The Lodge Poker Club | Round Rock, TX | A Week at The Lodge | Part II

The Truth About Playing Poker in Vegas for the First Time


If you didn’t read A Week At The Lodge Part I, you should do that now.

You’re not going to read it, are you? No big deal. My first trip to The Lodge was successful. However, it wasn’t nearly as interesting and crazy as this freaking adventure. There was literally zero chance of me predicting a certain event that happened during this trip. You will see what I mean soon.

Before we get moving here, I’d also like to state that I’m not going to add Yelp Restaurant Reviews. I’m not sure why I did that last time. But if you’re one of my dedicated readers, then you already know: I Do Stupid Shit Sometimes.

I do want to tell you about JINYA Chicken in Houston though (I flew into Houston before driving to Round Rock due to lower airfare). Shortest Version Possible: Chicken tasted weird. I inquired. They told me they took the chicken out in the morning. It was 3 p.m. Maybe this was an omen. Bad Chicken = Accidentally Overdosing On THC? By 40x-50x the normal dosage?

I don’t really see the connection there, but I did want to provide a really obvious hint about what’s to come. Yeah … this shit’s going to get interesting. But let’s start with some poker.


Friday 10/9

2 pm Bounty Tourney (4:15 late reg)

$60 buy-in ($40 to prize pool/$20 to bounty)

20k chips

2k extra if there by 2:10

5k in chips for $5 Dealer Appreciation

Single Re-entry

20-min levels

$20 Club Access

I hit the gym prior to the tourney, which included a long run. If you run for a long time, you sweat a lot. If you’re the type of person that likes to shower and you get into the shower too fast after sweating when it’s warm out, your body starts sweating a few minutes after you exit the shower. I was right on the Sweat Border after exiting the shower, and the tournament was starting soon, but I thought I could use Mind Control to prevent sweating.

Once entering my Subaru Outback rental to let the hot air out, I blasted the A/C while playing Spanish music I didn’t understand, and hoped to pull it off.

I did not pull it off, but only my armpits were sweating. Is that good news? No. Not really. I was wearing a black shirt, so that helped hide any potential sweat stains. But wait … if you can wash it out, is it a stain?

Also, about that Subaru, I told a friend how pumped I was about that car because they upgraded me for free, but then I realized I was excited about a Subaru. I’m a dude that travels around the country playing poker, writes about my sometimes crazy adventures, is working on a crazy poker movie, and likes to have fun. And I’m excited about a Subaru? WTF? How did that happen? But it was a good car.

As far as the Sweat Border, I pulled into the parking lot at The Lodge and had to make a decision. I thought I saw a supermarket all the way at the other end of the lot. Therefore, I started walking over, but it was hot and I started sweating again. So I just said, “Screw It!” and walked into The Lodge.

I highly doubt anyone had to endure my odor, but if that’s the case, I apologize. Looking back on it, I could have just driven the damn car across the parking lot to the supermarket!

I didn’t take hand-by-hand poker notes on this trip. It’s more of an overall fun story about what happened. Not everything was fun though. Not for me anyway. Maybe for the reader. However, it looks like I did record at least a few hands.

Second Hand…

44 CO

MP raises to 800 on 300 BB.


SB calls.

Flop: A49

SB checks.

MP bets 4k.

I raise to 12k.

SB jams.

MP folds.


He tables A9.

I hold.

Nice pot.


Fast Forward…

9 Players Remaining

Stack: 96k

Avg Stack: 74,889



Raise 3x BB

BTN 3-bet jams.


He Tables QQ

Flop: Q73

Turn: 3

River: 8

He celebrates loudly, then apologizes. This is usually poor etiquette, but he was genuinely happy because he doesn’t play often. I was cool with it.


Something important about this hand and poker in general for me. I play street-by-street in order to control the pot and use my reading ability. It’s a dangerous combo and why I’m a + player. On the other hand, I have realized that A LOT of my losses are when I’m all-in pre-flop. I can’t always help it, such as the case here, but I can slow it down by seeing more flops with monsters. This is an adjustment I need to make. If I happen to be on my game and you want to beat me, jam pre. I hate that shit because it’s more gambling than skill.

