Sam Farha is Out of Order

The BIG event takes place tomorrow – six players battle it out in front of cameras and an audience to claim prize money that includes an entry into a $25,000 buy-in tournament to be hosted by Bellagio next year.


Gus is one of the final six. I love Gus, Gustavo to the rest of the world. He’s the chip leader at the end of day four. I get a huge kick out of Gus and his happy go lucky attitude whenever I deal to him and see him. He’s like an injection of “I don’t give a damn what the rest of the world does, I’m having a hell of a good time”. Everyone should take a double dose of that injection every time it’s offered.

I have to say that out of the final six, there are three of them that I truly treasure. I deal to them on a regular basis and they are fun, witty, always pleasant, and easy to get along with. I wish all six of them the very best. What a great event for poker and what a truly outstanding statement for Bellagio to host the first and the last tournament of the World Poker Tour. *applause*


On the dealer side of the world. Last night George had a vase with flowers in it on the table in front of his chips as he played. Apparently it was a night for Sammy F. and The Devil Fish to duke it out verbally. I missed all of it…heavy sigh of relief.


Tonight I thought I’d die laughing. Carmen raced into the office while I was on a break. She was looking for masking/duct tape. She wanted to help with a bet that had been placed in the George/Sam/Devil Fish game in which Sam had been overly talkative and everyone was tired of it. The bet was that his mouth would be taped and he would be quiet for XXX amount of hours.

After I’d left the room for a few minutes and returned, Carmen said, “Look at Sam.”

I walked up to Table 1 and touched Sam’s arm, he turned around with a piece of slot machine tape sealed across his mouth that read, ‘out of order’.

He pulled one side of it free and said to me, “All the dealers are safe tonight. I’m not saying a word to any of them or I’ll lose the bet.”

He was laughing and so was I. Hysterical…did “out of order” say it all or what?


My night was fairly simple, just deal and move to the next game. The room was much quieter. Looks like summer sizzle and slow games are looming up on the horizon.

May 30, 2002

When I came in, the Bellagio Five Diamond World Poker Classic was just in the process of breaking down for the night. It begins again on Saturday at 2 p.m. in one of the Ballrooms and the public is invited to attend. The final six will be there when it begins. There are 24:36 minutes left at the $1,000 ante (each player) and $3000-$6000 Blinds. I say be there. It’s going to be quite an event.


Earlier this week, I finished my night in Deuce to 7 Triple Draw. It started out heads up and eventually became four handed and at that time the limit jumped from $100-$200 to $200-$400. About twenty minutes into my down, I noticed one the cards had a crease down the middle that was obviously there because a player bent it. I pulled out a new deck, spread it, scrambled it, dealt out the first hand, and on the draw, while dealing the second player three cards, I saw a green card in a brown deck. Funny because I normally would’ve seen this when I turned the new deck face down and scrambled before I shuffled and dealt. I did not.

The Supervisor was standing by the table and I stopped everything and pointed out that the deck was fouled. One of the players said we’d been playing with the deck for half an hour and he’d lost at least $10,000. Hysterical! He was joking but sounded so damn sincere. Everyone got their money back and we put in a new set up.


Earlier I dealt to O’Neil L. I’ve been dealing to him for a good many years and I find his character to be very interesting. If you’re playing NL or PL with him, get ready to put some chips in the pot or he’ll blast your socks off with his raises and reckless attitude for chips. That is not to say he’s a bad player but he’s not afraid to stack off.

On the character side, sometimes while he’s playing, he sings, “I’m sorry but I didn’t know the gun was loaded.”

It’s tuneless, or appears to be, and I have no idea if he made it up or it’s part of a song. It’s as if he’s warning you not to mess with him while he’s in a hand.

He likes to order hot chocolate with whip cream. On occasion, when I look over and see that he’s got the whip cream stuck across his upper lip, I will wait a moment and then put my hand in front of him to get his attention, (he always acts as if he’s hard of hearing, some say he has selective hearing), then I point to my own upper lip as I look at him. He gets the message and the funniest part of it is that he always blushes. In the crazy, wacky world of poker where nothing is sacred…he blushes.


