Every day is a fine day for an overlay. Unless, I suppose, you run a poker room and the overlay is massive. Over the weekend, Doug Polk, Andrew Neeme, and Brad Owen had to swallow $417,000 in overlay for the $2 million guaranteed Lodge Championship Series Main Event at their Lodge Poker Club in Austin, Texas. It was the second year in a row that the $3,000 buy-in tournament had a six-figure overlay – it was $334,100 last year.

In a tweet, Polk cited “scheduling errors” and “some logistical nightmares” for the underperformance of the event, but offered his congratulations to all the players, nonetheless.

The Lodge Championship Series Main Event had seven Day 1 flights: one on Wednesday, May 8 and then two each day from May 9 through May 11. Days 2 and 3 were on Sunday and Monday, respectively, while the final table, won by Mike Liang ($428,000) was on Tuesday.

The likely scheduling error that Polk referenced was that Sunday was Mother’s Day. It is quite possible that people simply didn’t want to spend their weekend playing poker when they would prefer to spend it with their mothers, grandmothers, and families.

One person who replied to Polk’s tweet said that perhaps the “appetite” for four-figure buy-ins just isn’t there in Austin, but Polk believes it is.

“If Choctaw can run one of these in the middle of nowhere, we should be able to as well in Austin,” he said.

In that same discussion, another person opined that having the tournament start the same week that the similarly-priced WPT Choctaw Main Event ended may have also been a problem. While the two poker venues are separated by about a five-hour drive, they probably draw from overlapping player pools.

Despite the formidable overlay, Polk, Neeme, and Owen did not hesitate to pay out. A guarantee is a guarantee, after all. The tournament would have needed 734 entries to avoid an overlay – it got just over 500.

The club’s owners also refused to add starting flights to the schedule. There have been instances in the poker industry in which a casino or poker room saw well in advance that a tournament was not going to his the guarantee, so they add more flights in the hopes that more people will register. It’s a dishonest practice that has rightfully drawn criticism from players. Players are promised a certain structure, schedule, and prize distribution and plan their poker budget and time accordingly. Changing any of that at the last second to cover one’s rear end is not good.

Fortunately, the Lodge lived up to its end of the bargain.

Image credit: 8131 Media Photos

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