As I was sitting there as the short stack and waiting for a spot to jam (hypocritical and ironic), a Floor came over and said to the table, “Can I have your attention everyone?”

We all looked up at him.

He continued: “I just want everyone to know that we have an esteemed author at the table.”

I thought: Awkward but cool.

The Floor looked down at the player next to him (not me) and said, “This gentleman has written an excellent sci-fi book and there are copies available in the lobby.”

I thought: Wow! We are really running good!

I busted three hands later. Keep in mind that this was a FT where I didn’t cash. I did have three bounties though, which helped minimize the loss.

Net: -$25

Overall Net -$25


Friday 10/9

8 pm Freezout (10:15 late reg)

$80 buy-in

25k chips

5k in chips for $5 Dealer Appreciation

20-min levels

$25 Club Access



Raise 3x BB.

Four callers.

Flop: J25

SB checks.

I bet 7k.

SB calls.

Turn: K

SB bets 13k.

I open-fold.

He shows KJ.

Big hit.

What can I do?


40th of 58.

Bad showing.


Net: -$105

Overall Net: -$130


Saturday 10/10

Noon Super Saturday $15k GTD (2:15 late reg)

$150 buy-in

20k chips

5k in chips for $10 Dealer Appreciation

25-min levels

Unlimited Re-entry until the break

$30 Club Access

I finished 19th of 129 here, which was four spots from the money. That might sound like a spoiler to you, but it’s nothing of the sort. In regards to poker, I had no business being that deep based on my condition. I don’t even remember 95% of that day. I remember a few interactions with people, and the only hands I remember were calling two all-ins with KK and winning both. I also remember making a light call with top pair for 125k when only four to the money.

At the time, I didn’t realize I was four to the money because of my condition. If I had been in a normal state of mind, I very likely would have cashed, and I might have shipped it. This is also a big reason I need to be careful about my interactions and decisions when I’m on a poker trip, which is part of my business and branding. On one hand, I’m mad at myself. On other hand, I’m thrilled because content lasts longer than poker and this makes for a much better story than: I 3-bet with JTs on BTN. That’s what every poker author writers. I’m not every poker author.  

Rewind to the night before…

As some of you know, I enjoy hanging out with people and I’m very friendly to everyone. As Keith recently told me, “You never met a stranger.”

At the same time, I have a loner background and it’s very easy for me to roll solo. In fact, I love rolling solo. I can do whatever I want whenever I want. That makes me happy, and happiness is always my #1 priority.

I guess that was the long way to say that I went to a place called Mavericks solo. I went straight to the bar and ordered a Blue Moon. The instant I turned around, a poker player I recognized from The Lodge was staring right at me and smiling.

“HEY!” he said, “You’re Tyler, right?”

“Yeah. Hey. How’s it going?”

“Good!” He gave me a pound. “You write them books and shit, right?”

“Yeah,” I laughed. “You could put it that way.”

“What you write about?”

“Poker adventure books.”

“Poker adventure books?”

“Yeah. You’d have to read them to understand.”

We bullshitted for a while and we were getting along well. When we went to the outside section of the venue to meet his other friends, he stopped and said, “You want a dab?”


This is one of those moments where the decision you make can change the course of your life. I actually didn’t realize the importance of this decision until right now as I’m writing this. If I had made the opposite decision, the entire course of my life might be different right now. The momentum of that night might have continued in a positive direction, but maybe it wasn’t supposed to go in that direction.

To give you a little background on this dab situation, I don’t smoke weed or do any kind of drugs whatsoever. I’m a gym rat. I LOVE the gym! I’m into fitness and lean muscle; I’m not a egotistical musclehead. I did smoke weed until 25, but I hit the gym on my 25th birthday and never looked back. Once in a while, I’ll take a hit of a joint, but this is about 1x-2x per year. And that’s one hit! I had never done a dab (of THC oil). Therefore, I didn’t know how it worked.

On one hand, I always like to have fun and don’t want to kill the mood. On the other hand, I never give into peer pressure and sensed this might be a bad idea. So, I went for some info first.

“I didn’t get your name.”

He looked at me seriously and said, “They call me Mario Andretti.”

“Like the racecar driver?”

“Yes, because I live fast! ARRIBA!!! ARRIBA!!!”

“That’s Spanish. Mario Andretti is Italian.”

“Gotta change speeds. Keep ‘em guessin’. Just like at the tables.”

My thought at that time: A small dab might be a good idea in this situation. If I take the dab, I might feel very loose and free, which will add to the story: A Week At The Lodge Part II. And taking a chance is ALWAYS going to make for a better story! This is why writers climb Mt. Everest, walk across the country, enter war zones, etc. They will do anything for a story.

“How do you do it?” I asked.

That was a very important question, but it was overlooked. So, in one of my most ‘brilliant’ moves throughout my life, I assumed I could figure it out, took what he was offering, and without him realizing it, I bit off the entire thing and ate it. I had no clue this was a bad idea. I also had no clue that I had just taken as much as 50x the regular dosage (I found this out later from someone I knew in the medical field).

I also drank four beers within 45 minutes. Not a big deal for some people, but that’s really fast for me. I usually drink four beers max over the course of five hours. I didn’t realize the dangerous concoction I had created because I later learned that alcohol will enhance the impact of THC.

I don’t remember getting back to my hotel room or how I got there, but I do remember what happened in my hotel room. Most of it anyway. At first, I thought I was just stoned, but it was much worse. The following isn’t an exaggeration: I had overdosed on THC, by A LOT!

My movements began to slow and an onslaught of horrific hallucinations began. Every single fear I’ve ever had—past, present, future—ran through my mind, one after another for 35 hours straight. Non-Stop!!! Imagine experiencing realistic nightmares related to your life every second for 35 hours straight. But that was only part of it.

Due to dizziness, I needed to get to the floor. But once on the floor, I realized I was in the bathroom. I needed to get to the bedroom and my phone so I could text someone about my condition. Just in case. But as I started to move, I realized I couldn’t really move. It took me about five minutes just to move my arm forward because I would fall asleep. I would fall asleep every time I moved my arm or leg in an effort to make it to the bedroom.

It took about 45 minutes to get from the bathroom to the bedroom, but once on the floor below the nightstand where my phone was, there was absolutely zero chance I’d be able to lift my arm up that high to get my phone. I don’t know how else to explain it. So, I kept telling myself: This is really messed up, but stay calm, we’re going to get through this. It’s going to be long, tough, and brutal, but as long as we stay calm, we’ll come out alright.

I somehow ended up back on the bathroom floor about an hour later. I don’t recall that journey, but I’m assuming there was a lot of sleep along the way. Once in the bathroom, I started dry-heaving, which lasted about 30-40 minutes.

After that, I had no energy to move. I remember tying my shoes (no clue why they were still on) and falling asleep. I then remember it taking about 25-30 minutes to stand up. When I stood and looked in the mirror, I saw myself pale and holding onto the counter in a crooked-like way. My posture resembled someone looking in a fun house mirror. So … I fell to the floor because it was freaking me out.

These kinds of events continued throughout the entire night and morning. I remember falling asleep while shampooing my hair, falling asleep while brushing my teeth, and falling asleep every time I tried to move. When I was awake, I had horrific hallucinations. When I was asleep, I had horrific nightmares.

The morning turned to early afternoon, and I had promised I’d be at The Lodge for the tournament, but I couldn’t move without falling asleep and I was still suffering from all the effects of my poor decision (unless this story makes it a good decision).

There was two hours for late registration and we were already one hour into that time period. But I literally couldn’t walk. I told myself: You made a promise. Stand Up! We are getting to that tournament. STAND UP!

