Poker Vlogging Heavyweights Invest in Texas Poker Club
The announcement was an exciting way to start off the new year. On Monday, January 3, as many people tried to emerge from their holidays and resume whatever serves as regular life, the poker community lit up on Twitter and YouTube as three well-known poker personalities all announced a new partnership. They all invested in an established Texas poker club called the Lodge.
The last year didn’t end well for the Texas poker scene, with rumors of unethical business practices and about a million dollars in missing money swirling around Johnny Chan’s 88 Social. At a time when Texas law doesn’t acknowledge legal gambling in card rooms, membership poker clubs must police themselves. Rather, the poker community must hold them accountable. That doesn’t always go well.
The Lodge, however, may be a different story. With Andrew Neeme, Brad Owen, and Doug Polk part of a new group of investors taking the helm, this card room has the opportunity to shine and show what ethics and accountability look like in that space.
A Little About the Lodge
The Lodge may be the longest-operating card club in Texas. Located in Round Rock, just north of Austin, is a member’s only social club that offers cash poker games and tournaments across more than 60 tables. It is open around the clock, every day of the week.
The club offers a membership fee, and players can choose to pay on a daily, month, or annual basis. A $10 daily fee or $25 monthly fee allow access to drinks and a lounge area, as well as a choice of poker games or tournaments. Regulars can pay a $200 annual fee. Club access fees are not included and amount to $10 per hour of play.
Most players visiting from out of town stay at the Austin Marriott North, Resident Inn Austin Round Rock/Dell Way, Holiday Inn Express & Suites Round Rock, Homewood Suites by Hilton Austin/Round Rock, or Hampton Inn Austin-Round Rock.
Each of the three new primary investors released a video about their decisions to invest and what it will mean going forward. One of them was Andrew Neeme, who worked it into a larger vlog. At about the 13:30 mark, he started talking about doing a lot of work in the way of promotions for or partnerships with companies and businesses in which he has no stake. Then, he said:
“The big announcement is that I’m going to be joining forces with a group of investors to buy a piece of The Lodge Card Room in Austin, Texas.”
The group will own a majority share of the business. His co-investors include Brad Owen and Doug Polk and his Upswing Poker partners. Neeme called the card room the “biggest room in Austin” and the “biggest room in Texas.” His goal is to play there and help grow the business, be a part of making it an even bigger success. They will be running new games and creating content from there.
“I’m pretty excited for what this will be able to unlock in terms of doing the things that we want to do here on this channel. Combining forces with these guys and building out this sort of dream team of operators, I think, is going to bode very well for the future of that business and for the future poker content creation.”
Brad Owen used his poker vlog to reveal that the group of investors had been working on the deal for the past eight months.
“As of today, I am one of the new owners of The Lodge poker club in Austin, along with Doug Polk and Andrew Neeme. We partnered up with the owners that have had it since the beginning. They’ve done an amazing job of cultivating this atmosphere that’s really player-friendly, and they do a great job with operations, and the staff is great.”
He noted that they don’t want to change the vibe in the 60-table room, but he hopes to grow it. He plans to be there as much as possible, playing the majority of his games there and creating content from the room. He, like Neeme, could hardly contain his excitement.
“It’s a special day and just a whole special project for me. I never envisioned myself being owner of a card room, and we can kind of have as much fun with it as we want.”
Doug Polk went right from the top of his video with “BREAKING NEWS.”
“As of today, I have officially bought part of the largest card room here in Austin, Texas: The Lodge. Other part owners include Brad Owen, Andrew Neeme, and Jake Abdalla. We’ve also brought on some of the same people that made Upswing Poker successful: Mike Brady, Ryan Fee, Matt Coletta, and, of course, ‘Seriously Serious.’…
He said that he recently realized that card rooms are a huge industry in Austin and other cities in Texas. Calling his team of investors an “unstoppable force,” he admitted that the original idea was to open their own card room. However, the time and experience necessary to build a successful room from the ground up was more than they wanted. In addition, the Lodge just moved into a bigger space, is clean and well put together, and a great base from which to grow.
Polk plans to play there every Wednesday and Friday. He also revealed longer-term plans.
“Step two is going to be to open up new branches of the room around the country. I don’t want to overpromise and underdeliver here because I’m already doing that on all 27 of my YouTube channels, but I do think there’s space for a room to grow in underserved markets around the country where the laws of the state allow for those rooms to exist.”
Monster Meet-Up Week
All three promoted the first big collaboration. Monster Meet-Up Week at the Lodge is set for January 24-30. There is a variety of events on the schedule, something for nearly every player to enjoy.
Monday, January 24
–8pm: Doug, Brad, and Andrew on Lodge livestream
Tuesday, January 25
–4pm: Biggest meet-up game in Texas history
–8pm: $2/$5 meet-up game on Lodge livestream
Wednesday, January 26
–3pm: Mixed games with Jake Abdalla
Thursday, January 27
–1pm: PLO party with Andrew Neeme
Friday, January 28
–1pm: Bomb pot cash games with Brad Owen
–8pm: High-stakes cash game on Lodge livestream
Saturday, January 29
–2pm: High-stakes cash game with Doug Polk
–8pm: High-stakes cash game on Lodge livestream
Sunday, January 30
–2pm: $1/$3 Football Funday with free pizza
There will be special cash games throughout the week, and players can obtain a monthly membership for $1. The calendar on the Lodge’s website advertises other tournaments, such as freerolls on Tuesday through Thursday and other evening tournaments.
As a part of the introduction week, the new owners will host the first monthly tournament with a serious guarantee.
$600 buy-in NLHE Monthly Monster Tournament (40K starting stacks, 30-minute levels, $500K GTD)
–12pm & 6pm each day: Starting flights, unlimited reentries
–12pm: Day 2 to play to final table
–8pm: Final table on Lodge livestream
The name of the event indicates that it will be monthly, but the entire season lists ten events this year. That puts the total amount of money guaranteed for the series at $5M.
-1. January 26-30
-2. February 23-27 (opening event of Spring Millionaire Mayhem Series)
-3. March 23-27
-4. April 27 – May 1
-5. May 25-29
-6. June 22-26
-7. July 27-31
-8. September 7-11 (opening event of Fall Millionaire Mayhem Series)
-9. October 26-30
-10. December 14-18
Players will earn points for each tournament in which they cash. At the end, the top 18 on the leaderboard will win seats to a Series Championship Freeroll. That tournament will have a prize pool of at least $50K with a championship watch to go with the winner’s take. The event will play on Monday, December 19, and the final table will livestream on the Lodge’s YouTube channel.