Sunday, February 29, 2004

I find myself mesmerized by the personality display of the people that put money in my pocket. You may not see what I see. If you see only the cards and the chips…I would have to believe you are not capable of seeing what I see. I never judge anyone until I’ve witnessed that someone make themselves look cheap and sleazy, trap themselves in a lie, or watched them steal something…at that point I know I don’t want them around me.

I’m open for a personality check raise when it comes to someone that I’ve spent time with at the table, while I’m dealing or playing. I have a lot of latitude and understanding, yet I have no patience for the dipshits that try to run over everyone and think the world was created for their convenience. Some of the people I deal to keep me enchanted by their actions and conversation and the way they play the game of poker and life. And so it is with Lance.

Lance is a reckless, wild child trapped in an adult male body and society’s straightjacket. He’s ready to run, scream at the wind, paw the ground, and leap from the top of the highest mountain with a parachute made from the gossamer strands of fairy dust.

I’ve had my days with Lance before he figured out that I wasn’t the enemy. He’s the subject of other posts in the Diary and Table Tango.

One day I slid into the box in a $30-$60 7 Card Stud game…Jean was leaving the game with a couple of racks and Lance was ready to buy chips. As she walked away, he yelled, “Jennifer, sell me some chips.”

She kept walking and he kept yelling, confounded by the fact that she wouldn’t answer him. He was in the 1s and I quietly said, “Her name is Jean.”

He did a, “You want to bet? You want to bet a $1,000? I’ve known her for years,” as he started counting out $100 bills to make the bet.

I never said another word, just kept dealing, and he raced off with his $100 bills to buy chips.

He came back a few moments later and had a little conniption fit about the fact that she could have told him her name wasn’t Jennifer….

Another time he was in the 10s in a $30-$60 Holdem game and he won a few pots. He said something like this, “I know you’re thinking that I’m not your friend because I didn’t tip you.”

I laughed and retorted, “No…I don’t think anything like that.”

He said, “Yes you do. If I don’t tip, you don’t think I’m your friend.”

I couldn’t help but laugh and I didn’t say anything else. Really kids, that’s not my style…but he seemed so sure that he had me pegged.

He’s got an attractive, delightfully friendly wife named Becky. She played a lot in the room for a while. She’s quiet and always appears to be quite calm, which is just the opposite of Lance. She hasn’t been in now in some time. I asked him about her and he said she’s been playing a lot on the Internet.

So…Lance may not know that I enjoy his personality, but I do. A lot of it reflects my own thoughts at times and I can’t help but laugh when I see some of his antics and listen to his outbursts at the table.

I dealt to him in a $30-$60 Holdem game the other night. His hands clench and loosen, repeat, repeat, repeat…as if he’s going to detonate himself and the world will have to go too.

He raised it pre-flop and got a caller, the Flop was 6-6-? and two Clubs. He bet, got called, the Turn and River were both blanks.

He bet the Turn, got called and bet the River and got raised. He raised! His opponent turned his hand up and showed the K-8 of Clubs before he pitched it. Lance showed his opponent no pair, Q-J of Clubs.

As I pushed the pot to Lance, he exclaimed, “Six…Six…” as if he was stabbing his opponent with the words.

His features were carved in stone as he stacked the chips but I know he was exploding inside. I looked at him as I shuffled and it was all I could do to keep a straight face and not bust out laughing.

A few minutes later I asked him if he remembered the time he was talking to his voice mail, pretending it was his wife. He did a quizzical, “No…you’ll have to tell me about it.”

When I got pushed, I walked around behind him and explained the basics of the conversation. He roared. He said he’d forgotten all about it. He told me a ‘Pigeon Tale’ a few weeks ago and I laughed so hard, he told me I could write about it. After I reminded him of the voice mail incident, I told him I wanted to write about that too.

His words were interrupted through laughter, “Write anything you want. Just send it to me when you do.” Yes, he’s going to get a copy of this in an email.

But on to more of Lance and his zaniness: December brings the NFR (National Finals Rodeo) to Las Vegas. We miss most of the Cowboys and Cowgirls, as they are more at home at Sam’s Town, The Gold Coast, and The Orleans. We do get a few that I consider regulars…they come in once or twice a year and like to play poker. They dress the part and are friendly and nice to have in a game.

