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.
I will go back to more of Andy Beal vs. The Corporation updates but I'm in the mood to explore old horizons and I came across this little jewel. It's my post on being invited to the launch of the World Poker Tour. Yeah...really, of course it was in a 'dealer/work' category but I wanted to be there. I believe I still have the original media folder that I was given at the door. And the image is a projection of what the stage would look like back then.
The funny part of the launch is that a poker table had been set up in the media area, with the hole card cams, and Suzie Lederer (my shift supervisor at the time) had pulled me aside and said I should be prepared to deal a few hands to Mike Sexton and a couple of others to show the media how the hole card cams worked.
Peachy! I was ready.
But as luck would have it, my breasts weren't exposed and I wasn't wearing something glitzy/glamding, so my tuxedo shirt and flat chest was outed for one of the 'hostess' chicks that was running around the media area catering to the media.
I am not poking fun at her — I remember my first dealing days and how difficult it was to know everyone was watching me fumble the deck through a shitty shuffle and trying to pitch. I was embarrassed in front of a bunch of drunks that probably had no clue and could care less if I flipped all the cards off the 20 foot ceilings just as long as they got the next hand and could keep drinking and gambling. So...I can't imagine what went through her mind while she sat down and beat the deck to death trying to do some kind of awkward shuffle and then get the cards delivered to the players. It was a pathetic showing — and she was in front of media and the world's top poker room staff — but tits and ass will outrun skill and knowledge any day of the week. I have to give her an A+ for doing it and not backing down or dropping the deck in frustration just because she didn't know how.
For me, the whole experience was great fun. I knew some of the people in the media gathering and a few players that came in and I got to visit with them for a few minutes before heading back to the poker room for my shift.
Here's how my night went:
May 26, 2002: I'm normally off on Sundays but I was asked to come in and deal a media tournament. I did. The best part of it was that I was invited into the launch of the World Poker Tour. It's a huge event, beginning with Bellagio's $10,000 Buy-In No Limit Hold’em Tournament that begins tomorrow. This tournament will kick off the beginning of poker that's televised in a completely new format. The viewer will be privy to the hole cards of each player. Instead of witnessing A-A raising and battling it out with A-K, the viewer will now see the 9-4 off-suit, the folds, the bluffs, the great play, the glamor, the glitz and the excitement of what draws us all to the poker table.
Get ready for all those non-playable hands and all the bad plays that you thought your hero would never do, because you're going to see it now.
I find this to be very good for poker. My feeling has always been that hell is 10 of us sitting at a table fighting over the same $500 into eternity. If we don't invite and excite the new player, we grow stagnant and broke over time. Let's rejoice when something comes along that really feeds the poker world.
Bellagio's Tournament is supposed to run for three days and then take a day of rest and get ready for the final days of play that will be televised and played on a stage. This is the projected stage.
World Poker Tour Stage
Not only will this be done at Bellagio, it will be done at all participating casinos. The final and grand finale will be announced.
After leaving the convention center and returning to the poker room, I dealt two of the media tables. It was fun. I knew some of the players and it was very easy to deal. Jack McClelland is our tournament director and he does a wonderful job. He puts forth a great effort in time, energy, and knowledge to make sure everything is as it should be. BTW, I dealt to June Fields at the 1st table.
I then moved into a satellite for the tournament Bellagio hosts tomorrow. One of the players was Scotty Nyugen, WSOP Tournament Champion and a frequent player at Bellagio. He bit my head off when he raised, heads up. After hesitating a moment, I started to pull in the original bet and Scotty's call. This is standard procedure. If it appears that the other person is thinking and may call, dealers are supposed to pull in the bet and call and leave the raise in front of the raiser.
He said, "Don't put your hands on my money! He knows what the raise is, just leave it."
I said, "It's my understanding that I'm supposed to bring in the bet and call and leave the raise. I'm sorry."
Don't think for one half of a second that I'm really sorry. It's just a way to escape the wrath of an ego maniac that thinks the rules apply to everyone but them.
I left the bet and the other player called. On the Flop Scotty checked and the other player bet a large amount, Scotty folded. I feel the reason Scotty was so irritated was that a few hands before, a player raised $3,750 all-in and Scotty thought and thought and then called with K-Q off-suit…this action was pre-flop. The raiser had A-4 of Clubs and won the pot.
Great player? I don't know. I wouldn't have called pre-flop with that hand and that raise in particular, but what the hell do I know…I'm just a dealer.
I think Scotty won one of the satellites later in the night. Good for him. Not because I care one way or the other but I'm never one to rain on any one's parade.
The rest of my night was fairly simple, just shuffle up and deal, game after game after game. There was nothing in high limit and no cranky butts to deal with except Wally. He's always there, lurking on the edge of a perfectly peaceful poker game, zinging the cards into your hands if your hands are on the table. I have a solution for the Wally's of the world…when they zip the cards into the rack, I just turn the hand up, leave it lay on the table as I state, "These cards are exposed and out of play."
Hey, if you don't want the world to know what you throw away, don't throw your cards at my hands, Dude.
My mother never really knew what she wanted me to be when I grew up. However, when she died in 1975, I was a legal secretary. Dealing poker is a far cry from working in the legal system. She probably would turn over in her grave if she knew that I was a poker dealer and player.
My father tried to gamble away all the household pennies more than once and I have many memories of her walking the floor at night, crying out loud, and wondering how in the hell she would feed eight of us kids. I was very young and I would always wake up and cry right along with her, even though I had no idea what it was all about, because when my mom felt bad, so did I.
I deal to and play poker with people, on a daily basis, that make me wonder what's waiting at home for them. The longer I sit at the table, the more insight I have into the heart of my fellow man/woman. I've spent more nights with a lot of men than their wives or girlfriends will ever spend with them. I know most of you better than you know yourselves.
Sure, you may beat me to death in a poker game or treat me like I'm nobody just because I deal poker…but I have the advantage. I learn from you. I'm not drawing dead in the game of life.
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.