Tuesday, December 24, 2002

I am totally thrilled to be here. It seems a little bare right now but with all the action and happenings in a poker game/room, this page will soon fill up and over run its brim, like a pail put under a leaking roof during a monsoon.

Linda has spent a lot of time pondering whether or not she would give up her Diary and allow me to write my experiences here. Finally….

I’m on…I’m here…I’m in your face…in your thoughts…writing what you want to read…and ready to ROCK AND ROLL…Show Time is an understatement of the plethora of events and happenings that I will write about. Stay tuned.


December 24, 02. Christmas Eve and Christmas:

There were no stockings, the cards were in the air. Some players were still on their way, others filled the chairs.

It’s Christmas? Oh Hell, it’s poker, it’s a zoo. They bantered, they laughed, some argued too.

Others drew out with a scream and a shout but there were no children milling about.

The visions of sugar plums had long since passed, these kids were gambling, they were having a gas.

No curfew, no hiding to watch Santa creep…not once did they think of being fast asleep.

With chips in their hands and cards being dealt, they came to play, to meet and battle across the green felt.

No one went home, they’ve managed to stay…they’re still slamming chips and play, play, play, And it’s way past Christmas Day.


Well you get the picture. Most people think that Christmas is slow, the players stay home or whatever it is they do when they aren’t playing poker. Absolutely untrue! Jamming! It will stay that way until sometime into January.

If you plan on a New Year’s Eve visit to Bellagio, come early. The Strip is locked down at 7 p.m. and does not open again until after 3 – 4 a.m. It’s open only to foot traffic. Party on, dudes and dude-ettes.

But if you want to play poker, the casinos close around 8 p.m. Yes, Kids! Close is the key word here. If you don’t have a room key or an employee ID, you are not admitted after that time period. You can leave but you can’t come back unless you get a stamped card from the poker room. If you are in Valet or the parking garage, you may NOT leave because the Strip is closed. This is not a joke, it’s the way it is.

Swing shift employees hate it because it’s a 10 1/2 hour shift. They are required to be onsite by 6 p.m. and encouraged to car pool because parking is absolutely a B-I-T-C-H! But it goes with the territory.


Last week in a Mixed $1,500 – $3,000 Omaha 8 or Better Limit game and Omaha Pot Limit game, Doyle B. was giving Black Birds as Christmas presents to the dealers when they went through his game. Yep, that’s a $100 Toke. Thank you, Doyle!

On Christmas Daniel N. came into the room, appeared to be slightly on the tipsy side. U-m-m-m-h-h-h-h, slightly?

Evelyn was playing $15-$30 Holdem and he ran up to her and demanded, with his impish little grin, that she raise in the dark. He knew she would win if she did. She said, “No!”

As her cards were dealt, Daniel picked up six $5 chips and threw them out at the same time that she threw her cards into the muck. It was simultaneous raise/muck. Funny! He rambled on with her for a few more minutes before he moved off to create havoc with other players. Who’s Evelyn? A tall, sleek, Asian Beauty from Canada. She’s been in and out of town since the Mirage days. Graceful and beautiful, she’s an asset to any poker room.

But let’s get back to Daniel. A few hours later he was walking through the poker room with a stack of $10 chips in his hand and stopping at each table, he threw each dealer a chip, “This is for you!” until he ran out of chips.

Dealing isn’t always easy and sometimes it makes such a huge difference in your night if someone even tells you that you do a good job, let alone throw extra money at you. So to all of you that spent Christmas Eve and Christmas and will spend New Year’s Eve and New Years with us and give us money on top of that…Yippeee! Thank you.

This post is done by Chanzes – during the time period that I took a break from posting in the Diary.

Saturday, December 21, 2002

Just for you David Sklansky fans. This info was given by David L. He does not live in Vegas but comes to play on a regular basis.

They were playing $80-$160 Holdem, a little over a week ago, and the game must have been pretty dry. David S. announced that anyone who could win a pot with 7-2 should be given $100 by each of the other eight players, thus making a little pot sweetener of $800 for the winner. Gamb-o-o-o-l!

One player objected so…no go. Everyone else was loaded and ready to fire at the idea. Some crazy play developed from the statement and David S. started it right off.