One in particular was playing in a $30-$60 Holdem game, seated next to Lance, while I was dealing. The talk between the two of them was about the different events, the rodeo in general, and tickets to see the events. Lance appeared to be totally wrapped into that conversation with question after question and finally picked up his cell phone. He dialed a Number and then went into this, “Hi Honey. Yes…we’re going to go to the rodeo on Saturday night. What? Yes, I know you wanted to see Neil Diamond but cancel that, we’re going to the rodeo instead…What?” a pause and then in disbelief he stated, “She hung up on me.”

I started laughing. He pulled it off so well…the whole thing was too cool and polished for me. I said, “Come on. We know that was your voice mail.”

He gave me a startled look and did some form of denial but just the way it went down…I would’ve bet him $1,000 that he was talking to voice mail and not his wife. Yet no one else even picked up on it. They were all buried in the poker game…no, not necessarily stuck…just buried in their own plot known unawareness.

You see the keen thing about watching Lance is that he’s not buried…even when he’s stuck. His mind is still cavorting and searching, prying and prodding…yet very few people ever pick up on that. It’s too bad because they really are missing a show.

The pigeon tale: I sat down to deal a $30-$60 Holdem game. Lance is in the 5s. He gets a devious smile that rages through his eyes and leads me into it like this, “I got myself into trouble again.”

“You? How?”

“I’ll tell you about it.”


He can’t contain himself. He’s dying to tell the story and the table is his audience, the stage is set. He’s ready to burst with the details and as I shuffle and deal the first hand, he starts laughing. I, of course, have to laugh because when he laughs it makes me laugh.

I know the story is coming and I wait, it doesn’t take long.

“I went to the Gambler’s Book Store the other day. You wouldn’t believe it. There’s pigeon shit everywhere. The parking lot, the building, every thing is covered in pigeon shit.”

I’m directing the action in the game, nodding as I listen to him…

“When I walk into the book store, there are three guys in there standing around. I asked them if they knew there was pigeon shit everywhere outside.”

I asked, “Really, that bad?”

He asked me if I’d ever been there and I said, “No. Not in years now.”

He continued, “You wouldn’t believe it. It’s covering everything. Well, I should have known something was up because none of them said a word. So…just before I left, a guy came out of the back and said the Mayor had been there last week and talked to him about the pigeons.”

Lance continued, “I told him that I could take care of the pigeons for him for a fee.”

He still had that boyish, devilish, I’m going to blow up laughing look, dancing out of his eyes. “The guy said, ‘Why don’t you just get out of here and don’t come back’.”

The whole table was listening to the tale and I’d been dealing and running the game through all of this. Now I exclaimed, “No way!”

He went on. “I should have known something was up as soon as I made the statement when I walked in and the three guys never said a word. I told this story to the table a few nights ago and Mason said that the owner of the Book Store keeps bags of feed in the back of the store and he feeds the pigeons all the time.”

I did a, “Ugh! How in the hell could he keep his business up if people have to wade through that to go into the store?”

“You wouldn’t believe it, Linda. The back of the store looks like someone painted it with pigeon shit.”

He did go on to explain how easy it was to get rid of pigeons…not that he was in to killing animals or anything. And I couldn’t help but query why the Mayor was there talking to the owner about the pigeon problem. My line of reasoning would be that other store owners or people that live in that area might not want pigeon shit landscaping, not to mention the disease factor, smell, and a few other things that go with the whole scene. No answer on the Mayor thing.

Lance said he’d visited the store with a friend, Mike. When he left the store, Mike asked him why he couldn’t just behave normally and not open his mouth.

I agree with Lance. If the World’s tilting or something’s awry, why should we just shut up and pretend it didn’t happen…shout when you have to…let’s clean up the pigeon shit that surrounds us and make the world a better place.

Friday, February 27, 2004

It appeared to be an innocent $8-$16 Holdem Game filled with 10 players…it turned out to be a river filled with Piranha and the stepping-stones were land mines spaced 10 feet apart.

As I stood behind the dealer, waiting for him to finish the hand, it dawned on me he’d burned and turned before the action was complete and now he had to take back the River card and wait for the action to complete. He had no idea what to do next. I helped the dealer wade through the rest of the hand while the 3s informed me that the dealer hadn’t made a mistake.

I stepped around behind the 3s and said, “I believe he burned and turned before the action was complete.”

