Tuesday, November 30, 2004

I’ve kicked around the ‘whys’ of poker for a lot of years. What brings people to the table, what keeps them coming back to the table, what progression or regression they’ve made with themselves (not necessarily their bankroll), and most importantly…why I’m there. Why I’m there is the key factor because I’m the center of the ‘Poker Tapestry’ in my world.

What motivates me to be there? I’ve held other positions – some run of the mill, regular every day jobs – and had considered becoming a lawyer when I worked for an attorney, years ago, that prompted me to consider progressing from legal secretary to lawyer. My conclusion:

  1. A huge part of it started from the money that flows across the table, some of it being sent to my pocket.
  2. Playing…the excitement of the game, the energy of everyone around the table.
  3. Being part of the family. Yes…there’s a certain unity in poker players that isn’t shared by anyone else in the world. You barely have to say anything for the player next to you to understand where you’re at and where you’re coming from.
  4. The dream. To constantly carve out a win or take down the biggest tournaments of all time and have the freedom to play when ever you want and do what ever you want with your time.
  5. Mostly – for me – the people experience. Listening. Learning about people through their emotions, conversations, and actions – and in turn – learning more about myself.

Now the world watches everyone play poker. I may be unique in what I perceive at the table – although I’ve talked to other people that share my view – I’m sure that most of the world watching televised poker aren’t picking up half of what’s going on. And on the thread of my perception, I receive occasional comments about my being uncomplimentary in what I write or that I’m not writing if everything is good and I’m not upset. Not true…not true…not true.

I feel my writing portrays what the whole scene is about…in the long and short of it, nothing is glamorous about poker. Someone has to lose for someone else to win. The win and loss is like the rise and fall of the tide. If everyone sat around in neat, little orderly rows, and placed their chips in nice little stacks, and never burped or farted, and were always clean and neat, and calmly said, “Nice hand!” when they lost, and gently slid their cards into the dealer, poker would not be as we know it today. And this is NEVER what happens in a poker game. The game is built on emotion, skill, perception, people. That’s what I write about. The real world of people in poker.

If all the conversations and actions of people in the games were recorded and played back, the world would be shocked that this stuff went on in ‘public’. The world can’t believe that Scott Fischman acted the way he did at the final table or that Phil Laak behaves the way he does or that Phil Helmuth acts the way he does when TV portrays their behavior. Why not? Why would their behavior on TV be any different than their behavior at the poker table in a casino?

The ‘whys’ could go on forever. So let me leave this thread with an exchange I had with Gus – tall, Greek, temperment of a shark in a feeding frenzy – (no, this doesn’t mean I have a problem with him – I get along quite well with him considering he’s got a very dark personality and it shows in the following conversation).

He flits between Holdem and 7 Card Stud but has played mostly Stud lately, $15-30 or $20-40. He always sits in the 4 or 5s and squints a lot when he looks at his cards, takes an hour to look at the board and make his decision, gambles a little too much, and always appears to be unhappy. This particular time, he was running over the game. He had at least three to four racks of $5 chips in front of him and by his relaxed mode and behavior towards his cards, it was easy to see that he was quite happy, although his face never gave up that info.

The player next to Gus lost a couple of hands and was grouching, cards were coming in a little fast, mumbling about the beats he’d taken, etc.

Gus chimed in with, “Shoot the dealer. But use a 38 and not a shotgun, that way she might live through it.”

He thought he was being quite funny and entertaining. I didn’t say a word until he repeated it the third time. Finally I said, “Gus! Knock it off. That’s not even funny.”

He gave me his grim idea of a smile and just acted like it was part of the everyday conversation that everyone in the world goes through. I wasn’t mad. I wasn’t upset.

I do find it strange that people relate to life and their experiences with violent thoughts. Their way of solving a problem is not my way. But that’s poker…a world where everything is outside the lines of everything else we do in life. That’s why I’m still there.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Turkey Day has come and gone and so has another week since my fingers ran over the key board with a post. I’ve thought about posting, every day as a matter of fact, just got lost in the time warp and Jewel Quest. Oh…and the forever yard project…lost in that too. This is really the year that I will get it finished, from the day I planted the first trees, then vines, then more trees, then laid block wall, and a few million other projects, it’s coming around. It started four years ago – a one woman project. Fourteen tons of River Rock hit the street in front of my place last week. That was enough for the front yard…lots more needed for the back yard along with windsor stone, stepping stones, etc.

