Season 4 of Poker After Dark continued to evolve the reach of the show; early in the season they embraced the young guns that rose through the ranks of online poker and producers honored the history of poker with the “Mayfair Club” table now available on PokerGO. Before poker’s explosion, the game was found in smoky rooms of private clubs – the most famous was the Mayfair Club in New York City.
Many pros from the old guard cut their teeth playing in New York’s private clubs and PAD producers invited Mayfair Club owner Mike Schichtman and five notable players from his club: Howard Lederer, Dan Harrington, Steve Zolotow, Mickey Appleman and Jay Heimowitz for a winner.
The group accounted for eight World Series of Poker bracelet wins in the 90s, with a few in the 80s and a couple in the early 00s. Harrington famously made back-to-back Main Event Final Tables in ‘03 and ’04, wrote the influential instructional series “Harrington on Hold’em” and had the flattest bill on a ball cap years before it was fashionable.
Appleman finished in the top 25 of the WSOP Main Event four times – 8th place in 1987, 22nd place in 1989, 20th place in 1990 and 9th place in 2000.
The Mayfair Club was opened in the 1930s as Bridge Club, Schichtman took over the room in 1988 with 12 tables and was referenced in “Rounders”. Players from the new generation like Nick Schulman and Vanessa Selbst got their start at the Mayfair Club and the like.
Mike Schichtman owned and ran the Mayfair Club.
While the action wasn’t blistering at the start, the first flop coming 12 minutes into the episode, the table talk was legendary. Zolotow recounted the first time Stu Ungar visited the Mayfair Club at just 13-years-old.
“A guy name Vic Romano was a bridge player, a mob guy, and Stuey’s first Godfather,” Zolotow said. “Vic would play rummy with these guys and always lose money. He brings in this kind one day and said, ‘Oh, I’ve got this headache today, I can’t play. Here, you can play my nephew.’”
“He put Stuey in the game,” Zolotow continued. “And he just started beating all the hot players.”
“It [Rummy] was his first game,” Lederer said.
Heimowitz wanted to confirm a rumor he heard, “When he won his first Main Event, was it true that he had never played No Limit Hold’em?”
“It’s true, I remember them talking about it. The most amazing thing is that he didn’t start playing No Limit until after he won that tournament,” Appleman said.
Legends about Ungar are just the tip of iceberg of the table talk between the six senior players. Watch all six episodes of Poker After Dark in The Vault on PokerGO to see which player ultimately broke up the friendly game and walked away with the $120,000 winner-take-all prize.