I dealt a $30-$60 Holdem game in which Gabe occupied the 10s. He’s a doll, nice mannered, great looking, and always says, “Hi.”

He motioned to Boba, the Holdem Brush, got Boba’s attention, and pointed to another game. Boba acknowledged.
I asked Gabe, “Now you use sign language?”

Gabe said, “I’m speaking Boba now.”

It’s funny. Boba is a unique character, very good at his job, appears to be rough and grouchy most of the time but he really isn’t, it’s just his way of communicating.

May 28, 2002

Table 27 was the beginning of my night. It was a Bellagio Five Diamond World Poker Classic Tournament table. There were eight players, the ante was $200 each and $800-$1600 Blind. At the time I began my down, the announcement was made that they would play another 100 minutes or until they lost 1 player – that would put the contestants for the title at 36.

Unfortunately, Doyle B. “Dolly” was the one that ended the tournament for the day. Eli B. was on the button and raised with A-3 Clubs, Doyle, in the big blind, called all-in with A-9 Off and Eli flopped a pair of treys to send Doyle and everyone else home for the night.

Previous to this hand, Doyle had mentioned that he hoped someone would put him out of his misery so he didn’t have to come back tomorrow with a short stack and try to play through it. I like Doyle. I’ve dealt to him for years and I find him to be a good man with a good heart. I get a kick out of him…when he’s having a bad day; I keep my hands up because the cards may go sailing down the table. But he’s not throwing them at me.

After all the chips were counted and verified and everyone else had left the table, Eli B. looked at me and said, “Thanks for not busting me.”

I should have just let it go but I can’t. Too many years of the same B.S. and I say what I think so I took off with it. “I never bust you.”

“You never break me?” with a look.

“I never take credit for your wins so why would I take credit for your losses?”

“You break me when you deal to me.”

I said, “You get mad at me for something I have no control over. All I do is deal the cards.”

He managed to get out the fact that he got mad at poker, not me, just as the next dealer pushed. Gee, wonder why in the hell he doesn’t throw his cards at ‘poker’ instead of at me when he takes a beat?


After the next 2 games, the rest of the night was high limit. Yes, I dealt $200-$400 Blind Pot Limit Omaha to the usual suspects…George was one of them. I managed to leave the box unscathed and even knew what was in the pot at all times. Whew! George didn’t go broke during my down, which was really nice for me. I didn’t have to ‘listen’ to any of it.


Table 4 was $75-$150 Omaha 8 or Better with a 1/4 Kill…or so it said on the Game Plaque. However, the dealer I pushed told me they were actually playing $100-$200 limit with a $150-$300 Kill. Ugh! As soon as a limit is changed, the dealer’s supposed to call the Brush and get an OK and change the Game Plaque. I did.

A little altercation…Shuen was in the 8 seat on a kill hand and put in $50 because he was talking to his sweater. Jimmy G. was in the 9 seat and raised it. I got Shuen’s attention and he tried to take back the $50…he finally called and everyone else folded. Shuen began making a deal with Jimmy to get his money back and let Jimmy take the blinds. Jimmy said ‘ok’ but then asked me to put out the flop so they could see what they might have made. I did.

Then Jimmy was expected to put the Kill on it and he didn’t think he should have to. I called for a decision. It was long and ugly but the decision was that Jimmy would have to pay the kill.

Jimmy kept trying to get Shuen to pay half of the kill since Shuen got his money back. None of that happened so Jimmy ended up paying the kill. Shuen left the game a few minutes later and most of the players were glad that he went. No splits and no deals in a hand when the ‘kill’ is on it, they all know that.

May 27, 2002

A very busy, hectic beginning. Tournament tables filled a lot of the room. After all, it’s the World Poker Tour kicking off the first event with Bellagio Five Diamond World Poker Classic, the $10,000 Buy-In No Limit Holdem Tournament.

The first game I dealt was a tournament table. Chip Reese, he looked great, panama hat and floral shirt with shorts, was in the 1 seat. Arturo Diaz was in the 6 seat. One of the first hands I dealt, Arturo was on the button and it was raised to him. Before he looked at his cards, he looked at me and said, “Don’t give me pocket Kings.”

