Fucking Grandma

I have the teensiest bit of a primal scream starting somewhere in the back of my brain and it’s been there for the last three hours. I signed the E/O list – was supposed to be out at 1 a.m. but the room was crazy with action, action, action, ‘gaming’, poker – important kind of things that cannot be ignored – and I ended up pushing Table 2 when I was supposed to be long gone. The scream isn’t there because I didn’t get the E/O when I should have – it’s there because of a player on Table 2.

Scotty Nguyen, World Class Player, turned sour in my thoughts a long time ago, was in the 7s. The game was $300-600 Mixed and when I first sat down, he had a lady sitting behind him. He jammed it up in one hand of Omaha 8b and when the hand went to the River, with four players…him included…he pitched his hand and mumbled something about “Linda…dealing…”

A few more hands went by and he played another to the Turn, this time he pitched his cards right at my hands and the rack. He missed! My thought – if you’re going to throw cards at me, make sure you hit me…why waste all the effort? I pulled my hands back and he missed me completely although the cards rattled in the rack. I even half mumbled, “You missed,” as I was dragging in other chips and cards. By now the lovely sitting behind him had left the scene.

Enter a new player, he sat down in the 6s with a stack of $100 bills and announced, “Playing $6,000. I’ll take the blind.”

I called for player’s chips twice. Loudly. The second time, Scotty snorted something like, “He’s got money, he doesn’t need chips. Just deal him in!”

No shit Sherlock. Exactly what I intended to do. Far be it from me to tell the great World Class Player that split games play better with chips than cash.

Daniel Negreanu was in the 5s and I would swear on any stack of Bibles and a few gallons of wine that I have never – repeat never – saw him without that impish grin and bedevilment in his eyes. I just can’t believe this guy ever has a bad day…no matter where he’s at or what he’s doing. He was jamming. He got involved with the 6s on the first hand and won the pot.

By now a Chip Runner arrived and asked if we needed player’s chips. The 6s said he didn’t need them now. The next hand ended up with Scotty and the 6s having a tie for low and Daniel having the high. There were a lot of those crispy critter, brand new, sticking together $100s in the pot and they were hard to pull apart. As I counted them into two stacks (high and low) I thought I’d miscounted and tossed one to Daniel asking him to count it. He did.

At this point in time, as I counted the other stack, Scotty mumbled, “Fucking grandma!”

At the same time, Daniel told me how much was in the stack he counted and I threw a $100 chip to him to make his bills/amount the same as the stack of bills I counted. I set the stack of bills down and Scotty grabbed it, dividing it between himself and the 6s.

By now it was registering…somewhere in the recesses of my brain that he called me a ‘fucking grandma’ but I had let the moment slip past to call for a Floorperson.

As I split up the main pot and pushed the high half to Daniel and started to break down the low half, Scotty barked, “Push it over here and let me divide it.”

For one half of one long second, as I broke the chips into two stacks, I thought about jumping up on the table and kicking him in the throat…instead I held onto both stacks and firmly replied, “Just let me DO MY JOB, Scotty!”

Mike W. was in the 1s and he helped me out with, “She’s got to split the pot, Scotty.”

The 6s pulled out another stack of bills and finally another player chimed in and said, “Get some chips for those bills. It takes forever to chop down a split pot with those in it.”

Ha – ha – ha! Mr. World Class Pro…see…I knew what I was doing when I called for chips.

We moved into Deuce. Daniel bowed out, laughing and chuckling as usual, and went on his way. Scotty won three big pots in a row. Not bad dealing from a fucking grandma now.

As I was getting pushed, Scotty threw a $5 chip off to the side, kind of like it was for me but he didn’t care if I saw it or not. I hated to take it. But truthfully…in our room we always have to be gracious and accept a tip and say, “Thank you!” which I did. I believe I’ll save it and sometime when I pass him away from the room, I’ll throw it to him and remark, “How about if this fucking grandma buys you a drink…you look like you need one.”

His calling me a grandma doesn’t bother me at all. His calling me a fucking grandma irritates the hell out of me because he simply called me a name because I was dealing and he was losing. I’d done nothing wrong, no mistakes, never slowed the game, didn’t have any creep comments come out of anyone but him BECAUSE HE’S A SORE LOSER!

The thing that really irritated me is me. I should have instantly called the floor on his mean mouthed butt and gotten it handled. Geez! I hate next time. I know there will always be one with someone in the room…why the hell can’t they just play poker?

Thursday, October 28, 2004

The high limit section was full tonight and a $2,000-4,000 with mixed in little additional limits started up right in front of me. It’s a like a bluff…I’m dealing the low limit section and right in the middle of it is this giant game. Sammy F. – Gus H. – Jim – Ted F. – Minh – and right at the end of my down, Phil I. joined the action.

