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.
If you haven’t treated your wild side to the ride through Michael Craig’s “The Professor, the Banker, and the Suicide King: Inside the Richest Poker Game of All Time” you should. You’ll have a keener appreciation for Andy Beal and his approach to the game of poker once you get an up-close-and-personal-view of the man who came to play.
One section of the book covers Beal and Mike Laing playing $80-$160 hold’em and I can’t find a specific link to this particular section so if you want to read more of it FREE, Google “andy beal flipping a coin” and you’ll find this excerpt:
And if you’re interested in finding out how Michael Craig was able to slip subtly into the high limit scene while I was being ostracized for writing about The Big Game, stick around. All will be revealed as my View From the Box Continues. But for now, let’s get on with the posts that were removed from Table Tango.
September 26, 03. When I arrived, Andy was playing Howard L. I walked up and said hello to Andy, asked how he was doing and asked if he rested well. He stood for a moment and visited with me. Small talk. The dealer was shuffling the hand and I had just a millisecond to check out Andy, his attitude, his chips and Howard's chips.
He asked me if I would be dealing tonight and I said yes but I was about two hours out of his game and didn't know if he'd be there that late. He wasn't, he left within a half hour...with no chips. Apparently they had played no limit and limit...Johnny Chan, Minh, and David C. were supposed to play him no limit and then Howard would play him in Limit...the only part that happened was that Howard played him...Howard was down $2,000,000 for a bit and then BOOM! It all turned around and Andy left with no chips.
I hate this part. I'm not rooting for Andy or for the Corporation. They all are pretty damn good to me and I enjoy the relationship I have with them. I just wish that Andy would have a 'kick ass' kind of day. He wants to play, he believes that he's giving it his best shot, and it's got be so frustrating for him to keep losing. Please don't bore me with your sloppy drivel, 'he can afford it.' or 'if I had his money...' If you believe those things, you are missing the point, you've missed it so far that no one can explain it to you and I won't even try.
He's got to be mentally fried. He's smart, he's mathematically minded, yet he's not beating these guys...WHY has to keep screaming through his mind each time he walks away from the arena.
I know why but to explain it is almost impossible at times. It's the seat of the pants thing, it's getting into someone's head and running them into the ground with their own demons, it's watching and waiting - like stalking your prey, it's stabbing, jabbing, ripping and thrusting when you know they're backing up and faltering, it's relaxing with the wind when they're coming at you with everything they have, you just drift and glide past all their punches, gather everything you have and attack them as they slip past you...unsuspecting because you've gathered all your strength and can take them down and all of a sudden, they know it.
You never let them recoup or change players or gather their forces about them, you rest when you're tired...you're the game piece they want so they have to play by your rules...you make the rules...your time of day...your hours...you pound them with unexpected jabs...you back up and wait...you smile while you're watching them raise you and you raise them back while you're looking them right in the eye...you PLAY the game.
The game on Table 1 was filled with all the 'usual suspects'. Doyle - 1s, Steve W. - 2s, Jimmy W. - 3s, David G. 4 - s, Renee - 5s, Ralph - 6s, Shaun - 7s. They were playing $1,000 - $2,000 Mixed. The conversation went to Andy and Chau on Table 2 more than once. The consensus was that Chau was 'hitting' him but he just couldn't put him away. Chau looked like he was dying for sleep. He's a night player and not an early morning riser but he still was holding up well. This game was very uneventful, nothing beyond the normal tone of 'yeah, they're gambling...so what?' type of thing for me.
Then I hit Table 2. Andy was on the defense, Chau had the majority of the chips, my estimation was a little over $4,500,000. The limit was $30,000 - $60,000 today. Andy was struggling and later he went all-in and lost...that would have been about an hour after I left the game.
We conversed a little bit as I dealt. He asked me if I played poker, Chau interjected with 'yeah, she play everywhere, the Orleans, here...'
I said, "Yes."
Andy asked if I played tournaments and I told him that some years ago I did...how did I do in them was the next question...when I was playing tournaments, I did fairly well...not enough time now and I had thought that if I went back to playing them, I would play No Limit. He interjected that he thought no limit was crazy, from the things he'd seen on television...everyone just went 'all-in'.
I said the main thing to remember is never get married to a hand, leave yourself some room to bet on the flop, etc. Chau agreed with me, that the TV version wasn't necessarily the art of No Limit poker.
Chau took a break from the table and I asked Andy if he'd ever visited my site. He said no but he had some colleagues that he was working with that had printed some of it for him. I told him that some of the things I'd suggested in my critique, he was doing now. He said everything he'd read before was written some time ago and he wasn't aware of a critique. I promised a print out so he could read it.
I really like his attitude. I like the fact that he never acts like he's bored or irritated with anyone...not just me. He is busy, mentally he's got to be facing a million tasks that greet him and keep running to take the lead and remind him that he's got somewhere to be and something to do. In the middle of all of it, he's trying to concentrate on poker. The game. The art. The skill. The mind boggling concept of everything to evaluate, store, calculate, access and utilize, tells, bets, hands, odds, pot odds, the human element, and where he fits into it and how much of it he wants in his life.
On another note, a loss of $4,000,000 to $5,000,000 in this limit is nothing. Virtually, absolutely nothing. The same with the win. For most of the world, we shake our head wondering how anyone can even begin to play poker at these limits but we are from another level of income and life style. We play within our means and know that if we get too crazy, we are punishing ourselves and the people that depend on us.
I, for one, see no need to compete in the arena that Andy has picked. If I had quad zillion $$$$, I'd play $15-$30 Holdem or stud or Omaha once in a while, just to laugh and giggle...rub elbows with the guy/gal off the street and listen to life going on around me. But that's my take on it.
I've dealt to everyone and anyone that's a poker notable/name brand player and some of them leave a sour taste in the back of my throat. When I see a book or magazine or a movie stating what a great player someone is and yet this someone has thrown cards at my fingers and given me 'the look' and called me names that my sons would kick their butts for even thinking, I find it hard to believe or even begin to think that they are in the upper echelons of mankind or poker players.
If they can't take a beat or accept the fact that someone else is trying to win...where the hell are they? In the Neanderthal age is my first and only thought. Neanderthal mentality? If it gives you trouble and won't lay down to be cooked, kill it, or better yet...rip its heart out and eat it while it's still beating.
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.