“Oh…well he could have. He’s made no less than five mistakes since he sat down…”

I sat down and said hello to Dahlia in the 10s. She ignored me. Oh well. We used to go to war with each other at the Mirage as we tried to win each other’s chips. She seldom plays at Bellagio and I hadn’t seen her in quite some time.

Two players left our table. I called the seats open three or four times and sent the Chip Runner twice…Kim, the Front Brush, was too busy to listen to me.

I asked the players to square up the table and share the elbowroom and I got a lecture plus the 5s said I was probably very bossy at home and he sure was glad that he wasn’t one of my kids as loud as I yelled about the seats being open…I probably yelled that loud at home. He made some comment about a wife. I jokingly said, “You married her, be happy about it.”

He did a rant on the fact that he wasn’t married and if he was, she probably wouldn’t let him play poker, he wouldn’t be there, that’s why he wasn’t married. Yikes! Everything was a disaster. The piranha started to jump above the land mines.

Complaints ran around the table about the empty seats, change the deck, get a set up, and then Dahlia lost a hand. She snapped at me, “That’s why I didn’t answer you when you said hello to me. I knew you would make me lose.”

I replied, “Really? I don’t believe any of that.”

She barked, “I do.”

I ignored her after that. Hell, you don’t have to shove me off a landmine.

Then I got two players, asked them if they wanted to post, ‘yes’, the Chip Runner went for their chips, I dealt them in and told them they owed $8 to the pot…woops…they wanted $4-$8 and got sent to the wrong table.

I took their cards, apologized to them, and sent them back to Kim so they could get a seat in the game they wanted to play in. One new player arrived and still – an open seat.

Dahlia moved to the 2s. I finally got a player in the 1s and the Kim came running up and told him that she had called him for $4-$8 and not $8-$16 and he couldn’t have the seat.

Big argument here, he said he hadn’t even signed up for $4-$8 and she had called him for $8-$16…even though he wanted the blind, I now had to deal him out until it was straightened out. Kim returned with the list and found out she had called him, she apologized and he posted between the Button and the Small Blind.

The 1s flopped a Set, Dahlia flopped a Flush draw. The 1s checked, Dahlia bet, the 1s check raised. She called.

The Turn brought Dahlia a Flush. The 1s checked, she bet.

The River paired the board. The 1s checked, Dahlia bet, the 1s check raised again. She called.

She was ready to eat the Piranha and the land mines. She made a cutting comment about him being cut throat and check raising her. The 5s jumped right on her and said Dahlia did exactly the same thing because she bet when she knew she had the best of it so why shouldn’t the 1s check raise. True, how true.

Then the 3s flopped a Set of 10’s and built a huge pot with multi-way action. Dahlia managed to make a Flush on the River and claim that pot…she let the Piranha live for a while.

I got pushed, right into a $1-$5 7 card stud game on table 13, nothing happening there, and then to $4-$8 Holdem on Table 15. This game was right by the game Dahlia was in.

Before I dealt the first hand, the 5s returned with a bowl that looked like it held pie and ice cream and he sat down to inhale it while I put out the cards. One of the players asked him where he got the food. He said from the buffet and he’d get plenty more before the night was over, followed by the statement that he liked to eat. He was thin, gray hair, day old beard, casually dressed.

A few minutes later, one of our players left and I asked the 5s to move over a few inches so we could square up the table. It wasn’t until then that I realized that one of the piranhas from table 11 had escaped and landed in seat 5. He was horribly rude and obnoxious.

We were getting a new player in the game, I was calling for chips, asking the new player if he wanted to post and the 5s was making idiot comments to the 4s about how ridiculous it was that he should have to move over a few inches.

The action was to the 5s and he kept talking, I asked him if he wanted to call. He ignored me. I tried again. He ignored me. There was a lot of noise in the room but not that much noise.

I tried a little louder, “Do you know the action is to you?”

He replied that he did.

I said, “Please let us know what you’d like to do.”

He said he was going to take his time, on every hand…turned to the 4s and said, “I’ll take five minutes for each hand and that’ll steam her.”

I replied, “I’ll be here another seven minutes, do whatever you think is best.”

He said he would.

I replied, “You’re rude.”

He said I was rude but he finally threw his hand away. He jumped up and left the table. The 4s made some comment and I asked, “Really, moving a few inches has to be that big a deal?”

The 4s replied with a fence straddling statement that implied he didn’t agree with me ‘but rules are rules…and you’ll only be here another four minutes.”