I missed most of the high limit and thought I’d be skating my way through $4-8, some $15-30, $2-5 Blind NLH, and all that fun and easy stuff and there it was…the big bump in the road. Actually it wasn’t a huge bump, it was pretty easy to deal. I dealt the $500-1,000 Blind PLO and they had a cap of $70,000 on each player. Pot Limit ain’t my strong suit. As soon as they have a pot and one bets the pot and the other raises and now we have to figure out how much he can actually put in to honor the cap – I just sort of look at them and go…”So how much?” It works pretty well for me as none of them give me a hard time.

Sammy was directly across from me and he was giving Gus his phone numbers. Gus was putting them into his cell phone. Sammy stated, “I had to change my numbers…”

I laughed and asked, “Got tired of me calling you, huh?”

Serious as hell, as if we were having coffee and talking a business deal, he replied, “No. It’s just that everyone started calling me.”

Well I had to laugh a little harder…of course I don’t have his numbers and I’ve never tried to call him.

This game was in the corner, table 12, bordered by two $4-8 holdem games. The players in those two games got the show of their lives watching the action unfold with mega millions on the table and the tv stars sitting right next to them. Before I left for the night, Jennifer and Chau had joined the action.


My young friends Ramsey and Justin are in town. They always check in with me, especially Ramsey…he tells me tales of his poker plays, plus we email each other now and then about life in general. They were ramming and jamming it up in a $4-8 game on Tuesday night, right at the end of my shift. They’d played $15-30 all night and were getting ready to go out for a drink with Sirpa, one of our dealers.

The boys hit the $4-8 game to play with their friends and it turned into one of those noisy, slam a shot, raise in the dark, screamer kind of games. That’s where I spent my last down that night. Just as I was entering the game, they were preparing to leave. It was Justin’s Button and they (and all their friends) had vowed to play through their button before they left. That hand got max raised with about six way action. The Flop and Turn found the same chaotic chip action as pre-flop. And on the River, I believe Justin still got four callers as he turned over A-A. They were good. Huge pot!.

They were all doing some kind of shot and the toast, “L-O-V-E-L-Y!” would roar from all their mouths. Who knows what it meant or where it came from. Five of them managed to get racked up and finally left the game and when they went, so did the game. It worked out well for me as I got a double bust out.

Ramsey and Justin were in my first game tonight – $15-30 holdem. Amazing how resilient youth is. They were drinking and laughing, gambling and stacking chips but neither one of them looked as if they’d done anything other than Sandman Land the night before.

Monday, October 25, 2004

I have met some of the most fun people through this site. They read me, then make sure they meet me when they come to Vegas. How cool is that? Better than crunchy p-nut butter and apricot jelly sandwiches. Yummy!

Before I left for Aruba, I met Joe from Florida. He was waiting for me to come to work, and fortunately I got to deal to him. He was in Vegas on business but it was a two fold blessing for him because he was out of the ‘hurricane zone’ and slamming chips at Bellagio. Nice break for him, nice down for me.

Last week, I slipped into a $2-5 Blind NLH game and the 4s asked me if I was ‘the writer’. I said, “Yes!”

He told me he really enjoyed my writing and it was nice to have something to read while he was busy on the net. Chad from Seattle. Aura like a creamy caramel hot chocolate on a cold winter’s day, he was gracious, cute, and fun to visit with. He also loaded chips into my pocket before I left the down so it was profitable and fun. I got out to play shortly after that and I slipped back to visit with him one more time before I left for the night.

There are so many ultra cool people in the poker world. The best part of it is that I get a small glimpse of their lives as they pass my island of green felt and through their emails and exchanges on the Clan Forum – which by the way, there’s a new section for dealer posts. Sure, anyone can post there. But it’s a section for dealers to sound off and hopefully gain some insight.


Way too many times in my dealing career I’ve listened to people state that poker rules should be standardized throughout the USA. Try not to die laughing because that’s what I’m doing right now as I think about it…the whole USA and all its poker rooms conformed to all situations so the rules and decisions are mandated the same way by every shift boss. Sheesh…yeah, right.

In our room, they can’t even agree on this:

P2 – Button

P1 – just posted BB P3 – just posted SB

P2 leaves.

I – and some of the supervisors – contend that the button moves to P3. P1 posts BB. P3 posts SB as it has now gone to heads-up.

Some of the supervisors argue that a player can never have the BB twice (They are correct – EXCEPT when it goes to heads-up play) so the Button goes to P1.

