An enigmatic poker dealer and former player, known by the pseudonym “Julius,” has embarked on a storytelling journey that transcends the ordinary. In the past fortnight, Julius has divulged gripping narratives about his involvement in the clandestine world of underground poker games in New York, spanning a remarkable fifteen-year period.
The response from the poker community has been nothing short of extraordinary, with poker aficionados, fellow dealers, and fans eagerly clamoring for more chapters of his enthralling saga. This phenomenon has become the latest poker sensation, and we recently had the opportunity to catch up with the man behind the stories.
“When I made my initial post, I was genuinely apprehensive,” Julius confessed, clearly taken aback by the overwhelming popularity of his storytelling. “I expected to face a barrage of criticism. I had been lurking in the poker sub-Reddit for a while, and there was nothing remotely similar to my experiences.”
Julius is deeply immersed in the poker world and currently calls Las Vegas his home, often hailed as the “gambling capital of the world.” Having left New York behind some time ago, he believes that the geographical and temporal distance has equipped him to recount his tales of working in underground poker dens, the very places that served as inspiration for the creators of the 1998 film, “Rounders.”
“I work in various poker rooms in Las Vegas, and the most frequently asked questions I encounter are, ‘Where are you from?’ Eighty percent of the time, the subsequent query is, ‘Did you play poker in New York?’ When I reveal that I both played and dealt in underground poker clubs, they eagerly seek out the wild stories or inquire about instances of cheating.”
One evening, after finishing his last poker table, Julius returned home with a spontaneous urge to document his first encounter with a poker club.. Before he knew it, three hours had elapsed, and he had crafted the inaugural chapter.
“I possess no formal training in writing, and I’m sure that’s evident. But I’ve always valued eloquence in my life. I’ve never ventured into anything even remotely resembling this. I have no clue where this impulse came from.”
This impulse has driven him to pen eight chapters to date, with many more in the pipeline. A former computer programmer, born in California but raised on the East Coast, Julius was lured into the world of New York’s poker clubs by the allure of substantial cash earnings.
“I held a steady job at a software company but always moonlighted as a poker dealer during evenings and weekends because the money was simply fantastic, and it was all in cash.”
Julius became increasingly immersed in the poker world to the point where his earnings from poker games far outstripped his regular job.
“I found more fulfillment in it. I have a deep passion for the game and the industry. It brings me a lot of joy.”
This passion resonates throughout his storytelling, and while he has altered some names and club details out of respect for privacy and to maintain anonymity, Julius candidly lays bare the unadulterated truth of the underground poker world, whether dealing the cards or taking a seat at the table. He believes that his experience dealing has honed his poker skills, a sentiment that may not be universally applicable.
“My favorite book is ‘The Myth of Poker Talent’ by Alex Fitzgerald. It asserts that the world’s finest players invest the most time and effort.”
As a dealer, Julius believes that he and his fellow dealers have the opportunity to sharpen their poker skills to make a living, contingent upon putting in the hard work.
“We witness tens of thousands of hands every day, eight hours a day. If you study the game and pay attention to the hands you’re dealing, you can amass a wealth of knowledge.”
Julius contends that most dealers have an advantage, provided they delve into the study of the game and pay heed to the players they deal to. However, there’s a catch.
“I’m terrible at bankroll management!” he confesses with a rueful laugh. “I used to play $5/$10, but the game became exceedingly tight. In Vegas, I opt for $1/$3 because it’s more relaxed. I get the poker itch two or three times a week, but I deal every other day, working seven days a week.”
Despite his palpable love for the game, Julius, now nearing 30 years old, harbors no aspirations of turning professional in poker. Nonetheless, he savors mixed games and believes that diversifying his poker experiences significantly improved his No-Limit Hold’em skills. Future chapters promise to delve into such topics, along with tales of police raids, exhilarating poker hands, and his departure from New York, just as his luck appeared to be dwindling.
“Considering I’ve titled it ‘Inside underground poker in New York,’ I assume it will conclude when I made the move to Las Vegas. That marked a new chapter in my life, but I’m currently only up to 2007, so there’s more to recount before bidding adieu to New York.”
Now residing in Las Vegas, Julius’s adventures continue aboveboard with a dealer’s license. He relishes the experience of living in the world’s gambling epicenter. His decision to relocate to Vegas was motivated by a desire to leave behind the world of illegal underground dealing in New York, recognizing that it was only a matter of time before trouble came knocking. Yet, for those following his captivating tales, they are well aware that danger is lurking on 5th Street, waiting for him.