Wednesday, July 30, 2003

I’ve often wondered what people really consider to be a true friend. My experience with the majority of mankind has led me to believe that the definition of friend, not as defined by Webster’s Dictionary but their own definition, is someone that:

1. Never wants to hear the truth from you and they expect you to fib a tad if that’s what it takes to make them happy.

2. If you make a statement about them, even if it’s a simple truth, you have to preface it with, ‘I really like you and you really are a wonderful person’, or the statement just can’t be made because they’d think you were mad at them.

3. When they have something to say, they get the floor for as long as it takes and the subject can be hashed and rehashed for days, weeks, even years, and you are supposed to take it in the vein it’s meant in. If you have something to say…umhhhh!

4. You can’t have an opinion unless it agrees with theirs, there’s no possibility of having your own point of view or even being able to discuss it.

5. They can rib you, ride you, josh you ’til the words and gestures are ragged and filled with holes and you are supposed to think it’s funny each time they do it.

6. If they need something, they call you. If you need something just find the answer yourself.

My definition of a friend doesn’t agree with any of the above. I have met a lot of people in my years at the table and in other walks of life. Very few have become my very dear, true friends. True friends are people that get ‘into life’ and accept me as I am and I accept them…sort of like a marriage, for better or for worse, respecting each other’s choices and opinions, and still liking each other through thick and thin and no matter how many years or miles separate us. The best part of it is that I met most of them at a poker table, while I was playing or dealing.

Poker separates a lot of things, other than people and their money. In poker you always know where you stand, because the rules are defined; in friendships, you have to try them on, see how they fit and wear, and eventually you learn that some sizes, materials, and styles just aren’t worth trying to put the first stitch into so you walk away…a casual ‘hello’ will take care of everything you have to say and all the involvement you want.

Poker breaks down the fine line between part time and true friends…it’s easier to take a check/raise from a true friend than it is from a part timer. 🙂

Monday, July 28, 2003

Bellagio’s Special Events Tournament started today.

It wasn’t as busy as I thought it should be when my shift started. I started on table 1, $300-$600 mixed games, but when I sat down there were three walkers and Jimmy G. and Eli E. were playing Chinese Poker. The Shuffle Master was down or out to lunch or something was askew and I shuffled and dealt Chinese for 1/2 hour. They gave me $0 for the half hour…the pain! The pain! Jennifer sat down in the game just as I was leaving.

Table 2 was a very lively $60-$120 Omaha 8 or Better with a 1/4 Kill. The chips rocked and rolled and these people threw money into my pocket…Nice! The made up for the previous working dead spread.

I moved on through several Holdem games, $15-$30 and $30-$60, and pushed into $75-$150 7 Card stud on table 7. This is not a common limit for Bellagio although it used to be the ‘big’ game at the Mirage for years and did move over to Bellagio when we opened. It just faded out to be replaced by $80-$160…now the highest Stud game that runs on a daily basis is $40-$80.

The $75-$150 was four handed. By now Sam G. was hanging over table 1, perched and waiting for a backer. Table 1 had filled up and the game was on.

One of the players in my game noticed Sam and said, “Come on, Sam, seat open.”

Irene was in my game and she said, “Yes, but you have to give him money to play on if he gets in here.”

See, I’m not the only one that thinks he’s a railbird.

I dealt to Mark S. in the next game, $60-$120 Holdem, he was in the 4s and he asked if I was the person that had this site. We visited back and forth a bit about Bellagio’s Tournament results being posted the morning following a tournament…he said he was sure it had to be someone that worked at Bellagio. He’s too smart! Sure you know him…he’s on television, a winner of the WPT.


Norm R., plays 7 card stud and has for years, since the early Mirage days and long before I hit town. I find his humor to be startlingly fresh and I can’t help but ‘LOL’ when he pipes up with something at the table.

For instance…a week ago, $15-$30 Stud, a walker returned to the 7s, anteed, looked at me and asked if I played the Power Ball. He went on to state that it was some mega amount up in the quad zillion, trillion amount and how great it would be to win it.

Norm said, “If you dialed the country code for Iraq and any random phone number, the chances the Suddam Hussein would answer the phone are the same as you winning the Power Ball.”

I almost spit I laughed so hard.

A few nights ago I tapped Bill out of the dealer’s box in a $20-$40 Stud game, gave him a mini massage while I waited for him to finish the hand, and Norm told me not to choke the dealer. I put my arm around Bill’s neck, as he pulled the deck together, and asked, “You mean like this?”

Norm replied, “I never went for a dealer or dated one because I don’t date outside my species.”

I’m not sure if anyone else thought it was funny but I roared. Usually when I leave the Dealer’s Box, I always thank Norm for making me laugh.

Saturday, July 26, 2003

Dr. Pete, so he’s known to most of us that have been around since the early Mirage Days, used to be so much fun to deal to. The key here is ‘used to’. Superstitious should be his handle now. He really believes the dealer has everything to do with a win or a loss and of course he believes that I cannot deal him a winner. It’s not true. He’s won many times when I’ve dealt to him but how could he ever remember those times?