Try explaining to the supervisors that P3 just paid the BB – then the SB – and it’s now his button. If the button moves to P1 – P3 has to pay 3 blinds in a row before he gets the button….arghhh!

The supervisors stand firmly committed to the fact that a player can never have the Big Blind twice in a row. They won’t get together with a unanimous decision or go to the Card Room Manager. One of them stated that he would ask a few players how the players thought it should go.

Of course, Moi, and the other supervisors that agree with me have been in the industry since the opening of The Mirage – 15 years ago – so there’s no shot in hell that we would know what we are talking about…

This is just one of the points of minor/major confusion in rules and I know it doesn’t just happen in Vegas. How could we ever get one clear cut rule book that everyone followed correctly? I’m willing to wager it can never happen.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

I started on 50B. Pretty funny! Usually the worst start in the room is 30B because that means you’re taking a break and heading for Table 1, high limit, more high limit, add triple doses of high limit, and that’s how you’re spending your shift. Since we have 20 tables set up in the pit, I was in exactly the same line-up as 30B. Well what can you do? So one half hour later, I hit Table 1. It was something like $1,500-3,000 or some nonsense that only people not into the reality of working for a living can play.

Phil I. was in the 2s and had a jacket laying on the table in the 1s. He looked up at me as I stood behind the dealer and I asked, “Does this play?” motioning towards the jacket.

He had his usual grin and retorted, “Only if you want it to?”

I laughed, “You’ve always got an answer don’t you!” He does too. Quick on the comeback, great smile.

Barry G. and Phil were playing some kind of ‘other game’ between the two of them. I have no idea what it was. The game was Deuce to Seven and one of them would state they ‘had it’, after looking at their cards, and the other one would throw them two $5,000 chips or four chips or something. Jennifer got into the act for a few hands, one hand they both peeled off four $5,000 chips and threw them to her. Then she opted out because she said Marco was on his way and he wouldn’t understand it.

The game was pretty uneventful and I moved into a mixed game with Sam G. in the 8s. He was carrying on about something to do with the house and why wouldn’t they do this or that and he asked me, “Do you know, Darlin’?”

I told him I had no idea. Funny how sometimes I’m ‘dealer’, sometimes I’m ‘honey’, and sometimes I’m lots of other unspeakables but Sam usually makes me laugh. It’s hard to get upset with his insanity.

The 6s took a walk and Layne Flack jumped in as a play over. Meng La was in the 7s and took a walk. Instantly a play over box went over the chips and Shaun S. sat down.

Sam never slowed down with his jabber and gab and played quite a few hands. Suddenly, out of nowhere, the 5s asked the air, “How long does it take before you know if you have a venereal disease or not? Three days?”

The air failed to answer him and he tried again. The 2s misunderstood him and prodded. The 5s wasn’t bashful at all about asking the question again. The 2s said he’d gotten chlamydia once when he’d been here, he’d had an extreme amount of itching and couldn’t figure out why until he went to a Dr. The 5s said he had someone to go home to and he needed to know before he went home – hell yes he was wearing a wedding ring – and the conversation slid around that for a few moments. I know if I thought I might have something, I would be at my Dr.’s office asking questions, not a group of guys on table 2.

In the meantime, Shaun had just paid both blinds and was now the button and Meng returned. Meng wanted his seat. Shaun refused. They went back and forth in a boisterously, semi-serious, blustering kind of way. Meng told Shaun to get the fuck out of his seat. Shaun told Meng to get fucked. It went on and on with Meng standing over Layne’s shoulder and their voices were pretty loud. Sam and Layne were in a hand of Deuce and the ‘fuck this’ and the ‘fuck that’ was drowning out everything. Finally I asked, “Would you two just be fucking quiet? They are trying to play poker,” as I motioned to Layne and Sam.

It was a crack up. Meng looked at me and started laughing. So did Shaun. But they went right back to it, Shaun telling Meng he would throw Meng’s chips on the fucking floor…etc., etc., etc.

Hey…it was just another night of poker – poker – poker.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

When I hit the poker room, GPO, one of the posters on the forum was waiting for me…well…he was playing in a $2-5 Blind NLH game and was looking for me so I’d say he was doing what we all want to do…play while we wait. We met, visited briefly, and I did deal to him a bit later. He made my ‘down’ when I pushed him a pot and he pushed me some ‘red birds’. He told me they were more for this site than the pot but believe me, they were muchly appreciated no matter what they were for. He appeared to be having a great time and was still there when I left for the night. TKS! (thanks) Gregg.

My first down was a $300-600 mixed game with Sam G. in the 8s. There were several walkers. The 3s was an unknown and mixed it up with Sam in several pots…Deuce to 7 was what I sat down to. Olivia was in the 4s. A new face (to me) in the 5s but Sam referred to him as ‘Timbo’.

