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Pastime outside

Exterior of Pastime, at night, from the sidewalk outside

Hours Mon-Sat: 7pm-2am or later. Closed Sunday.
# Tables 2
Address 726 First Street, Benicia CA
Region Bay Area, California, USA
Phone 707-747-0207
Website (none)

Benicia was once the capital city of California, many years ago. It's still a pleasant city, tucked into an outcropping of the north peninsula jutting into the San Francisco river delta. It's known to the Bay Area more famously as the northern terminus of the Benicia-Martinez bridge, but its downtown area has a olden smalltown feel, with close tiny tree-lined streets and colonial-style storefronts on orderly avenues.

Directly in the middle of its laidback downtown is the historic Capitol Building. And right across the street is the Pastime Club and Card Room. It's one of the main hangouts for downtown: a smallish bar that's crowded with revelers on weekend nights. The karaoke machine cranks out hits from the 70's to the 90's as slightly drunk patrons try their hand at songs from Grease. Once the karaoke shuts down, it's back to standard classic rock in the background.

Oh, and in the back, they've got some poker tables. Only one is generally in use at any given time, but that's OK - this poker hangout is a place for friendly locals to gather, chat, and have some poker fun. Six nights a week, they get together and play. To add some variety to their schedule, they've decided to play a different form of poker each night they're open (well, some nights repeat), including the only regular live cash game of Crazy Pineapple in Northern California.

Games Edit

Limit hold 'em: 2/4, only offered on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays.

Omaha/8: 3/6, only offered on Fridays and Saturdays. Played with special purple three-dollar chips (the chips are not marked with a denomination, but are marked with the club name, unlike the dollar chips, which are marked with the denomination but not the name of the club).

Crazy Pineapple: 2/4, only offered on Wednesdays.

All games start at 7pm each night.

Rake is taken preflop: $3 for games with 4 or more players, $2 for 3 or fewer.

Blinds: on the Omaha are $3 for the big blind, and $3 on the button. There is no small blind.

Game Character: Incredibly loose and passive for the most part, it's basically a bunch of friends getting together and gambling. Occasionally, someone shows up who's loose/aggressive and drives preflop raises to the cap, but oftentimes, hands go the flop with everyone in for a single bet.

Posting: New players do not need to post.

Shuffling: All tables are hand-shuffled.

Wait Time: Generally, only one table is in operation for cash games, but the wait is still often short - there usually aren't enough people to fill the seats at the one open table, and the owners of the club sit in to fill it out. They'll step out if more players arrive, though.

Tournaments Edit

  • Mon, Tue, Thu at 7pm, they have a freeroll LHE tournament, with a cash game that follows. I don't know if there's any prize for the freeroll, beyond just bragging rights.

Jackpots and Promotions Edit

No jackpots.

Atmosphere Edit

It's a little hard to get used to playing in a back room of a bar when the "wall" between the room and the bar proper is a series of large windows. While playing, you can watch the party out in the main bar, and even see the karaoke screen the singers are watching. But likewise, the partiers can look in and watch you play. Actually, that's not that common (mostly they're there to dance and drink), so it's not oppressive. It's just a bit odd.

Pastime inside

Interior of Pastime, after that night's game is over

There's a TV on the back wall, tuned to a sports channel, so if there's any game going on you can watch. The poker room is frequented by a lot of smokers who also frequently ignore the state's ban on indoor smoking, so you can expect to get smoke-saturated if you play for long.

Neighborhood: Old-fashioned downtown area, mostly made up of small little shops that close at night, though there is a reastaurant/bar across the street that stays open late.

Parking: There's a few parking spaces behind the bar in an alley, but essentially the parking here is on the street. Since the poker doesn't start until 7pm, the parking on the street at that point is free.

Tables and Chairs: Unusually small 8-seat tables with a similarly unusual recessed 4-inch wide solid-wood "staging area" around the outside (after the vinyl armrest, but before the felt). Nice black vinyl armrests, nice green felt, nicely padded. Nice wooden chairs, fixed frame and fixed leg with decent padding.

Service and Comps Edit

You're in the middle of a jumpin bar, so you can get anything you want, as long as you can get it in the bar. No service, per se, but the bar's not far away if you wanna just get up and get something.

Links and NotesEdit

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