Thursday night, the 24th, found me dealing to him in a short-handed $30-$60 Holdem game. He didn’t play the first part of my down and then lost two or three hands almost back to back. His eyes were starting roll around, like a colt on locoweed, and he was seriously trying to focus them on me. He was in the 2s and it was easy for me not to even look at him, which I didn’t. Why ruin a perfectly good view?

Pete grumbled, “I’m never tipping a cheap dealer.”

I looked right at him and asked, “Beg your pardon?”

“I’m never tipping a cheap dealer.”

I said, “If you don’t want to tip, then don’t tip, but stop talking about it.”

The game got even shorter, dropping down to four players with a walker. Pete lost another hand, his eyes were ready to blow out of his head, “Give me change!” he demanded, his voice almost cracked, as he threw out a $5 chip.

I said, “Ok!” and at the same time two of the players wanted to know if they could draw for another game. Before I could answer them, while I was reaching for the $5 chip, Pete snarled, “Give me change!!!”

I said, “Ok!” again and made the change while I asked Boba what, if any seats were available.

Pete barked another order, “Call a chip runner!”

I knew exactly what he had in mind. He wanted to tip the chip runner with a $1 because he thought it would bother me that he was tipping her instead of me.

Hysterical laughter here…stop it! Stop it! You’re killing me.

I yelled for Player’s Chips for Pete. Boba came to the table and I told him they wanted to draw for seats. He walked away to check how many seats were available in other games. I was spreading the deck, so they could draw, and Pete barked at me again, “Call that chip runner!”

He motioned to a chip runner that was coming out of the high limit section and walking towards our table. He threw her a $1 with the statement that he was never tipping a dealer again.

All of the above events happened almost simultaneously, I had 14 things going on with other players and seats and Pete kept pummeling me with demands. He was seriously losing it.

I’d had it. Boba was walking back to the table when I cut loose on Pete. It went like this, “If you don’t want to tip, I really don’t give a SHIT! I just don’t ever want to hear you talk about it again!”

I would tip him to just SHUT UP!

Boba asked, “What’s wrong, Linda?”

I explained that Pete kept needling me about tipping and I didn’t want to hear it.
Boba told Pete that he couldn’t talk about it. Pete said he didn’t have to tip if he didn’t want to, Boba agreed with him on that but still stressed the fact that Pete couldn’t talk about it. I got pushed.

Move ahead to Friday night. I passed Pete when I came in to work. He gave me the ‘look’ and turned away. I clocked in and as luck would have it, I ran into him again. Again he gave me the ‘look’.

I flatly said to him, “I don’t want you to ever say another word to me unless it’s pertaining to seat and deck changes and game related.”

He bitched, “You never deal me a winning hand, not in all the years you deal to me.”

Me, “I have no control over that and you know it. You can always take a walk when I deal.”

His brain was stuck in a repeating glitch, must’ve hurt like hell, his eyes had that maniacal glazed over look. “It’s frustrating.”

Me, “What do you want me to do? Throw the deck on the floor and stop dealing?”

“No. I can’t win when you deal.”

I gave up then and walked away.


But joy of all joys, I got to deal to Sam G. $15-$30 Holdem, he was in the 1s and kept trying to mumble through the verse, “Hunk, a hunk a burning love…” interjected with “Oh why does it have to happen to me?” back to the “Hunk a hunk,” thing!

He stared at the side of my head from time to time and I totally blanked him out, there was nothing sitting in the chair next to me from my side of world.

He transferred to another game shortly after I sat down and somehow the air got fresher and the lights got brighter!


I also dealt the final table of the Friday’s at Five Tournament. The 1s said, “I finally get to meet Table Tango Linda.”

A break came during my down and we got to visit a bit. His name is Scott and he won the tournament too! Nice!

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

A lot of people read the events of my night at work and think that it’s all dark and dread, mixed with a handful of ugly and hateful, whipped in mean and nasty, and sprinkled over hot oil until it bubbles and begins to burn. Not even! There are a lot of fun people and a lot of laughs. Especially new people that are coming in to play poker for the first time. They really are some of my favorites.

I had the pleasure of dealing to a lady that appears to be of Middle Eastern descent. She’s very attractive, very gracious, and very willing to play poker…to the extent that she called every hand the first night I dealt to her. She was in the 6s in an $8-$16 Holdem game. She never knew what to bet or really what she was doing and unfortunately, when she picked up K-K on the button, she didn’t raise and got beat by the small blind that limped for $4 more with A-3 Off. He caught a 3 on the flop and a 3 on the turn.

She never had a fit or even acted exasperated as her chips escaped, hand after hand, she just looked to me each time to let her know when it was her turn to act and how much she could bet. I went through all the instruction with her about tapping the table and checking, etc., etc., etc. She was so damn grateful, when she won a pot she threw me $5.

