So far in my recollections of the last Grand Prix tournament held at the Golden Nugget, it’s one long, dark tunnel that appears to end somewhere, but where? It was the beginning of two years of intermittent tournament dealing.
I wonder if it was force of will that kept me going back each night instead of just giving up and quitting – or if it was sheer stupidity and low self esteem which created the need to feel like I was a worthless piece of shit that sat in a dealer’s box instead of having a respectable profession like ‘real poker players’ and following in the footsteps of some of the jack-a-lows I dealt to.
Nah, they weren’t all hard core assholes but those are the ones that stick in your head when you head to the next table, and to the break room, and home for the night.
I dealt to Chip Reese in this tournament, he was an established poker pro but to me he was just another poker player. I don’t ever remember him getting out of line – at any point – in all the years I dealt to him. I suppose the reason I remember dealing to him was because he was buying a necklace for his then girlfriend – whether or not she was the one he married, I do not know since I’ve never followed other people’s love interests.
He was in the 1s and one of the local, poker playing jewelers, Jim Salvatore, always brought his ‘filled with goodies briefcase’ with him and was showing the necklace to Chip. I believe the price was somewhere in the $3K neighborhood and Chip spent a few minutes examining it and then cut off chips for Jim – done deal. Doug was called over and he took the necklace into custody and stored it somewhere in the office.
Chip also was playing in two tournaments at one time at the Grand Prix. When the tournaments were coming down to fewer tables, they were played in a roped off area with TV monitors in the casino area so people could watch. I did deal a few of those so in reality, I was a TV dealer on the first BIG tournament I ever dealt. LMAO. I remember him hopping from one table to the next to pick up a hand and then run back to the other table.
I went to the Hendon Mob database and it shows this for Chip’s wins for the Grand Prix as being in January:
|Jan-1987||$ 5,000 No Limit 2-7 Draw
Grand Prix of Poker 1987, Las Vegas
|Jan-1987||$ 1,000 No Limit Hold’em
Grand Prix of Poker 1987, Las Vegas
That just is not true. It ran from November 20th to December 19th in 1987. I’m assuming that he may have played more tournaments than these but I believe those are the two he table hopped between.
There are other players I dealt to, more than once, that I dealt to again and again in the coming months in the next tournament down the road and I started to learn their names. I didn’t know any of them when I first hit Vegas.
One incident that is the show stopper of my first tournament dealing experience was the night that Puggy and J.C. Pearson were 86’d from the Golden Nugget. Even though I was from the outer regions of the real world when it came to gaming – no cameras, no security, no nothing when it came to the poker games, cashier’s cage, and eventually the keno game in Montana, I was in ultra shock when the following happened right in front of me.
The poker tables in the pit were in full screamer mode. The tables were so close together you could barely squeeze your butt through the spaces between the chairs, the cocktail waitresses ran their butts off, the list people raced back and forth delivering player’s chips, dealers screamed, “Pick UP!” or “Seat OPEN!” or “COCKTAILS” or “FILL” or “SET UP” and microphones buzzed with names for seats while the clank of chips and conversation were the background orchestra for the whole picture.
Players were allowed 6 buttons before they were picked up for being absent from the table. New dealer, collect time, pitch a button to a stack of chips and that’s what I did in a stud game I pushed into. A few minutes later one of the players told me to call the floor to pick up one stack of chips with numerous absent buttons decorating the felt around it.
The player was picked up, a new player was seated, and within a few minutes J.C. Pearson arrived and wanted to know what happened to his chips. You can read through archives here and see my opinion of J.C. Pearson and his actions over the years but at the time I didn’t know who he was.
He got noisy. The list person came over. Puggy was playing at the next table and he jumped up to join the verbal action. The list person explained that buttons were given, he was gone too long, and J.C. would go first on the list. Major verbal action now. Doug came over. It got a lot louder between the boys, the list, and Doug.
By now most of the table play had stopped and everyone wanted to know what was going to happen next. Puggy informed Doug that he and J.C. left at the same time for dinner but he wasn’t picked up because he still had about 10 minutes grace and that it was bullshit that J.C. was. Don’t think Puggy ever felt like he had to tone it down to talk to anyone, he just pulled back the trigger and fired all chambers when he got hot.
Doug backed up the list’s decision. Puggy said it wasn’t who you knew, it was who you blew. Doug told him it was over, to go play and J.C. would go first on the list. Puggy had completely lost it by this time. He wasn’t slowing down.
He yelled, “Fuck you, you four-eyed mother fucker!”
And Doug lost it. He yelled back, “Fuck you and the horse you rode in on and the dog that followed you! Get your chips and get out, you’re done!”
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Pearson Boys have left the building!
Done they were. They were not allowed back in during the remainder of the tournament and I heard from some of the dealers and from players I dealt to at other tables that they were homesteading Caesars or the Dunes.
I never had cards thrown in my face or had someone call me nasty names – that I heard anyway – in that tournament.
In those days a dealer never got backup when a player was totally out of line. But how many dealers would ever even speak up against a player when they would have to face the player’s wrathful eye the next time they dealt to him/her? It was so bad that some of the players at the table that witnessed a player harassing a dealer would simply say they didn’t hear or see anything when asked by the floor. And mostly, the dealer’s word was not the bottom line, someone needed to corroborate it.
Floorman to the players at the table, “See that finger in front of the 4s? Did you see the 2s break it off and throw it over there?”
Floorman, “Anyone want to tell me what happened?”
Floorman walks away.
Players, “DEAL damn it, we’re paying time!”
Ah-h-h-h-h for the good old days!
Nah, no one I knew ever lost a finger. And poker has changed one helluva lot since those days. Consider this the end of the Grand Prix tournament report from my end – unless I get a gigantic brain cramp somewhere that reminds me of another inspiring reason to want to be a poker dealer back in the good old days.