When I got to Austin I expected no poker. There are no casinos in Texas and I had heard it was illegal.
Upon arrival I asked my realtor and he said he knew of a game. It was in a commercial strip mall. I arrived and found it to be a storefront with the glass blackened and lots of cameras.
They had a bunch of tournaments of different buy-ins depending on the day. This day they had a $60 tournament. Four tables and you got 6000 chips. People were aggressive with lots of rebuys. At break for $20 you could add-on 3000 more chips. I won the game for $750. I loved it. Plus they had attractive women bring food and drink.
Couple days later I played a $100 tournament and got 2nd place for another $750. Obviously CPMG and PCPL trained me well. I asked where else they played. They told me about a great private game at a ranch in the hill country of Texas. I texted and they said I could play.
I got there and it was played in a rec center in a very expensive area. It was a deep stack tournament with a $200 buy-in. There was a lot of bluffing and aggression. I played well and took it down for $2790.
I had been there a week and made nearly $4000 in profit. I loved this. I continued to play these two places weekly for a month or so. The ranch’s weekly tournament was $75 for 6000 chips.
These private games had strict codes. No swearing at other players and serious rules of conduct. It was refreshing.
I found out people played in the card houses all around Austin. I decided to try The Lodge in Round Rock, Texas. It’s about 15 miles from my house. They have a ton of tournaments from $60 to $500 entries. Plus lots of cash games. The Saturday tournaments are $200, $300 and $400 entries. I tried the $200 which has unlimited buy-ins and 30 minute blinds. It took a few before I cashed. I had to get used to the aggression. I would look up my opponents and many of them had over $200k in winnings according to The Hendon Mob.
In order to play at a card house you have to be a member. You can join daily, weekly and yearly. It was $200 a year so I joined. Playing at The Lodge is comfortable and they have free food. Everything from sausage to fajitas.
I then tried The Texas Cardhouse. Chris Moneymaker was there and I played in their tournament but it was a turbo and I hadn’t looked at the structure.
Next I tried Shuffle 512. It is close to my house. They had a nice deep stack. I made final table and got fifth for $1700 on a $150 buy-in.
Each of the card houses were nice but slightly different. I preferred The Lodge but was only having marginal success there. I was cashing occasionally but nothing to brag about. Most of my cashes were coming from the private games.
I played in the $300 Big One a couple days ago. This one is nice because it only allows one rebuy. It has a great structure with 30 minute blinds. The first half of the tournament I got few cards and won only a few hands. When the average stack was 118k I only had 60k. I was in the big blind when a player went all in, another called and I looked down at AK suited. Both players had slightly less than I had. I called and I was up against JJ and KQ. A king came on the flop and I tripled up.
When I got to the final table I was the shortest stack but we were all in the money. I was careful and kept laddering. People mentioned chopping but I nixed that. I let others fight the big stack and made it heads up. Unfortunately he had a four to one advantage and I got 2nd for $7000.
I will keep playing the tournaments at the card houses but many of the players make the four hour drive to Choctaw Casino in Oklahoma where they have WSOP events.
There are so many good players here that I have to work hard to keep up. I’ve had to be more aggressive and be less risk averse.
Come out to Austin and check out the poker. You will love it.