By the time I dealt the next hand, the 5s returned with a plate of chocolate dipped strawberries that he filched from the buffet and he sat it down in front of the 3 and 4s. I dealt a few more hands and got pushed.

I went straight to Suzie and ratted the guy out. Oh…maybe you think this is cool or smart. It’s really smart when you have to pay more for products and service because someone else steals it. Who do you think pays for thievery? The honest, hard working bum, you and me baby.

The best part of my night came when I met Mark Hope. I was on a break and we got to visit away from the noise of the card room for a few minutes. He handed me a monetary tip for writing here, told me it was for all the pencils and paper I use…and that he couldn’t let Jason get one up on him. I got a little insight into his life and the home poker game they have.

Lots of good things come from poker…just don’t lose sight of what’s important while your butt’s glued to a seat and your hands are trying to choke the life out of your chips.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Judy. Startlingly refreshing and ready to play poker, I liked her the moment we exchanged our first words. I pushed into Table 20, $15-$30 Holdem, she was in the 7s and sliding her chips over to the 8s that had just been vacated. She took the Button with her, looked at me and said, “I’m the bl…er…button.”

I laughed and said, “You’re the blonde with button.”

She finger flipped her bleached hair, that had a mass of dark brown roots, and asked, “Do I look like I’m a real blonde?” as she laughed and settled in.

She played almost every hand, visiting with anyone and everyone as she called every bet. She’s the only woman I’ve ever seen wearing a square bracelet, it had a diamond edge on it and looked quite stylish on her. She had a Southern accent and even though she was very striking and dressed fashionably, she also had a pleasant, down to Earth attitude as she played the game.

A few hours later and she was in another $15-$30 game I sat down in. This time she occupied the 3s and for some reason could never see the Flop. I read the cards to her each time. Once a player suggested that she take a middle seat if it opened so she could see better.

I said, “I’m her seeing eye dealer.”

She loved it. And expressed the fact that I was doing a very good job of helping her out. She was in town for Magic…clothing…and it’s huge every year.

The 4s had a sweater and between the two of them, they were so intent on her that I wanted to deal the 4s out…it was too difficult getting his attention every time the action came to him.

The 2s asked her name and after she told him it was Judy, he kept calling her Susie, she retorted, “Susie, Judy, they’re all alike.”

She had just become MRS. and nothing much was ever said about her husband but she wasn’t shopping for a guy, she was there to play poker. She did.

The whole table was pretty relaxed and ready to gamble with her. She won a few pots before I left the game and she said that she wished she had the opportunity to get to know me because I was such a calming factor.

I thanked her for the compliment and when I got pushed, walked around behind her and gave her a card to this site. Her eyebrows went up and she asked, “Oh, are you going to teach me to play poker, Linda?”

I said, “No. There’s no poker game there, just stories about poker and people.”

I left it at that and went to my next game. Hey, maybe she’ll send me an email and we’ll become life long ‘buddettes’. I’ve met some of the best people in the world at the poker table and I’m always in the mood for good people and new friends.


When I bopped out of a game that had my Colorado buddy, Jim, in it, a guy that had been watching the game from the rail, came up and introduced himself to me. Mark. He had wanted to play in the game I was dealing but nothing was moving…he reads here. His enthusiasm was great. I ran into him later in the night and he’d played $15-$30 and beat them…Sweet!

I dealt two of the $1-$2 NLH games tonight. They were both lively. The first one, the 9 and 10s looked like they were 12 years old. Maybe I’m just getting old but they look like they just picked up a fake ID or slipped downstairs after their folks went to sleep and got a seat in the game.

On two different hands, the 10s raised the $2 BB to $20 and managed to outrun the best hand after going all-in both times. He escaped with about $400 shortly after I sat down.

No one ever seemed to have a fit or go crazy…they played the game…just like it should be played, taking a beat, booking a win.

The second $1-$2 game was filled with all new faces…it was a Must Move to the Main game. A few of them had an idea how the game was played and what it was all about but some of them had no clue.

I felt a little tug of remorse for one player…he was in the 6s. He seemed to have no idea what was going on except he knew it was a poker game.

Once when the Blinds got raised to $9, he threw out $10 and said, “Make it $10.”

Before I could open my mouth, two players informed him that he couldn’t raise $1, he had to raise the size of the raise which was $9…they were wrong, he would have to raise by at least $7 or more but I just jumped in with, “He knows that, he was just testing me to see if I was paying attention,” as I gave him $1 change.

