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.
As stated previously, I didn’t remove the blog posts on the Big Game for fear of being fired, I removed them because I didn’t want to fade the heat every time I dealt a 'regular' big game from a few of the usual suspects that frequent high limit. I did, at that time, deal poker for a living and the best way to skip through the night without getting your feelings bruised or facing a continual ‘glare-down’ is to just deal.
In defense of my posting about the games, I do not believe that anything I ever wrote about it was mean or condescending so why the big tiz? The whole room was in a buzz when the game was running, people were trying to walk by the tables and craning their necks to see what was going on…it was huge news for a poker world that had never experienced limits like that before. And the news of the game was circulating like wildfire in other poker rooms in other cities. That's how I was introduced to Michael Craig as you'll see shortly, he had heard about it in Arizona where he lived.
I suppose one of the reasons the blogging was bothersome to some of the players in the corporation is that they may have been in fear of Andy reading anything I wrote and taking it in a negative light, hence giving up the game. See…I believe they thought they would run over him and rake in the cash and they didn’t want that opportunity to evaporate due to some bad press. I, on the other hand, believe that Andy had them right where he wanted them, if he had only enforced playing against one or two players a day and removed the ‘tired’ disadvantage from his game plan. He’s no fish. And don’t think you can’t get a case of run-bad that lasts through sessions of plays – you can easily lose millions when you are playing in those limits…even if you’re the best player in the world. Don't forget, the game was limit
September 29, 03. On the Andy side of play. He was playing Minh tonight when I came in to work. I stopped for a moment, sat down beside him in a spare chair, asked how he was doing and his reply went like this. He said he had won both Saturday and Sunday and that he was up right now. They started at $1,000-$2,000 and then moved up to $6,000-$12,000 and now were playing $10,000-$20,000. He also said that he felt he was playing a '2nd tier' player and maybe that's why he was doing so well. I left him for work and the game ran about another hour and a half. I didn't deal it.
On the thought that he was playing a '2nd tier' player, of course he meant someone not as skilled as the Corporation. I have no idea if the Corporation is involved with Minh or what the deal is there. A few days ago, I had a conversation with someone that knows 'Someone' in the Corporation. The 'Someone' had played Andy on this trip and on previous trips. 'Someone' felt that Andy really believes that he's a better player than the members of the Corporation.
I don't find that line of reasoning hard to believe. Obviously Andy feels he has a shot at besting them or he wouldn't be there.
I do find it hard to believe that Andy would believe that he could just sit down at a poker table and instantly master the game. Anyone that's played poker over a period of time knows how difficult the game really is long term.
When I dealt Table 1, late in the night, the conversation went to Andy and his next opponent, David G. They felt David wouldn't stand a chance heads up with Andy because David is too passive and not aggressive enough.
It's interesting to hear the different opinions as I move from table to table. One night last week, when I moved into a $4-$8 Holdem game, they were talking about Andy. They said he was playing Doyle B. in a $100,000-$200,000 game. I laughed. I could see Doyle sitting in a $1,000-$2,000 Mixed Game with a full field and Andy playing Howard heads-up.
I didn't even bother trying to explain it to them...they were damned excited about it as they speculated and visited, meanwhile arming themselves with buckets of chips that they dumped into the middle of the table. The Chip Wars were on.
September 30, 03. Andy was playing Doyle tonight. I walked by, said 'hello', small chit-chat as the dealer shuffled. I hit that game an hour later.
They were playing $20,000-$40,000. Andy told Doyle that he could only play a little bit longer because he was too tired. Doyle agreed.
One hand, Andy raised Doyle's BB, Doyle looked at his cards, threw them face up on the table, and exclaimed, "I'm not playing these today." It was 10-2 offsuit, the hand that we repeatedly hear about because Doyle won the WSOP with it two years in a row.