She always had a smile for me each time I looked at her and I couldn’t help but smile back just because of her smile. I asked her if she normally played Holdem or Stud.

She said she’d never played any poker before, she motioned to the pit. I had to give her an A+ just for walking into the poker room and trying it.

When I got pushed, I was on a break and had the time to go find her a ‘Hand Ranking’ card. I laid it on the table in front of her and told her she could just leave it there so she would know what beat what. She wanted to know if she could have it and take it home with her…’yes’!

One of the players in the game tipped me and said, “That’s for being a good dealer, Linda!” He’s young, plays very tight, and not overly generous when he wins a pot, so I guess it really was a compliment.

I dealt to her several times in the next few days. She was playing $4-$8 Holdem on both occasions. She still had a beautiful smile and was very happy to see me. I appreciate people like that.

Then I dealt to a very young lady in a $4-$8 Holdem game. She had a sweater, another very young lady. She was in the 1s, flushed and excited, sucking on a beer, throwing chips in the pot, bluffing with a 2-3 off-suit when the 2s kept telling her he had her beat each time he checked and she bet and he called…he was cute too, a burly, brawny 30ish guy that didn’t want to hurt the young lady’s pocket book by beating her…when he called the River and turned over a winner, she never even flushed. She said she’d been watching the WPT on TV.

I had a great time with her. I asked her if she liked poker and she said it was the most exciting night of her life, other than her sister’s wedding. I told her it sounded as if she had more fun on her sister’s wedding night than her sister did…she agreed.

Her sister was the sweater behind her and when a seat opened up, we got her sister into the game. They were both cute, laughing and jamming, agreeing to loan and borrow so they could play, although neither one of them needed it while I was dealing.

So…sometimes I have to step into the middle of it and try to keep the local and the tourist happy. A youngster that was ‘holly wooding’ up everything he did before he acted on his hand and having a great time in a $4-$8 Holdem game was getting the ugly eyed, bitching from the 6s about how slow and stupid the youngster was.

The 6s informed the table that ‘in high limit, they would never tolerate that,’ and I replied, “For the skill level here, they’d wait a week for him to act on his hand.”

The 6s acquiesced and settled down. He was looking for a scapegoat because he was losing and the most likely person to blame was the player that was laughing and having fun. Kind of reminds me of kindergarten.

Monday, July 21, 2003

Sam G., multiplied to the nth = railbird.

It’s $60-$120 Omaha 8 or Better with a 1/4 Kill. Sam’s in the 3s on the Button.

The 8s raises pre-flop, 1s calls, Sam raises, 4s calls, 8s raises, 1s calls, Sam raises…and so it goes until the bet is capped.

The Flop has the same action.

The Turn slows down to a bet and two raises.

The River is bet by the 8s, Sam and the 4s call.

The 8s shows down an A-8 for low and an 8 high flush. Sam shows a Queen high flush and they split the pot.

Sam starts chortling and chuckling, “Did you see what he capped it on? If they play like that in Jersey, I’m moving there.” He could be heard three tables away and he didn’t stop laughing.

The 8s flushed and raised as soon as the bet came to him in the next hand. stating, “It’s what you want, right?”

Sam kept guffawing like a lout that found the Goose that laid Golden Egg. Sure, we know what happened there.

Sam never shut up, jabbering long hard and continuously about how great a player he was, and intermittently he threw in, “Anybody got any money? That’s a game over there,” he nodded at table 7 where it was three handed and they were playing mixed games with mixed limits.

In other words, he was wondering if anyone would jump at the opportunity to put him in the game. No one bit.

Sam kept talking about what a great player he is even though he had very few chips in front of him. He finally pushed out a $1 chip and said, “If this is the only chip I had, forever, I’d still be the best player!”

He looked around at the table and finished with, “You just don’t get it do you?”

He went for a walk to the Sports Book and, this is the limit where every player gets a hand as long as they haven’t missed their blind, I dealt him in.

Double A was sitting in the 2s and he slow stalled with his hand, looked over his shoulder to see if Sam was coming yet, shuffled his cards around, look at them again, and looked over his shoulder again to see if Sam was coming.

I said, “Don’t hold it up too long.”

He looked over his shoulder one more time and finally threw his hand in. While I really like Double A, I just don’t see this at all, trying to make sure Sam gets a hand when all he wants to do is criticize everyone’s play and act like he’s the only one entitled to win.

Sam came back at the end of the hand. The 8s made four 8’s and hogged the pot. Double A told Sam he tried to make sure Sam got back in time for the hand but he couldn’t wait any longer, the players were all mad at him.

Sam berated him with, “I don’t believe you. You didn’t do anything for me.”

When Sam saw the Quads, he said, “Thank you, dealer.”

I ignored him. He repeated it. I asked, “What do you think I did?”

“You didn’t let me get back to the hand and I didn’t get trapped. If you think I’m sincere in thanking you, you should say, ‘You’re welcome’.”

I never said a word.

