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Alex Jauregui’s Battles With Doug Polk Earns Him ‘Sicko’ Status

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“This guy’s a legend man. He’s on a crazy run-up. He’s crushed the Games , he’s played good, he’s incredible TV. He will go all the way if he thinks you’re weak, he’ll make big calls, talks a bunch. I think he’s awesome for the show,” said Doug Polk.

“He’s a sicko, bro,” Joey Ingram said.

Polk and Ingram were in the middle of one of their joint podcasts, talking about the livestream from Polk’s poker room, The Lodge. More specifically they were talking about Alex Jauregui (aka “Alex”), the 34-year-old emerging cash game star who has been making his mark on The Lodge’s livestream and, more specifically, how he recently won the show’s largest-ever pot of more than $700,000.

Polk’s not wrong – it has been a crazy run-up for Jauregui. Less than three years ago, in May 2021, Jauregui was far from a regular high roller. He was, in fact, a Bay Area poker dealer and part-time grinder. His tight-knit group of poker friends convinced him to call in sick to Bay 101 one day and head to Southern California to fire a shot into the MSPT San Diego $1,110 Main Event. So, Jauregui decided to play hooky in order to play a little poker.

It was the best result he could have hoped for. Jauregui topped the field of 676 entries and took home the $140,665 first-place prize. Once he won, it was poker’s version of getting caught on the jumbotron when you’re supposed to be at work – only it was the opposite feeling. For Jauregui, it was more than just the largest score of his career at the time, it was an instant bankroll. One that he took with him in a move to Texas, which he grew in the past three years to get to where he is today.

This week, he made the trip to Thunder Valley, to the site where just last year he finished in third place for $172,000 – setting his personal best largest live tournament score.

“I have family in California, so I’m always around California around this time,” Jauregui said. “I live in Texas now, but I always travel out here around this time. I love Thunder Valley. I’ve been coming here for years, [but] actually, that WPT when I got third [in 2023] was my first WPT ever here. I got third in that, and then I made a deep run also in the World Championship in Vegas.”

When he went out of the WPT World Championship in 25th, locking down his second six-figure tournament cash of 2023, Jauregui was one of the final people that could have potentially usurped Bin Weng for the title of WPT Player of the Year.

Even with that kind of sweat, and his share of tournament success, it’s clear where Jauregui’s heart is: cash Games .

“I play 90% cash. I probably play 10 tournaments a year, so I just pick and choose,” he said. “Four during the [ WSOP ] in Vegas and then six throughout the year. So, I mainly play cash and mostly PLO. The only times where I play No Limit these days is The Lodge livestream, which I enjoy a lot. I love The Lodge, and the people at The Lodge.

“I’ve been playing in that Lodge room for probably a year and a half or so. And yeah, that hand against Doug, right? Yeah, over $700K pot? Yeah. I just have a bunch of history with Doug and we always just kind of battle it out on the felt and we have a lot of history. So, it’s always an interesting dynamic when me and him play.”

There was a time in the past when if you wanted to get known in poker, you needed to travel and perform well in tournaments. Today, poker livestreams are producing the game’s biggest stars and “Alex” is quickly emerging as one of them. Not in any small part to his willingness to go toe to toe with Doug Polk. He notes that his battles against Polk are helping him get recognized outside of Texas – from California to Vegas to Florida, more and more people are recognizing him from The Lodge. It’s something he considers pretty cool and a blessing.

“He was a poker dealer a few years ago, and now he’s playing $200/$400 at The Lodge,” Polk said on the Joey Ingram podcast. “And now he’s fucking killing me. He’s smashing me in all these sessions, texting me, talking mad shit.”

To hear that side of the story from Jauregui, it’s all in good fun. Don’t be fooled by his poker face, one, he knows, others find intimidating. “I guess just my demeanor, my face. I don’t know. I do get that a lot.” To talk with Jauregui in person, he’s warm, friendly, and respectful.

“I am very cool with Doug. I don’t text him a lot, but one of my friends made a meme about me carrying him as a little kid with me taking him to school and I thought that was pretty funny, so I just sent it to Doug and just, I didn’t say anything. I just sent it to him and he just started laughing about it. But we have a good relationship. It’s just, he knows there’s nothing personal. We just joke around with each other and needle each other as much as we can and it goes back and forth. But yeah, I have a great relationship with Doug.”

Despite their off-the-felt relationship, during the livestream the pair battle and battle hard. That’s how the two got entangled in the current largest pot in the history of The Lodge livestream. In a five-bet pot, one in which Alex turned top set, Polk fired all-in on the river and Alex made the call to drag the $707,800 pot. But when it was all over, the tension from the hand released, Alex didn’t celebrate, he just calmly collected the chips hardly acknowledging what had just happened.

“That’s obviously the biggest pot I’ve ever played in my life. I think, up to that point, I played a couple of $300K pots – $250K, 300K pots –  in that same stream leading up to that point. So it was really cool. It was kind of surreal. I don’t think it fully hit me at the moment.

“But I’m not trying to needle him and I am not trying to get up and celebrate. I’m just trying to be a good sport. I know Doug just lost over $350,000 a hand. Even though we needed each other back and forth, I know how to not cross a boundary and be too celebratory even though inside I was feeling pretty good about it.”

Although Jauregui won’t be repeating his appearance at the WPT Rolling Thunder final table (he busted short of the money) he does plan on keeping pace with his success over the past year. A trip to the WSOP this summer, a return to the WPT World Championship in December, and “hopefully get over $1 million” on his Hendon Mob are some of his goals for 2024. While he’s building his reputation on the Lodge livestream, he still has his sights set on etching his name on the Mike Sexton WPT trophy.

“I just enjoy the competition a lot,” he said. “I enjoy the WPT a lot and I’m here to try to take a title, eventually. Within the next couple of years or so, I’m going try my best and this is home for me, so hopefully do it out here.”

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