Andy called it quits after a few more minutes of play and Jennifer walked up to the table. Andy asked her when she was going to play him for a $10,000,000 buy-in. She replied that she couldn't afford to play him and lose. He chided her with, 'you're supposed to be the best poker player in the world,' and she asked him if she lost, was he going to buy her a house...she was laughing...also followed the statement with this, 'if they'll stake me, of course, I will.'
Doyle said something about 40%, she laughed again, that that would not be enough, if she lost.
Andy turned his focus to Doyle, asking him when they would get a game going of $50,000-$100,000, with a $10M buy-in, winner take all. Doyle said he thought it could be arranged.
Andy pressed it, when did they want to start...Doyle said they would do it, Andy stood up and made the effort to shake hands, Doyle did.
Andy prodded Doyle with, "How much did I win from you, Doyle, a little over a million?"
Doyle replied, “Yes.”
I asked Andy if he played earlier in the day and he said, “Yes, with David.” He'd lost during that session.
Doyle said they could bring in as many players in a day as they wanted, Andy argued that it wouldn't be more than 2 on any day, they might play for 6 to 8 hours, with a 2 hour lunch break...Doyle balked at first about the 2 player arrangement as he wanted to change out players more often if he felt it was necessary. Andy won the argument, he was playing Chau at 6 a.m. the following a.m. Doyle wanted to know when they would start. Andy said he'd let Doyle know when he came in to play Chau in the a.m.
Andy stood up, reached over and shook my hand, told me it was nice to see me, loaded up his chips in a carrying case and left with a security guard to escort him to the main cage.
Doyle and Jennifer continued to visit, they were discussing the money break down. I was busy getting a fill and setting up my decks because the game would be locked up soon. Jennifer had an impish look in her eyes, when she looked at me and said to Doyle, "Don't say anything in front of her, she writes on the internet."
Doyle's gaze shot to me, "I'm asking you not to write about any of this on the internet."
I replied, "It's not what you think, Doyle."
He exclaimed, "Nothing good can come from writing about this!"
Jennifer mouthed, "I'm sorry," at me, and rolled her eyes.
I got pushed, next table was a full $80-$160 Holdem game. Doyle and Jen finished their business and Doyle left. Jen got into a game on Table 1, then stood right in front of me while I was in the middle of dealing a hand and exclaimed, "Linda, I'm so sorry. I'm just so sorry."
I said, "Don't worry about it...but I would like to talk to you on a break."
She still did the “I'm so sorry for another half a minute” and then went back to her game.
I was out on a break and she jumped up and came over to talk to me. She kept apologizing. I told her not to even think about it, but was it possible that Doyle thought I posted on one of the newsgroups is why he would be so upset. She said, “No, I told him you have your own website.” She continued to apologize, “me and my big mouth,” etc.' Again I told her not to worry about it.
My next break, I crossed paths with her outside the room, I stopped her for a moment and asked her what she would do, I write and wanted to continue to write. She told me that Doyle had stated he would have me fired if I wrote about it. She looked sick and still apologized.
I told her that Doug knew that I wrote about the room and the games on my website and that Andy knew that I wrote about him on my website. Andy wasn't upset about it so why would Doyle be, also that if Bellagio fired me, I would sue them.
She said, “Well maybe he can't get you fired then,” she still kept apologizing and we parted ways.
I talked to Pete, graveyard supervisor, about this predicament.
He told me to call Doug for a 'heads-up' on the matter, which I did. I explained all of it to Doug. Doug gave me an “Oh, no, Linda, you shouldn't be writing about it,” but nothing that was harsh or 'you're in trouble' kind of thing.
I came home, removed everything from my site. All references to the game were gone. Sad, because this is huge poker news.
I saw Doyle in the room, a few times during the next week but didn't deal to him.
The following week, he was on Table 1 when I sat down. He looked up, I said, "Hi Doyle," he said 'hello' back and as I dealt the first hand, he asked me if I got a lot of email wondering why I'd taken down the 'game?’ I replied that I had and he stated, "I thought you would."
Nothing more was said about it.
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.