Sam went broke in a hand. He went to the Cage and came back with a $500 chip. I dealt him in and told him that was a short buy-in for the game.

He stared at me.

I stared back and finished with, “You get one short buy-in.”

As I finished the deal, he did this “Whau-gah-ck!” kind of thing that sounded like he was trying to cough up a lugie and puke and said, “They moved the garbage.”

Of course he was sending all of this in my direction and while I would’ve liked to have said, “No…they didn’t!” and let him figure out he was it, instead I said quietly, “Grow up, Sam.”

He informed me that he didn’t mind me telling him it was a short buy-in but he didn’t want to hear the personal comments.

See…it’s ok for him to imply that I’m the garbage that he wanted to spit in but I’m not allowed to make a PERSONAL comment about him.

He was all-in in the next hand, it was my last one, and on the River, the 9s bet $160, and Sam called $100 of it. They were the only two players left and I had left their bet on 6th street in front of them. I pushed $60 back to the 9s and Sam wanted to needle me. “How much did you give him?”

Me, “$60.”

“How much do I have in front of me?”

Double A interjected, “She’s right. It’s right.”

I reached over and stacked up Sam’s chips and said, “$250,” then I stacked up the 9s’s chips and said, “$250.”

Sam sat there, Double A said, “It’s ok, it’s right, Linda.”

Calm as a cucumber, I said, “I know…it’s just a little game we have to play.”

The 9s turned over his hand and hogged the pot. I pushed out of the box and told the incoming dealer that the 3s had already had a short buy-in. You may think I’m being malicious with this but it’s the rule and what I’m supposed to do.

There are no short buy-ins allowed in any game under $10-$20. A short buy-in in a bigger game is allowed only once in 8 hours and it must be half the minimum buy-in.

A few hours later Sam was sitting in a $15-$30 Holdem game two tables ahead in my line up. I would’ve dealt to him again, but he was walking and had left about $12 on the table. He’d been gone awhile. When I gave an absent button to his stack, the 3s said, “Sammy’s not coming back, might as well pick him up.”

“Not until he has two white buttons and 15 minutes,” was my reply.

Sam was stalking and walking the room, up to Table 1, hanging out, back down, looking around. Not sure why because he’s still the best player on Earth and he still had a chip in front of him…go figure!

Friday, July 18, 2003

The air is dancing. The Gods have met. Their pleasured touch brings fiery, shooting streaks that shatter the early morning sky. Their sighs reverberate and rolling bursts of pleasure fill the senses. Their union sends tears to the Earth, tears that drift and explode, carried across the wind. To the rest of the World, it’s a storm…

Guess it’s time to get back to poker. I was dealing $60-$120 Omaha 8 or Better with a 1/4 Kill. The 9s was a tourist, Randall, comes into town occasionally. I said ‘hello’ to him when I entered the game. Somewhere around half way through my down, Randall took a walk.

In $60-$120 and higher, the player is dealt in every hand until they miss their blind.

I dealt him in each time, and when his blind came, someone sat down in the seat and posted…I say someone because Randall has a tendency to sit back, away from the table, and so did this person.

I never looked over at him as he was out of my line of vision. After I dealt the hand and he checked the big blind option, I looked at him.

My first thought was, Shit! This isn’t the guy that was sitting there before.

I asked, “Are you playing his chips or was he playing your chips?”

“I’m playing his chips.”

I should have stopped right there and called for a decision. I fell into the ‘idiot dealer mode’ and just continued to deal him in. I listened to him, after he raised and re-raised, more than once, expound on how he didn’t care because the chips weren’t his.

As soon as I got pushed, I talked to Fred, High Limit Brush, and to Nate, Swing Shift Supervisor, about the potential problem developing on table 3. Believe me, I knew I’d made a mistake. I just couldn’t seem to find the right time to correct it.

Nate talked to Randall and the 9s. I got really lucky with this one. They were good friends. The 9s was next on the list and Randall was letting him take his seat because Randall would take the next seat when it opened. But that doesn’t excuse me…slap, hit, kick! I know better so I beat myself up over it…think I’ll go back to the storm.


A few months ago, Lisa was dealing an $80-$160 Holdem game. When she sat down, a player was absent. A few minutes later, Young sat down in the seat. She dealt him in.

How was she to know that he was sitting down to someone else’s chips?

Young raised, Melissa and Mickey were in the hand and all the raises went in pre-flop…along with comments like, ‘if it’s ok with Eric, it’s ok with me’ and ‘does he know you’re playing his chips?’ type of thing.

At this point, Lisa realized that Young was not the owner of the chips. Long and short of it was that Young won the hand and he was playing Eric’s chips.

The crying began. The floor person was called because Young was playing Eric’s chips and no one knew if Eric knew it. The decision was that Young/Eric would keep the chips because the conversation during the hand was that no one really cared if he played Eric’s chips.

The beef came after Young won the hand…in other words, if Young lost, no one would have said a word.

Funny, huh! Lose…we don’t care, win…we’ll rip your liver out and sell it on the black market.