The first hand I dealt, Sam went to war with the 3s and won the pot. He flipped me $1 for a toke and I thanked him. He won the second hand I dealt without a showdown and told me, “I’d tip you, Dealer, but I had to do all the work myself.”

Hey…this isn’t the first time I’ve heard this from him. I laughed.

A few hands later and he was still going to war with the 3s. They went through bets, raises, calls, and all three draws. Sam checked, the 3s bet, Sam called and showed a Queen. The 3s had paired. Sam snorted, “I make everyone play bad!”

While I dealt the next hand, Sam asked the 5s if he knew anyone that could play better than Sam. The 5s ignored him. Sam prodded, “Do you know anyone that would have played that hand better than I did? And…I’m talking to you, Timbo. I expect an answer.”

The 5s replied, “I know at least 100 people that could have played it better.”

Sam did a dialogue dance on how the 100 people should be lined up to play him heads-up.

It was pretty funny! The rest of the down went by without a hitch. I got pushed.

Later in the night, I hit $40-$80 7 Card Stud. Karate Don was in the 8s. I hadn’t dealt to him in awhile and I had to refocus on something that hardly ever surfaces…the peer pressure of a player punishing another player in a service industry job. A player threatening me with ‘toke’ suspension because I dealt them off or smiled while I was dealing to them is nothing new but I watched another player get the ‘you work for a living in a service job’ raspberry. Fascinating.

Don was in the 8s and the 2s opened as I sat down. Don had five stacks of chips about 30 high and wanted the 2s. I told him I would push them for him if he wanted. He asked, “Do you know how to do it?”

I just smiled and said, “I think so.”

He retorted, “Only because it’s you, Linda.”

Oh joy, oh yippeee! I get to push the chips…oh boy, oh boy, oh boy! Christ! I pushed them down the table to the 2s. The game went on.

The 7s is about six months new to Swing Shift and the $40-$80 Stud game. He’s a player but where/how/when is unkown to me. I just remember him over the last few months. He works at a restaurant across the street. Hell…he’s mentioned it before but I don’t know what the name of it is.

At one point, General Jeff (3s) won a pot and gave Don an ante. The 7s jumped right in, “Linda, I don’t want them anteing each other.”

I said, “No rebates.”

Don landed on that like a duck on a June Bug. “Who objected?”

I replied that it didn’t matter, there were no rebates from now on. Don persisted. The 7s stated that he did. Don had three cows and two calves. “The other night, I gave an ante to you every time I won a pot.”

The 7s replied, “Yes…but you gave it to everyone.”

Don went into a romance with ramble…’what an idiot’…’he was the one that got over $100 from me the other night’…’it was ok then’….

I jumped in. “The bottom line is that there are no rebates allowed now.”

Don slipped into his ‘ultra crafty’ mode…and believe me, he can be deceptively crafty at times.

First he asked me where I lived. I said, “Bellagio. I live under table 16.”

Hell yes, I was trying to make a joke out of a tight situation. Another player asked me if I lived on the upper floor or the lower floor. I said, “Lower floor.” *laughs*

Don threw me $1…”that is for telling me where you live.”

Next came, “What is your zip code?”

I gave him a fictious one. He threw me $1. He then asked me for my area code. I told him. He threw me $1. He asked for my zip code again. Another player answered with some strange number. I repeated the fictious one. He threw me another $1. He asked for my phone number. I said, “No way!”

Everyone laughed. For some reason Don kept throwing me $1 chips as he got into “what happens if we go across the street to eat at the restaurant ‘he’ works at? Are we supposed to withhold any tips because he couldn’t figure out what we were doing at the poker table?”

Don kept insinuating…without saying it…that the 7s was an idiot for getting in the middle of an ante deal.

The air around the table was thick. The 7s wasn’t out of line with his statement but by the time Don kept twisting and turning the fact that the 7s worked at a restaurant across the street and his livelihood might rely on tipping, the air was a little sticky.

I’ve witnessed players try to stick it to dealers because they work for tips but never witnessed a player try to punish another player in the game that might work for tips in another part of the ‘service industry’. Usually the players band together and attack the dealer…not each other.

Strange too was the fact that Don kept throwing me $1 everytime he prodded me with a question that had absolutely nothing to do with anything…oh well! Aint’ poker grand.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

I spent the last two nights playing on shift…dealing about an hour each night before taking the player’s side/seat at the table. Truthfully I’m in shock at how bad some of the new dealers are. While I understand that they come in from other places and some of them may just deal tournaments, it’s almost scary to have them in charge of the game. If they have any dealing experience at all, some things are just common sense…like if a guy moves over two seats and a player that posted both Blinds now leaves, the guy that just moved CAN’T HAVE the Button! We do have a Dead Button Rule at Bellagio for hell’s sake. That’s pretty standard in most houses that run big tournaments. There’s a lot more but I don’t have the time or the energy to sound off about it right now.

