Friday, November 28, 2003

Days just run into other days, time warps move in and out of the conscious, focused mind, sifting away all the clutter and debris that seemed so important yesterday…presenting a fresh, clean horizon that one can only approach when the soul finds forgiveness of self and fellow man.
I drift into each new day, looking for the best in my fellow man, never being disappointed if I don’t find it, just logging the poor soul in my data base…allowing them to be where they are and myself to move past that bump in the road without jolting my inner peace.

I gave up trying to be a ‘nurse’ a long time ago. I nurse myself when I’m wounded and tired, weak and easy prey, salvaging some inner energy for my friends and people that I know will use my strength to improve themselves and never discard what I give lightly or take it for granted.

So a time of peace and quiet comes to an end…

Poker Time!

Thanksgiving Day found me rolling out of bed after drinking my Thanksgiving Day Feast in a long stemmed glass…finishing the last one somewhere around 8 a.m. Too early for you sissies? Well spend the night with me sometime and you might be ready for that early a.m. little glass of wine, followed by another, and another.

The room was busy, but not quite as busy as I thought it would be. Some people ate too much, some people didn’t eat enough…in my case, I didn’t drink enough. Ha!

I played twice this week. No explanation for the first play. Maybe there were too many dealers and not enough games…dead spreads looming on the horizon…or just tired of dealing. I’ve been on a very good behavior program for the last seven to eight months, spent almost all of my shifts in the box, give or take a few E/O’s.

My lower back was ‘killing me’ for some reason. It started yesterday and hadn’t improved by the time I went to work…please catch up, it’s Friday now. I signed up to E/O and play. I ended up playing for numerous hours. I won one hand, made quad Treys. That was about the size of it. I finally gave up and found the escape hatch about 12 a.m.

But…up until that point:

There are 12 tables in the pit area, adjacent to the poker room. The Fridays at Five Tournament was held out there. Around 8 p.m. games were being started in the pit. Yes…live games. The tables are licensed this time and games, plus tournament/satellites will be held out there also. That gives us approximately 42 tables for our card room.

The room was a screaming, noisy nightmare of microphones, bodies, heat, people, confusion, mumble jumble…and the goods news? It’s going to get worse…or better, depending on which side of the coin you’re on.

We have a ‘big’…’Big’…’BIg’…’BIG’ tournament coming up.

On the funny side of poker…a little $100-$200 Holdem Game. The game is full but the notables are: 1s – Ming, 3s – Gregg, 6s – Lee, and Ritchie W. drifting in to visit with Ming and Lee, from another game. They are gabbing and jabbing in…Chinese of course!

Grave Yard has taken control…Swing Shift Supervisors have left the building. Tony is standing behind me when the cry goes up, “We want the foreign language stopped.”

Some of the players contend that it goes on nightly. Some of the players contend that it goes on before, during, and after a hand. The major problem is that the players don’t want it go on at all.
Gregg says he can’t think around the noise and it makes him crazy. Hysterical!

Ming tries to go into the English standard to express himself. Gregg does a mock move with hands and shoulders, “What he’s trying to say is: ‘Emhhh, donnnn dooo, mugghhh givvhhee…” everyone cracks up, including me.

Tony comes back with the report that only English can be spoken at the table. Ming says somethings and Gregg takes off on it.

Ming finishes my down with, “When I speak English, he laugh me. When I speak Chinese, he complain me!”

Hey…ain’t that the way it is…

See You there!

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Thanksgiving, or Happy Bird Day, looms just over the horizon. Work for some of us, a four-day weekend for others. Eat as much as you want…just don’t groan about it later. Remember you did it to yourself. Enjoy…most of all…enjoy. Drive safe and stay well.


Norman. A few years ago, I asked him if he was going to cook the turkey. He said, “No. I’m staying home. It’s a day of mourning for all the turkeys that die.”

Last night he asked me what made cocktail waitresses different from other employees. I queried, “They belong to a union?”

He laughed over that one and finished with, “They don’t have to cover their asses.”


I played on shift…a huge influx of new dealers. Our big tournament starts in a few days and management is making sure we have plenty of them. I sat in a $4-$8 Holdem game through most of my shift, managed to eke out a few $$ after having Aces, Kings, and Queens beat. The game was great, just lock and load, fasten your seat belt, and play your own hand because you could never give them credit for having anything…most of them anyway.

I got to visit with Sam from Alaska, he comes in about five or six times a year, and Mark, another player that’s been on the scene for a lot of years but I’ve never played in a game with him and never had a chance to just ‘chit-chat’ before. It was fun.