These incidents were posted to show the difference in whether a player wins or loses when they are playing someone else’s chips. In any event, we are not supposed to deal someone in on someone else’s chips unless the owner of the chips has informed the dealer that it’s ok.

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

This is long…sorry, no short version available. A twist with Marty C. and Kim, AKA The Dragon Lady.

It’s pretty much like a time warp with Marty C. He’s the one that plays $40-$80 Stud and thinks I’m ‘a curse, a witch’ and a few other things when he loses a hand with me dealing. There’s more than one post on him in the ‘Table Tango 2nd Quarter’ page.

He was in the 4s a few nights ago when I pushed into the game. He won the 2nd or 3rd hand I dealt, big pot, and he filled up and got paid off. He did a rant, “The curse is off…back from the ‘elephant’s graveyard’…she took the curse off…I’m even tipping her, it’s the first one in five years.”

He threw me a $1. He’s right, it is the first one in five years. He still rattled, She hasn’t dealt me a hand in years…a Miracle on 34th Street…”

Sorry kids, but that movie was a classic and about Santa and miracles for a little girl. A fizzball poker player using it in conjunction with losing/winning a hand should be classed as a sin.

It’s not the first hand he’s won with me. He wins quite a few but just never remembers them, he’s got selective memory. He won several hands back to back, big pots…he never shut up with his ramble, ‘she took the curse off…’

He tipped me a $1 on each hand he won, I thanked him and slept through his rant. He finally got up, stated that he was almost even and leaving, he’d been buried to the tune of about $5,000 according to him. He thanked me for getting him even, literally, “Thank you, Linda.”

Shocking! I was no longer ‘she’ or a ‘curse’ or a ‘witch’. Don’t worry, I can slip right back into that ‘she/curse/witch’ thing in a heart beat…all it will take is one hand.

Tonight I dealt to Kim, twice! It should be illegal for any dealer to have to go through some games twice in the same night…except for me of course. I’m practically made of steel, have the patience of God, and I know how to do my job with a little tact and humor so…

My first run through the game, Kim was playing over the 4s. As I was waiting to push in, she caught my eye and motioned at the Play Over Box, letting me know she was playing over. I nodded. She motioned at the box again. I walked around behind her and lifted the box and took out $7 for time, she said quietly, “I’m not paying time. I just pick my chips up and act like I’m leaving.”

I chided her, “You know you’re not supposed to do that.”

She gave me the big eyed, ‘I can do anything I want look’ and I started laughing.

Interruption for a little Kim history.

I used to be terrified of her. She could make a grown man scream for mercy when she goes into one of her fits and she’s been around the casinos in Vegas for a long time. Everyone tolerates a lot from her because she’s mass action stirred into total tilt and ready to blow…yes…temper and money.

She’s got a few players trained to ante her every time they win a pot, of course she reciprocates but she will flat out ask some of them to give her a bet when they win a pot, whether she was in the hand or not. She always expects everyone to jump through hoops when she’s in the game and she rat holes bills, as in wins and then sells chips for $100 bills to anyone that wants more chips, then she sneaks the bills into her pocket when she thinks no one is looking. Nope, that’s not allowed, the games are table stakes. Unfortunately, it’s hard to catch her if you’re a dealer and she does it all the time, so I’m sure as hell not going to get into the middle of that little mess with her. If a player jumps her about it, she puts them back, but otherwise she gets away with it.

She’s heartlessly cold about everything and anything when she’s not winning. You’d think she was going to jump up on the table and kick your head off when she lost a pot…hey, don’t suggest it, she might try it. She has another side though…I’ve had her snap and bark at me and then a few minutes later, in a child like voice, query, “You’re skin is so beautiful, how old are you? Do you mind telling me?”

It’s as if we met for the first time and the slate was clean.

I watched her berate and ridicule Marty a few weeks ago. He won a pot. She started by asking him if he’d give her a loan, fiery excitement in her eyes like the Toreador setting up the bull.

He countered with, “You have plenty of money.”

“No I don’t. I’m broke.” She has a diamond on each hand that would blind you.

He went into, “Well, sell your house.”

Fire snapped into her eyes. She snorted, “I have lots of houses. You couldn’t afford one of my houses.”

He fell into the ‘male grovel’ mode, “Well why don’t you take me home with you? You could take care of me.”

She picked up her cell phone that had the extendable antennae on it…you know, the slender wire with the knob on top…she held it horizontal to the table, pulled out the antennae and flipped it with her finger, “Why would I take you home with me when I would get this?”

She flipped the antennae again.

I howled. Marty knew what she was talking about but he tried to side step the issue. She finally told him to buzz off and leave her alone. She starts the conversation and then ends it if it doesn’t go the way she wants.

End of interruption for a little Kim history.

I entered the game, announced, “Time pot.”

Kim had her chips off the table and I ignored the fact that she didn’t ante or pay time.

