So today's trip to Commerce was largely unimpressive - I lost two buy-ins, due mostly to the fact that I saw nothing better than a pair of 4's in three hours, and lost my last buy in with AQ against KJ when I shoved on a 9-Q-X-X board only to have the K felt me on the river. However, I did glean some interesting information about games here in Southern Cali.
I was talking to the man at my right, solid player, and we didn't tangle at all, so he was pretty freely talking about some issues I was unaware of. At one point he said " I don't play at the Bike. They have too many house players." It was an odd enough wording that I wanted him to clarify....did he mean just people who played there regularly, or did he mean people who played for the house, like props? I had heard of props before, but I thought it to be largely myth, something you'd need to do to get a private club game going. No, in fact, he said it was common out here. He confessed he didnt know who all of them were, but once you were at a table with them, they were hard to miss. Unlike Commerce, the Bike sometimes has trouble keeping some games going, so props come in, get some action going, and take home a paycheck. Where can I get a job like that, I wondered. I then probed him for more juicy facts, and when I mentioned that I had some bad luck at Hollywood Park, he said, "they play in teams over there. Dont go there." I was flabbergasted. Teams? Granted, cards will win when they win, but subtle moves of the chips between team members can give lots of information to the other player about what they have. Had I been bamboozled by collusion? He said he had been approached by these people, which is why he knew, but he politely declined, allegedly. This was fascinating to me - and a bit unnerving, I'm not so naive to think that things like this don't go on, but I suddenly felt like I might have been molested by my once-friendly Uncle Poker - but the visions were so cloudy I don't quite remember what happened, or if anything happened at all. Either way, money is going to get a bit tight for me this month and I doubt I will have much opportunity to play anyway. I'll be doing a concert in mid-July in SF so there will be no poker for me then - though I may pop in and review a couple of rooms on my way up there and back.