He gratefully gave me a weak smile. Then the worst of worst scenarios happened. The rule is that when a player goes all-in and it’s a heads-up situation, they must both turn over their hands before the rest of the cards are dealt on the board.

On the River, he checked, the 1s went all-in. The 6s thought about it for a few seconds and then said, “I call,” and pushed his chips out. He had less than the 1s.

I put my hand out to the 1s and said, “Starting here,” expecting him to turn over his hand and before I could blink, the 1s turned his hand up and said, “I thought I had a straight,” showing 10 high, no pair, N-O-T-H-I-N-G!

The 6s pitched his hand into the muck…right into the dead cards. I didn’t say a word, just pushed the pot to the 1s, moved the Button and shuffled for the next hand.

The 5s asked the 6s if he had a pair. “Yes.”

The whole routine started, “Why didn’t you turn your hand up? He didn’t have anything.”

The 6s said, “He said he had a straight.”

I interjected, “He said he ‘thought he had a straight’. Anytime you call a bet, just turn your cards up in front of you.”

He bought another $100 and made the comment that implied he’d been an idiot and made a super mistake. Several players told him they’d made worse ones than that and he took it pretty well.

A few hands later, he was in the SB and called a small raise pre-flop. The Flop was something like 10-8-3 of Spades. He checked, the 5s/Button bet $25, he thought for a half a second and called.

The Turn was King. He checked and the 5s went all-in for around $55…he called.

Long and short of it, the 5s flopped a set of eights and the 6s turned a set of Kings. Neither one of them had a Spade. The 5s left the game and so did I a few hands later. When I checked back on the 6s a half hour later, he had around $500 in front of him.

Dear Chip Fairies and Poker Gods, thank you. We need these new people in the game and they have to see a positive side to it too or they won’t be with us long…Amen!!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

A little war broke out the other night over a woman asking to see a new player’s called hand. The new player wasn’t new to poker, just to the game. The new player was enraged and took it to the max. He wanted to see her hand every time she was in at showdown and he was letting me know now that that’s the way it was going to be.

Right at the end of my down, sure enough, she called a hand and the new player almost jumped out his chair demanding her hand be shown. I did turn it over. He was still belligerant and stated that he would see every hand she called down as long as she was at the table.

I politely informed all of them that we allowed player’s to see called hands but not when it became excessive. He was still ranting to the table that he would see her hands as I was leaving the box.

I went directly to the Floor Person and informed him of the situation…he was heading that way as I was leaving the room for a break.

The funniest part of it was that the woman didn’t have any idea what was going on with the guy that was so excited about the showing of hands. She was visiting and having a good time playing poker, completely oblivious to his outrage and could care less if he saw her cards.

I’ve often wondered why a person can’t be a quiet idiot…


Still the high limit section is quiet. Not a heart breaker for me. The only thing running on top lately on Swing Shift is the $10-$20 Blind NLH and $80-$160 Holdem

While dealing $40-$80 7 Card Stud tonight, Sam G. walked up to the table and a stranger in the 4s said, “Hi Sam.”

Sam said hello back and muttered something about the room being a graveyard (as in no games in the high limit section), and one of our dealers, Mary, walked by and said, “Hi Sam. I saw you on tv.”

The 4s looked at me and said, “I did too. That’s how I knew he was Sam.”

Chuckle, Chuckle. Sam was right, everyone does know him.


I’ve dealt through four of the $1-$2 Blind NLH games. One of them was dead as a doornail and the other three were great little games with lots of action. Not sure how they’ve been overall but the lists are long. It’s just what the Dr. ordered for all the people that have been cutting their teeth on the WPT.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

The stars were out this afternoon at Bellagio. Light, Bellagio’s hottest nightclub, sponsored a Celebrity Challenge No Limit Holdem Tournament, prizes and winners here.

The sky is crying giant rivers of rain. Consequently the stars are stuck in town, the flights are cancelled. The No Limit Game at Bellagio is in the ‘rock and roll’ mode.


I had a hike planned with some members of the Poker Clan discussion group but we didn’t go because of rain. Some of us did meet this afternoon for an annual F.U.C.C. (February U Come Clan) buffet at the Suncoast Casino. It was fun, nice to meet in person and be able to visit for a few hours about nothing in particular and everything in general.


