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Poker News | The View from the Box

The View from the Box – A little run on Karate Don

The View from the Box
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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 play a lot of poker – or have played a lot of poker – you know players end up with nicknames or names they must give themselves trying to add an image to their play. Over the years in a number of places I dealt, many players and employees in other rooms ended up with nicknames because it was easier to keep track of them. An example would be if there were four “Als” that played in the same room.

When I dealt in Montana there were a number of Als that frequented the small poker circle there and one of them we named “Sausage Al” because we made fun of him, his play was like a stone-cold, day old fried sausage link. He thought it was funny too and never minded the nickname. Another older gent named Al, we nicknamed “Two-Finger Al” because he was missing three fingers on one hand. So in the following tale, I believe that Karate Don named himself that because he’s a strange and twisted person looking for some type of fame and he had a captive audience at the poker table.

There are a few posts written from experiences with Karate Don – and then one that brings to light how he got the name. You’ll just have to read to find out more about his antics at the table and about how he got his name over the next two to three “The View from the Box” posts and I promise, I won’t wait two-three weeks for the next one to go up. So let’s go ahead and jump right into this one to get your interest worked up for the next one.

March 18th, 2007: Does he really know karate or practice it? Who the hell knows? How did he end up with that name? Who the hell knows! I've been dealing to Don since somewhere in mid Mirage days. He's got a reputation as a steamer and being a bit demented. His eyes even take on that strange look at times; you know the look, the one where you expect him to detonate the entire planet just to get one person. And if he reads here, no problemo from my side.

More than one person has found my cyber scratchings about my encounters with them and I can truthfully say that I'm not embarrassed or upset that they are privy to my thoughts on their behavior and antics at the card table. I can only, once again, stress the fact that if you don't want to come across as a jackass, don't behave like one. And most of the things that happen at the poker table really are funny, some of them require a slightly sick sense of humor but I'm right there…just as sick as they get. That out of the way, thanks for visiting Chantel, I really did have a great time dealing that game and I find you to be very entertaining and fun.

Let's move right on to Karate Don and my session with him in $5-10NLH…Don, you are…er…ahhh resemble a jackass in this post.

I've dealt to Don too many times in the last few weeks, since I decided to plant my tush back in the box anyway, and we have history; about 12 to 13 years of history. He's cursed me and tizzed across the green felt at me, then tried his best to be friendly and funny (that all depends on the turn of a card), and then instantly reverted back to anger because I deal poker to him. It's not just me that he behaves that way with, it's with everyone that sits in the box. Don has been 86'd from the best rooms across the country, including Bellagio, Mirage, and who knows where else, and always resurfaces after six months to a year and manages to come back into our poker community. Of course I am sure he's admitted back in with his promise that he will behave. I don't have the time to get into the psychology of why a person continually returns to the scene after being evicted for bad behavior so let's leave that for another session.

As I pushed into the box, there was one seat open and when I announced, "Six for time please," another seat opened. Don was in the 9s, the two empty seats were the 6 and 7. I called seats open (we had a must move game in progress), and dealt the first hand. Immediately Don informed me that the players had to move around and make room for the incoming players. Translated this meant that Don had the pig's share of room and didn't want anyone crowding him. While the first hand was in progress, we got two new players and Don harped on the fact that they needed to all move around. I put my best verbal 'shut up and play' voice on as I demanded that we finish the hand and then we would arrange the seating - of course it was directed, but not addressed, to Don because he was the one that was making all the racket.

After we finished the hand and our two must move players came in, Al (in the 8s) pointed out that we only had nine players and still had a seat open. We got our 10th player and everyone was even more cramped than before.

The 4s was steaming when I sat down, a stranger, and lost the last hand the outgoing dealer had dealt. He appeared to be at war with his chips and was in more than his share of pots.

The action took off about 15 minutes after I sat down. The 7s, a stranger, raised pre-flop (I can't remember how much it was, possibly $80 or $120, it definitely wasn't a 'min' raise). There were some blind straddles going on and I believe this hand started that way. Don called the raise. The 4s was in the blind or possibly was the straddler and he called the raise. It was three way action. At some point here, the 7s asked how much the 4s had in front of him. The 4s opened his arms to display his chips and I said about, "$400."

The flop was all little, 6-3-X, the 4s checked, the 7s bet something like $120, Don called, the 4s said, "All-in!" and pushed.

As if on auto pilot, the 7s said, "I call," and pushed out $400 in chips.

Don said, "I raise," and pushed out $400 as he started counting bills for his raise.

I started counting down the 4s's stack. It was $385. I counted down the chips the 7s had pushed in and gave him his change as Don threw out five $100 bills and barked, "What are you doing?" glaring at me.

By now I was counting down Don's stacks that he had pushed out to call the bet with. I replied, "I'm making sure the pot is correct."

He snapped, "There's twelve hundred out there, the bets are right, I raise."

I now held two $10 chips in my hand, "He only had $385, not $400. Please give me a $5 chip."

Don couldn't even be civil. He snarled,"You should be giving me back $15 then."

The 10s said it for me, "That's what she's trying to do…"

The 2s told Don to '"let the dealer do her job."

The 6s (a long time regular), looked at me with disbelief at Don's actions and just shook his head.

Somewhere, somehow, it registered. Don threw out a $5 chip, I gave him the two I had in my hand, and the 7s folded. I ran out the rest of the board cards and the 4s turned over 6-3 off for two pair on the flop. WINNER!

Don showed A-A and started mumbling, "She can do it. She can really do it…" That 'SHE' is me in case you're wondering.

The 7s picked up and split. The 6s moved to the 7s, we got a must move player in the 6s - I'd dealt to him a few nights before and really enjoyed his sense of humor and poker attitude. Don was the only blight on the horizon.

Don was at war with the 4s now. They got involved in a pot within a few hands and Don won it. Almost the last hand I dealt found them heads-up and the river card brought a pair of 7's on the board. The 4s checked. Don bet $140, the 4s said, "$300," as he pushed out a singles tack that had about $500 in it.

Don asked me how much more. I told him it was another $160.

He said, "I call."

I started counting $300 out of the 4s's stack and pushing back the extra chips.

Don went nutzzz. "Why are you giving him chips back? He can't take anything back.

I patiently said, "He stated $300. That's the amount he's obligated to put in the pot."

Don was glaring and staring. Of course Don won the pot, they both had a 7 but Don's kicker played.

To no one in particular, the 6s said, "Linda's cool."

I smiled and winked at him as I dealt the next hand. When I got pushed, as I walked around the end of the table, three of the players put their hand out behind them to have some sort of physical contact with me, as if they were sharing a common bond in understanding of what I put up with while I'm dealing. The whole experience from them was warm and I touched their hand as I went by each of them.

I dealt thru most of my shift and late in the night, an elderly gent that had been in that game was leaving the Cashier's cage. I was on a break standing at the page area as he passed me. He stopped right in front of me, looking at my name tag, he said, "Linda, you need to go back to Montana."

I started laughing. I knew he was referencing Don's antics. I said, "I've dealt to Don for years. He really doesn't bother me."

The gent replied, "Well…he bothers me. Almost every time I come here to play poker, he's in a game I'm in. And he definitely bothers me."

There you have it! Don, you are a jackass.

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) — 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.

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