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.
The May 11th blog post on this page could be one of those open-mouth-insert-foot instances. I went off on a total ziggity-zag about ways that Andy could help improve his game against the corporation and then later found out all the methods he worked up to regulate his play and maintain a poker face. I’m pretty silly sometimes — perhaps it was the closet-poker-instructor in me that wanted to be recognized for spotting a possible leak or problem in one’s game. Perhaps not. But I did have a pretty good chuckle reflecting on the game, the players, and my take on it as I read back through it.
Let’s get started!
Note that a lapse in the posting dates is due to Beal’s absence from the game or my ability to play hooky from work.
May 06, 03. The big game was down and Andy was gone for the night when I came in. I had a half a second to visit with Craig, later in the night, while waiting to push into my next game. He was having a drink, doing a 'walk through' with a friend of his when I caught him for a 'hello'. He said Andy did very well today. Cheers!
I spoke with another player later in the night that reported that Andy had been up about $3,000,000 and in the last 20 minutes or so of play, lost $2,000,000. That still puts him up $1,000,000 for the day. The Corporation has to be dancing a little nervous jig right now as that must put Andy around $3,000,000 stuck...a big turn around from where he was on Sunday. I love Andy's heart. The guy's got true grit.
May 11, 03. No one has asked my opinion, especially Andy, on what I thought he could do to improve the game in his favor. I want to express it anyway.
1) First and foremost to me is the difference between a mathematical approach and a human/sense/emotion approach to playing poker. I believe you need both to be a great player. Nope, you don't have to agree with me but that's my thought after years of playing, dealing, watching plays and players.
To understand your opponent and read his play, you really need to 'get inside his head.' At times you can put a beautiful move/play in a hand and your opponent doesn't even know you did it. They have their own single focus and why/what they are doing at the table.
Being able to put a player on a hand is a beautiful thing. Unfortunately we all aren't that gifted and those of us that are, aren't able to do that every time. Hey, I didn't say I could. It's being in 'the zone'.
The 'sense' of life comes from being able to feel things around you. You know when someone's tense, stressed out, ready to choke anything that breathes, calm, happy, in tune with themselves and where they are and what they are doing. All of these things are not always apparent when you watch a person. Some manage to carry everything, neatly packed in a zip lock bag, stuffed into a black hole, in the basement of their actions...you would never know by looking at them that they are 'wounded' or 'on top.'
Yet if you have developed your 'sense,' you pick up a lot of things just by the way they act, too controlled, nothing spontaneous, the eyes, the smile, the conversation or lack of it, and this 'sense' helps you determine your next move.
The player that will get you is the one that has spent a lot of time developing his own 'sense.' He'll read you like yesterday's news and pat you on the back when you beat him with runner, runner, gut shot. He'll give you the biggest smile and agree that you had to call the bet. Careful here, you’re on paper thin ice, the water's cold and unforgiving, and the shore's out of sight. The game isn't all about playing cards...
I don't believe Andy has developed this 'sense.' He's in the mathematical arena.
2) Andy sits in the 4s, right in the middle, across from the dealer. His opponent always takes the 7s, at the end of the table. Huge disadvantage. His opponent can watch everything Andy does. Andy has to turn his head to watch his opponent. While Andy's moving his $1 chips in the accounting stacks, he's looking away from his opponent. Not a good plan.
Sometimes, the smallest thing will happen with your opponent, you just catch a glimmer of something that's not the same, and it gives you a slight edge. I think you should be able to see their nose hair's twitch without appearing to be staring at them.
I also believe that staring right at your opponent when you bet or raise, sometimes even tossing in a smile while you're doing it, can make them wonder what the hell you're doing or what you could possibly have. It's all about shifting gears. Change your bet/raise patterns, change your posture, but never change your attitude. You have to believe that you can/will win.
3) The opponent's sweater. This person is one of the 'corporation' and they are watching everything Andy does. Not good for Andy. They're picking up information while they sit and watch the game play.
Also switching opponents during the game play. This isn't necessarily a good thing for Andy. The incoming opponent is rested and alert. Andy either needs to play the same player for the whole session or take a break when the new opponent comes in. The break would be a complete walk away from the room and the game...clear out his thoughts, relax, and then get ready to go to war.
4) Position, pounding them with a raise or a bet are factors that I believe he needs a little work on. I really haven't dealt to him that much so it's possible that he's playing stronger than I think he is.
Hey, anyone that's watched the WPT airings sees the hands that are getting raised pre-flop. Q-6, 8-9 off suit, just to mention a few, are played as if they are a Big Duke. You don't always have to have a hand, you just have to act like it. If you're going to play the hand, play it!
May 07, 03. The news tonight, Andy's down $11,500,000 and the 'conglomerate' is up that much. The game will resume next Monday. I heard that report when I went in and nothing more during the night. Ouch for Andy!
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.