Upon occasion I hear from a reader that my posts are a little dark and gloomy. While I find this comment to be a bit bizarre, I wonder how people perceive and digest what I write.

One reader wondered if he swore at me while I dealt to him, if he’d make it in my column.

Another reader felt that I was star struck over Matt Damon and Ben Affleck after I wrote about dealing to them.

Other readers have said they know that I hate poker players.

I feel that I’m a ‘on the scene, in the middle of the action’ reporter. Yes, my writing is tinged with my viewpoint and my perception of what is happening around me and to me but I don’t make things up or even tell a story that someone else tells me, unless that person specifically says I can…which will bring another Lance Tale soon.

On the dark and gloomy side of things, it’s difficult to portray anything in a bright sunny light. Every day, normal circumstances have gloomy sides to them.

All the people that walk into a poker room are not clean, shiny, smell great, have lots of money, happy at home, great job, good future kind of folks. So how could I write as if they all sat down in an orderly fashion, were kind and polite, waited until it was their turn to act, stacked their chips out in nice little rows and pushed them in so the dealer could reach them, never went broke, and when they lost a hand, they chuckled and said, “Nice hand!” as they pushed their hand in and talked about their kids and the weather while they waited for the next hand.

IT JUST DOESN’T HAPPEN THAT WAY!!! We’re talking real people, real emotion, real win/loss situations and that’s what I write about.

On the swearing at me side of things…what does that prove? To me it means that you can’t express yourself without using profanity.

On being Star Struck, I’m totally head over heels with my granddaughters…they’re my STARS! And soon I’m going to have my first Grandson!!! Movie Stars are just people that happen to entertain us with movies…real people turn my crank.

On hating Poker Players…not even. I enjoy the hell out of them. They’re my social life. They put money in my pocket. They welcome me when I enter Poker Land, they wish me goodnight when I leave. They fuel my thoughts and dreams. They are the ingredients in a book and a screenplay I’m writing.

Hey…I are one too! See you there!

Friday, February 20, 2004

Some kind of fun going on here! First and foremost, it’s Friday. Yes…to the rest of the world it’s Friday but it’s also my Friday. I’m so damn glad. Needless to say there are times when the five day work week just speeds by but other times I feel as if I worked five years in the space of a week. That’s the way it has felt the last few weeks…terminal.

The next thing that makes me very, very happy, is the new server that houses PokerWorks.Com is running quite well. No down time that I know of and I’m thanking A. DePinto at Idmi.Net for that. He has helped me with everything I needed…and I didn’t have to wait or hang out on the phone on hold. Happiness!

Next on my ‘happy list’ is the Blog is going to be up and running in full force with archives and everything in the next few days. It is running now but I’m working on transferring some old pages…time permitting. I have to thank Graham at for taking a little extra time and helping me resolve a few issues that were driving me crazy. Sweet! I sent him an email and told him I loved him! Pshaw…hope I didn’t embarrass him.

Poker Time: My Colorado buddy, Jim, is back in town. Probably for a month or so and he’s getting ripped, shredded, killed, eaten alive at the tables. He’s funny as hell and could be the perfect candidate for a sitcom, supplying his own lines in rapid fire as he rapidly fires chips into the pot.

He was in the 10s of a $15-$30 Holdem game a few nights ago. We were chitty-chatting as the action flew, mostly because he made it fly, and I said, “I want to quit my job.”

As he threw more chips in the pot, he said, “I thought the same thing, now I think I need to look for another one.”

We both laughed. We have the uncanny mental tie that brings us both to the same spontaneous thought and we ending up laughing our butts off. I told him once that people would think I was laughing at them while I was dealing to them, his reply was, “I am laughing at them.”

We had a drink after I hit the Time Clock and he was done having his daily beating at the $30-$60 game. We spent a little bit of time talking about the concept of ‘running bad’. That statement comes up frequently at the tables. If a good player is losing, it’s because they’re running bad. If a bad player is losing, it’s because they play bad. We both agreed that someone is always running bad for someone else to win. Hey, you don’t have to agree but that’s the way it is, someone that plays bad doesn’t necessarily have to lose every time they put money in a pot…they can be running bad also. The phrase seems to get kicked around as if it is the only reason a good player would lose.

Our conversation went to the fact that when most people run bad, their play is also at question because a long run of losses can affect the way you play a hand. Running bad and playing bad seem to go hand in hand.