He raised with 7-2 and got raised by 7-7. The board; Flop 8-5-2, Turn 2, River 9. Imagine the holder of 7-7 looking at David S. showing down 7-2. Oughta be really good for poker.

The report from David L. on hands that won and lost with 7-2, as the pocket cards, is a little sketchy but hoping for more detailed input soon.

One hand in particular that David L. played with David S. David L. was the big blind with 7-2, David S. was 2nd position from the big blind with A-3H.

David S. raised pre-flop and everyone else folded to David L. David L. raised.

The Flop was A-8-8 with the Ace and an 8 of one suit. David L. bet, David S. raised, David L. raised, David S. called.

The turn was a 7. David L. fired, David S. called.

The River 4 put a three flush on the board and David L. checked. So did David S. As David S. stacked the chips, he said, “If you bet the River, you win the pot.”

Guess the answer here would be ‘never holler whoa in a horse race’, just keep firing and hope they give up.

This post is done by Chanzes – during the time period that I took a break from posting in the Diary.

Friday, December 20, 2002

It’s almost time for Santa to come sweeping across the horizon with his sleigh filled with goodies and those wonderful little reindeer jumping and prancing and pulling the load. Magic! That’s what really sings in our hearts this time of year, children feel it, want it, need it, and in our hearts, even as adults, a lot of us want to believe in magic also. It’s there. It’s in the air, surrounding our being and thoughts, just out of sight and out of reach, but still….

Ok, back to the real world.

Talk about taking some beats, this is one really bad run in $100-$200 7 Card Stud. The victim, er…ahhh…player, is Cal in the 2 seat. He started rolled up with 10’s. A player – known as “K” – in the 4 seat, brings the bet in for $25. He’s low with a 5.

Cal never even slow played the hand. Cal completed the bet to $100. K. came right in.

On 4th Street Cal caught a King. K. caught a 5 which paired his door card.

K. bet $100, Cal raised, K. called.

On 5th Street, Queen for Cal and K. caught another 5. Three 5’s showing in K.’s hand now. K. bet $200 and again Cal raised. K. called.

Sixth Street brings Cal a Queen which gives him 10’s full of Queens.

K. catches a 6 and checks. Cal bets and K. calls.

On the River Cal catches a 9 and K. catches…surprise card…the 4th five. He caught runner-runner 5-5-5 and then fired $200 at Cal.

Cal called with the statement, “You must’ve made four 5’s.”

K. triumphantly turned over his cards to win the pot and Cal started laughing. No…not hysterical laughter but most of the world would’ve reacted with that having taken that beat.

The worst part of it was that K. started in with, “Why didn’t you raise me?”

Really bad form and a totally stupid statement but that’s the way it is in the real world today.

Cal had two more beats by the same player in the next few hours.

Cal started with 9-10 Hearts in the hole, up card Ace Hearts. His next cards in order were 5-8 Hearts. He made a flush in five. His last two cards were the 7 of spades and Queen of Clubs.

K.’s hand went like this; hole cards, AD-JC, up card 4S. His next cards in order were 4C-JD-3D and Rivered a full house with the 4D.

The next little, nerve shredding beat went like this:

Cal’s hand; KD, 3C,//KH-9D-9C-6S//10S.

K.’s hand; QD, 5C//QH-7C-2H-8D//QS.

Obviously Cal never had a chance in any of these hands. Humph! Gag, choke, spit! He never slow played any of them and still knows that he had the best of it and will every time he plays because he is a ‘player’. He takes the beats and the wins in stride. Cal doesn’t do the hand wringing, card throwing, swearing crap when he takes a beat, he just gets ready for the next hand.

Watch out kids!

This post is done by Chanzes – during the time period that I took a break from posting in the Diary.

Friday, December 13, 2002

The tournament finished today with the unpublicized final, Triple Draw Limit Lo Ball. This was an add-on.

There are Super Satellites running this weekend and next weekend for a seat in the $25,000 WPT final held at Bellagio’s Five-Star World Poker Classic beginning April 2, 03. Call 702-693-7291 for more information.

But back to the real world of poker. The tournament is over but the games aren’t. It starts like this. Surround yourself with your own sense of insanity and it fits better, much easier to see and understand what happens in poker games.

Table 1. a little nightmare of high limit but actually quite entertaining and funny if you have the insanity shield installed before you enter the game as a dealer. 1 seat, Doyle. 3 seat, Ming La. 6 seat, Chau, 7 seat, Sammy. Sammy never stops talking while he’s trying to get everyone to gamble with him, explaining now and many more times, that he’s stuck $1,000,000 in this game. Is he exaggerating? Probably not.

The game? $2,000 – $4,000 Omaha 8 or Better and Pot Limit Omaha. There’s lots pancakes on the table – yeah, $25,000 chips – and stacks of $5,000 chips along with $1,000 and $500 chips. Doyle has a zillion chips surrounding his position and half filling a play over box that’s laying on its side…almost as if the play over box would keep any of his chips from escaping to the other players.

Sammy keeps up the jive talking, telling Doyle that Doyle’s winner and Doyle starts telling him that he will sell all of his chips for $200,000 as he thinks he’s stuck in the game. Which in turn causes Doyle to start counting down and then he decides he’s actually winner. This process takes two or three hands to complete and the banter is still going back and forth.

Chau is pretty quiet and Ming La isn’t saying anything.

There are two Dealer buttons on the table. One is for the Pot Limit Omaha and the other is for the limit Omaha 8 or Better. The game switches to Pot Limit Omaha and Ming La takes a walk to the next table to visit with his friend Danny D. Sammy starts the argument that Ming can’t walk, he’s got to play both games. Ming argues over his shoulder that he doesn’t play Pot Limit.
In the meantime, Chau and Sammy go to war. To add a clinker to the affair, there’s a cap on how much a player can put in the pot on each hand. $60,000. Chau and Sammy do exactly that, plus $3,500 from Doyle before the flop.

The Flop is Jack-9-little, with two spades. The Turn is a Spade when the last $13,000 each goes in… they talk briefly about a deal, Chau does not have a flush, Sammy has top set and the decision is to deal. Sammy wins.

Chau picks up his chips, prepared to leave the game, swearing and cursing about the Pot Limit Omaha and he doesn’t want to play it. Ming La comes back into the game and it’s Sammy’s button.

Doyle and Ming La tell Chau they want to play only the Omaha 8 or Better Limit game and Sammy begins to moan and lament that they are trying to shut him out because he only plays the 8 or Better so he can play the Pot Limit as that’s his game. An argument ensues for a few minutes between all of them.

The decision is made to play limit and Sammy takes a walk. Doyle tells the other two that they really want to keep Sammy in the game. What’s a fish without any eyes…f-s-h-h-h-h, silly.

Sammy comes back. He has the Button in the Pot Limit but he’s going to lose it if they switch to Omaha 8 or Better Limit because it’s Doyle’s Button. Another argument begins.

Doyle asks if Sammy has the button if he’s happy…yes! Sammy gets the button and Ming La has a fit because he posted the big blind already when the game changed. So….Doyle opts to post the Big Blind, let Sammy have the button, and let Ming La post the Small Blind. The hand is dealt and played out. Now Doyle opts to give Ming La the Button which puts Chau in the Small Blind and Sammy in the Big Blind.

Sammy has a fit and says he’s leaving. He takes a short walk. Doyle gave up his Button and posted the Big Blind to keep Sammy and Ming La happy. He knows when he’s got the best of it.

When the Button gets back to Doyle, Sammy returns and they all agree that he can be dealt in without posting. What a happy little crew!

By the end of the night it was Eli E., Chau, Sammy, Jennifer, Jack G., Howard (not Howard L.), Ming La, and they moved to Table 3 because Sammy felt Table 1 was very unlucky. The game? $2,000-$4,000 Omaha 8 or Better and David S. made the comment that any $30-$60 Omaha 8 or Better player would have the best of it in that game. Read between the lines here.

Well…on to Table 2. Yen (known to play for 3 days straight and get stuck $100,000 and then get even), Danny D., (friend of Ming La), and David from France, all three of them like to put chips in the pot, were playing $400-$800 Deuce to 7 Triple Draw and 7 Card Stud 8 or Better.
Danny D. took a walk after a few hands and David and Yen stayed and played. Yen ran over David the first 15 to 20 minutes of the game and then David did a little running over, backing up, and running over again move on Yen.