I ended up with a four day weekend, just like real people. It’s the first time in over 14 years that I’ve had Thanksgiving Day off. Nice! More than nice is the fact that I spent it with some of my family. I never narrow down a day of thanks to one day of the year. 🙂 There are too many wonderful things to appreciate and enjoy to jam them all into one day of giving thanks.

Back in a few with poker, poker, poker.

Friday, November 19, 2004

$2-5 blind NLH – Table 14 – on the 17th, found me with a few seats open and new players on the way. Or old players because they were coming in from another $2-5 game. We usually have three games and two of them are ‘must moves’ into the main game. The player coming into the 6s started unracking chips and put out a Blind – the Button was on his right and he would be right behind the Button at the end of the hand. I asked if he was from another game of the same limit, he said yes and I told him to just wait a hand and he could be dealt in for free.

Max C. was in the 10s. He’s always armed with an ample supply of wit, a cup of coffee, a glass of merlot, and a bottle of water. Max was trying to capture a gnat that kept flitting around his section of green felt and someone made the comment the gnats were attracted to his wine. He said they died when they hit the wine…another reason to stop drinking I suppose. Max used to play only 7 Card Stud but the $2-5 blind NLH has become his new home. Whether or not he does well in it – I would assume he does – he’s there to stay and has filled a little niche that makes him part of the game now.

The game was fun, two frisky kids in the 8 and 9s that were supposed to be going class but were blowing it off for the local poker game, quite a bit of talk and general gambling going on without any pain or agony from anyone.

The 6s made the comment that he’d just put the worst beat on someone in the other game. The other player flopped a straight, the board paired on the Turn, and the 6s hit his pocket pair on the River. He was still shaking his head over it. I said, “Not like it has ever happened to you before, right?”

He said yes it did happen to him all the time, he just wasn’t used to doing it. He stopped and looked at my name tag. This was my introduction to Kram. We finally met in person after reading a ton of his posts on the discussion forum and missing him several other times when he came into town.

Max was in rare form, talking it up, and I introduced him to Kram. Max called him Graham. It took a few minutes of correcting and adding “Mark spelled backwards,” to get it to register with Max.

Kram settled right into the business of playing NLH. He bet into A-K (with a King on board) – heads up – with A-J of Clubs. The A-K never raised him on any street. No…he did not win the pot but he played the hand as if he held A-A. Kram won the next hand, much smaller pot, and sent me a batch of Red Birds. Muchly appreciated. Max made the comment that if tips kept up like that I might break $200 for the night. I just smiled and agreed with him.

My last hand – two players went all-in against Kram. The Flop was out – 5-7-10. They all turned up their hands. Kram had 5-7, one opponent held 9-7, the other had a Q-?. A Queen on the Turn. Kram said something like, “Linda! Holdem, baby.”

Hold they did. He threw me Red and Blue Birds this time as I left the table. I told him I’d check on him on my next break. When I cruised by again, he was getting J-J cracked with a board that was somewhere around 9-8-9-7 by a player holding 8-8. Kram did win the side pot. Ugh! He said he’d lost another big pot earlier by set over set.

I hit another $2-5 blind NLH game on 17. Mark H. was in town and we’d said ‘hello’ the night before when he came in. The 10s was open in this game and they were calling Mark for it. Just when I thought he’d miss the seat, he showed. Said he’d been watching Table 1.

He jumped right into the game and right into the action. He won his first pot and shoved out a batch of Red Chips with, “You’d better write something really happy, Linda.”

Well…OK! It was turning into a ‘red chip’ night and that made me pretty happy, plus I was dealing to people I really enjoyed…I met them through this site. Sweet! He started the Red Bird Train. The guy in the 4s won a pot and threw me two of them. The guy in the 1s won a pot and gave me two of them…love those ‘tip shills’. He even brought up the fact that he started it – I agreed and couldn’t be more thankful.

