Most public card rooms in the US are listed on one of two apps, Bravo Poker or Poker Atlas. Whether they’re nearby or across the country, I can quickly see on my phone which games they’re spreading right now, what the limits are, how many tables are in action, and how long the waiting lists are.
But recently on our Florida vacation, I remembered a place called the Palm Beach Kennel Club. I haven’t played there in over a decade, and I know there’s no more greyhound racing at the venue (it became illegal in Florida at the end of 2020), but the poker action used to be mighty lively.
Unfortunately, when I went to look the place up, it wasn’t on either app. I checked Google and found the club’s website, which listed an upcoming luncheon with Doug Flutie (!), but offered no live information about what was happening in the poker room.
So, I tried the low-tech option, using my phone to actually call the venue. When I finally got through to someone, I asked, “What games are you spreading right now?” His response barely qualified as an answer: “Texas Hold’em, man. That’s what we play here.” Then he made a sound indicating he couldn’t believe how stupid my question was.
Undeterred, I continued, “Yes, I know, but what limits?” He replied with what sounded like a guess: “Uh, it’s mostly $1/2, but there might be a $2/5 game going.” I pressed my luck: “Is there a list for the $2/5 game?” He’d clearly had it with me, cutting me short by saying, “I don’t know. Why don’t you just come over here? There will be games all night.”
Then, to prove his commitment to providing quality customer service, he hung up. Gee, so sorry to bother you!
I had the sense that there were only a couple of tables going, and if they were $1/2 games, there was a likelihood that more than half the players would have less than $100 in front of them. I’m not interested in playing against guys — all older than I am — who are going to shove their entire stacks of thirty-five $1 white chips into the pot before we even get to the turn or river.
Those are the kinds of games where only the house makes any money by taking a rake of five, six, or seven dollars out of every pot. Even if everyone sat down with $100 when the game started, an hour later, they’d each have an average of $80 — and no idea where the rest of it went.
Needless to say, I didn’t make the drive.