Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Poker Review at Bay 101

Just came back from a business trip in San Francisco. While I was down there for 5 days, I found the time to go take a trip to WPT/PPT stop, Bay 101, in San Jose. (I also made it to In-N-Out Burger... delish!) I had read that there was $5-$200 Spread game with a $200 buy-in, which essentially makes it no limit. But just like Muckleshoot, they have to follow technicalities, and hence, $5-$200 spread.

When I went there, it was a Tuesday night, but it was still very, very busy. They had roughly 35 tables going, with various ranges of limit, some $5-200 spread games, and a $10-$500 spread game going. They also had Omaha. I put my name on the $5-$200 spread list (it was a whiteboard) and waited 45 minutes until my name was called.

Now, I've been to a few cardrooms in my time and played plenty of poker, but I really felt out of place and was trying to do my best to get acclimated. While I was waiting, I was trying to feel out the players, the blinds, and the accepted betting patterns. Here's what I noticed during my session:

1) The Staff and Players. Everyone was seemingly on crack, both the staff and the players. The staff was professional, but short on words and moved players along as fast as they could. When they called a name, they waited about 10 seconds, and if someone didn't raise their hand or yell out in the very wide open room, they went onto the next name. I was extremely alert to the names they were calling out. As for the players, they were all the typical jaded gamblers type. Not many tourists or n00bies here. Everyone there had been in a cardroom... many a time. It was about 75% jaded, middle-aged, Asian gamblers there. Nuts.

2) The Blinds and Rake. The blinds were ridiculous. Big blind was $5, Small blind was $3... and the Button was $2!! The pot with just the blinds equalled $10. Blinds can all chop if everyone folds to the small blind... The Button Blind also got their money back, except for $1, which the house collected just for 30 sec of everyone folding. Ugh. This leads to the other crazy thing about the casino - they collected $5 for EVERY hand where there was any sort of voluntary action. So say that I have AA under the gun, and I make it $15 to go. Well, if everyone folds, the house takes their $5 rake, and I get $5 from the blinds. Big whoop. The players are very aware of this, so this does two things:
a) If a player is raising, they're doing all they can to raise with a reasonable amount so someone will call;
b) A call is more likely than a raise as NO one wanted the house to just take $5 from a no-flop hand.

As for the players, most were pretty very experienced and knew what they were doing. Still, there were more crazy Asian gamblers than usual... many of them were HUGE risk takers and weren't afraid to splash chips around with just a draw. LOTS of post flop play.

I'd recommend the place if you were looking for a game in the Bay Area. It's truly a unique poker experience, and the people there know their stuff. Just be prepared for the insane rakes and the crazy post flop action.


Marshall said...

Did they have any of those electronic tables?

Sushi Cowboy said...

If they are charging that same rake with electronic tables then that's even more insane. Read an article from Esfandiari and he claims those things are the future and everyone will be playing on them (article was a couple year old I think).