Texas Hold’em Poker Tournament

Texas Hold’em is a form of poker. All players are dealt two pocket cards face-down and five community cards are dealt face-up on the table. Each player builds their best five-card poker hand based on these seven cards. There are four rounds of betting:

  1. after the two pocket cards are dealt face down to each player;
  2. after the first three community cards (the flop) are dealt face-up;
  3. after the fourth community card (the turn) is dealt face-up; and
  4. after the fifth community card (the river) is dealt face-up.

Each player pays a set entry fee for the same amount of tournament chips. The players play until all but one or a few players have lost all of their chips. The winner(s) will be awarded the prize pool according to each tournament’s rules which are based on LGA’s standard rules of play.

The LGA only licenses tournament play where chips are non-negotiable and have no cash value.

Texas hold’em poker tournament application guide

Texas hold’em poker tournament application

  • Six week processing time

Texas hold’em poker tournament terms and conditions

Texas hold’em poker tournament standard rules of play

Texas hold’em poker tournament amendment request


Please click below for answers to some common questions about Texas hold’em poker tournaments. You can also email our Gaming Licence Department or contact us at 204-954-9400 or toll-free at 1-800-782-0363.

Who can hold a Texas hold’em poker tournament?

The LGA licenses charitable and religious organizations to conduct Texas hold’em poker tournaments in accordance with Section 207(1)(b) of the Criminal Code (Canada). If your organization has never been licensed, you must submit background information about your organization to determine your eligibility.

When is a licence not required for a Texas hold’em poker tournament?

Gaming laws in Canada are complex and it isn’t always easy to know whether a licence is required or not. Games that involve a cost, chance to win and a prize are considered a lottery scheme under the Criminal Code (Canada); however, even if these elements are not present, benefiting from the operation of such events may be against the Criminal Code (Canada).

Your organization should be aware of the risks of conducting unlicensed events. The LGA cannot provide legal advice regarding the legality of your proposed event. If you are uncertain about the legality of an event, the LGA recommends that you contact a lawyer for interpretation and advice about the applicable laws, including the Criminal Code (Canada) and The Liquor and Gaming Control Act and associated regulations.

How long does it take to get a Texas hold’em licence?

The LGA requires up to six weeks to process applications. It may take longer to process your application if it is incomplete or inaccurate. The application guide will help you properly complete and submit your application to us. You cannot advertise your Texas hold’em poker tournament until your licence is approved.

What does a Texas hold’em licence cost?

Licence fees are based on anticipated gross revenue. There is no licence fee for Texas hold’em poker tournaments with anticipated gross revenue of $10,000 or less. For Texas hold’em poker tournaments with anticipated gross revenue over $10,000, organizations will be required to submit a licence fee of 1.5% of the actual gross revenue. The LGA sets reporting requirements at the time your licence is issued, but fees are due after the event with your financial reports.

What things do I need to consider when planning a Texas hold’em poker tournament?

These kinds of tournaments are complex. The Texas Hold’em Poker Tournament Terms and Conditions state specific requirements and details which you need to think about and plan for, including:

  1. What is the venue’s capacity?
  2. How many tables and chairs will we need?

Tables, equipment and human resources:

  1. Do the tables meet tournament requirements?
  2. How many chips will we need to accommodate the maximum number of players and how will we identify them?
  3. How many decks of cards do we need?
  4. How many dealers are needed to operate the tournament?
  5. What kind of training is required?

Gaming supplier or service provider:

  1. Do we require the expertise of a licensed supplier or service provider?
  2. What is the cost of hiring a licensed supplier or service provider?
  3. Should we use a supplier or service provider for the equipment, staff or both?


  1. Have we made sure our expenses do not exceed 15% of anticipated gross revenue?
  2. Do we plan to pay wages?
  3. Will there be costs for other promotions or door prizes?
  4. Will we pay rent for the venue?
  5. What kind of advertising/event promotion is required?
  6. What are the costs for professional services?
  7. What are the costs of gaming/equipment supplies


  1. How many prizes will be offered? What is the prize structure?
  2. Will we offer cash prizes, merchandise or both?
  3. If we are offering cash prizes, will they be set prizes or based on a percentage of entry fees?
  4. Will rebuy revenue (if applicable) to be part of the prize structure?
  5. Will merchandise prizes be purchased or donated?

