Poker Player Barred From Texas Social Lounge for Complaining About Card Room Practices

Poker Player Barred From Texas Social Lounge for Complaining About Card Room Practices

Cardroom managers have an obligation to notify players of all the rules, payouts, structures, and conditions of the establishment before any game or tournament. Likewise, players need to know all terms and conditions before participating in any poker tournament. 

Having such awareness will help avoid incidents similar to what happened at Watauga Social Lounge in Texas. 

Watauga Social Lounge held a tournament with a $3,000 guarantee and a buy-in bounty of $100. A flyer was posted on the social lounge’s Facebook page indicating that $50 of the buy-in will go to the prize pool pot, $25 will go to the house fee, and the remaining $25 will be the players’ reward.

The flyer went ahead and explained that there would be a $60 add-on at the break with extra 25,000 playing chips. The players began the tournament with 15,000 chips. However, the add-on did not have a fee breakdown or a prize pool. Omission of the analysis is what led to the dispute.

How the Dispute Went Down

Ben Ross, a poker player, streamed a video on Facebook as he accused the card room of taking a rake from the add-on. The footage showed the poker player being kicked out of the tournament and banned from Watauga Social Lounge after calling the card room a “rat hole.”

Ross noticed a problem when the cardroom posted a flyer on Facebook as the math did not add up. Ross then reached out to the owner of the lounge, who explained that the add-in was $12 or 20 percent. 

He then asked the owner why the add-in was not included on the flyer, and the owner assured him to include the complete add-on in the prize pool.

Ross said that there were two other problems with the card room. The card room counted the antes before big blinds, which did not sit well with the player. The second issue was the poker room was doing a color-up.

The poker player’s membership was revoked while on a smoke break. The management told Ross that he would be charged with trespassing if it remained in the facility. Ross tried to continue playing at the beginning of the live stream, but this does not yield any fruits.

Ross reached a breaking point when seven players were left, and the tournament had place for five. The reward was $1,500 for the first one, and the fifth was to get $347. Having seven people in the tournament meant that the cardroom did not account for two more.

The social lounge refunded Ross’ membership fee and his buy-in and allowed him to cash out all his nine prizes for $225.

Watauga Social Lounge Admits Fault

It appears that the poker room management knew they were on the wrong side. The management put 100 percent of the add-on in the prize pool. In a video by the club, the owner who kicked Ross out could be heard saying that the add-on rake should have been revealed. 

The social lounge announced another ad-on rake for the Presidents Day tournament and used Ross’ allegations as a mark of expression. The club posted a flyer with a picture of a rat with the caption “come and get this cheddar at this rat hole!-dissatisfied customer.”

Watauga Social Lounge is a good example of how Texas card rooms are on the gray law for charging a rake for poker tournaments.

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