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.
Have you ever considered the fact that poker is a treasure chest? I’m sure many of you think of it as a money-maker and see that side of it — it’s filled with treasure when your ‘run-good’ is at an all-time high, and you are on top of your game, and the games are good – that’s a given.
But what about all the people that you encounter in the games, the dealers you spend time with at the tables and the brush people? Many relationships are a true treasure, and some of those people you would never have met or spent time getting to know if weren’t for the great game of poker. Sure, the diptards are there too, the obnoxious freaks you don’t want to spend time with are there, the hustlers, and the railbirds are too, but in a way, you could class all of those personalities as being part of the treasure.
One of the treasures of poker is that you can go into a poker room, any time, unannounced and put your name on a list to be whisked away into a relationship with a dealer and up to 10 players. You don’t need an invitation or have to call in advance for a time, and the best part is that while you’re in the game, they are your audience, and you can leave whenever you want. No apology needed, no excuse, just get up and hit the door.
I didn’t mention romance but that happens at the poker table upon occasion too. Falling out of love at the poker table sometimes seems much easier to me than falling in love but now and then players connect, hook up, and stay together. Another treasure.
The following Table Tango post brings some of my favorite treasures front and center.
December 15th, 2005: The moon is out - it's a beautiful 36 degrees tonight - just the kind of night that makes me really happy to have a place to hang out in, away from the freaking cold. No urges to race out into the night air and sprint to the top of a mountain…no sir-e-e-e. Get me hot blankets and lots of warm potent potables and I just might survive until the dawn hits. And what's that old saying, "It's always coldest just before dawn?" OK! Forget the dawn shit and just give me what I want.
So while I'm hanging out (inside) and quite comfortable drinking something…not telling right now…I want to go back over a few things that I've not posted on because of my need to write about the WPBT. Yes, I needed to write about it. That's why I do this shit. I need to write. It's a fix for me. No drug in the world could replace it. I paint the picture; you adjust the speed - when you get tired of it, leave. I'm never leaving. As long as I have air to breathe and pictures to paint, I'm here, attached and always planning the next time to paint and sometimes when I'm so tired I can't think, the canvas of life jumps into my thoughts and I have to return, paintbrush in hand. Now is that time.
A week or so ago I met Brandon Schaefer. I didn't know he was a poker star (First place in the French Open - EPT/Pokerstars Season 1) but I'm rarely impressed with poker stars so it doesn't matter. I was impressed with his easy laugh, direct eye contact and the way he talked directly to me, no matter what limit he was playing in. I felt so comfortable with him in the player's seat that it was easy to say hello to him and throw in an answer here and there and have him respond. But I really got the full gist of his humor and fun when I'd been dealing to him in $30-60 and $15-30 and I hit a $4-8 H game and he was in the 4s. He was drinking and gambling, laughing and having fun. I teased, "Playing down?"
He said that he'd been in a $30 and he didn't like the game. He wanted to relax, drink and have fun. This game was a lot of fun to deal, mainly because of him. He played some hands in the dark and enjoyed the hell out of it. I like his attitude and the way he handles himself in the game. But to top it off, he got involved in a hand in which he stated, "If I win this, I'm going to give half of the pot to her," as he nodded at me.
It was four-way action with raises pre-flop. I looked at the other players and asked, "Any of you just want to fold now?"
They ignored me and played on. The Flop brought two spades. On the River, Brandon and one player left, a Queen popped off. Brandon won the pot with Q-4 or Q-7 or something like that, he'd flopped a four flush and rivered a pair of queens and they were good. True to his word, he stacked the pot up and gave me half of it. Holy hell! That's a first for me in Las Vegas poker. Thanks again, Brandon, I liked your attitude before you gave me half the pot…but damn that was a sweetener.
Randall was coming into town - he lives in Canada. We met through Table Tango - or the Diary as it was known some years ago. He made it into town a few years ago and made sure he found me to bring me a bottle of wine. Wow! Some people are just so special because they read what I write and then try to please me…it just don't get any better than this. Although I didn't really care for THAT wine (keep in mind I have simple tastes and exotic thoughts), and I wrote and told him how much I appreciated the wine but it wasn't to my taste. He was coming in to say hello again and wanted to know what I really liked. I straight out told him. He was in on Tuesday and I had the opportunity to visit with him on a break. We talked about my up and coming adventure and I laid my soul on the line with it…all the time I'd spent in wondering if I was making the right decision, jumping out of the safety net into the unknown, and a few other things.
It was a great visit. However…my bottle of wine was in his room at the Monte Carlo. It wasn't a huge issue for me but he was determined that I would have it before he flew out the next a.m. And when I arrived at work tonight, it was in the office, waiting for me. Thanks so much, Randall. For the visit, for your insight and understanding, for wishing me well, for saying you'll miss me being at Bellagio, for being a long time reader here, and lastly…for the wine. Cheers! *glasses clink*
Also in town last week, Chris Fargis, a reader and Bellagio player, Chris and I have IM'd and stayed in touch off and on when he's back home (somewhere the hell back East, I think). He was so animated and happy when I saw him here…he'd kicked butt in the games and definitely added to his bankroll. He left town before I got to tell him goodbye. (He's also the one that ratted me out to Adam…previous post). Take care Chris, stay well, be happy, see you next trip or on the IM.
Nicholas was in the room when I raced out the door on Monday - the night my stomach had a mind of its own. He stopped me outside the room to say hello and I promised to visit with him the following night. Damn…that boy is cute…I'm just in the wrong stage of my life to go romping young guys in the night. I saw him briefly on Tuesday night when I first came in. He was doing the 'poker thang' in a $30-60 H game when I stopped by to say hello. I promised I'd be back later to visit but my next break was spent on food (I have an eating problem…like I like to eat once in the first five or six hours I'm up) and the next break I spent talking to Randall. When I searched for Nicholas on the next break, he wasn't to be found. So where are you, kiddo? Home already?
I have my favorites. That's a huge majority of the people I deal to…some are just held closer in my thoughts.
Before I stop painting for sleep, I want to do a dealer rag…
I hit Mangia tonight before work (help's hall) and joined three other dealers at a table. As I ate, I listened to one of them start his rip/shred on how the players in Bobby's Room rattled him, threw him off course while he was dealing the game. He started with Sam Farha and then went to Chau Giang. Get the hell out of here with that. I love those guys. But not only that, he was getting major sympathy from one of the other dealers.
I jumped in the middle of it, while I was chomping down my food. My conversation went like this: I play a lot of poker. I watch dealers in the box and a lot of them that have been dealing for a long time, and new ones, really have no idea what they're doing in the box and they make a lot of mistakes. These players play all over the world and are being dealt to by dealers, in every country that don't know how to deal a game. Look at their side of it, they have a lot of money on the line and they have to put up with dealers that think they know everything and really don't care how they do their job. So why would they think you know what you are doing, unless you deal to them all the time and they get to know you?
One of the dealers totally agreed with me. Another one said he could understand that viewpoint. Another one said he could care less, he hated them all; no matter what they thought or what they played.
Well…there you have it, Kids. Another black mark in the profession of dealing, another dipshit that can't figure out it takes two to Tango and there are two sides to every story. And this creep really is not a professional but don't worry, when it comes to 'them' giving him money, he will take it.
The canvas is finished for the night. Time to sleep.
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. I now know that NO ONE is going to add to this piece of poker history but me. Not a problem, the remainder of this is going to remain just in case someone wants to share a piece of their poker history. 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.