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Club 523 & You Decide #16

Last night, I went with Mike Aps, aka Duesche Boyd, to a NYC card room, known as Club 523. Ostensibly, we were going to play in their $25 Freeroll. The entry fee would cover food and non-alcoholic beverages (no alcohol allowed), and the prizes would be from the cardroom itself.

Unfortunately, when I arrived at ten to eight, the place was near empty. Joaquin Ochoa, fellow blogger and winner of a large screen plasma TV at the last 523 Freeroll, was there, so I was glad to see a familiar face. After some small talk, Gene, one of the three apparent owners (although there are likely more) of the club took me on the tour.

On the first floor is a large room with about 10-12 tables. A bar setup is used as the cashier’s cage. A water cooler is set up for guests, as is a nice, clean bathroom in the back. No one was playing, so there wasn’t much to see. However, I was impressed by the layout and size of the place.

The second floor, which serves as a lounge, has the same hard wood floors and clean interior. Near the front of the building/room are several couches and a wall-mounted television. In the middle area of the room is a free, well-kept pool table. Near the back is a kitchen area with black formica-topped counters, and an island with stools. The fridge was packed with soda cans, and presumably other items, for guests.

The third floor is the smallest of the three, and consisted of a room that more than comfortably fit two tables for “private parties.” According to owner Gene, a Wall Street stock broker firm had an upcoming private party at the club. No surprise there.

As you can see, the place was no joke. Gene and Alex, two of the owners, seemed to be guys in their late 20s. They were unassuming characters, and friendly overall. There was no need to feel worried or uncomfortable in the room, which to me is a key factor when playing in a semi-legal environment.

Unfortunately, the poker room’s email was experiencing some technical difficulties, so turn-out for the freeroll was non-existent. Even so, Gene or Alex suggested that we play any game we want in a ring game. I suggested 1/2 NL, which was commonly played in the club. Realistically, with my lack of bankroll, I wanted something more akin to 2/4 limit, but damnit I wasn’t going to look like a wuss on my first time at the club.

Mikey Aps was kind enough to lend me $100 with which to play. The game started off slow. The table consisted of (in seat order): (1) Me, (2) random Russian [by my estimate], (3) owner Alex, (4) Mikey Aps, (5) owner Gene, (6) Joaquin Ochoa, (7) random Art Student. The Russian joined halfway through. Early on, Gene was talking about his poker experiences. He’s used to playing $25/50 NL, so this was baby-stakes for him. Because of that, I expected him and Alex to play extremely aggressively. After all, a $40 river bet on a bluff that has been called the whole way down won’t mean much if you are used to posting $50 as a big blind! (Not to mention the fact that you are playing with house money, presumably.) In fact, on the first hand, Gene did just that, betting at his busted flush draw, but turned pair of 8s, consequently pushing Joaquin off of his top pair of aces with a queen kicker! We all though Gene hit two pair. We were all wrong.

I didn’t play particularly well. I had 36o about 5 times, and 25o another 3 or so. Sometimes I feel like I complain about the hands dealt to me. The truth is, I was getting NOTHING. My best hands of the night was AQ and AJ. I had 55 once and 66 too. But the rest were garbage like 29. Boo hoo hoo.

I lost a relatively big hand when I limped in the blind with J7o. I bet pre-flop from $2 to $7. Alex and Art Student called. The flop was J-high, so I thought I was good. I bet out $12 and Alex called, Arty folded. Now, Alex didn’t re-raise, so I put him on mid-pair. The turn was a low card, so I pushed, knowing full well that Alex only had $25 or so in front of him. He called. He had J9 for high pair with a better kicker. I misread my opponent and paid for it.

I wasn’t doing well in general. My A4 went against Alex solo after I raised to $7 preflop in the SB with no limpers. The flop was TKx. We both checked it down the whole way, and I didn’t hit my straight or any pairs. He had T4o, for mid-pair. He said I had him from the get-go, but I knew better. He would have called any bet, so I think my checks were well played.

Random Russian sat down and things were looking bad. I lost a hand to Gene when my cards, AQ, failed to hit the board. I checked until he bet a huge sum, and then I promptly folded.

You Decide #16

This is a two-part test. Here are my final two hands of the night. Where did I go wrong, and where did I go right?

With $20 left, in the BB, I received A4s. The Russian raised to $7 UTG, and Alex called in UTG+1. With my short-stack, I called. The flop was three diamonds, Ace high. I pushed for $13. Russian called, Alex folded. My pair of Aces held up against his pocket 9s. He knew I had him. Still, any little victory was nice.

