Texas is known for its very strict anti-gambling laws, but they don’t deter Poker clubs like The Lodge from operating and, indeed, flourishing. The Lodge is based in the Austin area: a part of the Lone Star State that has become a kind of hotspot for membership cardrooms.
These enterprises get around the letter of the law by charging membership and time fees rather than by levying a traditional rake on the pots. This, they claim, means that they’re not benefiting economically from gambling: a key consideration when attempting to operate legally in Texas. Furthermore, because they require customers to obtain membership before playing, they argue that they’re private establishments and therefore not subject to the tougher rules that apply to public venues.
There have been a few skirmishes in the past with local and state authorities over the legal technicalities that pertain to this kind of activity. For now, however, officials seem to be taking a wait-and-see approach to these cardrooms.
This appears to be all the more true when we look at the way that Harris County DA Kim Ogg’s persecution of two poker clubs turned into an embarrassing debacle when all charges had to be dropped following the revelation of significant conflicts of interest among her staff. We figure that the next overzealous TX prosecutor with dreams of closing down card gaming halls will think twice before embarking on similarly ill-conceived shenanigans.
Be all that as it may, the Austin card scene is thriving, and virtually nobody – players, dealers, and owners included – appears to have any real worry about police raids or criminal charges. The Lodge is a notable instance of this phenomenon because it deals out cash games and tournaments every day without incident.
We here at ProfessionalRakeback dispatched our expert reviewer to The Lodge to give you an idea of what games are spread, the fees involved in playing, details about the atmosphere of the club, and other information. We hope you read our review of The Lodge Poker Club below so that you can decide whether or not it’s a good fit for you.
Location: NE Austin (18 miles from downtown)
Hours: 11am - 4am and 24 hours on Saturday and Sunday
Security:Private company. One armed guard. Will offer to walk to your car.
Promos: Tournament Leaderboard ($ cashed) and Hourly Leaderboard (hours played). Both winners receive a cruise trip (leaderboard contest runs for 6 months). Bad Beat Jackpot ($15K+).
Restrooms: 1 urinal, 2 stalls
Miscellaneous: 30 TVs. You pay $10/hour at the end. No check-in fee. Daily membership $10. Monthly membership $25.
Food/Beverage: Mon - Wise Guys, Tues - Chic-fil-A, Wed - Wise Guys, Thurs - Wise Guys, Fri - Cici’s Pizza, Sat - Wise Guys, Sun - Wise Guys
Pros: Mostly recreational players. Offer mixed games twice a week. Massive “Freeroll” ($20 fee) on Tuesday ($15K prize pool).
Cons: Tables are 10 handed.
The Lodge Card Club Review
The Lodge, which launched in February 2018, is the second most popular room in town. It is known for its generosity to its customers. The owners have the most poker knowledge and experience compared to other card room owners, and this reflects in their dedication to customer loyalty. The facility is nice and spacious – and they run a tournament points leaderboard, a most hours played leaderboard, and a bad-beat jackpot ($18,901 as of Sept. 16, 2019).
Food is now catered (free) seven days a week with Chick-fil-A sandwiches on Tuesdays. They have two vending machines, one for snacks and one for drinks – as well as free coffee. One armed security guard is always there and is always willing to walk you to your car if you want.
Of the Austin card rooms, The Lodge has the least professional dealers and staff. While they are still friendly and quite competent, they aren’t as skilled or well-trained as Shuffle 512’s or TCH’s workers.
The Lodge is all about variety. They offer the biggest-field tournaments, the most low-buyin tournaments, and the most mixed cashed games. While the most common game running will be $1/2 NLHE, they always will have at least one table of $1/3 deepstack NLHE (match the big stack cap) that creates a lot of action. Players of all skill levels venture over to The Lodge, and it makes for a fun environment.
The Lodge is the sweet spot between not too serious and not too casual. The owners are the most poker-knowledgeable of all the card rooms. Their facility is the biggest and the nicest. They offer the most back to players in terms of rewards.
The biggest downside is that the Lodge doesn’t quite have the following that Texas Card House has. They are also a bit further north and out of the way (especially for South residents). Still, with food catered every day, big freerolls every Tuesday, and cruise tickets being given away to leaderboard winners, The Lodge is perfect for the casual and the professional player alike.
Other Comments About The Lodge
Though we have every confidence in our ability to review live poker rooms, we also like to see what others are saying just to make sure we didn’t forget anything. On the whole, reviews of The Lodge from across the internet tend to be positive, particularly as regards the diverse selection of cash game variants and robust tournament schedule, as the below examples illustrate:
Online Games Available Too
Regardless of whether or not you decide to head on down to The Lodge for some live poker thrills, you can also play right from home on your computer. State leaders may not like it, but there’s really nothing they can do against internet poker players or the rooms they frequent.
For more information on this topic, read our page about the online poker scene in Texas. For guidance that pertains to the entire nation as a whole rather than just the State of Texas, check out our USA online poker overview and FAQ.