He was laughing when he told me to write something he could show to his wife. About him and/or his poker play. Here it is – he’s always great to have in a game. I know if someone heckled me in a mean way…or any dealer for that matter…Mark would champion for the dealer and the heckling would stop. He’s never rude or discourteous but he’s a guy…sure I’ve heard him swear…so do the girls at times. I mentioned the fact that he’d always stated what a great wife he had – and he does – and he followed with, “I’m the luckiest man in the world. I did something really wonderful in my last life…(he sort of shuddered with a chuckle here)…and she did something really bad.”

The best of the best…he’s happy, knows it, and shows it. The game went on.

Kram walked by this game and told me goodnight. It looked like it had been an ugly night for him.


The following night, the 18th, I played on shift. Kram had been in an $8-16 game and I talked him into coming to a $4-8 game and playing with me. We both got ran over…literally, they backed up and ran over us again. I met Andy and Will in this game…these two were sitting by me and we visited back and forth while I waited to get kicked off the curb and ran over again.

Kram gave up and I thought he was leaving for the night. When I cashed and left the game about an hour later, I heard, “Linda!” he was in a $2-5 blind NLH game with stacks of chips in front of him. I walked over, he stuffed more Red Birds in my hand and told me, “Thanks for the site.”

I was starting to feel as if I should give him my social security number so he could claim me for a deduction…not that I didn’t appreciate it, I did. I left him with hopes that he would do well in the Fridays at Five Tournament the following day.

I liked his table presence. He has an extremely expressive face but he never gave up anything while he was in a hand. He played each hand as if he had the World’s Fair…whether he was empty handed or not. So…Kram…I would have to say the pleasure was all mine.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Satoshi was playing mixed games last week – $150-$300. He started at The Mirage years ago and only played 7 Card Stud at the time. His visits are few and far between now but he remembers me, mainly because he had a ‘poker connection’ with my son Dan some years ago. He’s always player/dealer friendly to me and just likes to play. When I sat down in the box, he smiled, said hello, and after I dealt the first hand, he threw a green chip and asked for reds. I complied.

When I looked up, he was looking at me and then nodded towards the table. He had the tip system all set up. $5 – $10 – $15 – $20 – $25. I laughed and so did he. No one else got it but that’s ok. I made it to $20 and then he added $30, $35, $40. I got pushed. It was sweet on his part and fun for me, especially since I pushed him a few pots. The norm for me is that if someone threatens me with money, I usually put them on the biggest ‘belmont’ they’ve ever been on. What’s a belmont? A backwards rush.


There’s all kinds of hop skipping, jumping, and twisting sideways over Wynn Las Vegas. Lots of players ready to jump ship and go there to get treated like royalty??? Whatever that means in the poker world.

Lots of employees that are applying there, whether or not they decide to make the move. I wonder why everyone believes that everything is going to be different there. It will be mass confusion for the first year or so, just like all places that open. It takes about a year to iron out all the wrinkles and then it settles right into the same old routine – poker, poker, poker.

Me? I’m sticking with Bellagio.


While dealing a $2-5 blind NLH game last week, a player in my game, looked up at the top section and queried, “Is that Sam Grizzle?”

We replied that it was and he followed with, “I want to go shake his hand for putting Phil Helmuth in his place on TV.”

I’ve never watched that episode but I’ve heard about it a lot of times…but then I get to see Sam in action all the time.

One night last week, he was playing $1,000-2,000 with Lee S., Gus H., and Renee. Sam was in the 1s, Renee in the 7s. They went to war in a hand of 7 Card Stud. Truthfully, I have no idea how the hand started, who was low or who had what, the end of the hand I remember very well. Renee showed nines full of deuces. Sam showed trip Queens and one nine as he shuffled his cards and kept looking at Renee’s cards…shake that up with comment upon comment.

“The case fucking nine. She had to give you a deuce,” more card shuffling, “A fucking deuce…she had to give you a deuce…” repeat, blip, repeat. He threw his cards across the table, mostly into Renee’s hand.

