Thursday, August 26, 2004

While dealing the $20-$40 Omaha 8 or Better Kill game, somehow in a conversation between Jay and Double A, that really had nothing to do with Wynn’s place opening, Jay asked me if I was going to the ‘new place’ when it opened.

I said, “NO! This will be my last dealing job.”


I answered that I’d opened three poker rooms and never planned to open another one. The conversation jumped to, “How many rooms did you open? “Why wouldn’t you go to the new place?”

I didn’t go into the details, just stood firm with my statement that I didn’t want to open another place. But I do want to go into the details. I’ve heard the words ripple across the table more than once in the last year, “When the new place opens…this place will be a ghost town…I’ll be there playing and never come back here…” and I’ve heard dealers state that they can’t wait to make the move.

Why? What makes anyone think the games and the action and the treatment of players/dealers, etc. will be better at the ‘new place’? Yes…Steve Wynn is an excellent employer and is totally in to customer service but what will he provide that no other poker room provides? Free rake? Free food for everyone? Get real!

My thoughts are this: When a new room opens, it’s filled with mass confusion for the first year or so due to player’s demands and their efforts to make sure the room starts out the way they want it to…coupled with management not being quite sure where their boundaries are on how to handle players that get out of line, high limit players and their ‘rules don’t apply to me’, comp policies, game limits, dealers trying to figure out what/where they stand on reporting a player for bad behavior and getting backing from their supervisors, dealers that have no idea what they’re doing and don’t give customer service, cocktail servers expecting the world to just hand them money because they’re cute and don’t think they should have to work for a living, and all the other people and ingredients it takes to make up a poker room.

The bottom line is that at Bellagio, we have a well oiled machine that runs quite well. We have cut Dealer Abuse down to about 25% and we wouldn’t have that if all the dealers did their job and reported the problems. The management knows what/how/when to say ‘no’ and take charge of all situations…they aren’t skating around trying to figure out whose butt to kiss. Our cocktail servers, most of them, give great customer service and smile while they’re doing it, our regular players are there to play poker and know the ins and outs of the room and they help the game play and watch out for the well being of the game.

I don’t think anything is ever going to be better than Bellagio. We are the original hosts of the WPT. We have the action, in all limits. We have a good team of players and staff. We will still be there, poker galore, even after the ‘new place’ opens.

See you there!

P.S. If you are playing at Bellagio and find a way to improve the game/limit/room, make it a point to talk to a Supervisor and if nothing happens from that, find players that share your wants/wishes and make an appointment to talk to our Poker Room Manager. Sitting at a table complaining won’t get it done.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Back in the box. It’s always an experience, sometimes akin to a soap opera, sometimes stress filled and tense with the desperation of players that can’t handle their emotions, sometimes drab and boring with the repetitive whine of those that JUST CAN FIGURE IT OUT, and sometimes hysterically funny!

Bill L. had me and at least half of the table in stitches in an $8-$16 Holdem game. The other half of the table had to be on medication to sit stone faced through this comedy…they did.

It started about half way through my down when Bill, 2s, took off on an internet/spam thing. He said he couldn’t believe all the spam offering free money. That started it. *giggles and twitters*

He continued with, “They’re even telling me they can’t believe I haven’t picked up my free money yet.”

I jumped in with, “I keep getting emails asking me if I want a bigger penis.” *outrageous laughter here*

“I respond by asking what it’s attached to.” The 5s was laughing so hard, he almost fell off of his chair.

Bill just took off from there. “I did get the penis enlargement. I have it. Ok, now what do I do with it?” *choking, side splitting, gut busting laughs*

Miscellaneous interjections and comments from the ‘laughing side of the table’.

Bill continued, “Then I got all kinds of young girls interested in me. I get emails telling me they want to date me.” *non-stop laughs, the 5s was holding his sides and turning red from lack of oxygen as he spit out every laugh he could find in his body*

The 3s jumped in with, “”

The 5s looked at the ‘dead side’ of the table and made the comment there had to be something wrong with them if they couldn’t laugh over this…I agree. I was laughing so hard I could barely deal.

Bill never slowed down. “I’ve got it all, free money, penis enlargement, young girls wanting to date me, and I don’t know what to do with it…I just sit home alone.”

The laughter and statements slowed down from there.

The action in the game was totally insane and never slowed down. The 9s got A-A cracked by J-9 (10-s) in a 3-way, max raised pot and on the next hand, two cards sailed past my nose pitched by the 9s. I had to give the “Hey, hey…set your cards down!” to her.

A first…for me anyway. I dealt a $15-$30 Holdem game, all men except the 5s, Allison. She’s young, thin, nice body, good looking, knows it and was being quizzed by a few of the guys about what she did for a living, what she wanted to do, etc.

During a hand, she stood up and did an exaggerated stretch thing, like ‘hey look at me’. Her hip hugger jeans showed a lot of abdomen and lean hip. She literally pulled the front of the jeans out and stuck her free hand down into the crotch area of the pants, did a few seconds of adjusting and settling, and then strolled away from the table.

