Kelowna residents start online poker club amid pandemic | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

Current Conditions


Kelowna News

Kelowna residents start online poker club amid pandemic

Image Credit: PIXABAY
June 17, 2021 - 7:30 AM

An online poker club started by two Kelowna men is attracting players across the country since opening amid the pandemic.

Kelowna residents Geoff Herzog and Jesse Sjoquist co-own PokerLake, an online private poker club that has been operating for the last year.

Partnering with an app called SoPo, the club lets people purchase chips and play poker online through their phone, Herzog said.

“We sell chips and you can play poker with them in our store, in order to remain legal in Canada, all bets have to be nine people or less,” he said. “Each person plays for themselves, but no more than nine people can be involved in any one hand of poker, so you can’t have a big tournament with multiple tables going.”

On the east coast, PokerLake found groups moving their in-person poker nights online through their app, he said. They have roughly 200 club members, mostly from the Okanagan and Ontario, but only residents from Canada, excluding Quebec, due to Canadian laws.

"It’s grown but it’s grown at a slow rate," he said. “We’re like any business, we’re getting going in our first year, slow and steady wins the race right? We hope to grow it and provide a safe place for people to host their home poker games virtually.”

According to the Canadian Criminal Code, keeping a common gaming or betting house is illegal unless the winner of any bets include no more than 10 people.

“I think it was designed to allow people to still host a game at home for their friends, so we’re essentially doing that, just doing it virtually,” he said. Games can be set up with people you know, or against strangers.

Herzog’s played poker in the U.S. for the last 16 years, but moved to Canada to play online after 2011. the U.S. Justice Department shut down the biggest online poker companies at that time, according to Forbes.

While Herzog is confident in his approach, the provincial government isn't so sure.

Travis Paterson, public affairs officer with the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, said the B.C. Lottery Corporation’s is the only regulated commercial gambling website permitted in the province.

"No other person or company may conduct, manage, or operate a commercial gambling scheme in B.C.,” Paterson said via an emailed statement. “Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch has referred this matter to their enforcement division to determine if services offered by this company are in violation of the Gaming Control Act.  As the matter is now under investigation, we cannot comment further."

To contact a reporter for this story, email Carli Berry or call 250-864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. 

News from © iNFOnews, 2021

  • Popular penticton News
  • Okanagan Lake nearing its lowest level in at least 20 years
    Okanagan Lake is now only about one centimetre higher than it was at this time in 2003 – which was one of the driest years on record. As of July 26, it sat at 341.87 metres above sea l
  • Kamloops woman comes face-to-face with thief in her home
    When Bev Rogers came home from a night shift at the hospital and found a bike mysteriously laying on her front yard on Kamloops' North Shore on Wednesday morning, she was surprised. What was m
  • Young woman fends off attacker in Kamloops
    Kamloops RCMP responded to a North Shore volleyball court after hearing a young woman scream. On July 28, around 10:20 p.m., police found the youth uninjured after she fought off an attacker
  • Foreign student drowns in Shuswap lake
    A 27-year-old foreign exchange student has drowned in the Shuswap's White Lake. On July 28, the Salmon Arm RCMP, White Lake Fire Department and Shuswap Search and Rescue responded to a r
  • Owner of derelict Kelowna house surprised by city demolition order
    The owner of a derelict home in Rutland seems to have been taken off guard by Kelowna city council's order to tear the building down earlier this week. “He (Janusz Grelecki) called
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile