I seriously wondered if I’d make it to the end of my shift last night. The temperature in the room is mostly unbearable. Add the bodies – all packed together in a confined space – the conversation, the temperature of ‘steaming’ players, and it’s like a convection oven. There still is not enough space between tables to move about without getting ran into or bumping into someone’s chair. While the chairs are comfortable and attractive, they have a three inch rollover on the back, at the top – a lip – and it takes at least six inches out the traffic lane. That ‘lip’ is also plastic and instead of allowing clothing to slide over it, appears to grab and make it more difficult to pass. The chairs also do not ‘slide’. They stick to the carpet and are hard to move, even if no one’s sitting in them. I hear this complaint continuously as I deal At this moment, I wonder if I have the energy to go back tonight and fade another night of earblasting microphones, people chatter, chip clatter, body heat, player heat, high limit, new dealers that don’t know JACK, people constantly hitting my chair and joustling me around, and the whole nine yards. The answer? Of course I do. I’ll be there all chipper, showered, smiley, and raring to go at 7 p.m. After all, it’s Thursday. One day away from signing the E/O and hoping I get out early on my Friday.
I hit one game last night that brings me to what I have wanted to put down in words for quite some time. *Begin Background* $40-8o Mixed game – the 5s was in ‘full tilt mode’. Flinging, zinging, and playing every hand, glaring a lot at me…a guy I’ve never seen before. After he blasted through all of his chips and pulled out cash for a reload, (chip runner enroute with his chips), the 8s had finished dining and tried to pass out his left over, greasy fries to anyone that wanted them. He did that by holding out the box, with his right hand, over my arms, in the middle of the table – AS I WAS DEALING A HAND! I stopped dealing. No one opted to take a fry so the 8s gave up…especially after the 5s (while glaring at me) stated that he would like the dealer to finish the deal and wasn’t interested in food.
While the chips were enroute, the 5s – BB in Omaha 8 or Better – called a raise from the 1s, heads-up. The 5s demanded that I put the 1s’s chips in front of him to mark up what he owed the pot! Shit! Get real here…moi’s first day? NOT! I simply replied, “Just leave it where it is. That’s how much you owe the pot.”
The hand went to multiple raises and finished long before the chips arrived. The 5s lost and demanded to know what he owed. The 2s – a woman (deals somewhere in CA, I think just from the conversation) said, “$280.”
I repeated, “$280,” as I stacked it all out in nice little rows for the 5s to see. The chips were out on the table, in front of the 1s, and I did a complete release so there was no doubt how much the amount was. I then pushed them to the 1s. The 5s did a double back, shit-flip, barking at me, “How do I know if the amount’s correct? The least you could do is count them out so the person that lost can see how much they owe.”
The 1s pushed the chips back out onto the table. I professed an apology and did a complete repeat of exactly what I’d done before, counting them out in neat little stacks, while he was barking at me that he still couldn’t see them because my hands were in the way. Horseshit! I finished the stacks and pulled my hand completely back to the box, waited for him to grunt, and then pushed the chips to the 1s. Don’t worry, when the 5s got his chips and pushed them over to pay the 1s, I made sure I slowly counted them down, out on the table just so everyone could be damn sure he’d sent the right amount.
The 2s won a huge, multi-way action pot in which the 5s was involved. She hogged it. He got lippy with her. She got right into his face. She told the table that she knew treys and sixes were good on the Flop (she hit a six to make sixes full on the River) and they needed to pull up their panties and start playing if they were going to keep up with her. Hysterical! Everyone took it well…except the 5s. He went into ‘grim and hell mode’ and just sort of disappeared out of the mix…not physically. He was there hours later when I walked by the game. *End of Background*
The personalities that meet at the table and go to war over chip control are what makes poker the mix it is. Poker wouldn’t be any fun if everyone sat in a neat and orderly fashion and were all brushed and polished, totally polite and completely empathetic, sympathetic, and understanding. It just wouldn’t work.
I do write about the extreme and the lunatics and the people that make it hell and very seldom ever write about the people that really make it a pleasure to be there. There are a lot of people that make the game of poker pleasurable but let’s face it, if we got up every day and lived in ‘pleasantville’, and everyone gushed sweet and sugar, life would be boring as hell. That’s the way poker plays out…if the ego freak, the playground bully, the kid with all the marbles, the beauty queen, the guy that lives in the dumpster out back, the granny that lives alone, the mom trying to escape the boredom of life and housework, the dad that hates his job and the world he fades everyday, the young bucks coming in to vye for king of the hill, the grinders, the celebrity chasers, the tv watchers, the newbies, the oldies, everyone and anyone that ever played poker on a kitchen table, and all those new faces that never played before didn’t race in off the street to take a seat and be part of the action…poker would be like ‘pleasantville’ – boring as hell.
I capture and record what happens in the real world…poker, that is. I have the best seat in the house. Somedays I want to pull my hair out, somedays I am frustrated by the mix at the tables – at times by the mix of people I work with. Somedays I work harder than I should have to and other days it’s like eight hours of sandbox…and I make money too. I wouldn’t trade it for any other profession. If it was all ‘pleasantville’ I’d go juggle bowling balls in a mine field…hey, maybe I already do. 🙂