We talked about knowing where you’re at with the game and being able to walk away from it loser and also knowing when to drop down a limit instead of beating yourself and moving up a limit. That is exactly what Jim did a couple of times in the last few days, even though he knows better. I didn’t have to point it out to him. He brought it up.

His style of play makes everyone think that he always raises or climbs into the pot with nothing…it ain’t so. Remember the saying, “Sometimes you have to give the dummy credit for having a hand”? Be careful when you mix it up with him…I would be and I’m his pal.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Max. The name alone teases the mind. Max what? MAXimum self destruct is what comes to my thoughts when I see him and deal to him. My introduction to Max happened years ago at the Mirage. His main game is 7 Card Stud, $15-$30 and $20-$40, although he flirts with Holdem on occasion.

He’s intelligent and dances around most people without them even knowing the fiddler is striking a reel.

He used to be entertaining, never charming, but he gradually lost the art of the dance. It began when he started insulting players, mostly tourists, that beat him in a hand.

He would pick an ally, some local with a grouchy disposition, and make his stinging comments to them as if they were alone and no one else was privy to the conversation.

His comments didn’t imply, they flat out screamed that the tourist was an idiot for even being able to sit at the table and purchase chips…of course he managed to drag the dealer into his misery laden conversation.

When Bellagio opened, he stayed at the Mirage, moving over later and dragging all of his bad beat baggage with him.

He sits immersed in a bowl of wine, intermittently watered down with coffee, and armed with his own yellow button…the button is pushed in front of him when he feels the dealer is beating him and he wants to be dealt out.

At times he may be trying to give me a compliment. His statement to the table, “She’s a beauty. I wanted her for my own…”

That questionable compliment is sprinkled in between his throwing cards at my hands and the rack. It’s a deliberate move by him. He knows that he won’t hit me because my hands are never laid on the table. A few times I’ve picked them up and thrown them back at him. He usually laughs when I do.

He’s told the table that I’m not like the rest of the dealers…please do not think that he holds me in high esteem…he knows that I do not fold under the pressure he lays on the rest of the dealers. And when he throws me $.50 for a $400 pot, I just rap it lightly and say, “Thank you.”

He can’t ‘get to me’ so of course I’m not like the rest of the dealers.

A few weeks ago he was in rare form, kibitzing, talking, interjecting a laugh after he cut someone to the bone with a sarcastic slash, and I pushed him a pot. He threw out some $1 chips and demanded, “Give me change.”

I asked if he would like a roll of halves.

He said, “No. I want you to suffer with halves in the rack.”

I didn’t play his game, I gave him the silver change.

He couldn’t stand it. “Before long, the ‘new place’ will be opening. I’m going but you’ll be stuck here.”

I replied, “I’m not stuck. And you’re going to be stuck no matter where you go.”

He agreed with me. It’s true. He can never go back and he can’t move forward.

There is no life preserver in that bowl of wine and the edge is slippery and as out of reach as another lifetime.

Monday, February 16, 2004

Bellagio just started a $1-$2 Blind, No Limit Holdem game…as of the 15th. Tonight there were two of them running, one is the main game, the other is a must move. $100 buy-in, no more, no less. If a player has less than $50, they can buy $100, anything between $50 and above, they can only buy chips that will bring them to the $100 buy-in. As soon as it goes to heads-up and one player is all-in, the hands will be turned face up before the rest of the hand is dealt.


No high limit games running right now. All the kids are in California for a tournament. They’ll be back but until they are, the high limit section is q-u-i-e-t. An $80-$160 Holdem game was in progress when I went through there tonight.

The 1s appeared to be totally wasted and definitely the life of the party. He picked his cards up, each hand, and shuffled them so high that the players in the middle of the table could see them…of course no one looked, silly.

He was very receptive to everything I said and I quietly showed him how to look at his hand and not flash his cards. He told me that he had to give them one shuffle…almost as if the Card Fairy wouldn’t forgive him if he didn’t do it. So be it! The guys in the middle only got to see his cards now and then after I gave him the lesson.

He usually hung on to his hand if he was going to play it but once he laid it down and pushed it out about three inches from his hand. Thank God I had the brains to ask him if he was done with his hand…hell no…he was reaching for chips to call with.

In one hand, the pot got max raised by two players…ended up that they both had Aces…and the 1s carved out runner-runner to make trip fives. He did have a straight draw with the 5-6 of Clubs. They punished him with bets and raises every step of the way and in turn, he punished their bankroll.

