Shuffle 512 exterior

Shuffle 512 Poker Room Review

The Austin leg of our poker trip offered a big range of quality across poker rooms. At the high end was one of the country’s poker room jewels, The Lodge. Texas Card House Austin provided a mixed experience. The Shuffle 512 poker room was a different experience.

Casino Setting 

The Shuffle 512 poker room sits on the south side of Austin near Route 35 and a few miles past the upscale South Congress Street. The area around Shuffle 512 was decidedly not upscale. To enter the building, we had to take care not to step on someone sleeping in the adjoining doorway. Of all the poker rooms we visited in Texas, this location is definitely toward the bottom of the safety scale, although not as bad as Legends in Houston!

Shuffle 512 Exterior

Non-Poker Amenities

If you wish to learn more about how poker generally operates in Texas, read the details under Non-Poker Amenities in the Texas Card House Houston room review. Or check out our post What’s up with Poker in Texas, Anyway.

In contrast to the typical Texas card room, the Shuffle 512 poker room had no one-time membership registration fee. All they had was a $10 daily membership fee (or a monthly membership for $30 or annual for $200). If you play tournaments, you just buy into the tournament and they hold a piece of that entry fee for the house, just like anywhere else. In order to play cash, you pay a $12 per hour seat fee (and nothing is raked from the pot).

Shuffle 512 poker room offers nothing else besides poker. There is no attached restaurant or much in the way of food, other than soda and snack vending machines.

Shuffle 512 Poker Room Comfort

The 13-table poker room is spread out with plenty of room between tables. The room sports high ceilings and offers a clean and neat environment. However, the lighting is not great. The cards are definitely more difficult see than in the typical room. Also if you have the misfortune of being right under an air vent it can be very cold. Several players complained about the cold during the tournament.

There is no smoking allowed in the room, so air quality is good. Despite the room being fairly full between the tournament and cash play, it was not loud at all.

The chairs at the Shuffle 512 poker room have wheels, and are adjustable, but are a bit hard to sit on. The tables are attractive, clean, and branded. The tables also feature a padded rail and drink cups, but lack USB ports or auto-shufflers.

The chips, cards, and felts are all clean. The cards are not branded. Play is nine-handed, but the tables are large enough that everyone has plenty of space.

Poker Room Staff

The Shuffle 512 dealers were solid, seemed to know what they were doing, and kept play moving. However, the room did seem to be short of dealers, as it took a long time to get the third tournament table started. The floor was not much of a presence during the tournament. Without food and drink options, there was not need for wait staff.

Players at Shuffle 512

Players represented a wide age range, but there were again few women in the room. It is tough to gauge typical playing styles given the low buy-in, fast structure of the tournament. There were a lot of all-ins right from the start of the tournament. Some players were also adding on as much as they could (add-ons were $20 a piece and several players added on $100 on top of their $30 entry right away). So the massively varying stack sizes from the start pushed the aggressive play as well.

Shuffle 512 Interior

Tournament Structure

As of this writing, the Shuffle 512 poker room offers tournaments at 7pm with a $30 buy-in every night except Saturday. Starting stacks are 10,000 chips with 15-minute blinds. Rebuys are a mere $20, and the structure is, as you’d expect, pretty fast with 20 S-points. Obviously, you have to gamble a bit to cash in this structure.

In our tracking of tournament activity, the Shuffle 512 tournament gets about 20 players most nights, but on Fridays, this number may come close to doubling. Our Monday night tournament (it was Presidents’ Day) surpassed expectations, as we ended up with 31 entries.



Cash Game Activity

On this Monday night, the Shuffle 512 poker room was running 5 $1/$2 NLH tables. From our recent tracking of cash games (see our cash game activity update), The Shuffle 512 poker room generally sees 3 to 4 $1/$2 tables on any given evening. They’ll rarely have many higher stakes strict NLH games or PLO games, but will sometimes host a table of a mixed NLH/PLO game.

APT

Overall Assessment of the Shuffle 512 Poker Room

The Shuffle 512 card room has a laissez-faire feel: no one was particularly passionate about what they were doing, staff and players included. It was the weakest of the three Austin card rooms we visited. It offered a real no-frills poker experience: vending machines instead of real food options, floors that kind of faded into the background, and dealers that performed their jobs but were not particularly social. All of this in a dark (although clean) room made us have a “when is this going to be over” reaction to the experience. Shuffle 512 is definitely, not a room to seek out in Austin when there are better options – like going to The Lodge multiple times.

  • Comfort
  • Tournament Structures
  • Personnel
2.7

Summary

The Shuffle 512 card room has a laissez-faire feel: no one was particularly passionate about what they were doing, staff and players included. It was the weakest of the three Austin card rooms we visited. It offered a real no-frills poker experience: vending machines instead of real food options, floors that kind of faded into the background, and dealers that performed their jobs but were not particularly social.

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