I held onto the bathroom counter and stood up. I then took one small step forward, but my toes were pointed toward each other, my shaking hands were together in front of my chest, and I only moved about one inch. I did my best to repeat this pattern while telling myself I had 25 minutes to train myself how to walk. For 15 minutes, I took tiny steps in the hotel room. I got a little more comfortable and started taking more productive steps.  

On my first attempt to leave the room, I fell to the floor and thought there was just no way. I had one of worst nights of my life, still felt horrible, and I was going to a poker tournament? That made no sense. But it had nothing to do with poker. It had to do with making a promise.

I took a deep breath and made a second attempt at the door. I made it outside my hotel room, but I knew I couldn’t go through the lobby because they would call 911 if they saw the way I was walking. So, while using the walls for balance, I made my way to the elevator and snuck out the side door to the parking lot.

My new challenge was going to be driving. I texted another poker player to hint I wasn’t in good shape and could use a ride to the poker room, but he didn’t pick up on it. I never like to bother anyone so I didn’t press. I entered the car and turned it on, reminding myself it was only a 4-minute drive to the poker room.

Despite having been to the poker room several times already, I had no clue where I was and typed in the destination on my GPS. While on this drive and needing to max focus, a friend called me and I answered. This friend later told me that I sounded horrible when we spoke. They were so concerned that they contemplated calling someone to help but chose not to do so.

I made it to the parking lot for The Lodge, but now I had to go in there with a huge crowd and pretend everything was fine. With bloodshot eyes, a pale face, no balance, and slurred words, I bought-in to the tournament and found my seat. But when I found my seat, I fell asleep. I probably fell asleep 40 times throughout the day. That isn’t an exaggeration. Ask someone who was there. They will tell you.

I don’t remember much of the day, but I do remember a few things that stood out.

At some point during the tourney, the player in Seat 9 whispered to the dealer: “He doesn’t look good.”

Dealer: “When you believe in yourself, anything is possible.”

He said this because I had a stack at the time.

I remember Sharon Jones sitting across from me at some point and looking at me quizzically and with concern. She later told me she thought I was going to fall out of my chair.

I remember Caleb Durio coming up to me during the break feeling happy and awesome because he was drinking (different world). I usually feed off that good energy and reciprocate, but I was so out of it that I didn’t even know what he was saying to me. Sorry, Caleb!

I remember a dealer asking me something and I just said, “Yeah, I know.”

I felt like such a jerk, but I didn’t have the energy to explain anything to anyone. I did speak to that dealer and several other dealers two days later. I explained and apologized, and they were all very cool about it. Thank you! The staff at The Lodge is truly amazing. They are so friendly and understanding. They also deal more bad beats than I have ever seen anywhere (80+ poker rooms), but that’s not their fault.

Since I promised I would play in every tournament while in town, I had to go play in the night tourney while still in this condition. I can explain that tourney very easily.

Net: -$185

Overall Net: -$315


Saturday 10/10

8 pm Bounty (10 pm late reg)

$100 buy-in ($75 to prize pool/$25 to Bounty)

5k in chips for $10 Dealer Appreciation

25k chips

Single Re-entry

20-min levels

$25 Club Access

I somehow finished 10th of 69 in this one. I was under the impression they were paying 7 (based on clock). I didn’t know they would end up paying two bubbles. If I had known that, I might have folded more at the end. But I have no clue what happened in regards to poker hands or how I got there. I only know that I finished four from the money in the first one and one from the money in the second one. That is somewhat brutal.

Net: -125

Overall Net: -$440


Sunday 10/11

1 p.m. Freezeout $10k GTD (3 pm late reg)

$200 buy-in

30k chips

5k in chips for $10 Dealer Appreciation

$25 Club Access

Final Table on Lodge Poker Show

This tourney recently paid $6k+ for 1st place

I finished in the middle of the pack in this one. During the tourney, one person informed me that it’s legal to walk around naked on 6th Street in Austin. I’m not sure why he told me this, but I’m now relaying the information to you, and you’re probably not sure why I’m telling you this.