He’s got a great smile and very expressive eyes. We shared more than one laugh during my down. He’s #23 in chip standings at the start of day two.

All in all, everyone at the table was very well behaved. One player did bust out but it was a very easy down.

The tournament seems to be very well received in the room. We missed a lot of live action games because of it but there’s a buzz of excitement overall. I met and visited with Steven Lipscomb early in the evening and the encounter was very impressive. I believe the World Poker Tour is a great idea.

I dealt through several ring games and then came to another tournament table. Wonder of wonders, Scotty N., was in the 5 seat. I guess it’s personal between us but I don’t feel that way…he does.

At one point a player made a comment that they couldn’t believe that Scotty didn’t call or raise. Scotty said, “Not with Linda dealing.”
I ignored that ridiculous remark. I do not control anything. If I make a mistake, yes, then I have created a cause and effect, if not, you’re on your own…remember the cards come off the deck at random.

One hand that really amazed me, Scotty had the button and raised $1,500. The small blind hadn’t played a hand since the beginning of my down and he raised it $5,750 more, all-in. Scotty thought about it and called. End result was the small blind held A-A and Scotty held A-K off suit and A-A took the pot even though Scotty flopped a King.

Needless to say I heard ‘ she did the same thing to me in the satellite. Linda, you and I have a problem’. I can’t even acknowledge this type of brain dead statement. I played $10-$20 Holdem with Scotty at the Mirage when someone else put him in the game and he ran over me with the worst hand every time. So I guess I’m the only dealer in the world that deals him off. BTW he’s still in the tournament and when it rains it pours so I think I’ll probably deal to him tomorrow night…Murphy’s Law.

The night was pretty smooth other than the noise level. If I could wear earplugs it would help a lot.

Keep in mind that Player #67 in the chip standing rank from today is David Levi and he won the 1st Bellagio $3,000 Buy-In in April.


In a $30-$60 Holdem down, one player was all-in, the button player bet, everyone else folded and I mucked the flop. Oh yes, yours truly went into brain lock and spaced the all-in. Luckily I knew where I put the flop and the player in the 10 seat stated exactly what the cards were before I turned them back up. The button player showed A-K of Diamonds and won the pot. Hell, I’m ready for a new profession. Focus is a key part of dealing and lately I feel that I’ve lost it. Slap – smack – kick!!! That’s me beating myself up for being comatose.

The World Poker Tour media announcement

I’m normally off on Sundays but I was asked to come in and deal a media tournament. I did. The best part of it was that I was invited into the launch of the World Poker Tour. It’s a huge event, beginning with Bellagio’s $10,000 Buy-In No Limit Holdem Tournament that begins tomorrow. This tournament will kick off the beginning of poker that’s televised in a completely new format. The viewer will be privy to the hole cards of each player. Instead of witnessing A-A raising and battling it out with A-K, the viewer will now see the 9-4 off-suit, the folds, the bluffs, the great play, the glamour, the glitz and the excitement of what draws us all to the poker table.

Get ready for all those non-playable hands and all the bad plays that you thought your hero would never do, because you’re going to see it now.

I find this to be very good for poker. My feeling has always been that hell is 10 of us sitting at a table fighting over the same $500 into eternity. If we don’t invite and excite the new player, we grow stagnant and broke over time. Let’s rejoice when something comes along that really feeds the poker world.

Bellagio’s Tournament is supposed to run for three days and then take a day of rest and get ready for the final days of play that will be televised and played on a stage. This is the projected stage.

World Poker Tour Stage

Not only will this be done at Bellagio, it will be done at all participating casinos. The final and grand finale will be announced.


After leaving the convention center and returning to the poker room, I dealt two of the media tables. It was fun. I knew some of the players and it was very easy to deal. Jack McClelland is our tournament director and he does a wonderful job. He puts forth a great effort in time, energy, and knowledge to make sure everything is as it should be. BTW, I dealt to June Fields at the 1st table.

I then moved into a satellite for the tournament Bellagio hosts tomorrow. One of the players was Scotty Nyugen, WSOP Tournament Champion and a frequent player at Bellagio. He bit my head off when he raised, heads up. After hesitating a moment, I started to pull in the original bet and Scotty’s call. This is standard procedure. If it appears that the other person is thinking and may call, dealers are supposed to pull in the bet and call and leave the raise in front of the Raiser.