Sam went all in on the next hand and left the table…Lee won the hand and then made the comment that Sam had been on self destruct.

Last night I dealt a $10-20 blind NLH game in which Sam was in the 4s. I can’t help but laugh at his antics and the way he totally believes he is the best player in the world. You have to admire someone that believes in themselves that much…anyway I do. That doesn’t mean I’m always happy to deal to him or that I hold him in high esteem – I just admire the fact that he never stops believing in himself. And he can be pretty damn funny at times.

The game was mass confusion – the dealer before me never had control and I never did either. Troy was in the 3s and threatening to do a fist tattoo on anyone’s face…not sure if he was serious but he looked pretty damned unhappy (which is unusual for him) and for some reason, most of it was aimed at the 1s. The 1s was a complete stranger to me, fairly small build and had a European accent. Everyone was talking, the 5s took forever to look at his hand and make a decision on what he wanted to do, each hand took an hour, and Sam was ‘over talking’ everyone else.

At one point, after the Flop, Sam bet, the 5s raised and went all in with an overly loud, “I’m raising you, Sam, because you never have anything.”

The Board was Ace-face-face, and Sam showed an Ace and folded and filled in all the little cracks in the silence with something like this, “Yeah, I never have anything…”

The 5s showed a Broadway and announced that he showed Sam his cards because he liked Sam and added, “You are pretty hard to like though.”

Sam threw out a startled, “What?”

The 5s, “I like you…but you are pretty hard to like.”

Someone on the left side of the table agreed but it was almost lost in all the conversation and noise going on.

The 8s left. J.C. (not the dreaded J.C.P.) moved from the 2s to the 8s. Another European sat down in the 2s and started talking to the 1s. Troy jumped into the middle of both of them and told them not to talk to each other because he wasn’t going to put up with it. He was really out of character. They took it pretty well. Still if they said anything to each other, even when they were out of a hand, Troy jumped on them.

Two more Europeans walked up behind the 1 and 2s and started visiting. Lets hear it for more noise and confusion because that’s what it was. One of them made the comment that the 2s was the best Backgammon player in the world, then someone else blurted out, “What about Gus Hanson?”

“Oh yeah! Gus Hanson is the best.”

Just like a surgeon with a laser, Sam cut right into the heart of the conversation and everyone went stone silent. Sam stared at the original speaker behind the 1s and declared, “You are looking at the best poker player in the world.”


Sam’s gaze never faltered as he continued, “You are looking at the best poker player in the world. I don’t know about all that other stuff.”

The noise and confusion folded around his last word and the game of poker semi/sort of went on.

There you have it…not only do I get to watch him in action, I just dealt to the best poker player in the world.

Friday, November 12, 2004

This is – as promised – a follow up of the post from yesterday. Yup…still grouching. The following are the events that led up to my pushing into the game behind David:


Here’s the story:

I pushed into table #6 and found a five-handed $20-$40 half-kill Omaha eight or better game. Four of the five were regulars: Jay, Mark, Tan Le, a stranger, and a regular who’s name I don’t know (he’s the one who was in the six seat and wears a leather vest–white male, about 55-60).

I asked for the time and was met with a polite directive that I was to “take the time from the first killed flop”. We know that this game requires that each player pay his/her own time. But, I’ll let it go–I’m just not in a fightin’ mood.

Well, as luck would have it, the first hand we see the flop. There is a bet but no call: the pot has $80 pre-flop, a $20 bet and no call. Following their directive I start to push the pot and the group (in concert) invites me to take the time NOW. I’m thinking that I just didn’t hear them correctly. What do I know. . .I’m just a dealer.

OK. Take the time, push the pot, move the button. Scramble, shuffle up and move along. But wait, there’s more.

Four of the five (not including the winner, of course) point out that I forgot to put out the Kill button. At this point I check the sign to see if I’ve missed something. I tell the collective that there was only $80 in the pot, well short of the required $250 for a Kill.

At this point Mark tells me that the guys decided, in the interest of creating more action in their short game, to use the structure we use in the $80-$160 game: Time from the pot and a Kill on any flop.

