You are here

REVIEW: Shuffle 512, Austin TX - The Member Fees Worth It?

Map of Texas

Shuffle 512 is a relative newcomer to the Austin, TX, poker scene, but it has made an impact in the short time that it has been in operation. Shuffle512 and similar establishments use a membership model along with time and seat fees, as opposed to normal poker rake, in order to get around the tough anti-gambling statutes in the Lone Star State.

The ultimate legality of private membership poker sites in Texas has not yet been resolved one way or the other. Advocates of these businesses argue that the membership model ensures that they're not public places, and the fact that no rake is taken means that nobody is deriving any economic benefit from gambling: both key points under TX law.

However, opponents contend that practically anyone can obtain membership, so these poker rooms are really public venues. Whether or not fees are extracted directly from pots or levied on ancillary features of the room doesn't detract from the profits that are being made from gambling in the view of these anti-poker individuals.

Shuffle 512 Cardroom Review

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was asked his opinion on the matter, but in July 2018, he declined to comment on the legality of membership poker rooms. An attempt was made to shut down Houston card clubs in May 2019, but all charges were eventually dropped, leaving the status quo unchanged.

For now, law enforcement appears to be sitting on the sidelines, unwilling to either prosecute club management or give these clubs their official seal of approval. It's business as usual for the Austin poker club economy at least until new legal developments take place either positive or negative.

Our experienced reviewer has played at Shuffle 512 and gave us copious information on the games that are offered, the fees, the overall feel of the room, and more. Read our review below to learn more about Shuffle 512.

Location: SE Austin (6 miles from downtown)
Hours: Sunday - Thursday, 11am - 3am, Friday and Saturday, 11am - 5am
Security: Private company. 1 armed guard. Will offer to walk to your car.
Promos: Free hours when Texans or Cowboys score. When you buy 20 hours, you get 3 free.
Tables: 12
Restrooms: 2 urinals, 2 stalls
Miscellaneous: 9 TVs. They are on Poker Atlas now! You are able to check in and check on games from the Poker Atlas app. Daily membership $10. Monthly membership $30. Time fee is $10/hr. All of your time is preloaded onto your Shuffle512 players card. Cashing out is slow as they only have one-person capacity at the cage.
Dealers: 7/10
Floor: Less knowledgeable on poker and less likely to enforce proper rules
Food/Beverage: Free Water/Coffee. Drink and snack vending machines. Catered pizza once a week.
Pros: Mostly recreational players. Tables are 9 handed.
Cons: Still growing and still mostly only runs $1/2 NLHE

Shuffle 512 Review

Poker Cards and Chips

Shuffle 512 is the new club in town, having only been open for business since June 2018. This gaming hall takes its name from the 512 area code in common use throughout the Austin area. It’s gaining traction because of its south location and its friendly atmosphere. Owner Matt, GM Chris, and Floorman Eric bring their experience from Florida and Vegas casinos as they try their take on legal poker in Texas.

Shuffle 512 ExteriorExterior of Shuffle 512

Food options are a bit limited at Shuffle. They have an expensive vending machine with snacks and another one for drinks. There is a pizza restaurant next door, and players often run between hands to pick up a pizza or calzones. Staff usually caters Domino's pizza once a week during a weekend tournament.

Dealers and staff are well trained, but they aren’t very serious when it comes to moving action and enforcing rules. One armed security guard is present and does a good job making sure everyone gets to their cars safely.

Lobby of Shuffle 512One Must Obtain Membership Before Playing

Games are smaller here, and there is less to choose from than at some competing establishments. It’s usually only two to three tables of $1/2 NLHE running with $2/3 or $2/5 rarely going. One table of PLO will usually start on Fridays and Saturdays, sometimes PLO8 as well.

As for the tournaments, there's generally one per day. Some are freeroll events, but others require the payment of between $50 and $100 to enter. Tourneys come with an additional $20 tournament access fee, in lieu of table seat charges, even for the free tournaments.

Shuffle 512 CageThe Cage at Shuffle 512

Shuffle is now on Poker Atlas! This makes the check-in and waitlist options a breeze. Through the app, it is easy to see how many and what types of games are running. The two biggest positives are that Shuffle 512 is 9-max, as opposed to 10-handed, and it has the softest player lineup.

Shuffle 512 has a recreational environment. The owners and managers are out and about, interacting with patrons and listening to new ideas. Music is almost always being played in the background (they take song requests), unless a particular big sporting event is on.

Shuffle 512 InteriorInterior of Shuffle 512 With Active Games Running

The ambiance of the room takes away a bit from the stress that can come from poker. While a more corporate casino will be a bit crisper and more serious on rulings, the Mom-and-Pop vibe of Shuffle 512 makes for a great customer experience.

Player Comments on Shuffle 512

Crowd of People

We were pleased with what we saw at Shuffle 512, but we felt that it was good to see what other players had to say too. We have therefore presented a few posts about the room below, which we have collected from across the internet:

Positive Review of Shuffle 512 on PokerAtlas
Shuffle 512 Positive Google Review
Yelp Positive Comment About Shuffle 512

As you can see, most people who have visited this poker establishment have positive things to say especially regarding the friendliness of the staff.

Play Online to Supplement Live Arenas

Money, Globe, ComputerFrom everything we've observed, Shuffle 512 seems to be a solid place to play some cards. Yet, there are undoubtedly times when the greater convenience and game selection available online will appeal to you more.

To find yourself a good internet card room, head over to our guide to offshore TX poker. If you reside somewhere in the USA other than Texas, then our informative page about online poker for Americans has a wealth of info for you to peruse.

Our reviewer, Robert Paape, is a professional poker player who primarily plays live in Austin, Texas. He has logged over 2,000 hours at Texas Card House and over 500 hours at Shuffle 512 and The Lodge. Robert previously owned and operated a legal card room in Austin in 2017 and understands what makes a good experience from both the customer and the business perspectives. Robert still plays online poker and travels to Vegas every summer.

Reviews of other live card rooms: