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Poker in Austin, Texas just got an injection of star power for 2022 as Doug Polk, Brad Owen, and Andrew Neeme announced that they have teamed up to purchase a majority share of The Lodge Poker Club & Card Room, the largest poker room in the city. “As of today I have officially bought part of the largest card room here in Austin, Texas - The Lodge,” Polk said in his recently released YouTube video. “Other part-owners include Brad Owen, Andrew Neeme, and Jake Abdalla.” The partnership doesn’t end there. Along with the core owners, Polk noted that many of the trusted partners that helped his training site Upswing Poker succeed, including Ryan Fee, Matt Colletta, Mike Brady, and Thomas Keeling are also coming in on the deal. The Lodge is a 24/7 poker room that holds 60 tables and offers live streaming cash games on its own YouTube channel, The Lodge Live, which boasts more than 20,000 subscribers. Polk, who recently moved from Las Vegas to Texas, talked a little bit about how the collaboration came to be. “I didn’t know poker was [in Texas] at all until I got a coffee and looked over and there was a card room next door. From there I went to all the different cad rooms in Austin and realized that this is actually a very large business here in the city and it’s also going on across the state in places like Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio.” “At this point, it became clear with over 60 rooms in the state and seemingly endless growth it was time to make a move. So I got in contact with two people that I knew would be absolutely essential for the long-term success of any room - Brad Owen and Andrew Neeme.” https://twitter.com/TheBradOwen/status/1478081942377533440?s=20 As three of the most recognizable content creators in the poker space, Polk, Owen, and Neeme recognized that together they may have the means to cross the chasm from playing to the business end of the poker game and are bringing their influence to The Lodge. “I believe in The Lodge so much that I’ve put my money where my mouth is. I’ve made a substantial investment into the room to become a part of it and so have Brad Owen and Andrew Neeme.” It all kicks off later in January with their first-ever Monster Meet Up Week. On January 24, all three of the new co-owners will appear on The Lodge Live. The next day, on January 25, they are planning “The Biggest Meet Up Game in Texas History” as they invite players to splash around with them. From January 26-30 they are also hosting a $600 tournament with a $500,000 guarantee. Poker in Texas is a bit different from other states where poker is offered. Besides Polk’s assertion that “poker strategy went back in time ten years here in Texas”, card rooms are not allowed to take a rake. The room can’t take any money off the table or have any incentive to have large or small pots. Instead, poker is offered as a social club where members pay a fee to play and then are charged a timed rate for having a seat. Polk also states that he hopes his team will not only make The Lodge the premier place to play in Austin but that, down the line, they would look ahead to opening up additional branded poker rooms around the country where poker, either under this model or outright, is legal. And this is a project for which he’s willing to come out of “retirement” in order to make it happen. “We have a few different goals with The Lodge. The first is to continue to make The Lodge the place to play poker in Austin, Texas. It’s already the biggest place and it’s already, in my opinion, the best place poker…but we’re going to do our best to continue to make that a reality with planned trips from both Andrew and Brad and two times a week I’m going to be driving down there on Wednesdays and Fridays to play some poker. Polk acknowledged the recent troubles that took place at the Houston card room previously owned by Johnny Chan, Johnny Chan’s 88 Social where a lack of funding and some allegedly shady dealings left players, at times, locked out and unable to cash in their chips. Johnny Chan’s 88 Social has since been sold and a rebranding has taken place with players promised their money. Polk calls this unacceptable and says “one thing I can absolutely guarantee you of, we’re going to do things right at the Lodge.” Watch the complete announcement below: