Thursday, August 11, 2005

Ending of the Age of Aquarium

Well, it may go on but it won't be the same.

Yesterday, while playing a rare Wednesday night session, I got some news bad enough to have me get up in the middle of a push. At that moment, I just did not feel like playing.

Bill has sold the club. Moreover, I understand that the new management has made no commitment to keep the existing staff.

When I heard the news, I knew that Bill was upstairs, but he had company and I didn't want to trouble him. I planned to call him today to get the details and headed back to Jersey to mope at home with the missus.

Classy to the end, Bill had not expected me to hear the news from someone else and had intended to take me aside from the table and speak to me in person. Upon discovering my departure, he called me up.

The offer, which appears to have arisen quickly, was too good to turn down. Bill's plan for the club was grand and its execution impeccable. Unfortunately, his timing was awful.

The club opened a week before Playstation and NYPC were shut down. F-Train and I were in there the night before those sad events, and I can tell you, the place was primed to take off. Over a hundred new memberships in the first week, clearly the classiest club in New York, backed by a serious, well-resourced player and staffed with some of the best dealers I’ve seen.

With the raids, Bill was forced to shut down for two weeks. The city’s player base, though still strong, has been depleted and the ability to market even a gem like Aquarium is limited under the circumstances. The place just hasn’t been filling up fast enough.

He was starting to have some success with higher stakes tourneys, but I think it wasn’t clear if that was sustainable. I think long-term viability for a place with that kind of overhead requires filling at least some tables with a steady feed of low-limit games. Furthermore, aside from the business risks, the risks Bill was facing weren’t the same he thought was when he opened in May. Add up the points together with the offer and it’s clear that a laydown was a plus EV move.

It just sucks.

Bill asked me to express his apology to readers of this blog that things went down this way. I really don’t think he has any need to apologize. In fact, thank you Bill for giving it the shot you did.


At Thu Aug 11, 12:35:00 PM 2005, Anonymous War said...

This really REALLY sucks. I hope I don't have to find a new place to go lose my money.


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