Alaska Texas Holdem
The Last Frontier has attracted those who wish to strike it rich by finding gold for a long time. If you want to visit Alaska to strike it rich playing Texas holdem poker, you unfortunately won't be able to do so. You won't find any casinos or poker rooms in this state due to the limiting laws that are in place. Alaska does permit some gambling, mostly raffles, pull tabs, and other small games, but no large operations can take place at all.
If you wish to find some poker action in this wild land, then you need to seek out a home game that takes place in a private residence. This is permitted under state law although there are some restrictions in respect to how many people can play and how much you can wager. The person who runs the home game also can't make any money from doing so, otherwise it becomes a commercial operation.
During the poker boom, there was a movement to legalise poker rooms in Alaska. Unfortunately, this was voted down. Although this would have been great for the game in the state, some of the conditions that were being suggested would've made running a poker room completely unpractical.
For example, one of the conditions suggested that you would need to pay a $10,000 fee per table per year. This is just far too much money considering how much money a table would make from rake in a year. On top of this there was also a $25,000 application fee. Once again, this is just huge. Although some operators would've been able to still work within these conditions, the fact is the bill never got off the ground and was struck down.
One positive change took effect in 2016. You can now run some games where the profits go to charity and the game is regulated by the state tax division. These games include bingo, raffles, and pull-tabs. While this is a long way from a regulated casino or poker room, it's a step in the right direction.
Many other states in the US offer charity based poker rooms and that's how they service poker players in those areas. Aside from the fact that a percentage of profits go to charity, from a player's perspective there's no real difference in the game. This is a good thing, and if this first small step in Alaska means that in the long run the door may open for poker charitable games, then that's a great thing.
Online Texas Holdem
If you're looking to play online Texas holdem poker you'll need to drive over the border into Canada to take to the virtual felt. Like the rest of the country, online poker has been banned. Some states are beginning to regulate their own online poker but Alaska won't be doing this, at least not for a very long time. It's all about one step at a time and live poker will need to be firmly entrenched in Alaska before online play would be regulated.
You can still find unregulated online poker rooms offering Texas holdem to Alaska residents, but you need to be careful if you decide to try your luck at one of these rooms. While the odds of you getting into trouble for playing are slim, you won't have any protection if the poker room closes or takes advantage of you.
Online casinos are available for play in Alaska, as they are in the rest of the US, and there is little restriction or legislation in respect to these. Although it could be considered illegal under existing laws, the rise of online services really has tested this is many ways. The process of depositing and withdrawing money is the way in which lawmakers have struck out some online gaming, however some clever businesses have now gotten around this also, which is why you can access and play on online casinos from Alaska.
You can get your fill in respect to some virtual table games such as blackjack, craps and baccarat, and you can also play class 3 slots online. This falls under the same situation as the grey area poker rooms discussed above. The legality is a bit thin in this respect and you could end up in trouble, and because the odds in these games are terrible and should never be played as a substitute for the great game of poker.
Private Texas Holdem Games
As we touched on earlier, your only real option when it comes to playing live poker in Alaska is to find a home game. Although these won't be too heavily promoted, for obvious security reasons, you should be able to find games by asking around or posting on 2+2 forums or via the meetup app. If you fail in these two avenues, then try starting up your own home game and inviting co-workers and friends to play.
If you're desperate for a game and are willing to travel, then you could drive into the Yukon in Canada to Dawson City. Here you'll find Diamond Tooth Gerties and a range of holdem games and even some Omaha hi low. In the summer, they're open seven days a week with the hours being a bit more limited in winter, spring, and fall.
During those times, they'll generally only be open on Friday and Saturday evenings. You'll also find blackjack, roulette, and slots at Diamond Tooth Gerties. So, if you live somewhat near the border with Canada you can drive on over to Dawson City to find some live Texas holdem poker action in a fun and lively environment.
Unfortunately, if you live in Alaska, overall, your options are quite limited when it comes to finding live Texas holdem poker. You'll have some options available, which we've outlined here, yet they aren't great and your long term prospects aren't looking too good either.
It's fair to say that Alaska is somewhat behind the rest of the US in regards to gaming and this is mostly because of the fact the state is not connected to much else. In the continental United States, many lawmakers have introduced legislation to allow gambling simply because the state next door allows it and thus collects all the tax revenue from local state residents.
In Alaska, this isn't much of an issue as they only border with Canada and there's only one poker room option in the Yukon which is closed most of the year. If you live in the last frontier you'll just have to travel to play live poker, or try to join a home game scene which sees a lot of action.