I was down in Florida for the weekend visiting the maternal unit, who recently moved there from of all places California (to be closer to maternal unit's maternal unit). Knowing of my poker predliction, she kindly organized a trip with the slot slinging geriatric crew to the Seminole Hard Rock Cafe Casino in Ft. Lauderdale.
I remember from Gracie and her boyfriend that the Florida poker scene, due to some pretty crappy law, left a lot to be desired. With a very low betting limit, the game is divided into micro-bet, mega-rake or sit and goes. Also, there's lots of juice in Florida (triple pun that I have inflicted on several victiums TYVM).
So my expectations were real low. Then I got there and was temporarily happy to see that the Hard Rock had several levels of Sit and Goes, from 140 per through 1000. Notice however that I don't list the juice there. That's because they won't tell you--seriously, if you ask how much the house takes, the floor is compelled (he told me so) only to let you know the prize levels and you have to figure it out yourself. That's generally a bad sign.
So I figured it out for the 140s and the 250s. It's about 120+20 and 215+35. Not quite as bad as I expected given the clever subterfuge, but not up to NY card room standards either (or at least my club, which regularly spreads 100+10 and 250+25 MTTs). Still, it was a relatively pleasant surprise. OK you ask, what about the structure?
Here it is for the 140:
1500 chips, 50-100 blinds, doubling every 15 mintues.
Starting M's of 10 and if after 15 minutes you haven't taken a few pots, you're in the red zone. That's the worst blind structure I've ever seen. McPoker.
The 250 structure was only slightly better, with 2000 in starting chips, otherwise the same.
In other words, craps was being spread.
For sad comparison, at my club for the 100+10, you get 2000 chips with starting 25-25 blinds and 20 minute graduated increases. 250+25 you get 10,000 chips, starting 25-50, 30 minute graduated increases. This confirms the pattern I've seen: legal card rooms will always rip you off more than underground card rooms. Why? Because they can get away with it.
Well, I was stuck there down with the Gerital Gang and certainly wasn't about to hit the slots (no success in channeling Grubby), so I figured I try the lowest level poker-like substance they spread, a/k/a the 120+20 push and pray.
First shot, despite having no cards, I managed to take down a few small pots to stay above average as the table captain on my immediate right knocked off three players, including one where he called an all-in 1.5 pot sized turn bet on a QhJhJxJx board with two hearts holding 8h7h and hit an 8 on the river to beat AxTx ("I had outs"). I had 1900 as the blinds moved up to 200-400 in the small blind when 4 of the 7 remaining players limped into me. I had AJ and figured I might as well push with a chance to triple or quadruple up with what seemed likely the best hand. Unfortunately, table captain in the BB had JJ ("you are so behind") and no ace came so that was it for push and pray 1.
Second shot, hand 1, someone's AQ runs into AK, all in preflop. Hand 2, UTG, I have black kings and raise 50-100 blinds to 400. It folds around to cutoff who cold calls, and blinds actually fold. Flop is jack hi and I check, hoping to cutoff will take a stab. He does for another 400. I push. He calls with aces. Live poker is rigged.
Third shot, no, there was no third shot. I had enough of push and pray, took the folks out to dinner, enjoyed some very good wings, and hung the Florida poker hat up. See the flop...