Polk Calls His Tenure at Lodge “Job Well Done”
Back in January this year, the poker world was hit with an exciting (and unexpected) announcement. Famed poker pros Doug Polk, Brad Owen, and Andrew Neeme revealed that they are taking ownership of the Lodge Poker Club & Cardhouse in Round Rock, Texas.
Now, 5 months later, Polk, the most prominent figure of the trio, decided to do a little reflection on his short stint as a cardroom owner in the Lone Star State.
According to the man himself, he’s “poured in blood, sweat, and tears to try and make the room even better for poker players”, and calls the effort “a job well done”.
As for his accomplishments, he touts the fact that they’ve switched for better quality playing cards (from Copag to Kem), getting to know personally the management staff and most of the dealers, as well as adding new streamed events with better broadcast quality.
He also mentions increasing the armed security budget. This is significant in recent times as not only did Texas have a major school shooting a few weeks ago, but there has also been a shooting in a poker club specifically at the Legends Poker Room in Houston.
However, Polk’s time at Lodge wasn’t a flawless run of success. Last month, for example, he had to bear the financial burdens of a $334K overlay. The $3,000 buy-in Main Event at his Lodge Championship Series had an ambitious $2 million guarantee. However, “only” 617 players entered. At least Polk managed to take 4th place in the tournament for $142,000 as a “consolation prize”.
Last Friday, Polk defeated Daniel “Jungleman” Cates in a $200/$400 No Limit Hold’em heads-up match. That event was a success for him away from the table as well, with the video bringing in over 178,000 views on YouTube with 6,000 likes.
Polk goes on to mention in his Twitter thread that he's thinking about expanding his operation to other parts of the US. He may run into some difficulty in pursuing that as gambling regulation, both live and online, varies a lot from state to state. However, the fact that someone of Polk's stature is considering such an endeavor is great for the game of poker in America. He also talks about hosting poker charity tournaments.
He’s a shining example of a poker pro who went on to do further great things in the industry. In that sense, he’s much akin to Phil Galfond, another well-respected figure in the poker world.
As Polk put it at the end of his thread: “the bottom line is I love building businesses”.
The Poker Boom in Texas
In the last year or so, poker rooms started to pop up left and right in Texas. That is because operators realized they can circumvent the commercial gambling ban by not collecting rake in their poker games. Rather, they charge membership fees to the club. Apart from the coalition of Polk, Neeme, and Owen, 4-time WSOP gold bracelet Mike Matusow also left behind the "Mecca of Gambling", Las Vegas, and bought a stake in a cardroom in Houston, TX.
However, it’s not all rainbows and unicorns down there. There recently has been a significant cheating scandal where players allegedly manipulated shuffling machines to gain hole card information.
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