She played the next hand and won it with trip 10’s. It was the last hand she won during my down. She had a little ‘stress ball’ in one hand that she picked up every now and then and squeezed it’s guts out. Once she did the fake throw at my chest with it, stopped before she released it. I laughed and told her I was so good I would’ve caught it before it hit me.

She thought that was funny. A few hands later, she picked it up again and did the same thing, only with the announcement, “I kill you.”

I said, “No way. I’m a grandmother. You can’t kill a grandmother.”

Some of the players started laughing. She broke down and smiled…her eyes were snapping like she was going to have a ’tilt attack’ though.

A few minutes later, out of the blue, she said, “I love your lipstick. What kind is it?”

I told her I’d tell her later. She left that alone and grumbled a few times about what a terrible dealer I was when she looked at her cards.

I got pushed.

An hour later, I got the magic reroute which put me in her game again about three hours after my first run through there.

By now she was in her own seat, no longer playing over, and only three of the original players were in the game.

The 1s was Karate Don, 2s – Marty S., 3s – Sockeye John, 4s – Barb, a player from NJ that comes in two or three times a year, 5s – Kim, 6s – Rod P, 7s – Bruce, 8s – stranger.

While I was waiting, Sylvia was finishing the deal of her last hand. Barb made a flush, Bruce made a bigger flush but he started with rolled up deuces. It was 3-way action on the River and Bruce won it. He said, “I started with rolled up deuces but I had to make a flush to win.”

Barb thought she won the pot, even though Bruce showed a Queen high flush and Barb had a Jack high flush. When Sylvia took Barb’s hand and pushed the pot to Bruce, Barb went nuts, “What are you doing?”

Everyone, except Kim, explained to Barb that her flush was only Jack high. Sylvia finished the hand and left, I sat down.

Kim bit into Bruce about the way he stated his hand and she kept nattering him. She was on Barb’s side even though Barb didn’t have a side.

Karate Don was walking and I gave him his 2nd White button.

Kim immediately jumped on that one, “Linda, make sure he gets picked up in 15 minutes,” she tapped her watch.

Bruce said Don had lost his wallet and had gone to Security so he might need a little longer.

Kim was adamant, again telling me to be sure he got picked up in 15 minutes.

In the meantime, Marty S. was bitching that he was stuck because Eric beat him in every hand and Eric never wins so something was wrong, Barb was reeling from the ‘flush’ hand, Kim was wheedling and digging, Bruce was still trying to defend Don’s absence, the 8s seat was showing me his cards and talking about what he needed or why he didn’t call a raise, and yes…I was still dealing.

Our supervisor, Kamell, walked by the table and Kim called him over and told him she wanted Don picked up in 15 minutes, more explanations and conversation and Kamell told me Don would be allowed three White buttons.

Marty and Rod took a walk. Don came back and picked up his chips. By now there was a ‘must move’ game into our game. When Don left, Sockeye moved over into the 1s and our player from the ‘must move’ game came over, his name is Larry. He took the 3s, took his chips out of the rack, smiling and in good humor, he made an entrance into the game from hell.

Kim was the opener with a 4, she caught 4, 4, to show trips on top, after she faded all kinds of bets and raises, against Barb. Barb looked at me and gave me the, “Deal me out as long as you’re here, Linda.”

I said, “Ok!” and flipped a yellow button in front of her chip stack.

Kim barely went to 5th street in a few more hands before she was sending me the hate popping eyes and mouthing, ‘You fucker!’ at me. I just gave her the chiding, “Kim….”

She glared the other way.

The next hand, she slammed her chips down with a big CRACK/POP as she flipped her three cards into the muck.

Larry had a wide smile when he asked Kim, “Are you mad?”

She smashed her chips down again and glared at me. I laughed and said, “She’s not mad at me…she’s my sister.”

She barked, “NO!”

I barked, “YES!”

She toned it down for a bit then. Oh yes, she was ready to bite but she wasn’t going to bite me and I knew it.

I was dealing my last hand when the real show began. Larry and Kim went to war. She ended up all-in on 6th street when she called $50 of an $80 bet with five $10 Chips. She had three $5 chips in front of her and I forced her to put two of them in to make it $60. Anything in increments of $10 plays.

Barb jumped in, “Can I ask a question here?” She was looking at me.

Larry said, “Wait until the hand is over.”

Barb mumbled and then spit it right out, “She’s been putting bills in her pocket all night, how can she be all-in now?”

Kim yelled at Barb, “You just SHUT UP!”

Larry turned his hand up in exasperation and said, “You win!”

He had a pair of Aces and he was right, Kim did win with Kings and 4’s.

Barb and Kim started a yelling war, with Kim telling Barb to “SHUT UP AND STAY OUT OF IT!”

I immediately called Kamell. While I explained to Kamell what had been said, Larry started slamming his chips in a rack to exit.

Sockeye asked Larry, “What are you leaving for? The show’s about to begin!”

Barb had a fit, telling Kamell that Kim had gone to the bathroom and taken over $2,000 off the table in bills and when she came back, even though Barb asked her, Kim did not put them back on the table.