I also overheard a conversation between Chris (Floor) and a Security Guard. It might not have been a Security Guard, but I’m rolling with that. I’m also capitalizing ‘Security Guard’ for simplicity purposes.

Security Guard (to Chris): “You eat doughnuts!”

Alex: “No I don’t. I eat kolaches.”

Security Guard: “Yes you do!”

Alex: “No I don’t!”

Security Guard: “I’ve seen you eat doughnuts.”

Alex: “Then you saw wrong. I don’t eat doughnuts!”

Security Guard: “Yes you do!”

I needed to step in: “You guys are arguing over whether or not he eats doughnuts.”

That seemed to defuse the situation and they both laughed it off.

But … does he eat doughnuts?

Net: -$225

Overall Net: -$665


Sunday 10/11

6:15 pm Freezeout (8:20 late reg)

$80 buy-in

25k chips

5k in chips for $5 Dealer Appreciation

20-min levels

$25 Club Access


Fourth Hand…


Raise 3x BB.

BTN jams.


He tables KK.

Flop: 33K

All you need to know.

So … when I had KK at FT, I lost to QQ. When I had QQ all-in, I lost to KK. That’s life, I guess.


Net: -$105

Overall Net: -$770


Monday 10/12

2 pm Afternoon Hold’em Tourney (3:30 late reg)

$50 buy-in

20k chips

2k in chips if there by 2:10

5k in chips for $5 Dealer Appreciation

15-min levels

$20 Club Access


Chip leader at FT but this happened…

A short-stack went all-in and a mid-stack flatted when I had As Js. I knew the mid-stack player couldn’t be too strong because he flatted.

I jammed.

Mid-stack player called.

Short-stack tabled A2.

Mid-stack tabled A8o.

Flop: AK4

Turn: 5

River: 8

I knew it was coming too. Just the way the week had gone. If the 8 doesn’t hit the river, I’m a massive chip leader at the FT. Oh well….


Net: -$70

Overall Net: -$840


Monday 10/12

7:15 PLO $2k GTD (10:15 late reg)

$50 buy-in

25k chips

5k in chips for $5 Dealer Appreciation

Unlimited Re-entry

20-min levels

$25 Club Access

I didn’t play this event because I was told it was Big O when I arrived and that PLO is only on Wednesday nights. Not sure what happened here because the schedule said PLO, but at least I didn’t lose money. J

Net: E

Overall Net: -$840


Tuesday 10/13

2 pm Overstack (4:15 late reg)

$60 buy-in

30k chips

2k in chips if there by 2:10

5k in chips for $5 Dealer Appreciation

Single Re-entry

$20 Club Access


Finished 7th of 25. As you might have guessed, not in the money. A lot of ITM teasing going on during this trip. Part of reason I play 95% cash these days—I can come and go as I please.


Net: -$80

Overall Net: -$920


I’d first like to state that I fired twice at one of these tournaments, so my loss was a little higher. I don’t remember which event, which never happens. I keep very detailed records of everything. I can only assume it was the Saturday night event. That’s my best guess. I know I didn’t fire twice during the day yet I was still so out of it that I wouldn’t remember firing twice. Either way, I didn’t actually lose money on the trip. I almost always find a way to win, but this aspect of the story shall also remain a mystery.

The Lodge will be running a $125k GTD on 2/26, 2/27 and 2/28. I’ll be there! And I will write about it with A Week At The Lodge Part III. It looks like I’ll be turning A Week At The Lodge into a series, and it can only be found on PokerJournal.

So far and looking ahead…

A Week At The Lodge – Profitable

A Week At The Lodge II – Incapacitated

A Week At The Lodge III – ???

I love those ??? because it means I never know what new adventure awaits! I do know this, though. Since this will be a big tournament, A Week At The Lodge III will be very poker-oriented.

See you there!

♠ Tyler Nals |

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