I was up in Monterey this weekend scuba diving with my buddy Jason. He’s got the poker bug as well so when we got into town he flipped through the phone book and found some local card rooms in the nearby town of Marina. After dinner we headed up to scope these places out.
Perhaps I’m a little pampered living in Southern California but I have to say that neither of these joints really impressed me. Our first stop was Mortimer’s, a dingy card room in the back of a bar. You have to walk through the bar to get to the swinging door that leads into the main card room. I asked the girl at the board what kinds of games they had running and she said that the minimum was $3/$6. Since I usually play $2/$4 in the B&M casinos I wasn’t real comfortable with that and there was also the sleaze factor working on me that said that this is not the place you want to move up in limits.
We went out the side door and crossed the street to the Marina Club. I would call the place a sh*t hole but that would be doing a disservice to both sh*t and holes. The card room was about living room size and had a few tables scattered about. It also had a bar up front but we had entered in the side door so we were spared the loud music and pool table slalom. I asked one of the floor persons if they had $2/$4 and her response was “You can bet two dollar or you can bet four dollar,” which I ignorantly assumed meant $2/$4 limit poker. What it meant was it was $2/$6 spread limit poker. Since I was already seated and the lowest stakes game in town looked like this one I decided to stick it out and see what happens.
The action was similar to .50/$1 Party or Paradise play on a loose aggressive table. Lots of raising and re-raising pre-flop, 4 or 5 callers, and lots of bluffing. To make matters worse, I couldn’t hit a straight or flush draw to save my life. In two and a half hours I won exactly one hand. Oh well, cards always seem to come around if you just keep playing the odds but I never got to see that rush because of the following incident.
UTG bets $6, he gets 6 callers and when it comes back to him the dealer says, “You can call or raise. It’s $6 to you.” Now, go back and read the previous sentence. UTG bets, is called around the table, and then is given the option to raise. Of course, he does, and the bet comes to UTG+1 for another $6. That’s when nearly everybody at the table said “Whoa! He can’t raise because nobody re-raised and he lead out the betting.” The dealer insisted that someone had raised and she pointed at UTG+1 and said “You raised $6.” He had not raised so then she went next down the line and claimed that he had raised. When she finally ran out of people she said “Oh, well, it’s $6 to you,” to the UTG+1 player. Again, the table erupted into a chorus of protests that UTG should not be allowed to raise his own bet and after a feeble defense the dealer set out to prove she was right by re-enacting the betting by putting the chips back in front of each player as she recounted how we had acted. Of course, she came to the end and when UTG told her what his action had been . . . the chips didn’t support her claim.
Now, a mistake is a mistake but here it starts to spiral out of control. The dealer reaches for the cards and quickly deals the flop as she informs the table that UTG+1 won’t have to call the raise. Again, the table erupts in protest since UTG either should get his bet back if we’re right or we all have to call if she’s right. Just dealing the flop is the worst possible solution. The hand should have been called dead if there was any question over what the right move was. Now the dealer gets bent out of shape and walks away from the table and marches out of the room. The floor person calls over another dealer who sits down and asks us what happened. We tell him, he looks down at the flop, and announces that once the flop is dealt that the hand has to be played out. We explain that we had told her not to deal the flop and she did so anyway trying to cover up the mistake. He says tough luck and then more bickering goes on and then he finally says, “Ok, everybody just turn up your hole cards.” As we do he deals the turn and the river and pushes the pot to the guy with the best hand.
Now, the funny part about all of this (at least up until this point) is that every single player at the table is in agreement. Even the guy who got the chips pushed to him is arguing with the dealer that what happened isn’t right. When the dealer went to deal the next hand over half the table (including myself) got up and walked out.
So if you’re ever up in the Monterey, Ca. area and thinking about playing cards . . . I can’t speak for Mortimer’s but I highly recommend that you don’t waste your time at the Marina Club.