Perhaps this is a premature report, but there is some circumstantial evidence that one of the two remaining lower limit poker clubs on the island of Manhattan was busted on Friday. I had previously reported the bust of this particular club, as it was shut down temporarily but reopened a few weeks later. Some information indicates that it's really gone this time, but I'll keep reporting as I get confirmation and/or more information.
I have apparently included my luck of visiting clubs just before or after busts. I showed up the afternoon after the New York Player's Club bust to find it gone; I was at All-In the very night of the bust, having left early. This time, I finally decided to visit the highest raked game in the city, find the club bustling with 7 (!) tables, and hear about a probable bust the end of that very week.
I believe the E. Club — a tiny two table club somewhere on Manhattan — keeps rolling on. I know of a few clubs in the boroughs which I haven't visit but may. However, if this bust has happened, it's another major blow to the possibility that New York City poker for the casual player will continue to exist. Heck, maybe AC casinos are bribing the busts in preparation for the high speed train next year?
Of course, there are still super small stakes home games, and there are giant private games (I won't be playing $75/$150 Stud or $10/$20 NL any time soon, for example). But, for the lower limit enthusiast who'd like to play bigger than $.5/$1 NL but below $10/$20 NL, the games are disappearing.
There was an interesting article recently in Bluff Magazine about the NYC poker scene. It's further evidence that if you have really big money to put in play around the city, you can find a game without a problem. But, small-time poker is becoming less and less worth the risk for most club owners. Even the last group associated with the famous Mayfair club, who were still operating in the city as recently as a year ago have given up and aren't running clubs. When I was in Vegas, I ran into the floorperson who, after living through the New York Player's Club bust, ran The Loft then the Studio then the New Studio and finally gave up. Instead, he's a $30/$60 limit HE pro in the games at the Wynn every day now. It's just not worth his while to run his club.
I have the urge to rant and rant about how the city could build a nice tax base making poker legal, that it's no worse than the Off Track Betting store-fronts on every corner, and that we'd find what California has — legal poker doesn't lead to degeneration of society.
I don't know if it's really worth it. Everyone reading the rant likely agrees with me, and we know the legislature is absolutely fine with being two-faced about what gambling they will permit. You see, New York City isn't a dump truck; it's a series of tubes. We can let horses ride through those tubes, but poker chips clog it. Only lottery balls can clear such a clog. (I was fortunate enough to have been in the studio audience of The Daily Show the very day that particular sketch aired. It vaguely makes me feel better. Laughter the best medicine and all that.)
Anyway, I'll go back to being a degenerate New Yorker engaged in activities shunned by my government. People playing poker must be the worst social problem we face in the USA, no? I'll log onto an online poker site and wait for the jack-booted thugs to bang down my apartment door to stop me from engaging in such socially harmful activity.