I got called into the line-up to push two games and then back out to play. The first game was $30-$60 Holdem, I sat down, changed the deck, announced, “Time Pot.”

Four players pounced on me, “This is a new game, we aren’t paying time, why would you think we’d pay time?…blah….blah….blah.”

I called for the Floor Person. Jimmy jumped down my throat with his version of, ‘We aren’t paying time. This is a new game’. I said, “Fine, just let me do my job.”

I called for a Floor Person again. The Floor was on their way and Jimmy kept giving me heat. I said, “Just let me do my job. I announce ‘time pot’, you say it won’t be one, I call the Floor, and they give me the decision.”

He said something like, “You have to get the last word in don’t you.”

Shit! It has nothing to do with the last word. It has to do with doing my job. I really don’t care if ‘time’ is passed or not, it’s just not my decision.

Then I went to deal a $100-$200 Holdem game. Terry was in the 4s. She’s something else. She made a comment when I sat down about how I might push her a pot or something that pertained to the fact that she wanted to win…I didn’t catch it all and didn’t even get into it.

I did push her several pots. She made a big show of pulling out a small stack of $5 and $1 chips, that were rubber banded together, with the statement, “Special dealers get a tip from my special stack,” with that she threw me a $1 chip.

Wow! I’m so special. I got a piece of gristle with a speech tied to it. Sorry…that’s just my sick sense of humor coming out here.

Well back to the laughs and fun of the $4-$8 game after I got pushed. Yoo Hoo!!!

Monday, November 24, 2003

Something that’s always made me crazy…even wrote a “Poker Tale” about it some years ago…and it happens all the time, everyday in one game or another.

A week or so ago, I’m dealing to Adrian. He’s in the 1s, sitting facing me, watching an overhead TV, completely disinterested in the fact that a poker game is taking place and his money’s at stake. He looks at his hand and then carelessly leaves it lay out a few inches in front of him…his gaze and attention returns to the TV.

The first few hands, I looked at him, he gave no visible signs of life, and I mucked his hand. Somewhere around the fifth or sixth time it happened, I pointedly asked, “What would you like to do?”

He mumble, jumbled something like, “Take it!”

I told him he would have to be in control of his hand. He told me was. I told him he wasn’t and I wasn’t going to guess if he wanted to play or not. He said his hand was in front of him. I agreed and told him that he would have to be in possession of it and fold when the action came to him. He stated, twice, “Give me a button then.”

I did. He was watching TV and I threw a ‘Yellow Button’ in front of him which means he’s sitting out.

As soon as I dealt him out, he questioned me as to why I didn’t deal him a hand. I told him he’d ask for a Button, he said he didn’t and that his cards were always in front of him.

I called for a Decision. The woman in the 4s has never been happy with me…a previous post about a player named Angel and her wanting to see his cards when they hit the muck…she did an exasperated shoulder shrug and commented about my always causing a problem. I ignored her.

Jon came to make the decision. I told him that I had asked Adrian to take control of his cards until the action came to him. Adrian told Jon that I had just elected to deal him out. I countered with, “You said, ‘Give me a button then’.”

He replied that he had stated his cards were always in front of him.

I stated, “I wouldn’t have dealt you out unless you asked for a button.”

He implied that he’d never said anything about a button. Jon told me to deal him in and told Adrian that we expected ‘forward motion’ from a player.

The down side of it is that the player in the 4s in this game, was guilty of doing the same thing a few nights ago, and I tried to get him to take control of his cards and act in turn.

Dave was in the 10s and we had a short conversation about how, no matter how much you try, some of these people are just not trainable. I still believe that I have to try…otherwise I wouldn’t be me.

November 24, 2003

The Big Game with Andy Beal:

When I went in to work, I managed to find Suzie in the office alone for a moment. I asked her if Andy had played over the weekend. Yes. He had played Gabe Kaplan again on Saturday and Sunday, and somewhere in there he played Johnny Chan and Lee Salem. I asked if the corporation was behind these players and she said no, but someone had put up money for them to play Andy. I left it at that.

Andy’s hooked. There’s no way he can walk away from the game.

November 21, 2003

The Big Game with Andy Beal:

I had the feeling that Andy would be in the room and I would get a chance to visit with him. I had my business card out, with my phone # on the back in my shirt pocket, wanting to hand it to him in the event he would give me a ‘poker interview’. My intuition paid off. I crossed his path as he was heading for his room, he was alone and had his baseball cap, upside down, like a bowl, cupped in his hands. He looked horribly dejected and I was sure what was left of his chips from today’s play were carried in the cap. Yesterday he needed security to escort him and the ‘carrying tray’ to the Casino Cage, today he could carry it in his cap. Ugh!

I stopped him as he was oblivious to anyone walking by. He said ‘hello’ and explained that he’d had one of the worst days ever. I asked him if he would give me a poker interview, not on his wins or losses, but just the general on why he started playing, how he felt about it, etc.

He said he would if he had anything exciting to talk about but he felt that he might never play again. He said Gabe Kaplan had caught every card he needed, no matter what it was, and beat him up.

I agreed that poker could be pretty brutal and that it was hard to overcome some of mental stress involved in playing.
He agreed and said that he was thinking about giving it up and just going back to banking because that was something he understood.
I pursued the interview, he hemmed and hawed, I followed with, “Not right now then, it’s not a good idea!”

He agreed, he took my card and dropped it into his hat. He continued with how badly he’d been beat and he just couldn’t believe it.

I told him I was rooting for him. I understood how much the game could affect a person mentally. I then said, “Well give me a hug, I’ve got to go to work.”

He did give me a hug and told me to have a good night.

Friday, November 21, 2003

I came through the casino, on my way out of the employees area from a break, on the night of the 20th, and who should be walking towards me? Eli B (fuel for many other posts here). I was visiting with another dealer as we walked towards the Poker Room and Eli tried to get by us without looking at either of us. Hey…there was no one else around.

When he was even with us, just before passing, I loudly asked, “What the hell do you think you’re doing?”

His head jerked up…he knew we were there, he just didn’t want to look at us. I continued with, “Get over here so I can punch you!” and did a mock set up like I was going to get into a boxing match with him.

He stopped and kicked out at me…he was about 12 feet away…his countenance was stern and unforgiving. I did a kick back at him. He did one at me. We both laughed and I headed for the room.
I got to deal to him, of course, in $60-$120 Holdem, later in the night. When I walked up to the table, he had one stack of chips, about $400, he looked up at me and exclaimed, “Lucifer!”

I laughed and asked, “Then what are you?”

He laughed. He won during my down, not to say that he was winner, he probably wasn’t. The next time I see him, away from the table, he’ll feel comfortable saying ‘hello’ or saying ‘smile’ but when I deal and he’s losing? He’ll act as if I did it to him personally, picked his face out of crowd and decided that he should burn in the electric chair. Some things just never change.


Doodle, a youngster from somewhere in the outer realm of the poker world…back East…looks like he’s barely old enough to be in a poker room…Oh My God! Maybe he’s not!

Well anyway, he was here about six months ago and flirting around with $30-$60 Holdem. He’s got a pretty positive attitude and actually behaves like a kid…there I go again. His hair has grown out a lot from six months ago and it’s a mass of curly, fake looking locks. He’s tall and thin, with the style of clothing he wears, it gives him the appearance of trying to re-live the 60’s.

He tried to convince me, a few days ago when I was dealing to him, that he had a great attitude all the time. He does, but it’s got a razor-sharp edge at times…like when he loses a hand and thanks me, personally…as if I did it to him on purpose.

I happened by the Cashier’s Cage tonight as he was cashing out. He was talking to Ed, the Seattle escapee, and Chris, an Asian youngster that has a great attitude and likes to play, and I spied a $100 Bill by Doodle’s foot. I reached down, picked it up, and said, “I just love a man that can afford to throw money on the floor!” as I stuffed it into my pocket.

He said, “Finders Keepers, huh?”

I agreed but asked him if he dropped it. I was sure it was his. I offered it to him and he took it, then I exclaimed, “Geez, I hope I didn’t just give you a $100 that wasn’t yours.”

He told me he had $3,000, counted the bills in his hand, and he still did, so he gave it back to me with the statement that he wished he hadn’t been so blind and he had looked at the floor.

Then I did a ‘are you sure?….’

He said he had $300 in his pocket, let him check and see if it was still there…damn it…he only had $200 in his pocket and they were crumpled like the bill I found on the floor. I gave it back to him.
Ed said he’d take it if we were just going to keep passing it around. We were all laughing by now.

If I wasn’t really sure it belonged to him, it would’ve went into my pocket without a word. Maybe the next time he’s got that razor-sharp edge on his good attitude, he’ll tone it down…

November 20, 2003

The Big Game with Andy Beal:

When I came in to work, Andy was playing Gabe Kaplan, heads up. I started on a break and it gave me the perfect opportunity to drift up through the area. Andy had his chips in a plastic, carry tray, and was standing up, talking to the ‘corporation’ on Table 1. He and Gabe had been playing on Table 7.

