loitering. The department of gaming in my state has specifically said that you cannot force individuals to spend money in order to participate in a free game. The same as been said for offering incentives for those that are spending money. It's all perceived by my state as a "buy-in" of sorts. It sucks, even as a business owner of a poker tour, but all you can do is hope that there are more people coming to participate and support the bar than people coming to just play free entertainment in hopes of winning something. Unfortunately for both businesses it's just a liability you have deal with.


If they are not going to buy something, then the establishment might have grounds to remove people, but that's a law issue and not a poker thing. If it is clear that the poker is entertainment for paying customers, then you probably are fine, but talk to a lawyer.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.