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 following is a two-night post that got rolled into one post. I just reread it and although I seem nonchalant with fuel-injected ink, laced with a Molotov cocktail, I can tell from reading it that I was having a difficult time trying to deal with myself through some of it. Truthfully, I don’t like confrontation. This is the part where I state – again – that dealing has a set a rules (set by the house) and while there are many good souls that play poker and are easy on the dealer, there are a number of them that aren’t…they seem to surface more than the law allows IMHO.
The following is also pretty standard for how most shifts go in a room that runs high-limit games. As a dealer you can never just slip into the box and make it through an eight-hour shift like a mouse in someone’s pocket. Even if you are simply doing your job, at some point during the shift, someone is going to try to pull you into the middle with the chips and pot and make you a focal point of the game. Maybe that’s why I started dealing, my multiple personality disorder made me crave an audience – one that would satisfy each one of me.
Let’s get on with the average night in a high-limit card room.
3/02/02 - Well if you're a regular reader, get ready for a rambling...if you're not...you may want to leave right now.
I often wonder what makes each of us tick, how we got where we are, what circumstances brought us all together, what we learn from each other, and how we will utilize the knowledge of a day past and mold it to a better tomorrow. I've met a lot of people over the years, not just in poker but in other circumstances. For one thing, all of my life was spent as a vagabond. I went to 14 different schools before graduating from high school, in many different states and I didn't slow down much until the last 8 years. Most of my experiences are in the western half of the United States although I did spend one year on the Mississippi Coast, from '93 - '94.
I've raised 3 sons by myself, been married a few times, had a few boyfriends, never needed a support group to get me through life or an excuse as to why I'm the independent bitch that I am...remember that necessity really is the mother of invention...some of it I can attribute to poker.
Years ago my youngest son gave me a mug that reads, Never Let the Bastards Wear you Down! Amen!!! You can't let them see you bleed. If they do, they just push and tear at your wounds until you flounder and die or do the 'girl thing' and cry. God forbid!
So here are a few of the things that I wonder about the 'ticking' part of human nature. Oh...by the way...if you're one of these mentioned, and you're reading this...you are a clinical study to me, not a thorn in my side.
On the 1st of March, I dealt a $4-$8 Hold’em game in which Leif Seed, Huck's brother was in the 8 seat. I've dealt to him many times before in higher limit games, like $80-$160, $30-$60, $15-$30 etc., approximately a year ago.
I pushed him a $60 pot and as I was taking in a 'fill' from the chip runner, Leif threw $.25 out on the table and mumbled something about - 'this will be one of the biggest tips you get.'
I left it lay as I counted out the fill and brought the chips into the rack, handed the lammers and the racks back to the chip runner, then I picked up the tip, rapped it and said, "Thank you."
I've been totally stiffed by him in higher limit games. What I really wonder is what was his motive for the $.25 tip. Believe me he knows the ins and outs of poker and tipping. Was I supposed to look insulted or huff and puff and slam things around because he's an idiot? There's no reason for him to say anything if he gives a tip...no matter what amount. I think he was trying to rattle my cage, prove to me that he's someone and I'm nothing but a dealer; that I have to take whatever he throws my way...well good for him. He's the one that looked bad here, not me.
I saw him later in the night playing $6-$12 Omaha 8 or Better and when that game broke up, he moved into another $4-$8 Hold’em game...so he's running bad? Or maybe Huck's running bad and hasn't been able to put Leif into a game. Who cares? If you don't want to tip, don't. If you do, just do it. Shut the hell up and stop with the mind games because they really are wasted on me.
Later in the night I dealt a $30-$60 Hold’em game. Pretty much the same cast of regulars with the exception of an attractive, 30ish woman. She had about $60 in chips when I sat down and one hand out of the blind, she had a single, solitary $10 chip left in front of her. I asked her if she was bringing more money onto the table as I shuffled the deck. She said, "No!"
I informed her that I couldn't deal her in because the house rule was that a person had to have the amount of the small blind to be dealt in. She sort of had a fit, as in you had to get value for your money, that's what all-in is all about, etc., etc.
