After a year of uncertainty and understandable caution in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, poker in Texas is starting to heat up once again. As evidence of that trend, the Champions Poker Club in Houston this week begins hosting the latest — and largest — stop in the Lone Star Poker Series.
The 19-event tournament series runs from April 15 to May 3. The series features guaranteed prize pools adding up to nearly $1.5 million. Most of that total comes from one tournament, the Inaugural Texas State $1 Million Guaranteed Main Event.
Working Above the Felt Entertainment, the Champions Poker Club is inviting poker pros Chris Moneymaker, Darren Elias and Matt Berkey to take part and help promote the series as well.
Tournament features first-ever $1M guaranteed tourney in TX
Most of the 19 tournaments on the schedule feature buy-ins in the $400 to $600 range. Meanwhile, other daily tournaments and numerous satellites into the Main Event are already running.
That Main Event, with its $1 million guarantee, comes with a $1,300 buy-in. Of that amount, $1,150 will go to the prize pool and the rest to fees and staff.
The tournament will feature five Day 1 flights, one per day from April 27 to May 1. Survivors of the starting flights will come together for Day 2 on May 2. The tournament finale will then follow on May 3.
Unlimited re-entries are allowed during the late registration period of each Day 1 flight. Players can bag on multiple Day 1s with only their largest stack moving forward to Day 2.
According to the tournament announcement, the Main Event will mark the first-ever $1 million guaranteed poker tournament in Texas.
The series schedule features several no-limit hold’em events, including a seniors event, a tag team tournament and bounty events.
There is a decent selection of non-NLHE fare included as well.
- Big O (5-card pot-limit Omaha hi-lo)
- Limit Omaha hi-lo
- Big bet mix (featuring NLHE, PLO and Big O)
Lone Star Poker Series enlists pros to promote series
As noted, another recent Poker Hall of Fame inductee, 2003 World Series of Poker Main Event champion Chris Moneymaker, will be taking part in the series.
“I’m thrilled to break out of my ‘live poker retirement'” for the series, Moneymaker said.
Four-time World Poker Tour champion Darren Elias voiced similar enthusiasm about participating and the growth of poker in the state, generally speaking. “I think poker in Texas is going to be a big movement and this event is just the beginning,” said Elias.
High-stakes pro Matt Berkey referred to Texas and the state’s important “place in poker history” when commenting on the series. “It’s truly great to see the game continue to grow in the region,” said Berkey.
According to the press release, those three will not only play in the series. Each will additionally “partake in unique fan engagements” including commentating on Champions Poker Club live streams.
Champions Poker Club newest stop for series
The Lone Star Poker Series debuted last fall with a 16-event stop at Houston’s Prime Social Club.
Tournaments in that series featured nearly $300,000 in guaranteed prize pools. The success of that series and subsequent events early this year likely helped boost optimism for the upcoming Champions Poker Club stop.
That inaugural series at the Prime Social Club ultimately saw guarantees well exceeded in nearly every event, with almost $775,000 awarded over the course of the series. The Main Event had a guarantee of just over $100,000, though saw its prize pool swell to $330,000.
The Champions Poker Club is a relative newcomer among Texas poker rooms, having been founded just last year. The club lists Poker Hall of Famers Doyle Brunson, Phil Hellmuth and Dewey Tomko among its co-founders along with “gaming veterans” Roy Choi and Jieho Lee.