When Matt Lamb started playing poker with friends during his senior year of college, he often would come home and want to continue playing the game he enjoyed.
There was nowhere to play.
“When I came home I found there was nowhere to play outside of Toledo and Cleveland,” he says. “I felt uneasy about playing with people who I didn’t know in a home game, and I knew I wasn’t the only one looking for a safe, comfortable environment to enjoy the game.
Now Lamb doesn’t have to leave his hometown in order to enjoy a game, as he will soon open his own club.
What is it:
Ship It Poker Club is named in honor of the city’s shipping history on the Great Lakes and Lamb’s family ties – his father, Joe, runs the Goodtime I.
“Ship It was a term that bridged the gap between the local area and poker terminology,” Lamb says. “[It] seemed all too fitting for the community.”
For now, Lamb says he is starting small with two tables offering cash games and some smaller tournaments. As the business grows, though, he would like to move to a larger location with more tables where he can host larger tournaments “that will attract people from all over northern Ohio,” he says.
The club will include televisions for players to watch sporting events, live streams, or other entertainment. Members can purchase soft drinks and snacks on-site. No alcoholic beverages or other intoxicating substances will be allowed in the club.
Matt Lamb stands in front of his new venture, Ship It Poker Club, at 3708 Columbus Ave. (Ship It Poker Club Facebook)Game play:
Ship It’s primary table game will be No Limit Texas Hold’em with 1/1 and 1/2 cash games and tournaments. Lamb will host other games as players request them, including Pot Limit Omaha.
All of Ship It’s games are rake-free, meaning money is never taken from the table, Lamb says.
“A casino will take a percentage of every pot up to a certain amount as their take of the game,” Lamb explains. “In a 1/2 No Limit Texas Hold’em cash game, this is 10% up to $6 out of every pot. At an average of 30 hands per hour, you do the math!”
Why is it important:
Lamb hopes his club will bring a sense of camaraderie to like-minded players in the area.
“Poker is a game that is enjoyed globally,” he says. “There is a community of people in Sandusky and the surrounding areas who have not had the opportunity to enjoy the game outside of their kitchen or living room without a drive to Toledo and Cleveland.”
Lamb chose to open his club at 3708 Columbus Ave. so he could be a part of the continued advancement of his hometown.
“I have lived in Sandusky my whole life, and wanted to stay close to home,” he says. “Sandusky and Perkins Township have been making great strides in their development and I want to be a part of that community development.”
Ship It will offer a one-time lifetime membership activation fee of $20, which includes access to all services and games that the club offers. The activation fee earns players two free hours of cash game play, which is a $20 value.
Cash game play is based on an hourly membership rate, Lamb says.
“You only pay for how much you play,” he says. “You will be able to preload your hours prior to taking your seat.”
Ship It’s pricing options:
$10 per hour flat rate
$100 purchase = 10 hours + 1 free hour of play ($9.09 per hour)
$200 purchase = 20 hours + 5 free hours of play ($8 per hour)
“This is designed to help lower the costs for more active players,” Lamb says.
All tournaments are advertised with the membership fee included in the buy-in price, and the cost varies depending on the buy-in for the tournament.
How to get involved:
While no opening date has been set, Lamb expects to have a grand opening in March, which will include a full schedule of events. Prior to that date, Lamb will host early access events that will be advertised on the Ship It Facebook page
. Those events will start this month as Lamb and his team finish renovations and training.