During my playing sessions, one thing has become totally magnified in my thoughts…the new player…God bless their little chip throwing hearts…never put you on anything. Not because they are trying to, they aren’t thinking of anything but their hand and the possibility they might make a pair.

I got the usual set of Aces cracked off on the River by a gutter, gutter straight, and flopped a ‘Big Duke’ three other times and got them all beat by a gutshot straight on the River. Not whining. Just making a note to myself that these people have the imagination it takes to make these hands and we definitely want them there trying to make these hands.

One hand that really sticks out in my thoughts is when I had just played the Button in the 2s and moved to the 8s. I was sitting next to Tom, long time 7 Card Stud/Holdem player from the Mirage days. Tom popped it up with K-K. I folded and watched the ‘imagination theory’ unfold.

The 2s was a young kid and had posted to take a hand. He held Q-J off-suit. The Flop was K-7-5 rainbow. Not to worry, an Ace on the Turn and a 10 on the River gave him the pot…and he was fading a bet every step of the way. A few of the other new players tried to give me the ‘you left that seat’ raspberry. Damn right I did. If I hadn’t, I would have NEVER made that straight…but why explain it to them.

Yup! I left a winning seat alright. Unfortunately I would never have played the seat as well as he did because he has a much better imagination than I do.

A $4,000-$8,000 game bloomed in the middle of the low limit section. It was huge for all the ‘tv’ fans. It started with Chau, Sammy F., and Phil I. Later it filled up with Eli E., Barry G., Johnny Chan, Ted F. Doyle was in and out and may have played in it too but since I was playing instead of dealing I didn’t pay much attention. It was google and gawk for everyone around them and on the rail.

Monday, October 04, 2004

During one of the Ultimate Bet $500 Buy-in Tournaments, I had the misfortune to deal to John Bonetti. Over the years, I’d heard many dealers, players, and supervisors talk about his bad attitude towards dealers and how mean he could be. I figured it would go one way or another, he’d either be calm and collected because he was playing with a field of Brick and Mortar Green Horns, or he’d believe he was the only one entitled to win and show it. It was the latter…damn it! I hate it when it goes that way.

He was in the 2s and snipping cards at my fingers with the first hand dealt. He had a direct shot because the 1s was empty. I deftly dodged each ‘snip’ for the first five/six hands. He was in continual snarl and grumble mode, making statements like, “these dealers…” waving his hand in the air to show his disdain for us and the rest of the world. And then, even though I keep my hands clearly back of the box and the ‘war zone’, he hit me in the side of the hand with both cards…believe me, he was trying to hit me.

Calm as the eye of the hurricane, I said, “Just set your cards down.”

“W-H-A-T?” jerked out of his lips. He acted surprised that I would say anything.

I repeated, “Just set your cards down.”

“W-H-A-T?” Either there was no comprehension that I was serious or he’d gone into ‘broken record’ mode.

“You heard me. Just set your cards down.”

“What are you implying.”

“You hit me in the hand with your cards. Just set them down.”

By now his eyes were popping like Old Faithful and it looked like they were getting ready to blow. “I was just trying to get them in to you.”

I called for a decision. All of his statements were harsh and angry, he was definitely trying to get them into me…as in meld them into my body.

Jon came and I explained to him what had happened. Amazingly, the 5s, someone I’ve never seen before and hope I never see again, jumped into the conversation and told Jon that John was not out of line…he had seen John out of line and this time he definitely wasn’t. Thank you, Butthead! You’re not the one that was taking the cards in the hand.

Jon told John that he would have to set his cards down. As soon as Jon left, John did a, “I come all the way from Texas to put up with this?” still waving his hand and gesticulating at me like I was dried snail slime.

I called Jon back. “He’s still making comments to me.”

The 1s filled up with a little Asian cutie from a broken game and she said, “Oh my God! I knew I didn’t want to come to this table,” as she eyed John.

The 5s piped in again with, “You must not pay your dealers enough.”

Let’s clarify that one. There is no amount of money in the world that would make me be a willing backdrop for someone’s cards. I will take a card from someone when they’ve had an unexpected beat and it’s an explosion over the hand…never twice. I will not take a card from someone that’s malicious and aiming to get me because I’m a dealer. Don’t even bother dragging out your checkbooks, boys, cause you ain’t got enough money.

