December 24, 2021Jon Sofen
Johnny Chan’s venture as a poker room part-owner in Texas was short-lived. Three weeks after the club mysteriously closed its doors, a new owner has purchased the business and is rebranding the club as the 101 Poker Club.
When Johnny Chan’s 88 Social poker room closed temporarily in early December, a number of players still had chips to be cashed in for money. The new owner, Sanjeev Vora, who spoke with PokerNews via a phone conversation, has a plan in place to ensure funds are available to cover all chips whether they are in lockboxes or elsewhere.
Texas poker rooms, due to state laws, operate differently than most brick-and-mortar casinos. Instead of taking rake, which would be illegal in the state, the rooms operate as clubs and charge monthly membership and/or daily seat fees. Most poker clubs, such as the room formerly known as Johnny Chan’s 88 Social, are located in strip malls or business centers as opposed to being attached to a hotel and inside a full casino.
As Vora acknowledged, there’s always going to be the threat that Texas lawmakers may one day attempt to shut down the card rooms, but he remains positive and understands the risk.
“I am aware of the risk, and anything that you do there is a level of risk involved,” Vora said. “So, going in, my management team and I will operate the business in a manner we believe will comply with Texas Law. I have lawyers that are very experienced with the gaming laws of Texas and how we should operate in order to not be clearly in violation of the gaming laws.”
He continued saying that he believes “there’s less energy among politicians to shut this thing down, and more energy to make it work.” Vora is the CEO of Chemium International Corp, a petrochemical company, and has worked in the energy industry for the past 35 years. The University of Colorado graduate with a degree in chemical engineering recently decided to make a side investment in a business related to a game he loves.
Renovations and Reopening Date
Vora has taken over ownership of former world champion Johnny Chan’s poker room in Houston and is already in the process of completely renovating and rebranding the place. He expects to soft launch the new room on December 27, and he praised his new general manager, Jeff Faber, for tirelessly working to prepare for opening.
“I am so fortunate to have Jeff on my team with his reputation and experience,” Vora said.
A glimpse inside the new 101 Poker Club in Houston, Texas.
Major renovations are already in the works for the business previously part owned by the poker icon. Vora said they’ve “replaced the outdated carpet,” new signage appears outside the building, and that his customers will love the new “feel and warmth” when they walk in the doors. He did, however, make it clear that players shouldn’t …….