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.
It’s difficult to try and explain everything that’s involved in a poker game to many people because they view it strictly as gambling. But there’s so much involved in the ‘whole’ picture that in order to understand the game, you have to delve into every recess of the mind to find all the nerves that connect to the center of being. See, it’s not necessarily about the money, or the competition, or the matter of being able to handle an up or down swing, or time management, or anger control, or the skill factor, or learning the game, or conquering yourself — that barely touches the surface of why you take a seat. Yet combining all of those factors begins to fine tune the picture into perspective.
In order to understand the game and what drives people to play it and come back again, and again, you have to take a seat. After sitting in the seat – from both sides of the table – I feel I’m practically an expert on the scientology of poker. It is a game, no doubt about that, but does the game stop and start with a deck of cards? Yes and no, is the best answer I can give.
If you play poker, you know why Andy Beal came back after his initial headfirst dive into the game. Since he has more money than I could ever count, you also know why he chose to play the high stakes games. Why would he play $3/$6 limit for hells sake? Yes, I did deal to Bill Gates at the Mirage in a $3/$6 Hold’em game but that situation was completely different. Beal has passion! That would be the best way to put it, a passion for everything he does. With that being said, let’s jump back to the old blog posts and let you get a small glimpse of my view of the box.
Note that a lapse in the posting dates is due to Beal’s absence from the game.
4/07/01 - The limit hopped right up to $10,000-$20,000. I dealt the game about the 3rd hour into my night. It was fast and orderly, played with $5,000 chips and 9 players and a minimum buy-in of $200,000. Of course there was a waiting list...go figure.
A player was absent when I sat down...table conversation estimated the absent player was a million plus winner in the game. Seems huge when you punch a time clock but for that limit it really isn't.
Our stranger was involved in a few pots to the River. He only pulled a couple of small pots that were heads-up action, didn't show down any hands so it's difficult to judge the level of play.
A few hands were 3 way action to the River, but most hands were heads-up from the beginning. Everyone was absolutely on their best behavior...no card throwing, cursing or whiney baby tantrums.
A few of the players were talking about adding a Kill factor to the game or possibly just jumping it right up to $20,000-$40,000. It didn't happen then but maybe tomorrow.
There was, literally, millions of dollars on the table. The game was very easy to deal and they put some $$$ in my pocket - no, not enough for a buy-in into that game. :-)
4/11/01 - I was off over the weekend so missed any news that might have happened. When I went to work on Monday, news was the big game just broke up...that was 7 p.m.
Tuesday I dealt a heads-up, half 7 Card Stud/Chinese Poker game $500-$1,000 limit. I asked one of the players about Our Stranger. Apparently he's gone. He was going to play on Monday...everyone showed up but him. :-)
11/01 - For all of you that always wondered who the player was that spiced up the games to $10,000-$20,000 - this page gives you a basic background/idea of the man that came into Bellagio and played high limit poker this year with the best of the best.
I was off over the weekend. Report as of last night when I went in was that he was $1,000,000 ahead until Monday's play and they busted him. Will try to follow up with more accurate information after tonight.
12/12/01 - He's back. Andy's been playing $10,000-$20,000 in a rematch against the best of the best in 1 on 1 Freeze-out, Holdem contests. They had him 6 for 6 from a contest earlier this year. I'm not sure how he did in the 1st match with Howard L. I dealt 1 down of that. The following day Andy played Jennifer, heard he beat her.
12/17/01 - My first game of the night was on table 1, $300-$600 Stud, the game was 4 handed and the conversation veered to the 'big game'. This is the way it was stated from the players - I never asked any questions or said a word, just listened to the conversation.
Apparently Andy had the corporation beat. He chooses the player that he will play against. He had won back over $5,000,000, playing 1 player at a time...the limit mostly $10,000-$20,000 or $20,000-$40,000. When he beat Chau, all of the faces of the corporation fell. They were tapped out.
The corporation was sitting around playing Chinese Poker, Ted F. had a note pad and pencil to keep track of who owed who what because there were no chips on the table.
Doyle B. finally picked up 3 racks of chips - $5,000 chips and others - and walked over to the table Andy was seated at, stating, "If no one else will play you, I will."
Doyle and Andy played for about 20 minutes then Andy stated he was tired and was giving up for the day. The game ended.
The next day Andy came back to rematch with anyone that would play him...the players were all scraping and borrowing to get enough money together to put 1 player in the game with Andy. The turn around started. Ted F. busted him on Monday...the corporation all got their money back - it wasn't stated how many times Andy played each player and who won/lost after the turn around began...possibly more on that in the future. The win was somewhere around $6,000,000.
The consensus was, at the game I was dealing, that it was too bad Andy lost because there would be some great $200-$400 games if all the high limit players went bust...they would be forced to play lower. Also the statement was made that Andy could really break all of them....and of course, he'll be back.
I dealt the $10,000-$20,000 game as the 2nd game of my shift on the 14th. Andy was cordial and remembered me from his trip before...mainly because my name tag reads 'Missoula MT' and he's been there. Sadly, none of the dealers on my shift have received any kind of tip for dealing that game to date.
Check back for more in this continuing thread.
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.