How do we apply for a Texas hold’em poker tournament licence?

Please complete our Texas hold’em poker tournament application. You can also call our Gaming Licence Department at 204-954-9400 or toll-free at 1-800-782-0363 for a paper copy of the application or to arrange a time to complete the form in person at one of our offices.

Please read the Texas Hold’em Poker Tournament terms and conditions to ensure you understand before you apply for a licence. You must comply with these terms and conditions once you are licensed.

What do we need to submit with our application?

In order to determine an organization’s eligibility for a licence, first-time applicants and organizations not licensed in over three years must provide as many of the following documents as possible:

  • charter
  • constitution and by-laws
  • articles of incorporation and most recent corporate annual return
  • minutes of most recent annual general meeting
  • membership list
  • most recent financial statement and bank statements

Other requirements are clearly listed in the application guide and include such things as: contracts with supplier or service providers, a current bank statement or prize guarantee, and a typed copy of your tournament rules.

Our organization is very small and we do not have the background documents you ask for. Can we still get a licence?

Yes, provided your organization is a charitable or religious organization. We recognize that many smaller organizations may not have formal documentation. In these cases, minutes from meetings and/or letters of support from principals, councillors, priests or mayors may be acceptable. These letters of support should state:

  • that the group is in fact a bona fide organization
  • the organization’s aims and objectives
  • the reasons/need for fundraising

What if we don’t have a president, vice-president, secretary or treasurer?

If the titles of your executive members are not consistent with the generic titles on the form, please indicate your organization’s actual titles on your application. Organizations must adapt their titles to those on the form in a best-fit manner where necessary (e.g. Grand Knight, Head Coach, Manager, Principal, or Minister may replace President). The executive members you list on the application must be the actual elected executive of the organization itself and not members of a sub-committee who have been given responsibility for the charitable gaming event.

What are the benefits of having event pre-registrations?

If the organization is unsure of the success of the event or unable to predict the amount of interest, pre-registration allows the organization to cancel the event in the case of poor registration. Organizations allowing pre-registration must include criteria for pre-registration, such as a minimum number of entries and cancellation policies, in their tournament rules.

Where can we hold our Texas hold’em poker tournament?

There are no restrictions on the kind of venue that can be used to hold a licensed Texas hold’em poker tournament, although there must be a separate play area with a physical barrier between spectators, players and workers. The venue you select may have an impact on the success of the event. When selecting a venue, consider cost, space, equipment (e.g., tables and chairs) and location. The licensed organization must retain full responsibility for the operation of the Texas Hold’em poker tournament.

Do we need to limit the number of players at our Texas hold’em poker tournament?

No, it is up to the licensed organization to establish the maximum number of participants. The maximum number of players cannot exceed the room occupancy or the equipment capacity.

Does the LGA set an expense limit?

Yes. You must specify anticipated expenses on your application. Texas hold’em poker tournament expenses must not exceed 15% of anticipated gross revenue. Licence fees, playing cards and poker chips are not to be included in this 15% limit.

Are there any limitations on advertising our Texas hold’em poker tournament?

Texas hold’em poker tournaments can only be advertised in Manitoba and you cannot advertise your bingo/breakopen until your licence is approved. All advertisements must contain the name of the licensed organization and your licence number. If you are advertising on the internet, you must indicate that the event is intended for Manitoba residents only. Advertisements must adhere to federal, provincial and community advertising laws and standards.

How can we use the money we raise through our Texas hold’em poker tournament?

Funds raised through Texas hold’em poker tournaments must be used for education, religion, health, relieving poverty, or to benefit the community by promoting sports, recreation, culture, or any other area considered appropriate by the LGA. Please provide as much detail as possible on your application about your intended use of funds.

Are we obligated to give away a certain percentage of the anticipated revenue?