And on to the pay part. Ultimate Bet paid our plane fare and our hotel room (which I’m very grateful for and really think they did a helluva job for us) but as far as pay goes…we were paid from tournaments tips and a % withheld from the tournament buy-ins. It was enough to make me very happy…but we were not paid. It all depended on the total tournament take, not an hourly wage.

The 5s needs a clarification on what should happen at the poker table and player behavior…not on what HAS happened at the poker table.

Jon again told John that he would have to set his cards down and play poker. Don’t worry, as soon as Jon walked away, John started in again, “I’ve put up with dealers all my life…”

Oh my God! Poor man, forced to play poker and put up with us little dried slime trails. What a horrible life.

I called Jon again. I told Jon that John would not just leave it alone and that I wasn’t going to deal to him if he continued to behave in that manner.

Jon again went to John. John demanded to see Suzie. Jon told John that Suzie wasn’t running this tournament, that he, Jon, was the Director and John would have to speak to him. They stepped away from the table for a moment. I dealt John in while they spoke.

Jon came back to me and asked me if I wanted to be let out of the box and have another dealer come in. I told Jon that I was fine. I just wanted the 2s to stop it.

Stop it did! I ended up pushing the 2s several pots before I finished the down. I never slam chips at a player or act disgruntled towards them…so I gently slid the chips his way, in my normal ‘professional’ dealer mode…and John set his cards down like a good boy and stopped waving and foaming at the mouth.

As soon as I got to the next table, the one behind me was broken and the players moved to other games…yup…John moved right into the 5s in the my next game. Don’t you just know it! It’s Murphy’s Law of Poker Dealing. John behaved all during this down. No twitching, no waving, no stupid stares or idiotic statements. Just the way the game of poker was meant to be played.

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Sunday, October 03, 2004

Day 1 of the Championship Event was broken into three flights, played on three consecutive days of play. Each flight ended at 10:00 p.m. or whenever the flight dropped to X amount of players…someone said 70 but I’m not sure of the amount…remember I’m the kid that took every E/O possible.

Championship Event, Day 2, took place on the 29th. I heard it started with approximately 200 players and when I came in to deal at 7 p.m.ish, it was already down to two/three tables, and broke down fairly fast to nine players. Jim, David’s friend, from the post on the 29th was one of the last nine. I went in for a moment and visited with him, wishing him luck. He ended up in that spot…but hey, what a payday and what fun! I honestly don’t think anyone that came to play could be too unhappy with that finish…unless of course they are a ‘top pro’. Yes, first place is always what we strive for but it never hurts to be happy with where you are and what you’ve accomplished.

That room was filled with spectators, cameras, noise, and lots of confusion. I started in the Buy-in Tournament room. Begin stress and frustration overload. This is the night that I had a super problem with FCF.

About half way through one of my downs, the 7S raised to $400. The 8 folded. The 9s made it $700 all-in. It was clearly announced by the 9s and by me, “All-in for $700!”

As everyone was folding around to the 7s, he threw out $100 more. The chip clearly left his hand and landed with his previous raise…but then just before the last player folded to him, he grabbed it back. I told him that I was sure the $100 had to stay but as he whenged and cringed, stating that he thought it was only $100 more, I told him I would call for a decision. I did. I got FCF.

The play and action was explained like this, “The 7s raised it to $400. The 9s raised to $700 all-in. The 7s threw in $100 more and then took it back just before the action got to him.”

FCF looked slightly confused and said, “It’s not more than half the bet…”

I truly thought FCF misunderstood the situation and I said, “This isn’t about a half a bet rule. The 9s is all-in and it’s heads-up.”

The 4, 5, and 6s were starting to twitch a little bit because they knew the rule and they weren’t going to let the 7s get away with retrieving his $100 chip.

FCF again stated, “Well, it’s less than half the bet.”

I couldn’t believe FCF really comprehended the situation when the ‘half a bet rule’ kept surfacing. I countered again, “This isn’t about a half a bet rule.”

FCF said, “Well maybe I should get another decision.”

I said, “Maybe you should.”

FCF left, Jon came to the table, I explained the same situation to him. The decision was the $100 had to stay. The 7s could call $100 and fold or call the additional $300 and play the hand. The7s elected to call the full raise and the hand played out.

I knew I was going to get heat. I did. It came at the wrong time and I wasn’t prepared for it. I was standing behind the next dealer, at the next table, signing the ‘down’ card, when FCF appeared at my left shoulder informing me that I shouldn’t say anything when a decision was made.

I said, “Ok.”

It didn’t stop there, increasing in volume, more blah, blah, blah.