The guys played on. One of them made a comment about her and I jumped in with, “I’ve never witnessed a woman do what she just did.”

They all wanted to know WHAT?????

I told them, they couldn’t believe they all missed it and demanded that if she did it again, I point it out to them so they could watch. When she returned, one of the players ratted me out and told her ‘the dealer’ saw her do something. Her expression was startled and questioning as she looked at me. I kept dealing.

The player stood up and aped my version of it. Relief spread over her face and she said something like, “Oh…well sometimes you just have to adjust things…” and continued with the explanation that it might not be proper but after all, it’s a poker room. Umnnnhhh!

Monday, August 23, 2004

The Master of Ceremonies for The First Annual Festival of Mayhem, Disruption, Anxiety and Odd Problems, picked my name from the thousands of unsuspecting entrants that didn’t want to be entered but had no choice. This Festival took place after I reached the campground in Northern Idaho.

It began with cell service from T-Mobile…as in NONE. Sure, you’re thinking, What the heck? you’re on holidays, camping out. Right? There’s just a little more to it than that. I had people to pick up at an airport, 70 miles away, on two different days, and I really wanted to know if they were on their flight and on time. Plus, I left a friend, Vivienne, with keys to my house and the responsibility of watering a few potted plants. I had to drive five miles out to the highway to pick up cell service. A few family members did have service on their phones so it helped.

But the first blast of Disruption came when I received a phone message from Vivienne. One of the station heads in my back yard was on ‘terminal run’ and I had a small pool forming around two trees and a vine. She had no idea how to fix it and if I instructed her to turn the water off to the whole property, the rest of my trees and vines would suffer in the desert heat…hello pool of water. (I do my own yard work, irrigation, and station heads so I wasn’t about to pay someone else to fix it when I could fix it for around $20).

The Mayhem started when I picked my son, Josh, up from the airport and he brought his computer and cell phone but didn’t bring a charger for the cell phone. He couldn’t ‘unplug’ from the rest of the world and had to have his computer on and a way to charge it all the time. He seemed to be totally out of sorts with settling into the campground atmosphere and we clashed more than once.

The night that I picked Stacy up at the airport, I called my son, Darian, or tried to. I planned to have him check out the leaking station head and fix it. Huge problem and worry after I found out he was in the hospital. It’s all history now and he’s improving but I called him at least once a day and sometimes twice a day to see what was going on and how he was doing.

Other family members had problems develop and it just wasn’t the happy, sweet group I remember from the last few years.

The woods had plenty of water this season and we had campfires, along with extra wasps, yellow jackets, black hornets, bald faced hornets (how about that name…do they shave or what?) and they were after meat, everything on our plates. We had old fashioned wasp/hornet traps that caught 100’s of them a day but still they fought for our food on our plates. And mosquitos. These mosquitos failed to note that we had ‘bug spray’ on us or they were wearing gas masks.

The zipper to my tent door blew it’s threads and I ended up hand stitching the whole damn thing shut and cutting out the screen to use it for a door…the condo has lost its appeal.

The young adults seemed to ‘cooler hop’ everyone’s campsite and I felt mine was hit the hardest…the worst of it was they didn’t drink the drink, they took a few sips and left the remains for someone else to pick up. They dug through the ice, marauding and mauling the food and beverages. I had a slight fit with all of them, more than once, but it didn’t seem to change anything.

It just wasn’t the event I looked forward to all year long but I did have a lot of fun with some of the young adults that wanted to play poker. My Great Nephew, Justin, found me first when his family hit camp. He was ecstactic and jumping with the news that he’d watched me deal poker on TV. We set up the poker game for later in the day and ran through a few hands just so they would know how the game of Holdem was played. Justin made a straight flush on the first ‘pretend’ hand. He hardly made a hand after that. I had a sympathy tug in my heart when I watched his young face look at hand after hand and throw them away. He wanted to play so bad but he listened to my advice…I started out by telling him that winning at poker wasn’t about the hands you won, it was about the bets you save. We got into that statement and a few others before we finished our continued playing sessions.

We played for a single 25c blind and the max bet was 25c. Last year we told the young adults they had to buy chips to play…this year they arrived with their small poker stakes and jumped right into the game. It was an experience that I would never give up and even the Master of Ceremonies knew better than to mess with that deal. All in all, the trip was good, life is good. My beauty queen, Kayanna, went home today after spending a month with me.

Time to plug back in to the Vegas lifestyle and the world of poker…see you there!

Friday, August 06, 2004

Barge was in town last week and I got to deal to and renew acquaintenances with Christine AKA Tina, and also met Barry, a fan. They were playing in a $4-$8 Holdem game with none other than the softspoken, quiet Lupe…HA! Barry and Tina were fun and in great spirits. Lupe was…well, Lupe…at least she wasn’t in the card throwing, drinking stage of her game when I went through there and she IS definitely the action. My friend, Scottro, was in town too but we never touched bases, life is too short and too busy at times, darn it!

Short and to the point, this kid’s on the way out of Las Vegas for close to two weeks. The family reunion and camping out awaits. Back soon.