The 26th was the first day of the Championship Event, Day 1, Flight 1. My first table found me dealing to Howard Lederer in the 2s and Prahlad Freidman in the 10s.
Yes, there were eight other players there too. As a matter of fact, the 6s asked me if I was ‘Linda from PokerWorks’ and I found out his name is Joe and he lives in Santa Cruz. Nice! He was very quiet but so would I be if I was in a tournament facing off with Howard.
Prahlad has placed in our Bellagio tournaments and is one of those people that has an incredibly infectious smile and is always happy…makes me smile just to see him. The players were on a break when I entered the dealer’s box, the tournament resumed, I shuffled and dealt the first hand, Prahlad was absent from his seat and the Button. Just before the action got to him, he raced in and jumped into his chair, looked at his hand, raised it, got one caller, won the pot on the Flop with a bet, and asked me if it was the second hand. I told him it was the first. He’d gone out and jumped in the ocean when the break started…yup…he was soaked. What a life, huh?
The last hand I dealt ended up heads-up with Howard and Prahlad. I believe Prahlad was the Button and Howard the Big Blind but I could be mistaken. Prahlad put in a sizeable raise and Howard went all-in. Prahlad thought about it briefly and called…he had more chips than Howard. Howard turned over A-J Off and Prahlad turned over 8-8. The Flop and Turn had Prahlad winning but a lonely little Ace slipped off on the River giving Howard a breath of fresh air.
One of the things I really enjoy about dealing this tournament is that fact that the players aren’t whining and having a fit when they take a beat or get knocked out of the tournament. I only ran into one of those and he’s an up and coming post. Most of them are internet players and they don’t know how to throw cards or hurl insults…not that online players don’t hurl plenty of chat insults and profanity, some of them are completely idiotic and shameless when they take a beat…but in this tournament, the general order of play is very civil and fun.
Another part of this tournament that’s great for me, Greg Pierson, the CEO of the software company that runs the Ultimate Bet poker game always comes around to check on the dealers and thank us all for being there and the good job we are doing. When he hit the tournament area last year and went from dealer to dealer, thanking them, got me to me, and thanked me for being there, I had no idea who he was…I knew I’d seen him before, possibly Bellagio or somewhere but didn’t know who/why he was there. Now I know – and it makes it even better that he plays at Bellagio off and on during the year and always stop to say ‘hello’ when he sees me.
My thought? Thank you for thanking me, Greg. The world should spend more time being happy and thankful…the hell with that grouchy stuff.
I spotted Russ Hamilton when I came in to work one evening. He was visiting and moving around the main tournament event area. I raced over to tell him that I just finished a screenplay and Ben Affleck had a bit part in it as himself…I should die laughing here but it’s true.
Russ told me if I got the screenplay to him, he’d make sure Ben got it. Hell YES! When I got the E/O that night I took it directly to the Radisson and left it with the Bellman. Russ told me later that it might be two weeks but he would make sure Ben got it. Damn it, Ben! No phone call yet? *smile*
The 27th – Championship Event 1, Flight 2, found me dealing to John Juanda. He was in the 9s and pretty frisky. For me to state how the action went in the game and the hands, I cannot, I only know that he put in raises and picked up several pots because that kid doesn’t sit around and wait for a hand…he picks his spots and jumps head first into the ‘chip wars’ leaving caution and sense of reason to those that can’t keep up with him. He ended up in one hand with J-J, raised it, and got one caller – the 2s – heads-up. The Flop contained one skinny, little Ace. John made a marginal bet, his opponent raised all-in and had John more than covered. John called. His opponent held A-Q. A Jack popped off on the Turn. John brought home the spoils from the Chip Wars. And had more ammo for the next battle.
I landed in a game with Layne Flack and Phil Laak AKA The Unibomber. Layne was in the 2s and landed in his seat just after the tournament break ended. We exchanged ‘hellos’ and I couldn’t help but almost chuckle every time I looked at him. He had a huge grin when he looked at me and I asked him who was bringing him the beer this year. Last year he had someone bringing it in by the dozen in a bucket of ice. And he was passing it out to anyone that wanted one…jumping up from his seat from time to time to hand them out. Not this year though…nothing alcoholic anywhere around him.
Finally I asked, “Where’ve you been?”
He replied that he’d been in ‘rehab’ for 30 days.
I exclaimed, “No Way!”
He reaffirmed it and I said, “Ok. No more questions.”
The 1s put in a few raises pre-flop and each time he did, he put on his sunglasses, AFTER he raised it. Phil was in the 5s and he pointed out the fact – the sunglasses go on after the raise. Phil stated that it was a nice move.
The 1s looked like a fairly new player…hell, maybe he didn’t know Phil is a ‘name brand’ player but it appeared to me that he beamed a little brighter after that.
Layne was pretty quiet during this down and didn’t do much, verbally or with chips. I heard at the Awards Banquet that he’d made some major changes in his life lately. Good for him! It’s so hard to overcome yourself and make the first move .
My next game had Annie Duke and Chris Ferguson in it. These tables were filled with pros. I wondered if most of the online players had any idea of what they were up against in these games…not only did they have to fade the transition of going to Brick and Mortar play where they faced down their opponents, had to fold in turn, and looked at a lot less hands an hour – they were playing against the top players in the world.
Some where in here, I dealt to David from Canada again. *David, I edited the other post*. He was funny and chipper as usual. He wanted to know if I was going leave him on his own against all these players or if I was going to help him out…maybe not in those words but the meaning was there. We both laughed on that one. I told him, “No! You’re on your own.”
I was still on the E/O (Early Out), every time I went in to work, and that’s exactly what happened here. I went…out into the luscious night air, drinking in the humidity and warmth, humble in the fact that I was there and life was good!
