TXI Presents Rounders, Part 4: How to Innovate with Risk

Rounders, Not Your Average Poker Club

Over the last year, entertainment venues have been dealt a bad hand. COVID shattered businesses and those that remained were left with uncertainty. Despite challenges beyond their wildest dreams, Rounders Social Club in San Antonio Texas reinvented the Poker Room into a private, members-only Social Club. Dave Smart and Eric Thomas opened Rounders in 2018. Today, Rounders provides a safe, legal space for players to enjoy their favorite poker games.

How to Innovate with Risk

While most small businesses face some level of risk, Rounders Social Club faces unique challenges. The Texas Gambling Statute was written 60 years ago and is far from black and white. Dave and Eric had to learn a lot along the way to keep a legal and safe operation running as well as it does.

About the Texas Innovators Eric Thomas grew up in Virginia and moved to San Antonio when he was 22 to work at Columbia 300, the world’s largest bowling ball manufacturer where he would meet his soon-to-be business partner, Dave Smart. Dave Smart joined a pro bowling tour and traveled the world at 19. After his pro-bowling years, he joined Columbia 300. During this time, Dave became a great poker player and played professionally for three years. Dave and Eric have been friends since their days at Columbia 300 and soon after started investing in companies and small businesses together. They often played poker together and began to notice these poker rooms popping up around Texas. With Dave’s poker expertise and Eric's business savvy, they joined forces to create Rounders. Texas Innovators is a digital magazine and news platform that celebrates the achievements of our neighbors. Across Texas, people are working every day to make our lives better. The social worker who figures out a unique way to affect the lives of children, the researcher working on a cure for cancer, or the business owner who has identified a niche in a growing market. We are proud to showcase the people in Texas who are innovating, trailblazing, and making us better as a whole.