He said, “Don’t put your hands on my money! He knows what the raise is, just leave it.”

I said, “It’s my understanding that I’m supposed to bring in the bet and call and leave the raise. I’m sorry.”

Don’t think for one half of a second that I’m really sorry. It’s just a way to escape the wrath of an ego maniac that thinks the rules apply to everyone but them.

I left the bet and the other player called. On the Flop Scotty checked and the other player bet a large amount, Scotty folded. I feel the reason Scotty was so irritated was that a few hands before, a player raised $3,750 all-in and Scotty thought and thought and then called with K-Q off-suit…this action was pre-flop. The raiser had A-4 of Clubs and won the pot.

Great player? I don’t know. I wouldn’t have called pre-flop with that hand and that raise in particular, but what the hell do I know…I’m just a dealer.

I think Scotty won one of the satellites later in the night. Good for him. Not because I care one way or the other but I’m never one to rain on any one’s parade.

The rest of my night was fairly simple, just shuffle up and deal, game after game after game. There was nothing in high limit and no cranky butts to deal with except Wally. He’s always there, lurking on the edge of a perfectly peaceful poker game, zinging the cards into your hands if your hands are on the table. I have a solution for the Wally’s of the world…when they zip the cards into the rack, I just turn the hand up, leave it lay on the table as I state, “These cards are exposed and out of play.”

Hey, if you don’t want the world to know what you throw away, don’t throw your cards at my hands, Dude.

My mother never really knew what she wanted me to be when I grew up. However, when she died in 1975, I was a legal secretary. Dealing poker is a far cry from working in the legal system. She probably would turn over in her grave if she knew that I was a poker dealer and player.

My father tried to gamble away all the household pennies more than once and I have many memories of her walking the floor at night, crying out loud, and wondering how in the hell she would feed eight of us kids. I was very young and I would always wake up and cry right along with her, even though I had no idea what it was all about, because when my mom felt bad, so did I.

I deal to and play poker with people, on a daily basis, that make me wonder what’s waiting at home for them. The longer I sit at the table, the more insight I have into the heart of my fellow man/woman. I’ve spent more nights with a lot of men than their wives or girlfriends will ever spend with them. I know most of you better than you know yourselves.

Sure, you may beat me to death in a poker game or treat me like I’m nobody just because I deal poker…but I have the advantage. I learn from you. I’m not drawing dead in the game of life.

May 23, 2002

What if the world really wasn’t round? What if it’s an oval covered with green felt and those seated at the table are just the bottom feeders trying to move up? All right, let me skip right past that thought and don’t take offense because I sit at the green felt all the time so I’m included.

You should have figured out by now that it’s a ramble. The wine-drinking bitch is gone full tilt and wants to talk about poker and life.
My 1st game was $1-$5 7 Card Stud on table 29. My 2nd game was $1-$5 7 Card Stud on Table 29. No push, Silly. Somewhere, somehow, the line-up wasn’t programmed correctly and three of us never got pushed. Would I rather have spent my first hour in another game? Yes! Simply because the 7s was a retard and makes a lot of noise and slows the game down and, even after he’s been told 18 times, still can’t figure out that he’s not supposed to throw his chips into the pot. Add to that this is not the first time I’ve had to deal with/to this brain dead and there it is in a nutshell…the beginning of my night, did I also forget to say that the 7s never SHUTS UP?

The bright spot of this game was that Richard sat down in the 8s and we got to visit for a few minutes. Richard and Matt room together and have become two of my favorites in the card room. We’ve played against each other and I’ve dealt to them both for quite some time. They understand me and I understand them…we don’t have to play ‘the game’.

My next game was $8-$16 Holdem and then on UP from there. That was my last low limit game for the night. The Twilight Zone of high limit waited for me, lurking behind 30 Break.

Table 1 was $300-$600, 2 games, Ace to 5 triple draw and Deuce to 7 triple draw. My whole session was Deuce to 7. Doc was in the 1s and for some reason, tonight, he kept patting and rubbing the middle of my back. I’ve dealt to him for a lot of years and he’s never, ever, been anything but distant. Nope, it wasn’t my perfume, I don’t wear any. Go figure.

