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The Lodge Card Club Sets Texas State Record With 5,750-Player Poker Tournament

Mauro Avila Turns $400 Buy-In Into $250,000 Payday


Mega Monster Final TableIt’s been less than a decade since poker players could play Texas Hold’em in the state of Texas, but it’s clear that the appetite for the game is strong.

The Lodge Card Club, located near Austin, hosted a $400 buy-in ‘Mega Monster’ event that started on Aug. 3 with the first of 24 different starting flights.

The event featured an ambitious $1 million guarantee, which was risky given the card room had to pay out roughly $300,000 in overlay for their event in May of 2021.

This time around, however, the players showed up in droves and fired multiple bullets. The event featured unlimited re-entries, and one player took full advantage, entering 29 times overall. Players could also advance to day 2 more than once, combining their top two bags while receiving a $1,000 bonus.

The field came in at 5,750 entries which nearly doubled the guaranteed prize pool to $1,943,500. The final 12 percent of each starting flight made the money and was paid a minimum of $500, with the final 5 percent of the field (246 players) advancing to day 2.

Mauro AvilaThe final eight players then regrouped on Monday to play down to a champion. Whe the dust settled, it was Mexico’s Mauro Avila who came away with the title.

Avila, whose previous best score was the $9,279 he earned for a deep run in this summer’s WSOP Millionaire Maker, banked a whopping $250,000 for the win.

Avila came into the final table short stacked and in seventh place, but battled his way back into contention. After striking a deal with George Karvounis that left $20,000 and the trophy to play for, the two got it all in preflop for more than 156 big blinds.

Karvounis was looking good with his KSpade Suit QHeart Suit on a board reading KDiamond Suit JHeart Suit 2Heart Suit JSpade Suit, but the river was the AHeart Suit to give Avila’s ADiamond Suit 10Diamond Suit the final pot of the tournament.

The Lodge Card Club, co-owned by poker pros Doug Polk, Andrew Neeme, and Brad Owen, is the largest of more than 50 poker rooms that have popped up in the last decade in Texas, which allows the rooms to operate in a legal gray area where regulations vary by city and county.

You can watch the final table here.

Final Table Results

1. Mauro Avila – $250,000*
2. George Karvounis – $245,000*
3. Joshua Nuncio – $134,320
4. Joseph Roh – $88,712
5. Daniel Davila – $69,444
6. Nghia Nguyen – $54,134
7. Terry Morales – $42,292
8. Christian Ramirez – $33,834

*Based on a heads-up deal.