Gabe was still seated and had someone, male, sitting behind him. His chips were also racked up in carrying tray. They were waiting for Security to escort them to the cage.

As I approached, Andy turned around, saw me and gave me a big smile and ‘hello’. He started to shake my hand but instead gave me a hug. He was jubilant, having fun. He said he didn’t see me on his last trip and I replied that he was playing during the day, and I worked at night. He told me that he beat Johnny Chan on that trip. He double exclaimed, “I beat Johnny Chan! Three times! Can you believe it?”

He followed up with the fact that Johnny might not be the same caliber of player as Chip and Doyle.

Johnny walked up just as the last words came out of Andy’s mouth. Andy never even slowed down, went right into, “Hi, Johnny, How you doing?”

Johnny mumbled something like ‘hello’ and went on by.

Andy’s hair was short and newly trimmed, I complimented him on the hair cut and he said he did it himself with the vacuum…the gizmo that allows you to cut your own hair in an even manner. I laughed and exclaimed, “No way!”

I told him goodbye, had to cut and run for work. “Always nice to see you.”

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Don’t let the Bastards wear you down! That was the inscription on a beer mug my youngest son gave me years ago. I’ve thought about it many times over the years, in reference to my sons, life, and to poker, the play of the game and dealing it. Tonight they tried, but it didn’t work.

How can something that starts so good, end up going so bad…a question posed from the beginning of time…ending up being the final question asked when the world ends with a poker game.

I started out in a friendly $15-$30 Holdem game, then $4-$8 Holdem…rock and roll…another $4-$8 Holdem game, $1-$5 7 Card Stud, and more $4-$8 Holdem.

Woops! This is when it all went bad, right up into the Devil’s Mouth, Table 1, $1,500-$3,000, three handed, mixed games. Ugh! It didn’t get any better. $100-$200 Holdem on Table two, $30-$60 Holdem on Table 3.

What? You’re asking…what’s so bad about Table 3? Jimmy, Asian, High Octane Asshole that never has a good day, was in the 8s. I sit down, announce, “Time Collection, $6 for time, please,” and he sits with chips in his hand…ready to pounce on me and tell me to just give him the change.

Great! He slaps, slams, change and amounts and throws out $30. He was right! But the point is…that’s my job. I asked him to just let me do it. He acted indignant and irritated, that I would subject him to letting me do my job, with the statement, “I make it easy for you.”

Easy for me, my ass. Just let me do it and there’s no confusion.

A few minutes later he ended up heads up with Steve W. (Steve is the subject of other posts, from $4-$8 to $80-$160 in a heartbeat and back down) and Jimmy asked Steve if he wanted to split the pot, when I peeled off the Turn.

I said, “No chopping.”

Jimmy did a freak show act and make all kinds of faces and stated, “You made the decision? You the boss?”

I told him there were no split pots and he should appreciate someone that did their job the way it should be done.

He ignored me, almost jeeringly, and when I was dealing the next hand, I know he handed Steve his half of the pot…they were sitting next to each other.

Don’t worry, I was on his shit list after that. He raised Pre-flop once, got one caller, the Flop was little, he bet and got called, the Turn fit right in with the ‘little’, he bet and got called, the River put a four card straight on the board…he won with pocket Kings.

When I pushed him the pot, he took off in Asian dialogue, blah, blah, blahhhh, blah…blah….blahhhh. Then he mumbled something like…broken English is sometimes hard to understand…”You should have let him win the pot. I will never tip you.”

I thought about grabbing my chest and falling back in the chair and screaming, “NO! NO! Help…I’m melting…I just got stiffed. Oh my, God! Call a Medic!” but instead, I dealt the next hand. Where is this guy from, Mars?

Well, the rest of the night was insanity.

A heads-up game of $20-$40 Omaha 8 or Better with a Half Kill.

A four handed, $100 to $400 anytime, Mixed game, on Table 7…none other than Jimmy G., Eskimo, Brian N., and Lee. David S. joined them about half way through my down.

Lee lost the first few hands and mumble, jumbled in my right ear, Jimmy did a, “We’ve got to work on this, Linda,” as he showed me his cards, Eskimo kept telling me to give them a ‘wide scramble,’ as he moved his hand around in a wash board motion…and me? I kept thinking about the glass of wine I was going to have when I got home.

