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(Public Card Clubs in Gardena, California)

Stakes, $

Approximate Half-Hour Collections $/PIayer*

Average Hourly Rates, $/Player

1-2

1.00

2.00

2-4

1.25

2.50

3-6

1.50

3.00

5-10

2.50

5.00

10-20

3.00

6.00

20-40

5.00

10.00

30-60

6.00-7.00

13.00

40-80

8.00

16.00

50-100

9.00

10.00-12.00

22.00

* An extra $1-$2 is added to collections from lowball games with blind bets.

Poker generates substantial profits for the club owners--even after subtracting business expenses, high taxes, and an annual payroll of over $8,000,000 (according to the Gardena Chamber of Commerce). Who, then, are the smartest and most prosperous poker players in Gardena? The answer is the quiet, invisible club owners. Indeed, those club owners deserve admiration. What player could ever match their edge odds and consistent winnings from poker?

Still, how do the other poker players fare? If the average professional poker player in Gardena nets about $15,000 per year (estimated in footnote to Table 31), then the estimated 100 to 200 professionals in Gardena would extract $1,500,000 to $3,000,000 per year from all the other poker players. After allowing for those seats occupied by the professionals plus the empty seats and vacant tables during slack periods, the nonprofessional players occupy an estimated average of 800 seats in the six Gardena poker clubs. Those clubs, therefore, must extract $28,500 per year from each of these 800 seats to account for the $22,000,000 permanently removed each year. That means that the nonprofessional regular customer who plays forty hours per week must lose an average of $7000 per year if he plays better than half the other players in Gardena. (And, as a group, the Gardena players are the best and the toughest poker players in the world.) If he does not play better than half the players, he will lose more than $7000 per year by playing forty hours per week. If he is a much better player than the average Gardena player and can extract a net gain of $7000 per year from the other players, he will break even. And if he is good enough to extract a net gain of $22,000 per year from the other players by playing sixty hours every week, he will be in the same class with the average professional poker player by earning $15,000 per year. In other words, except for the few very best and toughest players, people pay dearly in both time and money for the privilege of playing poker regularly in Gardena. And as indicated in Table 32, players in the lower-stake games pay even more dearly for the privilege of playing poker regularly in Nevada casinos because of the higher percentage casino rake, but less dearly in most higherstake games because of the lower percentage rake.

To earn a steady income from public poker requires an exceptionally tough player with poker abilities far superior to those of the average player. To be a professional poker player in the Gardena clubs or the Nevada casinos requires long, hard hours that yield relatively poor yearly incomes. So most professional casino or club players seem to be wasting their abilities in unrewarding careers. And most other public poker players (the losers) are throwing away their time and money with methodical certainty.

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