My volume increased, “OK!”

More blah, blah, blah! Louder than before. This was so unnecessary…a control thing. The point had been made with the first statement.

I was irritated now and it seemed to be going on way too long so I exclaimed, “OK! FCF! OK!”

I jumped into the Box and dealt my next down. As I was getting pushed, Jon walked by and I told him I needed to talk to him. Just as I got started FCF jumped into the picture. Actually I wanted to talk to both of them at the same time so it worked out for me. My complaint was that I don’t mind the lecture but I don’t need it as I’m pushing into the box…make it away from the table.

I reiterated that the situation wasn’t about a ‘half a bet rule’ and that several players at the table were going to demand a second decision because they knew what the rule was. FCF’s complaint was that I was the only person FCF heard saying anything at the table and the decision…one really was never made due to my mouth…should have been final.

I followed with the fact that FCF clearly stated, “Maybe I should get another decision.”

The truth of the matter is that I should have just SHUT UP and let FCF make a decision. Even though we would have called for a second decision because the 4, 5, and 6s were never going to go with a ‘half the bet rule’, at least I would have done my job the correct way.

I believe the reason I didn’t let it ‘just happen’ was that I work with this person at Bellagio and I knew the rule and felt they should too. For some reason I felt obligated to point out that it wasn’t about a ‘half a bet rule’ and thought it would register with FCF that something else was happening here. Oh well! Slap my mouth.

The next game I dealt broke down due to tables being combined. Suzie asked me to go the Championship Event and deal it. I was on a break, talking to my friend Grace, when David appeared. He’s young, a tournament dealer, and plays poker at Bellagio from time to time. He jumped right into my conversation with Grace and wanted to know if I would trade him places. He was on 36B and was dealing the Buy-in Tournament room…where I had just left.

He said, “You’ll at least be dealing three tables and then take a break vs. dealing one table and taking a breaking in the main room.”

I think I laughed. I asked, “So what? Why would I want to trade?”

He went on to say that I would deal three games each session instead of one. Did this kid know that I took an E/O every chance I got and didn’t care if I got in more downs?

It registered with me that he really wanted to be in the action of the camera and the lights and I really didn’t care one way or the other. I told him to go check with Suzie and see if it was “OK” and if it was, I’d trade with him.

He came back a few minutes later, big smile…huge smile…and we traded. The Championship Event was playing down until there were six players left for the WPT filming the following day. He even told me a few hours later that he busted the seventh player. Cute! NOT!

I don’t believe the dealer ever busts anyone and I don’t go around telling people that I pumped someone up or broke them…honestly, I don’t have ‘jack’ to do with the game unless I make a mistake. But David’s young, highly energetic, and smart…maybe he’ll figure that part out as his career progresses.

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Saturday, October 02, 2004

The 29th, Championship Event Day 1, Flight 3. *Begin Edit* We had two rooms of tables and dealers/players. One room hosted all the satellites and buy-in tournaments and the other room hosted the main event. I started in the Championship Event, dealt to Marcel Luske and Mike Matusow in the same game. Marcel went ‘bust’ during my deal as he tried to run over A-A with the A-2 of Clubs. Debbie Burkhead held the Aces that sent Marcel out of the tournament.

David Oppenheimer was at my next table and as soon as he told the players I was the best dealer, I made an ante mistake. For the life of me, I don’t know how or where but we were short one ante and I had to call for a decision. Jack McClelland appeared and summed it up as ‘it’s too late now’. Shortly after that this game was broken and the players sent to fill other emtpy seats and I was on my way to the buy-in tournament room.*End Edit*

I know the majority of the dealers, including myself, never had a problem with any of the players and as far as I know, there were very few incidences where a Supervisor had to be called for dealer or player abuse (player to player abuse). I ran into all of it in the few short hours I dealt during this shift and the following night.

The first colossal incident came when I entered a $540 buy-in NLH tournament event and Melissa was playing in it. I’ve never seen Melissa out of line or irritated but she definitely appeared to be both…not with me. She’s always gracious and treats me with courtesy and respect. I would just have to surmise that she was having an unusually bad day…and I’ve been guilty of them too so this isn’t judgemental, just the way it came down.

The 3s was a well put together, healthy guy with an accent…maybe French but I really lose my ability to distinguish who’s from where/nationality, etc. Three females in the game, 5s, Melissa – 6s, and the 7s.

Towards the end of my down, the 3s put in a small raise pre-flop, the 4s folded, the 5s went all-in, Melissa folded, the 7s went all-in and had the 5s covered. Everyone folded to the 3s and he contemplated the bets and the raisers. He was taking a little extra time but nothing that would have been earth shattering according to NLH standards. Finally he exclaimed, “I have the opportunity to take two ladies out at once!” as he shuffled his cards back and forth and looked at the raisers.

