The newest fad among teens? Sitting around a table in a darkened room shuffling cards and cracking jokes. You’d think they were a bunch of old men. Thanks to the popularity of online poker and cable TV shows like “Celebrity Poker Showdown” and “World Series of Poker,” Texas Hold ‘Em is the latest must-do activity for teens.
And it’s not just for fun. Money definitely exchanges hands, though it may only be in small denominations. State officials say private, social betting is legal — even for minors. But parents should be wary, watching for high-stakes games or a developing gambling addiction.
“Let them play cards, but be mindful of the betting. If you see them betting their allowances, say, ‘Why don’t you play for toothpicks or monopoly money?'” says Frank Ball, the director of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement division.