Somewhere in here, Phil Helmuth waltzed through the room. Jack came over the mike and announced, “For any of you that want an autograph or want to discuss anything about poker, Phil has plenty of time now.”
Ouch! It meant he was busted out of the tournament. But Phil took it all with a smile as the whole room cracked up.
The 29th, Championship Event Day 1, Flight 3. *Begin Edit* We had two rooms of tables and dealers/players. One room hosted all the satellites and buy-in tournaments and the other room hosted the main event. I started in the Championship Event, dealt to Marcel Luske and Mike Matusow in the same game. Marcel went ‘bust’ during my deal as he tried to run over A-A with the A-2 of Clubs. Debbie Burkhead held the Aces that sent Marcel out of the tournament.
David Oppenheimer was at my next table and as soon as he told the players I was the best dealer, I made an ante mistake. For the life of me, I don’t know how or where but we were short one ante and I had to call for a decision. Jack McClelland appeared and summed it up as ‘it’s too late now’. Shortly after that this game was broken and the players sent to fill other empty seats and I was on my way to the buy-in tournament room.*End Edit*
I know the majority of the dealers, including myself, never had a problem with any of the players and as far as I know, there were very few incidences where a Supervisor had to be called for dealer or player abuse (player to player abuse). I ran into all of it in the few short hours I dealt during this shift and the following night.
The first colossal incident came when I entered a $540 buy-in NLH tournament event and Melissa was playing in it. I’ve never seen Melissa out of line or irritated but she definitely appeared to be both…not with me. She’s always gracious and treats me with courtesy and respect. I would just have to surmise that she was having an unusually bad day…and I’ve been guilty of them too so this isn’t judgmental, just the way it came down.
The 3s was a well put together, healthy guy with an accent…maybe French but I really lose my ability to distinguish who’s from where/nationality, etc. Three females in the game, 5s, Melissa – 6s, and the 7s.
Towards the end of my down, the 3s put in a small raise pre-flop, the 4s folded, the 5s went all-in, Melissa folded, the 7s went all-in and had the 5s covered. Everyone folded to the 3s and he contemplated the bets and the raisers. He was taking a little extra time but nothing that would have been earth shattering according to NLH standards. Finally he exclaimed, “I have the opportunity to take two ladies out at once!” as he shuffled his cards back and forth and looked at the raisers.
Melissa stood up with, “You piece of shit! Make up your mind,” and walked to the table next to us to visit with a friend. She returned within a few seconds and stated that she wanted ‘the clock’ put on him.
He was flabbergasted. He asked the 5s and the 7s if he had offended them in anyway, they responded with a positive “NO!” He wanted me to call the Floor because he didn’t appreciate Melissa calling him a piece of shit and she wanted me to call the Floor to put ‘the clock’ on him. I called for a decision.
The person that answered my call is the subject of another post back about a year or so ago. At that time this person specifically requested that I NEVER use their name again on my website and had a heated discussion with me about infringing on everyone’s rights by writing about them here. Call me stupid, call me neanderthal, but…if you’re in the poker world today, you are either being photographed or written about so get used to it. And if you look bad, maybe you should change what you’re doing. But since I have to cross paths with this person at Bellagio…I’m giving an alias, hence known as FCF.
I explained the whole situation to FCF over my right shoulder and after I finished, the 10s stated to FCF, “She really was totally out of line with her statement,” referring to Melissa.
While I was explaining the situation, Melissa was still demanding the time clock be put on the 3s and stated that she didn’t like the way he treated women. The 3s was still verbally defiant that she had called him a piece of shit.
FCF handled it all like something like this, “Ok! Everyone has to behave now.”
Wow! That takes care of it.
I finished the hand with the 5s and the 7s heads-up as the 3s folded. If I remember correctly, the 5s had Q-Q and the 7s had 10-10. Take it 7s. The 5s left quietly.
I got pushed. I’ll admit I was shaking my head a little bit over that decision. If a man had called a woman a name, there would’ve been hell to pay…why is it not the same standard for women?
In the meantime, I hit the beach every a.m. around 5:30-6:00. The sky started to split open with light and beauty around 6:20 so I had a head start on it as I cavorted down the beach, marveling at the moist air, the strength God had graced me with in this body that’s carried me a million miles and graciously helped me escape from a million cliff hangers in the poker world…as in being mechanically graced and mentally quick and cognizant of situations and how to handle them, and given me the strength to return each time I had been bitten by The Big Burn Out Bug. If I hadn’t overcome that Bug, I wouldn’t be here now.
After the dance with dawn, the surf, and sand, I raced upstairs for my suit so I could swim with some of the locals in the quiet, gentle surf. They warned me about walking by myself in the early a.m. Hell…do they know I live in Las Vegas? I just went with their tales and thanked them for thinking of me. Then the pool, dressed and the breakfast buffet by 8 a.m. and then off to sleep a few hours. Sweet!
The Wyndham also provides a free internet hub. A few of us have not been able to log on with our wireless network cards and I finally gave up trying to figure out why. I went to the Concierge with the thought of finding a computer shop on the island where I could buy a new one. Yup! I’m a computer geekette, junkie, sicko, that has to have my internet access and I was going into total withdrawal. The lady I spoke with really didn’t understand me but fortunately Edgar was walking by and she called him over. He takes care of the computers for the hotel and he said he’d had a few other guests with the same problem. It was my network card…the same one the other guests had. He rented a card to me for the duration of my stay and set it up within five minutes. Yes, there’s a healthy fee if I leave the island with the card, but how can you beat a deal like this. Great service, I got what I wanted for very little cash, and I’m a very happy kid right this minute.