He did tell me several times that he was new and really didn’t know what he was doing. After dealing to him, I agree with him but he sure was great for the game. When I left, he had C-H-I-P-S and he thanked me for all the help I gave him…he threw some $$$ into my pocket too.


I like the new age of poker. All those bright, shiny faces that come in to play because they watched the WPT are filling the room and my time in the box with humor and fun. They aren’t there to have a bad time, they can take a beat and never snivel…after all, the players on the WPT aren’t throwing fits when they lose a hand so our new players didn’t learn bad behavior before they joined a game. Let’s try to keep it that way.

Saturday, February 14, 2004

Poor Table Tango, so neglected and empty. It should be filled with poker tales. Instead, it’s filled with ire and frustration over a little chunk of cyber space. Good News! It’s already being transported to a new home. The DNS servers will soon begin routing to the new address and peace will settle, Table Tango will blossom again. Yippee!


Be my Valentine, today’s the day. Romance and Cupids floating through the air…remember those wonderful little cards that we couldn’t wait to buy and fill out and pass around in class? No? Oh…all you remember is poker hands…ok, let’s move on.


$20-$40 Omaha 8 or Better with a Kill. Lisa was in the 1s and raised pre-flop. Lot’s of action, five players to the River. The River put three Spades and a pair on the board, with no low.

Lisa checked, the Button bet, another player called, Lisa said, “I’m out,” as she looked at her cards one more time. She realized she had an Ace high Flush and stammered through something like, “Oh wait!” and reached for chips.

I told her I’d have to call for a decision. I stated the House Rule, ‘verbal is binding when it’s your turn to act’ and left it at that while we waited for Boba. Everyone at the table had something to say about it. Some conjectured that no one had acted behind her so her hand was still live.

Boba arrived, I told him what happened. He was really hesitant to make a commitment on the issue although he did agree with what I had stated, he just wouldn’t tell her the hand was dead. And she wasn’t about to give it up unless there was no other choice…hell the pot was huge, it was $30-$60 limit because of the Kill.

Suzie was called. Suzie stood over my shoulder while I explained what happened. Everyone seemed to be in limbo for a few moments, Lisa kept trying to explain that she hadn’t thrown her hand away. Suzie made the decision that the hand was dead. The Button, Mark, won the pot with a lower Flush.

It’s tough when this happens to anyone. Lisa took it damn well, no card throwing, swearing, or insults. She’s a class act every time she plays.


Randall was in and introduced himself to me, true to his word, he brought me a bottle of wine. I haven’t tapped into it yet…sometime soon. Thanks, Randall, how gracious and wonderful to think of me…I wish your game had been in my line-up.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

I’m not having any fun right now. The migration of my website to it’s new server space is MAKING ME CRAZY! I’ve been on the phone with tech support every morning since last week. I wish I was drinking, I’d either be taking it all very well because I was numb, or I’d be a screaming, crying maniac. Nothing has worked the way it used to and each phone call brings that wonderful little, repetitive recording, “We are working very hard to meet your needs, when we return, please tell us what you think….”

Do you think I should? Server change – table 12! Damn…do I have a choice? I believe I do and that would be to start shopping for a new place to host my little slice of cyber space.

Before I stomp off to Sandman Land and try to sleep, a little tale from the green felt that really is humorous. Recently I dealt an $80-$160 game and Pat was in the 1s. Two players were walking.

Pat raised pre-flop and got called by Q-6 suited. The Q-6 claimed the pot by making a straight with the 6. Pat had Q-Q, although he never showed his hand, he exclaimed, “Unbelievable!”

He repeated the word a few more times and I said, “Isn’t it funny that people never say unbelievable when they win a pot.”

He semi chuckled and said he used to say it quite a lot when he won. It opened the door and he said it over and over as a joke.

The 9s, UTG, raised, and Pat raised. Everyone folded except the 9s who called. The Flop was Q-J-Little. The 9s bet, Pat raised, the 9s called.

The Turn was a Queen, the 9s checked, Pat bet, the 9s called.

The River came a Jack, the 9s fired, Pat thought for a moment and called and the 9s turned over J-5 Suited.

Pat threw his hand away. I pushed the pot to the 9s, and as I shuffled the deck, I looked at Pat and quietly said, “That really was unbelievable!”

Pat cracked up. Thank God, he still has a sense of humor.