Stories of Illegal Underground Poker in New York Conquer Reddit’s /r/Poker
Table Of Contents
- Inside Underground NY Poker Reddit Links
- Inside Underground NY Poker Excerpt
This month, via the social sharing platform Reddit, a poker dealer and former player started telling his story. However, this was no ordinary story. Over the past fortnight, Julius – not his real name – has started to reveal all about the illegal underground poker games in New York that he played or dealt in over the past fifteen years.
Feedback from the poker community has been overwhelmingly positive, with hundreds of poker players, dealers, and fans rushing to request more chapters. It’s the latest poker binge and we caught up with the creator.
“I was really nervous when I made the first post,” says Julius, clearly shocked by the popularity of his story-telling. ‘I thought I was going to get a ton of crap for it. I’d been browsing the sub-Reddit on poker for a while and looking through the content I couldn’t find anything that was remotely similar.”
"I’d been browsing the subreddit on poker for a while and looking through the content I couldn’t find anything that was remotely similar."
Julius is, as you might expect, deeply entrenched in the poker world, and currently resides in Vegas; the ‘gambling capital of the world’. Having left New York some time ago, he feels like he has sufficient distance from the subject matter to tell all about working in underground poker rooms. The kind of places the creators of Rounders visited to research the 1998 movie.
“I work for a few different poker rooms in Vegas and the most common thing people ask me is ‘Where are you from?’ Eighty percent of the time, the next question is ‘Did you play poker in New York?’ When I tell that I played and dealt in underground clubs, they want me to tell them the crazy stories or if I saw cheating.”
That’s how the Reddit story started. One night, Julius left his last table and got home fuelled with an impulse to write about when he first visited a poker club when he was a 16-year-old. The next thing he knew, it was three hours later, and he’d created the first chapter.
“I have no formal training in writing and I’m sure that’s evident. But I’ve always enjoyed being articulate in my life. I’ve never done anything even remotely similar to this. I have no idea where this came from.”
The impulse has taken him to eight chapters to date, with plenty more to come. The one-time computer programmer, who was born in California but then moved to the East Coast and New York, loved the perks in New York, and money was the root of it.
“I had a pretty good job at a software company but always dealt poker on the side at nights or weekends, because the money was fantastic, and it was cash.”
Julius became drawn into the poker world more and more. It came to a point where he was making a lot more money in the poker games than he was in his regular job.
“I was happier doing it. I love the game and the industry. It brings me a lot of joy.”
That joy runs right through his story, and despite having to change a few names and clubs (‘Out of respect and not to blow a spot’), Julius may have protected people’s names but he lays the tale out there as honestly as it comes. This is the truth of what dealing to poker players or playing poker underground is really like. Julius believes dealing has made him a better player, but that’s not something he thinks applies to everyone.
"I had a pretty good job at a software company but always dealt poker on the side at nights or weekends, because the money was fantastic, and it was cash."
“My favorite book is the myth of poker talent by Alex Fitzgerald. The best players in the world put in the most time and work the hardest.”
As a dealer, Julius thinks he and his fellow dealers have the opportunity to pick up poker skills to pay the bills. It all comes down to that hard work element.
“We get to observe tens of thousands of hands on a daily basis eight hours a day. If you study the game and pay attention to the hands you’re dealing, you can learn quite a bit.”
Julius believes most dealers have an advantage – but only if they pay attention to players they deal to and embrace the study sign of the game. But he does… so why isn’t he the best poker player in the game?
“I have horrible bankroll management!” he says with a rueful laugh. “I used to play $5/$10 but the game has become extremely nitty. I’ll play $1/$3 in Vegas because it’s so easy. I get the itch for poker two or three times a week, but I deal every other day; I work seven days a week.”
Despite his obvious love for the game, Julius, now nearing 30 years old, has no desire to turn professional in poker. But he does love mixed games and says that mixing it up helped his No-Limit Hold’em game immensely. Some stories will come up in future chapters that explore that… along with police raids, crazy poker hands, and getting out of New York just as Julius’ luck was running out.
“Because I titled it ‘Inside Underground NY Poker’, I guess it’ll end when I made the move to Las Vegas. In my life, that was a new chapter for me, but I’m only up to 2007 right now, so I’ve got some time to go through before I leave.”
Now Vegas-based, Julius’s adventures have continued above board with a dealer’s license. He loves being in the gambling capital of the world. He made the decision to move to Vegas because he’d had enough of dealing underground illegally. It was only a matter of time before something bad happened in New York. But hey, if you’re reading his adventures, you’ll know that danger is on 5th Street waiting for him.
Read it yet? If not, you can find all the chapters right here. Here at PokerNews, we’re hooked.
Inside Underground NY Poker Reddit Links
- Inside Underground NY Poker (part 1)
- Inside Underground NY Poker (part 2)
- Inside Underground NY Poker (part 3)
- Inside Underground NY Poker (part 4)
- Inside Underground NY Poker (part 5)
- Inside Underground NY Poker (part 6)
- Inside Underground NY Poker (part 7)
- Inside Underground NY Poker (part 8)
Inside Underground NY Poker Excerpt
With Julius’ permission, an excerpt of one of his stories. This bit comes from the opening post; Part 1.
“When you rang the bell, they’d ask you who you were, you’d tell them how and who invited you, and in a minute or two you’d be buzzed in through the first steel door. After entering, you’d come to a second steel door with another camera positioned in front, which only opened from the inside.
"you’d come to a second steel door with another camera positioned in front, which only opened from the inside."
When you finally entered the room, it was gorgeous — clean, large, comfortable, and was equipped with everything you wanted in a club. A full-sized kitchen, multiple clean bathrooms (one even had a shower), a lounge area, a high limit room, waitresses, a bunch of large flat screen TV’s, and a smoking room among other things. The first thing you’d notice was that they had 6 high-quality poker tables paired with executive chairs, not including the one in the high-limit room. This club was spacious.
As you walked in, a valet would ask for your keys and he would go fetch your vehicle and park it in an organized fashion amongst the others. You’d then make your way over to the podium and tell the floor which game you wanted to play — they usually had at least several games going — $1/$3, $2/$5, and $5/$10 NL and higher when it ran, but the much higher games were much more private.
Strapped with $1,000 in cash on me, I request a seat in the $1/$3 game and eventually make my way onto the table. The max buy-in was $500, which I opted for because most stacks at the table were deep. It didn’t really matter anyway — this was my first time playing in an underground poker club and I was nervous as hell.”
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