The funniest part of all of it was that during the Yen reign, when Yen raised or bet and David folded, David threw all five of his hole cards into Yen’s hand each time…not Yen’s cards but Yen’s hand. Much better than the dealer having to fade it. Yen never said a word or flinched, just stacked the chips.

The rest of the night? $60-$120 Omaha 8 or Better with a 1/3 Kill, $30-$60 Holdem, $15-$30 Holdem, $20-$40 Omaha 8 or Better with a Kill, $8-$16 Holdem, more $8-$16 Holdem, $15-$30 7 Card Stud, and on and on. TGIF.

This post is done by Chanzes – during the time period that I took a break from posting in the Diary.

Thursday, December 12, 2002

Well the fat lady isn’t singing but Erick Lindgren is…he won the Big Tournament at Bellagio today, read the report and final standings here. He’s a way Kewl Kid with a big, shy smile and a great attitude. Woo Hoo for him and for the Poker World, we need more players like him.

The roster of name brand players that filled Bellagio’s tables during the Bellagio Five-Diamond World Poker Classic Tournament is awesome. But better than that is that most of them play there on a regular basis. It’s not uncommon to see Huck Seed, Johnny Chan, Barry Johnston, Jennifer Harmon, Annie Duke, Doyle Brunson, Chip Reese, Tom McEvoy, Scotty Nguyen, Carlos Mortenson, etc., etc., playing on any given night.

Ted Forest is credited with the classic statement “On the basketball court, there is only one Michael Jordon. But in poker, anyone can be Michael Jordon.” And don’t we know it!


On the people side of life, the holidays are rapidly approaching and another year has sped by. Time escapes us, slipping past while we sleep, work, and lose ourselves in the turmoil of time schedules and living in general. One day we realize that things we wanted to do will never get done because the time is past or cannot be regained.

Don’t wait to take care of yourself and those you love.

Don’t wait to take a walk or watch a sunrise or share a phone call and laugh with someone you care about.

Don’t think you’ve got it tough or life beat you up. All you have to do is look around and you know that life is good…enjoy the small treasures of life and the rest of it seems to melt into peace and happiness naturally.

A favorite toast, May the best of your past, be the worst of your future. May it be so for you and yours and the world around us.

This post is done by Chanzes – during the time period that I took a break from posting in the Diary.

Boony-Schmoony dubbed B.S. for short

Boony Schmooney! B.S. fits pretty well. He shows up infrequently at Bellagio, damn good thing or he’d need a medic to remove the chair from his head the dealer keeps mentally putting there.

B.S. plays Omaha 8 or Better, $60-$120 with a 1/3 Kill and he’s not happy. He never seems to be jubilant and elated so it may be just his personality but this trip has him down to the last little teensy bit of happiness that he might have brought with him…he’s running on empty.

The dealer faded his glares and pained looks when B.S. called a bet, knowing that he was beat. A hand at the end of the down, B.S. made a bad call on the Turn. He threw the $100 bill out and tossed a $20 chip straight up in the air, way too close to the Dealer. The Dealer never even looked up and deftly caught the chip at chest level about an inch from the white shirt.

A sweater at the table said, “Nice catch!”.

The dealer held the chip without moving for a few seconds, then replied, “Beats the hell out of taking it in the face.”

B.S. just didn’t get it. He then made another bad call on the River, throwing out another $100 bill and another $20 chip but this chip went straight up in the air and then landed in the pot.

The dealer ignored his looks of pain and agony as the pot was awarded to the opponent.

The following night, the same dealer, came in early and the Supervisor, Kamell, asked the dealer to take Jon out of table 7. Jon was on OT and the dealer went to the game, asked Jon if he wanted to finish the down or be pushed. Jon opted to go.

The game was $60-$120 Omaha 8 or Better with a 1/3 Kill. You guessed it! B.S. was there also. The dealer dealt the first few hands and B.S. played every hand. B.S. made some noise about ‘a dealer was here and then this dealer had to let him out…’

B.S. continued to play and complain. A new dealer arrived and asked if she should push or go to the next game. B.S. went into a ‘yes, you’d better get this dealer out of here’ as he glared at the present dealer.