Kim said that was ‘bullshit’, that she had put all of it back on and had lost it and Barb didn’t know what was happening.

But each time Kim started to try to out yell Barb, Barb jumped in, and so it went, back and forth.

I was trying to leave the dealer’s box and let the new dealer come in but Kamell was up against the back of my chair trying to calm down the ‘ladies’.

He finally said to Barb, “I’m done with you right now. I’ve listened to you and I don’t want to hear you say another word. I want to listen to Kim.”

Even after that statement from Kamell, Barb still tried to interrupt when Kim was talking. Kim got in a shot that Barb was just trying to cause trouble about the $100’s and Kamell patiently explained that it wasn’t Barb, it was a house rule.

Finally peace settled in, Kamell asked me if any of it had happened while I was dealing, (the rat holing), and I said “No. It would have happened before I got here.”

Kim was fuming at Barb. I escaped, right into the Must Move $40-$80 but it was calm and easy there, just some guys that wanted to play poker…my favorite kind.

Monday, July 14, 2003

Monday nights are pretty decent all around. Action’s good in all games, new faces everywhere, and even though there isn’t much in the ‘high limit’ realm, the room is a little, bustling nest of players, in all limits. I really prefer these nights. You can hear for one thing. The players appear to be more relaxed and there isn’t a lot of movement in and out of games…the games stay solid.

My night started an hour late. My air conditioner has been running non-stop during the day and it’s hotter than hell, literally, so I waited for an appointment with someone that could tell me if it was ok or if I was going to run into ‘air conditioner hell’ in the next few weeks. It’s ok by the way, thanks for asking.

I arrived at work and pushed into a table that was just starting, Nate unlocked the box, Boba brought the chips and we went into action, $30-$60 Holdem. We started with two seats open and they were filled within a few minutes, one of them was Nick. Nick has been around since my Mirage days. They built games around him for a long time and he’s the kind of player that a dealer wishes would win because he never forgets the dealer and really overdoes it if he feels he put the ‘bad beat’ on someone. He got married, moved away, and comes in infrequently now but he’s still fun. He knows he’s the action and never squirms when someone makes a rash statement about his play.

He took the 1s. He fiddled around with a few hands and didn’t connect. Then he called a raise from the 8s, none other than Karate Don. The Flop was something like J-8 of Clubs and an off card, bet and called, the Turn an 8, bet and called, the River a 9. Karate Don checked, Nick checked. Don showed A-10 of Clubs and Nick turned over 6-9 of Clubs. Nick won with a two pair. Nick flipped out a $5 chip and asked for changed and threw me $3. I thanked him, he said, “A minute ago I was saying to myself, ‘the fucking bitch couldn’t give me a club’, I’m just telling you the truth.”

I started laughing. It’s such a brutal statement but so true of so many players the only way to deal with it is to laugh or you’d go insane with all of the noise and confusion each player brings with them.

I paid for that laughter later. When I went to my next game, Karate Don transferred into it the fact that I laughed at him when he lost. He sat down in the 1s and told me that he was ‘pissed off because I laughed when he lost a pot’. “Not even”, I said to him. “Other things were going on that you were not aware of.”

He didn’t want to hear any of it and I left it at that. As I left the game, he threw me a couple of bucks and said that he was really tired and had been playing a long time so he really wasn’t pissed at me. So…that’s the way it is in Poker Land USA.

When I got to the $60-$120 Holdem game, Nick was taking a seat. Marvin was playing over the 9 seat and a big discussion started because Marvin had made a trip to Cuba. He’d left his wife home for 10 days and had a great time. I threatened to rat on him…he thought it was funny and so did I…that’s all that matters. The whole table was easy going, mostly strangers and they came to play.

Marvin went on and on about his trip and how everyone in Cuba was so happy and relaxed. A Cuban guy that was born and raised in NJ was the recipient of the conversation. He fessed up that he was born in NJ and had never been to Cuba after Marvin kept asking him about it.

Marvin still continued about the people, how they were so happy, with no worries or cares. The NJ born Cuban made a statement that went like this, “They can’t be that happy if they’re willing to jump on a plank and float into the ocean to try to get away.”

Marvin really didn’t get what was being said and he persisted…hey, I like Marvin so this isn’t a Marvin ‘rag’. He said the kids never drank sodas or had an ice cream cone, not like Americans and how fat we are, they’re all skinny.

The Cuban persisted with, “They’re starving to death, of course they never get ice cream or a soda. The tourists are given everything and the locals starve.”

The action went into ‘pop’ and ‘repop’. After the hand completed, Nick commented on, ‘I’m still trying to understand how the Cubans are happy?”

Shuen was in the 8s. Nick and Shuen almost tangoed in a hand and Nick made the comment that after he lost $41,000.00 in a game with Lenny, Jennifer and Shuen, he went home to tell his wife they were moving.

I said, “To Cuba, eh?”

He said, “Yes!”