No, the prize(s) offered is up to the organization and prizes do not need to be based on a percentage of anticipated revenue. The LGA does not set prize limits; however, all prizes must be guaranteed.

What if our organization does not have current funds to cover the cost of all prizes being offered?

The total cost of all prizes must be guaranteed before a licence is issued. The LGA will accept an organization’s current bank statement, an irrevocable standby letter of credit from a financial institution (sample) or proof of purchase for any merchandise prize. The LGA will not accept a third party guarantee for prizes. Evidence of sufficient funds is not required if all prizes being offered are based on a percentage of sales or if all prizes are being donated.

What is a contractual agreement and when do we need one?

A contractual agreement (sample) is an agreement between the organization and the provider of a prize. Contractual agreements must be submitted with your application for each individual prize valued at $5,000 or more, whether it is donated or purchased.

Can organizations determine the amount of a prize for a Texas hold’em poker tournament based on the percentage of sales?

Yes, if approved by the LGA.

What is a supplier/service provider?

A gaming supplier is an individual, business entity or association of persons that charges a fee to make, sell, advertise or distribute gaming supplies. A gaming service provider assists in the conduct and  management of a raffle. When considering a supplier or service provider, it is your responsibility to ensure they are licensed by the LGA.

Where can we get a list of licensed suppliers/service providers?

You may contact the LGA Gaming Licence Department for a list of licensed suppliers and service providers. Licensed organizations must not do business with unlicensed suppliers or service providers.

The supplier/service provider we are renting equipment from has offered to help us run our Texas hold’em poker tournament. Is this allowed?

As the licensee, your organization is responsible for all aspects of the operation of the event. Licensees cannot assign the conduct or management of the Texas hold’em poker tournament to any gaming supplier or service provider. You may hire LGA-licensed suppliers or service providers to provide equipment and/or staff and to assist in managing the general tournament play.

Should we rent or purchase equipment?

It’s up to you. Your decision to rent or purchase equipment may depend on your plans to hold one event or several events. Chips (at least three different denominations), playing cards, tables and chairs are examples of equipment that you’ll need to run your tournament. The LGA recommends that you research the cost of renting versus the cost of purchasing before deciding which will most benefit your organization’s event. Either way, it is your responsibility to ensure that your suppliers are licensed by the LGA.

Can we use poker chips, cards or other equipment purchased from a retail store?

Yes, however licensed organizations must verify that all equipment used is tamper-proof, ensures the integrity of the game and prevents cheating. For example, only the chips sold at the Texas hold’em poker tournament and the cards dealt by the dealer can be used. Equipment must be of reasonable quality, maintained properly and replaced regularly.

What are the specifications for the tables we use at our Texas hold’em poker tournament?

Tables for Texas hold’em poker tournaments must be large enough to accommodate a dealer and up to 10 players. The tables must permit the players to examine their cards privately without disclosing their value to other players.

Can we apply for more than one Texas Hold’em poker tournament?

Yes, organizations may apply for a single event, a limited series of events or an ongoing licence.

We received forms with our Texas hold’em poker tournament licence package. What do we do with these forms?

Organizations with anticipated gross revenue over $10,000 must submit financial reports to the LGA. Organizations with anticipated gross revenue of $10,000 or less must simply keep records of the licensed event(s) and are not required to submit the forms. All records relating to the conduct and operation of the Texas hold’em poker tournament must be kept by the licensee for at least three years. The LGA may request these records during an inspection, audit or with a subsequent application.

Is there an age restriction for Texas hold’em poker tournaments?

Yes, all tournaments are age-restricted. People under 18 years of age are not permitted to play, volunteer or work at any Texas hold’em poker tournament.

Can we pay our dealers?

Yes; however, total expenses cannot exceed 15% of the anticipated gross revenue.

Can players deal?

No. Cards must be dealt by a Texas hold’em poker tournament dealer. The licensed organization must provide sufficiently trained dealers for each table. Dealers may be volunteers, members of the organization or employees of a licensed service provider, and may be paid to provide this service.