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 best part of having your own blog is that you can write whatever you want, whenever you want, and if a reader happens to disagree, they can leave a comment…or just buzz off and not visit your blog again. Although in making that statement, I’m very aware that most people will return, and continue reading, if their curiosity is sparked (no matter the topic) or if they are part of the subject matter because they can’t wait to see what you’re going to say about them.
From the day I started blogging, I did it with the intention of making the pages of my blog a personal diary of my life. I do write about personal matters. I do write about poker – when I occupied the 11 seat five nights a week, rotating through a range of different limits and game formats, I wrote about it much more. It was in my face and space almost 24 hours a day. If I wasn’t dealing it, I was playing it, writing about it, talking about it with a group of friends that I’d met through poker, and sucking down a daily Red Bull on the rocks blended with every blur and distinct image of phrases, faces, poker hands, and chips.
Even though I left the dealer’s box almost seven years ago, it’s amazing how easy it is to slip back into the rewind of player personalities, poker games, game noise, and poker room stress when I stop to let it in. I sometimes wonder if I’m alone in relating a busy poker room with harnessing enough stressful energy to blow the entire city off the face of the map.
There’s a successful way to navigate through poker and come out on top of the game. Did I? Nah…I’m jaded, twisted, sarcastic, suspicious, and I haven’t figured out where the top is yet. Eleven years ago, when I put up the following blog post, I was doing pretty much what I’m doing now…still working on me.
December 3, 2003: I had an amazing revelation during my first down tonight. I believe in Karma, spiritual growth and enlightenment, and reincarnation.
I know you're flipping off the deep end by now but I just can't find it in my heart to believe that beautiful, wonderful, physically shaped people can be compared by God to someone that's born without feet or other challenging aspects as in lesser mental capacity or other prohibitive circumstances, and God would compare the two with the statement, "Ok! This is your life. Make it what you will and I'll judge you at the end."
There can be no comparison!
I believe in God. I do not believe in God in the manner that most of mankind has justified a God to live in…a cubicle…a performance structure stated by society.
I believe that God sings on the wind, filters across your senses when you walk through the wilderness, tantalizes your sense of smell, taste, touch, lust, thoughts, intelligence, the ability to learn and improve, and tempts you to run and scream and get in touch with your soul. God tells you that you are whole and you must learn to accept who you are and that when you leave this physical body, you are cared for. Your spirit is held in a warm embrace and taught how to deal with passing, brought to another realm or level, if you will, a learning curve so that you may progress and become better than you are.
At times, I have felt that I'm in the progression of life, I know so many things that cannot be explained. I'm savvy!
Yet…tonight I had the overwhelming feeling that I am a fragile piece of hand blown crystal, teetering on a tightrope, caught at the whim of the wind. I am filled with pain…the pain of life, the Earth, mankind's struggles, my children and friends, life and family.
My own weakness, in being human, made me feel as if I were ready to drop into a million, multi colored pieces of light and life if the tightrope were to move…for any reason.
I felt completely unstable and empty.
My thought of being an 'old soul' went right out the window. Instead, I felt my sanity hung by a thread.
'm spoiled. My body is genetically excellent! I have great skin…don't laugh…I've been told that by zillions of people, including Doctors and Nurses, friends and foes. I never get the flu, I just don't 'get sick'. My hair is a lustrous, healthy mane. My mind works extremely well and my mechanical functions in hand movement, thought, and mouth, creativity/artistry, balance in mind, body and spirit, and a few million other things just all come together when they should.
In all the time/years, that I've believed I knew who and what I was, tonight I felt as if I were no one…a cog that never even needed oil so I couldn't squeak to get attention. I felt that in terms of the Universe…I was one small particle of dust out of the zillions that fill the void.
I write this not of sadness or rejection or self-pity, just an eye opening look at how tenuous my time and touch on Earth is…enter Poker. OUCH!
I dealt three games that were fun and reminiscent of the room when it's quiet. I took a break and hit 'the pit'. My first game out there was $50-$100 7 Card Stud 8 or Better. Some of the players knew me and I them…we didn't talk much but did share a laugh or two.
At one point, the 2, 6, and 7s were involved in hand, lots of action.
On 6th Street, the 2s stood up and clearly stated, "This is 8 or Better, Dealer."
I acknowledged, "Yes!"
He informed me that I should start stacking the chips. I told him it wasn't my first day and all he had to do was relax and leave the heavy duty stuff to me.
Joel was in the 4s and he even interjected, "Yeah, at least she's not like the other dealers, putting her hands in the way, when the betting is going on." I've been dealing to Joel for a lot of years and he knows that I'm on the job.
By the time the last bet was made, on 7th Street, I had the pot ready to stack and ship.
The 7s was a little 'Gutter Snipe'…yeah…one of those low life, scuzz ball, hang in the shadows, pieces of crap that nips at your ankles when you walk past them, just hoping to catch you with your back turned so they can bite and run. They don't have the nerve to look you in the eye and talk to you and you are definitely the reason their life is not working…GUTTER SNIPE!!!!
The first hand the 7s lost, he flipped two of his down cards straight at me, they ended up falling into the rack. I said, "Honey, don't flip your cards at me."
A few hands later he did the same thing. This time there was no 'honey', it was, "Don't flip your cards at me."
It happened again a few hands later. I demanded, "Don't flip your cards at me."
He asked me where I'd like him to put them…I wanted to tell him to bend over but that would have put me in his category. I told him to set them down.
There was intermittent conversation going on with several of the players but I was never over talkative or out of line.
After a few moments of silence, I asked Joel where he was living now…he replied 'in California'.
The 7s pounced, "Why don't you just do your job? You are talking too much."
I replied, "Ok."
I should have just called the Floor Man on the second flip of the cards because it was going progressively downhill. And I had no win with this guy.
Not to worry, just before I got pushed, he announced that I had exposed his hole card while dealing and I had to be more careful. The 6s was empty and the 8s had gone to eat, no one was on either side of him to have seen his hole card and it was not exposed. He continued to rant that I had exposed his card. I knew he was setting me up. I reached over, turned it up, stated that I was sorry if it was exposed, it was unintentional. He went into a rant, I was a liar, I had exposed his cards and had been doing it all along. I called…more like screamed…for a Floor Man.
Jason L. came over and he was mainly running satellites, I started to explain and then I saw Kamell, our Swing Shift Supervisor, and I called him over. I told him the 7s had flipped cards at me three times and I had asked him to stop.
The 7s interjected, the problem was that I was talking while I was dealing.
I stepped in with the fact that I had acquiesced to his request and was not talking to anyone.
The 7s told Kamell that I was a terrible dealer and that I would never improve if I didn't listen to the customers and that he was a customer.
Joel kept looking at me like, 'where is this guy from?' but he never said a word in my behalf…you lose a lot of points with me on this one, Joel.
I was getting pushed. As I walked by Kamell, I said, "There is no way this guy will ever be happy."
I went to the next table…trying to remember my own weakness in being human made me feel as if I were ready to drop into a million, multi colored pieces of light and life if the tightrope were to move…for any reason.
I wanted to jam this guy into the 'nickel seats' just for breathing air. He was attacking me just because he wasn't winning and I wouldn't allow him to throw cards at me.
I refuse to find out his name…or to think of him as being human…for that would mean he had a place in my life…that just cannot happen.
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.