The next hand I was dealt 66 in the SB. It was practically a family pot, but I merely called hoping for my third 6. The flop was 456! I reached for my chips ready to bet, but I knew that someone else would do it for me. I checked, and the Random Russian bet $14. Everyone folded to me. I pushed my remaining $29 or so chips. He called. When I flipped my top set, some people were impressed. The Russian didn’t flip his cards. He mumbled to me, “I’m on a draw.” The next card was a 3. He hit his straight, and I go home now.

After losing $100, I had to leave. Fiance Kim was cool about my loss, although money is tight, and I should be more responsible. I’m expecting my first pay check from the new job, which will make things a bit easier. Until then, I’m using food stamps.
Overall though, I give the poker club 4.5 out of 5 diamonds. The only shortcoming was the lack of patrons, but if anyone is interested in the place, let me know and I’ll pass along the info. It’s a great place, with good people working there.

Gene, Alex or the dealer (whose name I cannot recall), thank you for a good time. I hope you are reading this. Also, check out, which is owned by Alex. I haven’t seen it yet, but from my understanding, he is planning on only doing freerolls, so it might be an interesting site.

Enjoy the Poker! There’s plenty to go around.

posted by Jordan @ 9:43 AM,


At 9:59 AM, Blogger STeelerJosh said...

Fun read, thanks for posting the recap. Sorry to hear about the $100 hit, I struggle with 1/2 NL live also. I find that people trap so much more than they do online and the game is much tighter. YMMV.

Looking forward to getting setup on Noble soon, will see you out there at the Limit Tables.

At 10:23 AM, Blogger GaryC said...

Sounds like an awesome room, glad you enjoyed it. Speaking so highly of it, even tho you lost money speaks volumes.

Nice write-up.


At 11:05 AM, Blogger Jordan said...

Thanks guys. Losing does suck, but I had to give the room it's due. My buddy Aps might be going back again tonight. I know I won't but I am tempted with the $25 freeroll happening every night until Sunday. As expected, attending a poker room in the city is like a pandora's box.

At 12:27 PM, Blogger doubleas said...

Not reloading when you were down to $20 in a $1/2 NL game is the first thing that pops out at me. If you have an edge in the game, you should have everyone covered. If you don't have edge, then you probably shouldn't be playing.

Calling 25% of your stack with A4 is the second thing.

Finally, IF you are willing to put your chips in there AND you figure you can't fold a better hand AND you are a short stack, why not let them bet the hand for you since you're first to act? If they have a worse hand than you, they'll bluff more often than call. Sure he called with 99, but that is because he is an idiot.

2nd hand...I like your line since you are not deep stacked.

At 1:35 PM, Blogger Jordan said...

Thanks DoubleAs. You are mostly dead on about the first hand. I was shortstacked, and probably should have rebought, but I was on a budget, so that wasn't an option.

Even so, I should have pushed pre-flop or folded with that preflop bet. Very stupid of me.

However, I don't think it makes sense to let them bet for me, because, ideally, I wanted them both to fold. OR I wanted one to call me ONLY. I didn't want them both in there because I was scared of someone drawing to a flush. As it turned out, the donkey with 99 and no diamond for the flush draw, called.

I think I played the 2nd hand close to perfectly. The only thing that wasn't perfect was the fact that I lost. This makes me think there was some error. Perhaps I should have raised pre-flop to push out players. At the time, my goal was to limp and hit the three of a kind. My goal worked, but the outcome wasn't as anticipated. I chalk that up to luck and not an error on my part. After all, I knew he would call with crap, and I got him to do just that.

At 2:53 AM, Blogger Joaquin "The Rooster" Ochoa said...

I have to agree with Double...but one thing I think..never be nice to your friends...I think you gave me way too much respect...on one hand where we ran it all the way to the end you should have just pushed all in. You had a small pair and were niffing me and the Russian guy with two over pair and nothing else...I lost a lot that hand, but you could have cleaned house if you would have pushed. You are a better player than that...but it was this laxed atmosphere that threw me off...just my own take...sure you feel the same.

At 2:53 AM, Blogger Joaquin "The Rooster" Ochoa said...

two over cards...not over pair...sorry about that

At 11:32 AM, Blogger Jordan said...

In reference to Joaquin's situation, in the hand, I held AJ, he held KJ, and the Russian has AJ also. No one hit the board and it checked around. I think there may have been three of a suit on the board and I did not have the draw. I had 20 left (besides what I already put in the pot), and on the turn, Joaq bet $5 (a small bet). I folded, and Russian called. On the river, I think Joaq bet big and the Russian called with Ace high. I should have gotten in there more, I suppose, but I honestly thought you hit the board, Joaq. I do, however, tend to play against friends lighter than others. This just wasn't one of those situations. It was a misread. I really liked the post oak bluff (small bet into a pot to induce a fold). Kudos to you on that hand.

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