Now I really don’t care what they’re doing. Whatever the group wants to do and that management will let me do, I’m willing to do it. I know this is not right, so I’m going to get Boba to OK it. I’m not about to tell a customer “No”, so I use the trick of calling over a floorperson and let them tell ’em.

I called Boba over and asked him to change the table sign to reflect the “new” table rules. Specifically, the sign says “1/2 Kill on $250.” A two-inch piece of white tape would make everything A-OK with me, management, and the gaming commission’s agents. Boba, always perturbed with Omaha headaches, comes over a declares that “this isn’t the game we play at Bellagio”. These guys are welcome to stay and play the house’s version of the game but are not welcome to make up their own variations.

As Boba RUNS away before the flack starts to blast, all I get is “Thanks a lot, David.”

“Yeah, thanks!”

“We been playin’ like this for two and a half hours! No one’s complained. How come you got to complain?”

I offered no comment–nothing I could have said would have pleased them. Nothing.

Instead I just dealt the game. I came out of there with $4 dollars. Fifteen hands–four dollars. And they came from Tan and Mark, both are guys I’ve worked with for years.

As for my feelings: like I said before, I really don’t care what they’re doing. Whatever the group wants to do and that management will let me do, I’m willing to do it. I don’t care what the rules are. Just tell me the rules–I’ll follow them.

I don’t really know who I’m more disappointed with: dealers or players.

As for dealers–do your damn job. You know how it is following some dealers. They let the game go to hell and you have to come in and get it back on track. And the worst part is I can be stereotyped by the actions of the incompetent dealers on out staff. There are times when players start to correct me before I even come close to making a mistake. My first reaction is to be insulted. But then I have to think of the incompetents in our midst who have screwed up this guy’s cards before. And then that’s when I soften up and start to think, maybe this guy’s just doing the right thing and looking out for his interests.

As for players:

This is where I was going to write a couple of paragraphs bitching about players. But that’s not right. These players come in and spend good money for the privilege. WE are the professionals. WE are the one who have to accommodate THEM. If we don’t let our rules be known and if we don’t enforce our rules in a consistent manner, then it is our fault–not a player’s. I accept that players will take shots, bending rules to the breaking point. I also accept the responsibility to see that the rules are enforced fairly and consistently. I only wish my co-workers were as diligent as I think I am.

I can’t control them–I can control me. That’s my strategy and I’m stickin’ to it!


When I sat down, Kenny – 1s, Tan – 2s, Guy in the vest – 5s, Stranger – 6s, a walker in the 7s. I announced “Time Pot!” The four players threw out $5 each and the “Walker” appeared. It was Mark. We dealt with him at the Mirage some years back and he’s been in gaming for quite some time – possibly only as a player now but he’s dealt and knows the dealer’s POV. Guess that’s why this is so unexpected from him. He was having a fit. It all had to do with David, the dealer I pushed.

The gist of his irritation was that the ‘house’ would not allow them to play the game with the format they wanted. But his main irritation was with David. The guy in the vest chimed in with Mark and seconded all of the points Mark made for them to be able to have the game the way they wanted it…it went on and on…punctuated with the fact that neither the vest nor Mark were going to tip David again.

Why? Because he did what every dealer should do…his job. He did what the first dealer should have done when the players first talked about changing the game, he called the Floor.

The vest stated that he tipped a lot (which he does, he’s consistent and never fails to tip and we really appreciate him for it) and “…he will never see another tip from me…”

Mark was throwing in his two cents worth and was so upset that he just couldn’t play anymore (although the other players asked him to stay) and he was going to talk to David away from the table about the mistake that David had made by DOING HIS JOB!

What the hell is going on here…stupid dealer…doing your job? Why? You mean you have work ethics and moral standards…idiot! Slap…smack…kick…better yet, no tips for you! If you do your job right, the same way every time, it might mean you are protecting me – the player – but what do I care…let me threaten you with loss of income and berate you while I’m doing it because you wouldn’t bend the rules for me!

