Former Westchase Hampton Inn turned into Houston's first poker club hotel
A new casino in Houston offers Texas Hold'em and other games for those who want to gamble without worrying about driving home.
The redeveloped Hampton Inn & Suites in Westchase, on Beltway 8, promises an upscale experience to overnight guests as well as poker players.
On May 14, the public was invited to visit Champions Club Texas at 6440 W. Sam Houston Parkway S. The hotel has 71 rooms, a restaurant and pool. It also includes a private poker room.
Isaac Trumbo, President of Champions Club Texas, stated that Knighted Ventures, a California-based entertainment and hospitality company owned by Knighted Ventures Inc. purchased the 5-acre parcel with the former Hampton Inn at an auction held in May 2021.
He said, 'It looked very dilapidated and was in a very bad state when we found it.' I think the hotel struggled during the pandemic. The hotel had lowered their rates to $30 per night for example.
Roy Choi, CEO of Knighted Ventures, said that the hotel had also been a hotbed for crime including drug use and prostitution. After acquiring the hotel, Knighted Ventures immediately closed it and began renovations in early 2022. Knighted Ventures hired SCAAA, a Los Angeles-based architect, and Houston-based Pistis to be the general contractor.
Choi stated that the total investment, including acquisition, was approximately $12 million.
Trumbo and Choi form part of the four-member founding group of Champions Club Texas that also includes Phil Hellmuth, 16-time World Series of Poker Champion.
Knighted Ventures owns a number of affiliates including restaurants, casinos and the Bay Area Panthers, a football team in the minor league.
Houston's hotel and club, the Champions Club Texas, is Knighted’s latest venture. Dallas is the second location.
Trumbo explained that the partners had been attracted to Texas and Houston by the business climate when they invested here in a different project during the pandemic.
He said, 'We discovered a stark difference between the atmospheres in California and Texas'. There is an excitement and vibrancy for the future. There is also a feeling of growth and opportunities, and a welcoming atmosphere.
Champions Club Texas is hoped to contribute to the economic revitalization of Chinatowns, Asiatowns and Westchase.
Standard rooms, junior suites, and executive suites are available in the 47,000 square-foot hotel. Prices range from $129 per night to $389. The main entrance leads to a lounge, which has a bar, tables, and a 3,500 square-foot poker room with 19 tables. The club has a VIP area, a private room and a poker table for livestreams.
Connie Trujillo is the executive chef of the club, and she runs it from Dallas. The kitchen and club are open 24 hours a day. Private security is provided on the property by a private company.
Trumbo stated that most poker clubs in Texas either are highly exclusive private clubs, or small poker rooms with few amenities.
He said: 'We believed that we could offer a business model which was unique, bringing first-class amenities and a wide range of services that were also affordable.'
The Champions Club is open to players on a daily or monthly basis. Choi stated that the club was considering charging $30 a month or $10 a day for membership, but members will get in free.
Plans for the second phase, which will cover the other half, include a resort style pool, an events center, a restaurant with a full menu, and 40 more rooms. Choi predicted that they would open by 2025.