March 09, 2010

Where poker is friendly - Lucky Buck

I was in the Bay Area this weekend. For those who don’t know, I used to live in the area, while in grad school. It’s been 2 years since I moved down to SoCal. The trip was nice and short, mainly to visit old friends and attend a social event on Saturday. Aw, I miss old friends.

But I also went to play cards on Saturday night, after everybody retired to the couch around 10. It’s been about 6 long months since I’ve played live poker. My husband took my bankroll one afternoon and spent it on a car (with my permission, of course). But you can always come up with some 500$ from somewhere to play a night of 4/8, can’t you? :)

Ah, the local cardroom. The place where I learned to play. Really, no kidding. Yes, I had read Lee Jones’ “Winning Low Limit Hold’em”, but boy oh boy, was I a fish. I never talked to people about hands, I never went over my sessions. I just watched what other players were doing and mostly had fun. This small little place was the start of my poker, ha ha.

I’m talking about the Lucky Buck in Livermore (see pic on top from Poker Wikia ). You have probably never heard of it. It is tucked away next to a bowling alley, somewhere on the backside of downtown. When I first wandered in there, they had 4 tables and a teeny brush on the side. Normally only 2 tables where going. If the action was hot, it might go up to 3 at night. Only on Saturday nights might all 4 tables be going. But by 2005-6, the poker boom hit Livermore too and it started expanding until it reached 10 tables on the top of the boom at around 2007. Since Livermore had a 20$ betting limit (upped in 2008 to 100$), 10/20 was the biggest game in town, but boy was it fun!

If you grew your poker career playing online or on one of those huuuge places like Commerce or Foxwoods, I guess you’ll never really know friendly poker. The kind where you sit down and people ask you about your life, your dog, etc. at the table. Where only the new players ever berate the rest. Yes, everybody was grumpy and I had my love / hate relationship with most of the players, but a nice courteous tone behind everything goes a long way. Once, when one of the older players that played there every day (retiree that didn’t have anything better to do) ended up in the hospital, everybody pitched in and sent a huge flower basket and some even went up to visit him. Yes he was a grumpy asshole, but he was our asshole, goddamnit! I know I’m exaggerating, but that place holds a dear memory in my poker career.

Well, I was back after 2 years. The last 3 years, I have become accustomed to playing mostly online. Poker is a grind, no a fun, anecdote filled evening anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I love the analytical side of online and of course the comforts it gives you. But it sure felt fuzzy warm when I stepped in the cardroom and people started smiling and waving at me. I had to chuckle under my breath; my god, 2 years gone and I still recognize half the faces, ah we’re all degens in the end. The guy at the cage immediately put me down for games, though he had to apologize for forgetting my name.

I sat down at a 4/8 Hold’em game with a half kill. Suddenly the comfortness came in again: the Karaoke blasting from the bar next door (best Karaoke in town), the tiny bad beat Jackpot hovering around 3900$, the announcements of a satellite to a super satellite to send someone from the Lucky Buck to the WSOP Main Event.

The game went well, I got insanely lucky in some hands, but I won’t bore you with details. Left 160$ up, having tipped the dealer 3$ on like 3 hands (huge pots), drinking a red bull and having a pack of smokes. So if I had been there seriously I guess I would’ve been up more like 185$ or so. Who cares! Playing breakeven fun poker is what I was here for.

Before getting a seat I talked to Kenny at the cage and eventually even the owner Dale joined us. They had a really tough time during 2008 and beginning of 2009. The economic slump hit them very hard, plus poker wasn’t booming anymore. So late last year they installed banked games: blackjack, 3card poker and pai gow (you can’t have house games in cardrooms in California). That brought back some business. Funnily a guy waving a “poker” sign in front of the street, like the ones you see at Tax Centers or Housing Auctions helped enormously, too. Well, Dale finally had enough money to buy up a bigger place, much closer to the freeway. Hear the scoop here first folks, Casino 580, bigger and better should open in the Summer. Maybe one day, it’ll be all this famous place and I’ll be the one to say: “Oh yeah, I played there way back in the day, when it was called the Lucky Buck! And I won my first poker pot ever there hitting a set of 9s in the SB! Ah yes, good times!”

Haven’t played much online poker last week, runhot continues, though. Up about 60BB in 600 hands. Should grind some this week finally and work off some of those bonuses!

Posted By bellatrix at 07:47 AM

14 Comments

Tags: travel

14 Comments:

Lysistrata posted on March 09, 2010 at 14:10 PM

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Awww... this post makes me really happy.


G586 posted on March 16, 2010 at 10:56 AM

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Yes, me too, lovely post.


merry posted on March 21, 2010 at 20:32 PM

טוי_6

+1


disneyworld posted on September 27, 2016 at 19:17 PM

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