Kamell (swing supervisor) walked up to the table and the conversation continued with the players taking the stance that if they were playing high limit, they could do anything they wanted. Kamell told them that just last week, he’d been called for a decision just like this one in a high limit game. He told them no too. He tried to explain the reason for consistency in having a standard game ran the same way all the time.

Mark left and the conversation continued for a few moments longer. With Kamell standing at the table, I butted in, “David shouldn’t be blamed for something that someone else allowed to happen. The real problem is the dealer that allowed it to happen to begin with instead of calling for a decision.”

Kamell said, “Well, no kidding.”

I was really hoping that it would register, to everyone left at the table, that David was only doing his job. Kamell left, I dealt, they played. But Mark returned for one last stab…to tell the others that he knew for a fact that in high limit the players could do whatever they wanted. Ugh! Mark forgot what it’s like to work in the industry.

Working in the industry is not just from the house’s side. Players work at it too but sometimes they forget why rules are made. They also forget that rules work best if they are enforced. Letting someone slide and enforcing it for others just doesn’t cut it.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Grouching. I hate it when we don’t cover all procedures and protocol in any poker room…make those procedures known to all new dealers coming in…work on it ’til our brains dry up and blow away…just to make the poker environment more relaxed and easy to work in for players and staff – yup, that would definitely include dealers. I don’t know how it can ever possibly be enforced or worked out…remember we are dealing with mankind here…but it would be so sweet just to have the person you’re following in the ‘line up’ knowing and doing their job.

It goes like this:

I hop into a six handed $30-$60 Holdem game on Tuesday night. The player in the 2s has a lot of chips and starts reaching for a rack. It’s his Button and it’s a $6 Time Collection. He’s entitled to play the Button without paying time but then he has to commit to playing and pay or hit the road. He passed on paying time, meaning he’s leaving.

Another player jumps in with, “You can’t leave when you have ‘the rock’!”

The rock? Sounds like a movie with Sean Connery and Nicholas Cage but what it means in poker lingo – chips double the amount of the Big Blind are held together by a rubber band – and in some cases must be put out in front of the player for the next hand but in this case it meant the person that had it, had to Straddle the Big Blind and force the bet to an automatic raise of $60…also allowing the player to have last action – after everyone else called/folded, this player had the option to raise.

I was in shock that this was even going on in this game. It’s not our procedure.

The Button player played the hand and won it and decided to stay for another round – he paid his time. Someone asked what happened if he decided to leave with it. I piped up, “This is not something that’s set out by house rule and no one is bound to play with the rock in this game.”

The 6s stated that they had been playing that way for two hours and he had put the money up to start it.

Skip was handling the podium right by our table and as he paused to look at the game, I nodded at the table and asked, “Are you aware of this?”

He said, “Yes, I know you have seats open.” Woops! He did take another look and disappeared for a few minutes. He came back and informed the table that ‘the rock’ had to come off. Big blustery argument, especially from the guy that started ‘the rock’. The statement was made that another table in the room had it going also.

‘The rock’ definitely came off of the game I was dealing and I got through it with very little hot air blowing in my direction. The 6s ended up leaving a few minutes later…he was unhappy with the house decision.

I can’t help but wonder who the dealer was that let it get started a few hours before, if in fact it did start a few hours before. Two hours seems to be the standard line from poker players when something’s been in progress. But why would the dealer just allow it to happen? Our procedure is that if there is any change in limit/blind/ante, etc., the Floor has to be called to approve the change before it can go into effect.

Look for a continuation of this problem in tomorrow’s post, the dealer this type of thing happened to didn’t escape as easily as I did…sorry but I’m out of time right now.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

I’m always startled at the lack of ettiquette in poker. Especially from players that should know better. $30-$60 Holdem, the player UTG raises and turns up K-K with, “I’ve got two kings.”

While I was stating, “You can’t do that – you could ruin another player’s action!” everyone was folding around to the SB who turned over 7-7 and tossed the hand. The BB folded.

