The Mayfair Club via Wikipedia


The original wikipedia post can be found at

The Mayfair Club was a cardroom in New York. Originally starting as a bridge and backgammon club, it eventually became “the most touted card club in New York” until its abrupt closing by authorities in 2000.”[1] Unlike the other gamehalls in NY, The Mayfair Club kept a low profile in a basement. The games and tournaments were dealt by the players as opposed to professional dealers in a casino environment. Mayfair Club’s games were also noted for their high stakes and elite competition.[2]

The Mayfair Club developed a reputation as a training ground for poker players in the mid eighties as a result of a small group of elite players who played at the club. In the 1987 World Series of Poker, Mayfair Club regulars Jay Heimowitz finished in 11th place, Mickey Appleman in 8th, Dan Harrington in 6th, and Howard Lederer in 5th. This strong showing was repeated in the 1988 World Series of Poker when Jay Heimowitz finished in 15th place, and Erik Seidel in 2nd place.[3] Jay Heimowitz had previously finished in third place in the 1980 WSOP Main Event and in sixth place in the 1981 WSOP Main Event. As of January 2009, these five former Mayfair Club players have won a total of 22 World Series of Poker bracelets, four World Poker Tour titles, and numerous other poker accolades. In 1995, Dan Harrington won the WSOP Main Event, and he also went on to make the final table of the main event in 2003 and 2004, for a total of four WSOP Main Event final table appearances. They have also written numerous books and articles. The Mayfair was also home court for business executive Wendeen Eolis, the first woman to cash in the main event of the World Series of Poker in 1986. Other famous players such as Noli FranciscoStu UngarSteve ZolotowJason Lester, and Paul Magriel became club regulars, too, further enhancing the club’s reputation as the premier poker club in New York. Later, the Chesterfield Club in the film Rounders was modeled after the Mayfair Club.[4]

In October 2008, Poker After Dark featured “Mayfair Week” with six prominent players that had their early beginnings at the Mayfair Club.

As the state of New York considers poker to be a game of chance, it is legal to play, but illegal to garner a profit.[2] In other words, one can legally play and win, but operating a poker club is illegal.[5]For years, The Mayfair Club and other established underground poker clubs, were an “open secret among law enforcement officials.”[6] Prior to 2000, whenever a poker club was closed down by the police, it was due to other criminal offenses (usually drugs or weapons) not because of poker.[2] In 2000, Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s “Quality of Life” campaign led to the closure of the Mayfair Club and other game halls in New York.[2]


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