Melissa stood up with, “You piece of shit! Make up your mind,” and walked to the table next to us to visit with a friend. She returned within a few seconds and stated that she wanted ‘the clock’ put on him.

He was flabbergasted. He asked the 5s and the 7s if he had offended them in anyway, they responded with a positive “NO!” He wanted me to call the Floor because he didn’t appreciate Melissa calling him a piece of shit and she wanted me to call the Floor to put ‘the clock’ on him. I called for a decision.

The person that answered my call is the subject of another post back about a year or so ago. At that time this person specifically requested that I NEVER use their name again on my website and had a heated discussion with me about infringing on everyone’s rights by writing about them here. Call me stupid, call me neanderthal, but…if you’re in the poker world today, you are either being photographed or written about so get used to it. And if you look bad, maybe you should change what you’re doing. But since I have to cross paths with this person at Bellagio…I’m giving an alias, hence known as FCF.

I explained the whole situation to FCF over my right shoulder and after I finished, the 10s stated to FCF, “She really was totally out of line with her statement,” referring to Melissa.

While I was explaining the situation, Melissa was still demanding the time clock be put on the 3s and stated that she didn’t like the way he treated women. The 3s was still verbally defiant that she had called him a piece of shit.

FCF handled it all like something like this, “Ok! Everyone has to behave now.”

Wow! That takes care of it.

I finished the hand with the 5s and the 7s heads-up as the 3s folded. If I remember correctly, the 5s had Q-Q and the 7s had 10-10. Take it 7s. The 5s left quietly.

I got pushed. I’ll admit I was shaking my head a little bit over that decision. If a man had called a woman a name, there would’ve been hell to pay…why is it not the same standard for women?

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Friday, October 01, 2004

The 27th – Championship Event 1, Flight 2, found me dealing to John Juanda. He was in the 9s and pretty frisky. For me to state how the action went in the game and the hands, I cannot, I only know that he put in raises and picked up several pots because that kid doesn’t sit around and wait for a hand…he picks his spots and jumps head first into the ‘chip wars’ leaving caution and sense of reason to those that can’t keep up with him. He ended up in one hand with J-J, raised it, and got one caller – the 2s – heads-up. The Flop contained one skinny, little Ace. John made a marginal bet, his opponent raised all-in and had John more than covered. John called. His opponent held A-Q. A Jack popped off on the Turn. John brought home the spoils from the Chip Wars. And had more ammo for the next battle.

I landed in a game with Layne Flack and Phil Laak AKA The Unibomber. Layne was in the 2s and landed in his seat just after the tournament break ended. We exchanged ‘hellos’ and I couldn’t help but almost chuckle every time I looked at him. He had a huge grin when he looked at me and I asked him who was bringing him the beer this year. Last year he had someone bringing it in by the dozen in a bucket of ice. And he was passing it out to anyone that wanted one…jumping up from his seat from time to time to hand them out. Not this year though…nothing alcoholic anywhere around him.

Finally I asked, “Where’ve you been?”

He replied that he’d been in ‘rehab’ for 30 days.

I exclaimed, “No Way!”

He reaffirmed it and I said, “Ok. No more questions.”

The 1s put in a few raises pre-flop and each time he did, he put on his sunglasses, AFTER he raised it. Phil was in the 5s and he pointed out the fact – the sunglasses go on after the raise. Phil stated that it was a nice move.

The 1s looked like a fairly new player…hell, maybe he didn’t know Phil is a ‘name brand’ player but it appeared to me that he beamed a little brighter after that.

Layne was pretty quiet during this down and didn’t do much, verbally or with chips. I heard at the Awards Banquet that he’d made some major changes in his life lately. Good for him! It’s so hard to overcome yourself and make the first move .

My next game had Annie Duke and Chris Ferguson in it. These tables were filled with pros. I wondered if most of the online players had any idea of what they were up against in these games…not only did they have to fade the transition of going to Brick and Mortar play where they faced down their opponents, had to fold in turn, and looked at a lot less hands an hour – they were playing against the top players in the world.

Some where in here, I dealt to David from Canada again. *David, I edited the other post*. He was funny and chipper as usual. He wanted to know if I was going leave him on his own against all these players or if I was going to help him out…maybe not in those words but the meaning was there. We both laughed on that one. I told him, “No! You’re on your own.”

I was still on the E/O (Early Out), every time I went in to work, and that’s exactly what happened here. I went…out into the luscious night air, drinking in the humidity and warmth, humble in the fact that I was there and life was good!