The dealer watched B.S. and continued to do so while pushing the pot and pulling in the deck, preparing to leave the game.

B.S. had the look of a wild eyed, barn yard cat, as he blurted out, “Don’t ever come into a game when you’re not supposed to!”

This is too funny for words. Does he really think dealers just walk around the room and pick the game they want to deal. If they did, none of them would ever deal this game or any of the really high limit, those boys would have to deal their own.

While leaving the box, the dealer replied, “I was supposed to be here.”

B.S., “No you weren’t.”

Dealer, “You’d better take it up with Kamell.”

Another case of the dealer doing nothing wrong, only their job, and a sore loser having his little fittie poo because he can’t believe it might be the run of the cards or his own bad play. Man these guys get to be like stink on the bottom of your shoe, you can wash off the doggie poo but the stink just stays there.

BTW, the dealer reported this to Kamell and Kamell spoke to B.S. just to set the record straight.


The tournament is taking its toll. While attendance has been better than expected and everyone seems to love it, it’s very hard on most of the players. They start out happy, filled with expectation, and very few of them win anything. The picture isn’t pretty and nothing more needs to be said about that part of it…you’re smart enough to draw you’re own conclusions.

It’s hard on the poker room personnel also. Lots of people work overtime and fade a lot of noise and heat for less money than is normally made when the room is quiet.

There’s a lot to be said for the Regulars or Locals as they are referred to. They know the value of a good dealer and floor person and they treat us with respect and gratuities for the service we provide. Lots of the tournament players don’t even act like we can think or breathe air unless they tell us how to do it and they certainly aren’t giving up anything they don’t have to give up which mainly means we work a lot harder for less money and get treated like a door mat.

What a nice treat to enter a game and have five or six of the players in the game look up and smile followed by, “Hello!” Hooray for the Locals. We Wuv U!

This post is done by Chanzes – during the time period that I took a break from posting in the Diary.

Thursday, December 05, 2002

There are now so many players coming into Bellagio for live and tournament/satellite action that the room is popping at the seams. It’s as if the Card Fairies put a ‘Poker Player Pill’ on the floor and waved the magic wand. Presto, instant players! The wand is broken…it can’t be turned off and won’t stop producing.


High limit usually has the most bizarre extremes of all limits and tonight was no exception. Table 1, $1,500-$3,000 Mixed Games. The usual line-up. David G. 1-S, Eli 2-S, Jennifer 3-S and walking, Johnny C. 4-S, Minh 5-S, Gus 6-S, Stranger 7-S, Chau 8-S.

Dealer spreads a new deck and asks if the Winner would pay time or should the Dealer just take it. David said, “Do whatever you think is best.”

The game was Omaha 8 or Better with $500-$1,500 Blinds. The dealer elected to just take it and asked the 7 Seat to put in 5 – $100 chips instead of the single $500 chip.

David barked, “Whatever you do, just deal. I’m not in charge but I know you’re supposed to deal.”

Someone else interjected that the winner would pay the time.

The dealer said, “I asked and David told me to do what I thought was best.”

Johnny asked David what he would do if he was in charge.

The dealer said, “Jesus, I’m just doing my job.”

David said, “Yes and you’re doing just fine.”

He left Johnny’s query unanswered. David was stuck and he was ultra talkative/negative. While talkative isn’t unusual for him, the negative is.

David and Minh split a pot, David had the High, Minh the low. One odd $500 chip went to David. Minh is very hard to understand at times as his English is poor. His guttural growl came down to ‘what are you doing?’ when David got the odd chip. He was gesturing and waving at the dealer as David flipped him 2 – $100 Chips.

The dealer said, “Dam-m-m-n! I don’t know what you guys are doing.”

The whole table started mimicking Minh as they watched him while they were doing it.

Gus said to the dealer, “You can stand up and hit Minh right in the face and everyone at the table will swear it was all his fault.”

Everyone roared, including Minh as he turned a little bit red in the face.

Jennifer appeared and took her seat. Eli asked where she’d been so long, followed with ‘we thought you were jumping off a building or playing black jack.’

Jennifer said she’d had some things to do and Johnny said he heard she was giving a blow job.

