Ship It, Fish! - Longer Piece on Shooting in the New York Times

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Those of you in NYC probably already saw this, but for the sake of those of you elsewhere, I thought I'd link to this article in the New York Times regarding the shooting at a poker club here that I recently wrote about.

I find a few quotes amusing:

“A week ago, there were two or three rooms operating in Manhattan, but now there are zero,” said Steven McLoughlin, a poker aficionado who moderates a poker discussion at twoplustwo.com and closely follows the Manhattan club scene. ”You don't know what can happen.“

I have no interest in finding the clubs anymore, but this blatantly can't be true. I've gotten SMS and emails from a number of clubs announcing their “new security measures” and offering freerolls. I am sure attendance is way down, but they are still making a go.

And then there's this one:

“But the overwhelming majority are not compulsive gamblers,” he [the broadcast producer who has frequented clubs for five years] said. “They do this as a way of blowing off steam, and that is healthier than sitting in front of the TV.”

First, sitting on your ass at a poker table is probably slightly less healthy than sitting on the couch watching TV. After all, at home, most of us don't have a waitress bringing us junk food and sodas; we actually have to make the walk to the kitchen for that. Second, most people I've met in the NYC poker scene do have some sort of gambling problem, even if it is a minor one.

Finally:

The people interviewed for this article would not say who sponsors and operates the Manhattan clubs, but insisted that there was no hint of involvement by organized crime.

Obviously, people did not pay much attention. What about the partially confirmed rumors of how the former part-owner of the O. Club had gambling debts with the mob and was funneling money to pay them back? How about the older folks at the E. Club who would just sit and watch? And the stories of how the T. Club had paid for protection to keep them safe?

I agree the connections were tangential and the bigger $10k buy-in games were probably much more connected, but there is somewhat no denying it.

BTW, I've been playing online some, which if probably a story worth posting and might do so soon.

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From:(Anonymous) on 14 November 2007 at 18:12
Subject: Sticking to Home games
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It's sad that the gentleman lost his life over something so no threatening as underground poker. I've been to a club a couple times and though it was a nice chnage from the usual home games i play at my buddies apt. If this is something that's going to be a trend then i amhappy playing with my buddies (annoying as they are sometimes), playing online, and occasionally playing at Foxwoods or Atlantic city.
For me the games is an escape from life, the X-box/Playstation 3 alternative, job stress, girlfriend stress, and living in NYC stress. It's a Genltemens game, which now includes ladies too, and should be respected as such.

Abe- Manhhatan
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From:shipitfish on 14 November 2007 at 19:08
Subject: Re: Sticking to Home games
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I agree with you; it's extremely unfortunate that this sort of reasonable activity has been pushed underground. I talked about the organized crime connection in my post above, but the fact is, the only way to play live poker in NYC in a place other than a home game is to go to organized crime (even if it is small-time organization).

It should be noted that home games are completely legal. Be careful not to charge your players when you host, though, as it is illegal to run a game and profit from it. I've wondered sometimes if this means it's illegal to win when you play in your own home game, but let's hope that they don't start busting people for that. :)

From:tmttr on 1 December 2007 at 00:50
Subject: Re: Sticking to Home games
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"I've wondered sometimes if this means it's illegal to win when you play in your own home game..."

As I recall, the law is pretty clear that "winning" is not illegal by itself.

I may see you in AC tomorrow.

Good luck.

C
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