The game was fun, the 6s lives in Vegas but I’d never dealt to him before. He never seemed to stress or ‘tiz’ over anything, win or lose, and he gave me eye contact every time a conversation started. My down ended and I moved on.

If every shift I ever put in as a dealer went like tonight, I’d yuckle-chuckle, and laugh my way through the whole damn thing…hey…they gave me money to spend time with them. Love it!

Friday, July 11, 2003

Someone said I’m cynical and that jaded would be an understatement…could be true…I may see the dark side of the poker arena but that could also be what gives me a sense of humor, what makes me laugh when the situation is almost unbearable, and what keeps me coming back.

Let me take you through a tour of my side of the arena.

1) As a dealer, I’m expected to be dysfunctional…you laugh? But it’s so true. The normal dealer personality is a person that has all or most of the habits, like machines, horses, sports, the pit, alcohol, and a few million other problems.

While they’re watching a sporting event on TV, that they have a bet on, the game they’re dealing is interrupting them.

When they get an E/O, they’re back in the room looking for a loan within an hour because a machine got what they just worked all night for.

They play poker on the clock and blow off a night’s worth of tokes by not dealing and then take a loss in the game too…really depressing, like a double bad beat only they did it to themselves.

If they book a big win on sports, pit, etc., they want to take a week or so off because they made their nut for the time being and they deserve a break…you think I’m kidding, right? I’m not.

They get stuck, playing a pit game or poker, drinking and gambling, and they stay and play until it’s time for them to go to work, then it’s either call in sick for work or go to work sick about what they just spent the last 16 hours doing, losing their money and punishing their body.

They deal as if they don’t give a damn whether anyone likes their dealing skills or not and then expect a tip just because they pushed a pot.

Yes, I am a dealer. I’m really not guilty of any of the above but it still goes with the turf and consequently a lot of players look down their noses at dealers because they see this behavior and then believe we all do it. I also see it, I listen to it, it’s a never ending audio and video that runs, blip, blip, stop…start over with new players, run, blip, blip, stop…

2) Then I get to see it from a player’s point of view. I have spent years at the table as a player. I see dealers make mistakes…the same dealers make the same mistakes over and over. I see dealers that could improve but they just don’t give a damn. I see dealers with bad attitudes and habits and watch them smirk or jeer at a player when the player asks a questions or requests a courtesy…but that dealer still expects a tip when a pot is pushed.

I completely understand why some players can’t stand dealers and think we’re all a bunch of low life retards. I don’t understand why players throw cards or swear at a dealer when the dealer is doing their job and the only thing happening is the player is losing. All the rest of it I understand, I’ve watched it happen, hated watching it happen, had to watch it happen over and over again…it goes back to the run, blip, blip, stop…

I’ve worked on my table attitude and demeanor for years. When I’m losing, it seems everyone and their dog wants to come by and talk or wag their tail and I have to be entertaining and cheerful, even though I haven’t won a pot in three days.

As soon as I start making comments like, “Yeah, you had a great flop for that hand,” it’s time for me to leave and I know I’m cooked so I do, but I leave wishing I could burn every poker deck in the world, and usually have a long discussion with my steering wheel on the drive home…I don’t take it out on dealers.

3) And I sit in the dealer’s chair. I get cards thrown at me because someone lost a pot. I get ‘the look’, the grumbling, mumbling garbage from someone that might win 10 hands in a row and lose one, and the player that tries to make me make a mistake because they want me to be punished for dealing.

I get the ‘pros’ that are skilled players when they are winning but I get the credit when they take a beat. I get to listen to how great some of the ‘name brand’ players are but I get to fade their Bullshit when I’m dealing and they’re losing. I’ve been called everything but a ‘white woman’, in all languages, since I started dealing poker years ago.

I’ve watched people go on huge, long term rushes and win all kinds of money, then blow it back playing higher and higher and then they believe I did it to them. Some of them hate me just because I deal, not because I ever said or did anything to them. I’ve watched people blow off their bankrolls, their rent, their family and friends, appointments, and a few million other things while I’ve held a seat on both sides of the table.

4) I’ve watched them die (literally), seen them fall off their chair or collapse at the table and have to be transported out by medical attendants, and I’ve watched some of them die over a period of time when they’re filled with cancer or another disease or the aging process…both players and dealers.

I’ve watched some of them fight, as in get up and try to beat the shit out of each other…hate it! A few have been arrested right out of the room, players and dealers. Both players and dealers have had personal items stolen from them.

I’ve watched them fall in and out of love, watched them hustle the almighty $$$, watched them come into town for a few nights and think that everyone that works in Vegas is ready to party down and spend the night with them…hey, after all, they’re here on vacation.

Day after day, year after year, it taxes my light spirit and sense of warmth for my fellow man but before you despair and scream, “GOD! Poker sucks…it’s a pit!” Keep in mind that it’s like scenes of life playing out, hour after hour, day after day. Read the newspaper, watch the news…you’ll get the picture.

Jaded? Me?