Several of the players told her they didn't know the house rule but they knew that I did and that's the way it was. I told her she could add any amount to it because she hadn't gone all-in. The player next to her threw her a $10 chip.
I dealt her in; the side action was 4 players; the button player bet and ran everyone else out and threw his hand away on the River so she could claim the $100 pot. She did give back the $10 to the guy next to her. She went all-in again with pocket 10's and outran Q-Q with a 10 on the River...now she's got $500 in front of her. The guy next to her said, "Well at least you have your buy-in back."
She was never happy. She went into a rant about how she had been $1,000 winner, blah, blah, blah. When I left the game, she had over $800 in front of her. Stiff? Yes. Who cares? The funny part of the story is that I crossed her path an hour later as she headed for the cage with $2,500 in racks. Me, "Wow! From the $10 chip?"
"Yes, but I was $1,000 ahead, blah, blah, blah."
Guess some people just aren't meant to be happy. I pushed into the next game.
Then tonight, 3.03.02, my 1st game was a $30-$60 Hold’em game. Two seats open, 1 walker, 3rd seat opened when I announced 'time pot.' Roy Cooke came in as a new player. The game fell apart within 10 minutes.
Now for one of the worst decisions I've ever seen. I called for a brush person as the 4 remaining players wanted to draw...2 seats open in other games. It took me 2 minutes to get the brush as she was busy 'b.s.ing' Nope if wasn't business...just talking. Sherrie honey, forgive me here but you should've come right over.
Just as I explained they wanted to draw, the walker appeared. He started to draw. Me and my big mouth. I told him he was not eligible to draw because he had a 'absent' button in front of him, (which I had given when I sat down). He went ballistic. He was stuck $6,000 and he would DRAW or else the whole damn Bellagio was going to cave in on our heads.
There were 2 seats open in other games so the 2 high cards went, Sherrie left to get a decision from Suzie L., who was on the phone, and the 'walker' drew 3rd...Bert drew 4th and Roy drew 5th. The walker told Roy that he spends $12,000 a week at Bellagio and they would damn well listen to him and he wouldn't get '86'd. I found this to be humorous because years ago at the Mirage, I dealt a $800-$1,600 game in which Bobby Baldwin and several other players played on a regular basis. One night one of the regulars questioned Bobby about a player that was absent. Bobby stated the 'regular' was marginal for comps and action in the amount of money he spent...my point? What is $12,000 a week?
It took 5 minutes for Suzie to get off the phone and just as Sherrie was coming back with a decision, Suzanne B. came back from break. The Walker called Suzanne over and started to tell her how she needed to get this straightened out because he'd been in the game for 8 hours and he'd just left to get a sandwich, etc., etc. Suzanne jumped in with, "When I left the room at 20 after, he was in the game."
I said, "When I sat down at the half hour, he was not. I gave him a white button."
I mouthed at her, "Stay out of this. Sherrie has gone for a decision."
She still repeated that he had been in the game...Ok...but what's the point here? The rule is if you have received a white button, (missing player), from the incoming dealer, you're not eligible to draw. That should be cut and dried.
The decision was that the 'walker' was 1st on the list.
Roy looked at me and said, "It's not bad enough they fuck you but they do it right in front of you. So I guess if we all swear and have a fit, we can be 1st on the list."
I have to agree with him. Roy and I have a history together; it's not all pretty but that's another post at another time.
Then I dealt a $50-$100 mixed game. One of the players - I won't mention his name because of the delicacy of the situation - talked to me out of the room when I was on a break. He wanted to know if I was single, hooked up, married, etc., because his girlfriend was interested in me. Ouch! They were interested in a 3 way. Damn! Of course I told him yes...just kidding. I never met a woman that I wanted to swap spit with or go down on...don't believe there's one out there that could make me change my P.O.V.
On the Lance and Roy issue of the article in Card Player Magazine...news from a friend of mine that played with Lance...Lance gave Roy permission to write the article but it's not to Lance's liking and Lance's wife is extremely upset over the publication.
Lance also forgot to leave the game he was in with my friend when he was 4-5K ahead.
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.