The views expressed here are from an ex-poker dealer that could step back into the box at any point in time — or not! Sometimes funny, sometimes cold and cutting, sometimes just tossing out a little bit of wisdom I learned about myself while pitching tickets and playing poker for over 30 years, this is an ongoing walk-through of what it's like to sit in the poker dealer's chair – the box.
Poker can strip your emotions down to the point where you become an unrecognizable animal if you let the game get to you, and turn you into a gloating idiot when you take down a pot that you probably shouldn't have played to begin with — either way, you're in animal mode. Your emotions are showing and you didn't even know you forgot to dress for the ball. It's hard to keep your poker face on all the time and many players can never accomplish it.
So what's the big deal about nondisclosure?
The first point I would like to make is that the world is primed to jump into one big poker game, mixing it up with players from around the world, and start jamming, yet the cheating and collusion that hits the poker media every now and then gives the game a bad rep. I believe that transparency is a key part of the game. Anyone that has any interest in the game of poker, or is thinking of taking their first step into the ultimate mental battlefield, should be in the know about poker and the players that make the game what it is, yet casinos and most players don't want anyone — especially dealers, cashiers, and poker room management — to say or write about anything that happens in the playing arena. To which my response is, "Really?"
Everyone, and the horse they road in on, and the dog that followed them, is hardwired into social media. There are more videos on poker players in cash games and tournaments on the internet than the World Series of Poker has in their entire media vault.
Several past events come to mind as I write this that relate to the days my butt sat in ‘the box’ and those past events caused a stir when I wrote about them in my blog, but before I get to those, I’ve had a few bites from poker dealers that would like to air their side of the green felt here in The View from the Box but they had to sign a disclosure agreement with their employer that they would never talk about what happens at work.
Again, I respond “Really?”
Go check out youtube.com or Facebook or Twitter, and you’re late, the news is already there. And the next point, before moving into the past events is, if you play poker, and don’t want to be written about or talked about as being an ass, don’t act like one…we all know that poker is one long game. At the end, how do you want to be remembered?
The several past events will take more than one edition of The View from the Box so the first thing I want to toss out for the world to be reminded of is that I blog about my personal life, and poker, and poker players, and events. Diptards that can’t figure out what having chips in front of them means (in case you’re wondering and need a refresher course, it means you are playing cards. Just do it and leave all the pain and agony out of a dealer or floor person’s life). So…hang on, and get ready to cruise, from my side of the table, into one of the past events.
In 2007 I put up a blog post titled “Behind the Noise.” I dealt a little piece of insanity in Bobby’s Room in which Brian Townsend and Sam Farha were playing heads-up. That game finished at the end of my down because the agreement was made – between them – that they would stop when the next dealer came in. You need to take a moment and go read the post here before you continue reading to fully appreciate the rest of this.
I didn’t write Behind the Noise to make anyone look bad. I simply wrote about a half hour out of my eight-hour shift that the poker wannabes of the world want to know about (keep in mind that I wrote it for myself and my poker history, not yours) and it received over 4,000 hits in 24 hours because one of my readers posted the link on the TwoPlusTwo forum, and many of the readers went batshit with it. There were 50 some comments on it and many were very negative, implying that I was whining about not getting tipped. Let me set that straight right now, if you think I went home at night gnashing my teeth and pulling my hair out because I didn’t get tipped, get a life – and welcome to the Club of the DipTards…you might even be named president if you keep thinking that way.
It was never about tipping. It was about the insanity of the game I was dealing and the stars (at the time) that had center stage. The stars change all the time according to the limit of the stage.
Many of the comments were supportive and fun.
I didn’t know Brian Townsend, and I still don’t other than dealing to him a few times. I happened to have a very good dealer/player relationship with Sam Farha. He told many players and his sweaters that I was the only dealer he liked.
I wrote that blog post because I wanted my own game history and a story of what my life in the box was like, not out of malice or anger. I actually found the whole scene quite entertaining and just wanted to share it. There was no one else in Bobby’s Room that night except the floor person that came in to check the time drop and bring empty chip racks when those two were calling it a night.
At the time that the negative comments came in, I was a bit steamed – I lost my poker face. For those of you that have never sat in “the box,” you really have no idea how hard it can be at times. My next blog post was “Dodging a Bullet” in which I tried to paint the whole scene of how it can take a toll on your happy face and ruin your shift when you see high limit looming on the horizon and know you’re going to have to put up with certain faces that are going to be in your face for part of your shift. There are dealers that will pay another dealer to swap out a down with them because they simply can’t stand to put up with the high limit bullshit. That’s what the essence of “Dodging a Bullet” is about because I had a dealer approach me about swapping out one-half hour with him where I would deal Table 1 for him – he was going to pay me to take the down. Read it here.
We had a couple of dealers that couldn’t handle the high limit so they got routed around it. I call bullshit on that. If one dealer can escape it because they can’t handle it, we should all be able to. Give the high limit players a deck and have them deal their own.
The post following “Dodging a Bullet” goes into the comments and tipping that played out in “Behind the Noise” and “Dodging a Bullet” — it's pretty long, but the read is worth it and comments from a high limit player are worth reading at the end of “Comments and Tipping.”
I’ve not sat in the box since 2007. I didn’t get fired, I quit because I had a plan, not because anyone got to me or the heat was too extreme, it was just time to move on to other things.
And again, most of the time I really enjoyed my job once I figured out that the players weren't mad at Linda, they were just mad at the dealer. I’ve had great downs with players that play high limit where they wouldn’t allow a diptard to give me any shit when I sat in the box, Mike Matusow, Layne Flack, and Freddie Deeb, just to name a few.
When you deal any limit, you can run into diptards, even in $1-$5 7 Card Stud. If one player is twitching and fritzing and starts giving the dealer hell, the whole table can turn on you — like a lynch mob – but all it takes is one player to stand up for the dealer and it usually stops.
So…pull out your smartphone and start your video engines and take pictures and keep filling up social media with your favorite – and non-favorite poker players. But don’t give someone who works in the industry hell for writing about the players and the game.
Check back for Part II.
I am soliciting dealers to join me in this great adventure of writing a history of poker from the dealer’s side of the table. A brief sketch of the details are listed in Table Tango, (my blog) in this post, if you would like to find out more information. I would love to share comments from readers but at this time there is no convenient system installed at PokerWorks to handle this. Send me an email – info(at)pokerworks.com — if you want to be one of the contributors to this section, and in the meantime, I’ll work at finding a way to enable a comment section.