Poker players hoping to be a part of the Brownwood Reunion Celebration’s Texas Hold ‘em tournament learned Thursday that Reunion organizers had decided to cancel that part of the event.
“We think it is in the best interest of the Reunion to cancel the Texas Hold ’em tournament. The decision was based on the recommendations of several local law enforcement agencies we have been discussing the tournament with,” Reunion Executive Director Randee Green said.
Green said that the volunteer group had discussed the possibility of bringing the popular poker game to this year’s event because it tied into the theme of “Lucky No. 7.”
“We thought we had gone through the proper channels and thought everything we had done was done legally,” Green said. “We by no means intended to break any laws, or to upset anyone in the community.”
Brown County Attorney Shane Britton said his office had taken dozens of calls from people who wanted to know whether the poker tournament was legal. He said he had told Reunion organizers what they were planning was legal because it was private and no one would make any money except the participants.
He said participants had pre-registered and were going to play in a location that was not disclosed to the public and was blocked from view.
“I’m not commenting on the appropriateness of conducting a tournament,” Britton said.
He said any violations in the tournament would have been misdemeanor offenses and fallen under his jurisdiction.
District Attorney Micheal Murray said although his office would not have been involved in prosecuting any offenses, Reunion organizers had asked him if he believed the tournament was legal. Murray said based on the proposal as he understood it, it would not have been legal.
“I don’t think you can ipso facto make something private by calling it private,” Murray said.
He said statements had been made from community members indicating they believed he had said he thought the tournament was legal, and that wasn’t the case.
Green emphasized that all other scheduled Reunion events were still on the calendar for the weekend, which kicks off today in downtown Brownwood.
“We’ve still got the largest and best event of them all going on, and everything else that we’ve planned is going to happen as scheduled,” she said.
Green said Reunion organizers would be contacting players who had registered for the tournament and arrange refunds of their entry fees.