Johnny was in rare form. He even said hello to the dealer, stated they were all drunk and threw the dealer a few $$ to buy a drink with. Very unusual to see him laughing and talking during a game.

Everyone was laughing. Jennifer said she was not giving a blow job and Eli said that was good enough for him, if she said she wasn’t then she wasn’t. He could barely get that out with a half way straight face.

Jennifer went all-in and lost the hand. She asked who would loan her money. She said she had it in her box. This means she had it in the lock box in the hotel and would pay back immediately.

Chau asked if she really had it. He was teasing her. He went on to say that she’d won 3 pancakes from him one night and those must be in her box too. Pancakes are $25,000 chips.

Everyone hooed and awed, “Pancakes! You mean she got all your pancakes?”

All in all, the game was pretty relaxed and funny.


The game on 4, $30-$60 Holdem found A-A being dealt 4 times in 20 minutes and good only once. It was almost spooky how many pocket pairs were out in that half hour. Q-Q at least 3 times, 10’s several times and other pairs. The cycles are bizarre at times, no one finds a playable hand for days and then an explosion of skill cards runs over everyone’s face.

Nope, don’t even start with the ‘cheating thing’ here. The dealer is not only reputable but doesn’t know any maneuvers and never learned or wanted to. When you take a seat in this dealer’s game you’re on your own, baby, at the mercy of the deck just like everyone else!

This post by Chanzes when Linda was taking a break from the Diary.

Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Bellagio is sizzling with action, all limits, all games, and satellites, plus the main tournament event each day. There’s even talk of opening the area in the casino next to the poker room to add more tables for the coming weekend. There aren’t enough tables for all the games that could be started. Come on in and help add to the noise and confusion.


The big game – $1,500- $3,000 has been running with most of the regulars. Jennifer, Eli E., Chip, Chau, David G., Johnny C., and Gus. Gus is back in town for about 6 weeks.

Jennifer – 1 seat, and Eli – 2 Seat, started the game while waiting for the other players to come in. They had a steady conversation going on about the game, who would play, what time they would be there, what games would be played and in what order.

While waiting for a table bank, Linda spread the deck, scrambled, and asked what game they wanted to start with.

Jennifer abruptly turned to her and scolded, “Could you just be quiet. You’re talking too much!”

Jennifer couldn’t control it, she started laughing and threw her arm around Linda’s neck for a hug.

Linda joined the laugh with, “She’s so mean to me!”

Jennifer, “It’s just so much fun, I can’t help it!”

Then they were back to business. Jennifer and Eli played $500 a point Chinese Poker while they waited for the rest of the group.


A big Omaha Pot Limit game with George, Lyle B., Minh, Sammy, and a few others that move back and forth from game to game is also up and running every day.

$25 – $50 Blind Pot Limit Holdem was a big game tonight. Lots of action found one gent only playing two hands. He picked up A-A, raised it to $200 pre-flop and got called by three players.

The flop was 9-7-9. He bet $500 on the Flop and got one call.

The Turn was a blank. He bet $1,100 and got raised to an amount that would put him all-in. He called.

Take it K-9.

He then lost another $1,000 when he flopped a set of 5’s. His opponent flopped a set of 8’s. He left the game with a ‘goodnight, gentlemen’. Brutal!

Another gent in this same game, lost over $3,000 in one hand with A-A, beaten by 2-4 Diamonds.

The 2-4 called a raise pre-flop. Flop 2-8-3, two Diamonds. A-A bet $800 on the Flop and got called.

A-A bet the Turn and got raised, A-A called going all-in.

A little deuce came on the River.

Ouch! Who says this type of thing only happens in low limit?


At the final table of the Pot Limit Holdem Tournament, Phil H., picked up J-J and raised the bet. Howard L. raised all-in. Phil called and Howard showed A-A. Those babies held up and Howard won the pot. He still took 7th place, which is where he was when he picked up the Aces. Phil explained how he had put the shuck and jive on the hand before he bet, hoping Howard would think he had nothing and Howard would then raise him with a possible Ace High trying to catch Phil in a bluff.

Howard said it would have worked because he was short stacked and definitely wasn’t waiting for Aces…he just got them.


This post by Chanzes when Linda was taking a break from The Diary