Factors that make limit poker games entirely uninteresting
I've played limit poker ($3/$6, $6/$12, and $9/18) at all the Bay Area casinos. They all run their rooms slightly differently. I've felt that the games at Bay 101 are the most lucrative, with Garden City being slightly less profitable, and Lucky Chances and Artichoke Joe's being the least profitable.
Over the last few years I've played the most at Bay 101 (about an hour away) and Lucky Chances (20 minutes away). The limit games in these rooms are run entirely differently. Bay 101 $6/$12 games tend to be tables full of mostly strangers. There is no jackpot there and therefore, a lower rake.
Lucky Chances is more like a dormitory disguised as a card room. All the dealers and players are very chummy, there's a bad beat jackpot that regularly runs between $75,000 and $125,000 and is awarded every couple of months, or more. And the rake is awful. $3 rake and $1 for jackpot. There's another $1 that eventually comes out of the pot (at like a $20 pot).
The dynamic of these cardrooms plays differently. The limit games at Lucky Chances for the most part aren't good, money-sloshing games full of tilty players. Here's why:
Implicit collusion: Most of the players in the 4 or 5 running 6/12 tables know each other. They don't try to play that hard against each other, and they often agree to check down hands to minimize variance. If you sit at a table long enough, people get bad beats, go on tilt, and then spew money. This is what you're waiting for. But if the guy with the pocket aces checks it down against his friend, he doesn't get the aces broken by some joker who calls him with 7-3, and he doesn't go on tilt.
Because the dealers, management, and players spend so many hours with each other and because the players are tipping the dealers and floor, these practices will never end.
Of course the guy with Aces doesn't make as much money, but exploiting premium hands for value isn't the point, because of the…
Bad Beat Jackpot: I cannot even count the number of times I've carefully architected my river play to get an extra river bet and had someone turn to me and say, "what are you doing, trying to make money? You know we're all just sitting here waiting for the jackpot."
The goal of many of these players is to sit here as long as possible, putting in as many hours as they can waiting for the jackpot. They often all play like nits, trying to lose the minimum every hand, and not trying to extract maximum value. Lots of hands get folded around and then chopped, which is partly because they're friendly, and also because of…
The awful rake: $4 and $5 drops when you count up the house rake and the jackpot rake. Ugh.
The end result of all these factors is games in which people just sit, fold a lot of hands, don't re-raise very much, and check it to the end. They sit for hours nursing their stacks.
Since the games at Bay 101 are better but it's too far to go on a regular basis, I think I'm going to switch to no limit for a bit and stay at Lucky Chances. The tilt and spew factor is probably better at Lucky Chances at no limit, and my no limit game isn't too bad.