I made it! Hello to the wine!”

Sometimes I just love to hate this job!

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Hell’s Bells and Cockle Shells. There are chip explosions all over the room…not $15-$30 Holdem, everyone there is dug in and waiting for the chips wars to come to them, but it just ain’t happening.

$4-$8 Holdem? Put on your helmet, load your chip throwers, blast with anything that resembles two cards and get ready to run for cover when eight people call your raise.

Even the $100-$200 Holdem has so much action, the weak of heart should head for cover.

Every game I dealt was fun and funny. Listening to the players and the rush of chips flipping across the table, I just drifted through night watching, laughing, and listening. Except for one $15-$30 Holdem game, I have no idea why or how my mouth opened, but it did.

The game was slow and draggy, intermittent spurts of action, and a lot of talk about Backgammon, players, the odds, software, etc. We have a couple of players that come in, from Europe, twice a year for Backgammon tournaments at the Riviera, and spend their evenings playing poker with us…met them when Bellagio first opened and we faced off against each other at the table.

Something happened with a player putting out chips and another player commented about where the bettor/caller placed the chips. The 5s is from Canada, an infrequent player in our room, and he said, “In Canada, we have a line on the table.”

I looked across the room, as if I was bored to death, and I was, and dryly stated, “The line is because the players in Canada are too dumb to know where to place their chips.” Hey, I don’t know why or how it came out, it just did.

Everyone went into a total rip, snort, laugh, have a cow. A few even did a sort of applause type of thing.

The 5s took it very well, found out later that his name is Sam. Thank God! Sometimes I wonder if I could start my brain before I put my mouth in gear. I told him I was only kidding.

Kenny, one of my favorites since the Mirage days, even commented about it after he had cashed out hours later and was leaving the room, I was on a break. He was still laughing. Kenny never loses his cool, always has a fresh smile and attitude and is someone you really have to appreciate in your game…especially after all the years spent in table time together. He’s priceless!


On another note, I’m really hoping that on the last day of my dealing career, Eli B. will be playing and I will get to deal to him. Yes, there are previous posts about him and his B-A-D attitude.
The strangest part of the whole scenario is that when he’s playing a low limit game, like $40-$80 7 Card Stud, he even laughs. When he plays higher, he’s grim, hates the dealers…mostly himself, I think…but he’s a drag, rag, snag, blip, jerk, turd, dumb butt when he’s losing. I’ve dealt to him for years. His personality changes are not hormonal or drug related, they are ‘pot’ related.

If I crossed his path in the Sport’s Book or away from the table, he will always say ‘hello’ to me.

Sometimes when I’m dealing, and he’s winning, he will look at me and say, “Smile!”

When he’s losing, he tries to punish anyone that holds a deck and delivers cards. About six months ago, I sat a Dead Spread and listened to Jack P. talk to Eli, asking him why on earth he would get mad at anyone, mostly the dealer, when Eli is playing and losing. Jack told him that the first thing that happens is that other players pick up on his anger and know they have him.

Eli replied that he didn’t throw cards at the dealer.

I snorted.

Eli looked at me and stated that he didn’t do that anymore. I didn’t say anything…how the hell can I get in the middle of someone else’s conversation when I know that he’s a card throwing lunatic when he’s losing?

Let’s get right into Tuesday night. I sat down in a $200-$400 Mixed Game in which Eli was in the 4s. He went from setting his cards on the rail to where I had to reach for them every time, to picking up his whole hand and throwing five cards into the air, directed at me…they vaulted into the rack and rattled around.

I looked directly at him, and very distinctly and clearly, stated, “Don’t throw your cards at me, Eli.”

He wouldn’t even look at me. The next hand, he sat his cards up against the rail, rather than push them in to me. I stood up, pushed my chair back, reached over the table, pulled his hand in, sat back down, pulled my chair in and got ready to deal the next hand. He’s a fuel injected asshole when he’s losing, and believe me, he was losing long before I got there.

Back to my opening statement. I really hope he’s there, the last day I deal, and I get to deal to him because it will be the last hand I deal for the rest of my ‘professional’ life. I want to throw the cards into his chest. For no reason other than I’m sick of his mind games and twisted reasoning. He’s felt it was fair to speak to me when I’m not dealing and/or when he’s winning, but when he’s losing, he wants to use me as his back board…I want to give him the same consideration he’s given me all these years…time to pay the Piper…and the announcement will be, “Ladies and Gentlemen, Linda has now left the building.”