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.
Where would the world be if not for poker? Oh yeah, that’s right, a lot of people think it’s a sinful endeavor designed by the devil to rob those who play of their soul and ability to reason.
If you play it right, it can definitely erase your ability to reason when you’re going through a bad run.
But realistically, poker is a game of people played with cards. Poker isn’t a reasoning mistress, it’s a game. A game that will bring you back time after time. A game of mathematics, emotions, weaknesses and strengths, played throughout your lifetime – if you’re lucky you’ll play it throughout your lifetime. Otherwise, how else would you make all those wonderful friends and be able to ROFL over some of the incredible antics and reactions you see in a poker game? How would you go to the Bahamas for the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure if you didn’t win your trip in a satellite? Seriously…how would you get up every day and admit that you never played poker?
While you’re thinking over all those profound questions, let’s get back to The View from the Box and the Andy Beal thread.
Note that a lapse in the posting dates is due to Beal’s absence from the game.
April 29, 03. He's four months over the deadline of when he said he'd be back and back he is...$30,000-$60,000 Limit Holdem with a $3,000,000 buy-in. Think those figures are a typo? It's just 6 chips and 12 chips, just like a $6-$12 game only played with flags. Andy's back and he's ready to play. He was heads-up with Chip R. when I went to work tonight.
He was always so friendly towards me when I dealt to him and spoke of Montana and how much he liked the state that I couldn't resist going up to say "Hello!" I waited until the dealer was shuffling and approached him with, "Hi Andy! Welcome back."
He jumped up and grabbed my hand, pulled off headphones, said he had ear plugs in and couldn't hear me very well. I repeated that it was nice to see him back in the room. He replied with a warm smile, "Thank you. It's nice to be back here."
I moved on and he went back to his game. Does he really remember me? Hell if I know. He's just so damn polite and appears to be such a nice guy that I really wouldn't expect any other kind of greeting from him. I said 'hello' to Chip also but he didn't jump up...he gave me a smile and returned the 'hello'. Chip's one of my favorites.
When I hit table 1, late in the night, it was Jennifer, Jason, a stranger, Ted F., and Mike W. Johnny C. joined the game later and Andy's name came up in conversation. Ted said that Andy had won around $400,000 for the night and Chip was supposed to play him again. This game was $1,500-$3,000 Mixed.
April 30, 03. On the Andy scene, he was playing Ted F. Andy takes the 4s and has the 1-2-3 seats locked up with racks of blue chips - $1. They form a barricade across the end of the table and I couldn't stifle my curiosity so I asked Carmen about it when we had a few minutes together. She said she thought it was some way of keeping track of hands raised or hands that went to the flop or some sort of record keeping but she wasn't really sure. The word was that by the end of this session, he was down about 2.5...Ugh!
May 1, 03. My first game of the night was table 7. Andy and Doyle. Todd, Doyle's son was sitting behind him. Andy's had a sweater sitting with him every night. When I walked up to the table, his sweater said, "Yes, he does remember you. I read your site and really enjoy it."
I was waiting for Marcia to finish the hand so I took a moment and asked his name, said 'hello' and shook his hand. Craig is Andy's sweater. Andy said 'hi' and we visited a moment as I spread the deck and got ready to deal.
This is the biggest limit game I ever dealt. I had one blank moment, about 10 minutes into my down, when I looked at the $25,000 and $5,000 chip constituting the Big Blind. It just struck me as strange. I was wrong in the earlier post, I said '6 chips, 12 chips'. It was three $5,000 chips for the Small Blind and a $25,000 and $5,000 chip for the Big Blind.
Andy brought up the subject of tipping...it's all put together in a 'pool' at the end of the entire play, just like a tournament. I thought it was great that he would even think of me/us in that respect. We visited a bit about Montana, camping in N. Idaho, and a few off and on conversation spurts. Craig prodded him to stop talking and focus. Andy said that's why he's wearing the ear plugs and head phones is to keep his concentration when he plays.
Edited post! Andy specifically asked me if he could tip me. He said that he knew the tip was given at the end and split between all the dealers, but could he tip me? He asked me to check with my Supervisor when I left the game.
Now for all of you that don't think a dealer ever gets a bad beat, I think this is a terrible beat.
I went to Suzie and asked her if Andy could tip me...told her that he had inquired about tipping me personally. She stated that he could not, that it was a 'tip pool' just like a tournament.
As I went by his table, I told Craig that the answer was 'no' and he said he would inform Andy.
A few nights later I found out that Ted F. and Jennifer and a few other players had been tipping the dealers with $5 chips and they dealers were keeping them. I was fried to put it mildly. I went to Suzie and stated that I must be the only dealer that couldn't take a tip and keep it. She expressed her concern and told me she was really sorry but when she made the statement to me, she felt that all the tips were going into a pool.
I told her that I really didn't need an apology but I need someone to tell Andy that I could receive a tip from him. I certainly don't want to tell him because it makes me look cheap and like I'm soliciting a tip. I am not. I just feel that if all the other dealers are keeping tips given to them and then receiving part of the 'tip pool' it's fair for everyone to receive the same consideration.
I honestly feel that Suzie made her initial statement to me, believing that that's the way it would be handled on each shift. No animosity or anger towards her, just slightly miffed over the whole deal, but I'm already over it...after a few 'damn, hell, ugh!' kind of things.
I noticed one thing in particular that he does each hand. After he looks at his cards, he places his hands on the table rail for a few seconds, complete standstill, then designates a raise or a check/call. He's giving nothing up that way. He had the barricade racks of $1 chips and moved chips from stack to stack during the play of the hands.
Most of the game was fold, fold, fold, raise/fold. They only went to war on one hand. Andy raised pre-flop, Doyle raised, Andy raised. The flop was A-K-blank, three bets went in. Blank on the Turn, Bet, call. Blank on the River, bet, call. Andy won the pot with A-6 Off and Doyle showed K-Q Off.
Doyle played a little longer and then said he was too tired and had Todd take over. I dealt a few hands to Todd and Andy and got pushed. I heard later in the night that Andy was S-T-U-C-K! While I never root or de-root anyone that plays, I would like to see him come out ahead on one of these sessions.
The rest of my night was poker, poker, poker. I'm off to watch the rest of the WPT that I started yesterday at this time...then Sleep
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.