Table 2 was mixed games, the Deuce to 7 was $400-$800 but all the other games were $500-$1000. My friend and hiking buddy, Christoph, was in the 7s and he’d stopped by when I was on table 30 to visit for a moment. He’s been having a really rough time the last six days. They gamble gambled in this baby.

Table 3 was $400-$800 Pot Limit Omaha with none other than GEORGE Paravoliasakis , in the 6s. I have a horrible time with this game and I can honestly say I’ve always had a horrible time dealing a game with George in it. I deal PLO about 15 times out of the year and I do know how the betting structure works but when I’m actually in the dealer’s box and they’re throwing out chips, it’s another story.

The first hand I dealt, Sam Farha got on my case because he wanted to bet the pot and I failed to remember there were four players. Ugh! Yes, I need work in this area but what the hell is so tough about a player just betting the pot when he plays the game all the time and knows what’s in it? No answer needed here, he’s just trying to set the control tone.

George ended up waving his arms at me and talking to his wife about me by the end of my down. I’ve often wondered what it must be like to be his wife and sit and watch him behave like a monkey and throw away your mutual funds at the same time. A role I could never accept. The rumor was that he didn’t play yesterday because he was broke…by today he had found more funds to play with.

A wonderful man named Frederic was in the 1 seat. I’ve dealt to him a lot the last 3 weeks and he’s such a gentleman and gentle soul. I complimented him once away from the game. He greets me and I greet him. I like it.

The 2s was Johnny Chan but he was walking until the last few hands of my down.

The 3s was one of my favorites, Ben Roberts. He’s the kindest of the kind hearts when it comes to the dealer and their role in the game. We always speak and I first met him a year ago when he came for the WSOP. It’s always a pleasure to see Ben.

The Devil Fish AKA Dave Ulliot., was in the 7s and had won a pot so big, when I was dealing table 2, that players left my game to go watch the action.

My next game was $75-$150 Omaha 8 or Better with a 1/4 Kill. Eli Balas was in the 1s. By the end of my down, he was swearing and having a fit. No, this isn’t surprising because everything is someone else’s fault…definitely not his. He lost a pot to 4 Queens and then threw his small blind into my left hand. I fumed, “Jesus, Eli, you don’t have to throw things at me!”

He lost the next hand and threw his cards into the 4 seat’s chips. Thankfully he didn’t throw them at me. 🙂

When the next dealer pushed me out, Eli was talking to himself. He said something to the next dealer about, “…getting the witch out of here.”

As I left the box, I said, “Thanks everyone.” Then I turned and looked at Eli and said, “Thanks a lot Eli.”

Of course he looked away. I didn’t expect anything less or more although I still haven’t figured out why some players think I should feel responsible when they win or lose.

The next game was $30-$60 Holdem. Quite painless.

The next game was $20-$40 Omaha 8 or Better. Hot and noisy, it sits right on the rail so smokers can lean over the rail and share their bad habit with us. Ugh!

Table 7 was $300-$600 7 Card Stud then on to $80-$160 Holdem and $1,000-$2,000 Mixed games with none other than Annie Duke, Jason Lester, Johnny Chan, Gus Hanson, Chau Giang. and a few others. Gus really is a kick in all games and limits.

My last game was $80-$160 Holdem.

When I finally hit the clock out window another dealer said, “How did you escape overtime?”

I looked at him and said, “Shhhhh. Sometimes silence is the best way to get through the night.”

Satellites ran all night for Bellagio $10,000 No Limit Holdem event which begins next week. Noise and confusion tripled up and served as a ‘supreme’. It should be this way for the next couple of weeks. Yippee!

The freak of all freaks

A little catching up.  On the 4th, I managed to deal to the Freak of all Freaks, J.C. Pearson.  Truthfully I hope he reads this site someday or someone points it out to him and he takes a reading.  He’s the subject of other posts here and in previous years.  He hates the world, he hates life, he hates himself…Oh yes, I’ve listened to, “He’s just a good old boy away from the table.”  So are wife beaters and child molesters. Continue reading The freak of all freaks