How bad is that? It’s horrible. What if the BB looked down to A-A and the player with K-K just ruined all of the BB’s action and play on the hand. The player with K-K stated that that was the only way he could win a pot. Yeah buddy, you just picked up $50 big ones…that’s a pot alright. Another player wanted to see the Flop anyway, I dumped the deck and went to the next hand.

My next game was $15-$30 Holdem and when three of a suit came on the Flop with four way action, a seasoned player asked, “Whose got the Flush?”

I had to go into my ‘strict dealer’ mode and say, “Please don’t say anything while the hand’s in progress.”

He chided me…’everyone knew what might be out there…’

I stood my ground. And about five minutes later, another three of a suit hit the board with seven way action. Another player lipped out about the Flush and once again I had to start with, “Come on. Don’t mention what’s on the board and remind someone what to look for.”

One of the players started to question my statement when two other players jumped in and told everyone that I was right. It’s not about my being right, it’s about the way the game should be played. Zip the lip while the hand’s in progress unless you’re heads up and want to antagonize or question your opponent.

Couldn’t let the night get half way started before I made a mistake. It was in the $20-$40 Omaha 8 or better with a half kill. Full game, lots of action, and Al N. was in the 6s. Double A was there too, in the 9, hadn’t dealt to either one of them in quite some time. The pot got raised and ended up in a raising war between the 4s and the 10s on the Turn and Al called every raise. They all had an Ace Straight but there was a two card flush on the board. Here’s where I get to make the bonehead move.

On the River, the 10s was first to act and bet $40, the 6s raised, Al called, the 10s called and raised it $20 more all-in. The 6s called the $20 and raised it $40 more. Al got flippant at that point and said, “Well let me raise it,” as he threw in a raise. The 6s called and I pulled in all of the money except a small portion of what I thought was the side pot. Trigger the grey matter shuffle…good God…the shuffle isn’t working. For some reason I knew Al had a straight but I didn’t believe both of the other players had one -hence my bonehead move of trying build a side pot instead of leaving the bets in front of them.

Things whipped right into over drive. All three hands were turned up, all three players had a piece of the pot…except I’d taken in too much money from the side pot. Begin noise…add volume…more noise…more volume. Al thought the 6s had taken back his bet and I’d pulled Al’s bet into the pot. Everyone, including me, knew I’d made a mistake but it took me a minute to convince Al that all the money was in the pot. I knew I’d lost it but there were so many people talking at once that I couldn’t begin to figure out where. I finally exclaimed, “Stop it! Everyone just stop it!” They stopped. I looked at Al and asked, “Ok, what do I do?”

Al has been around the poker scene for years and even if it cost him money, he would never lie or try to turn things in his favor. I knew if he told me what to do, it would be right. He stated that I needed to put $80 each in front of him and 6s. I did. They took it back and then I chopped up the main pot three ways…and I apologized.

Yikes! What the hell is going on here? Where did my brain go? Wish I could say I was in a romance blitz or had been drinking or some form of nonsense but I just completely blew it. Hey…maybe it was the damn Card Fairy. Maybe she found a way to cut in the Chip Fairy’s action.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Rock and roll baby! The high limit players are out of town, the room has settled into heaven for the dealer. Only one high mixed game last night – $150-300 on table 2. I dealt it and headed right into $10-20 Blind NLH – a strange incident here and one I can say that has never happened before. It went like this:

Mark was in the 6s and started singing to me when I sat down “Through the years, you’ve never let me down…” He finished with something like, “I sing like shit, don’t I?”

I replied, “It’s always so wonderful to be greeted with song when I come into a game.” *smiles*

The 7s had a ‘sweater’ behind him, she was cute and giving him a rub up and down the head and neck every few minutes – and a few other places…made me wonder what they hell they were doing at the poker table. Well…maybe they were crowd pleasers…that thought ran through my head. He liked to put chips in the pot although he could fold repeatedly also, I’d dealt to him last week and he barely slowed down whether he won the pot or lost it.

The game went into a slow lull and then a little rage of betting between the SB (2s)- BB (3s) and the 7s after the Flop, checked on the Turn, and a $100 bet by the SB on the River. BB and the 7s called. The board was K-Q-8-?-8.

The SB turned over one card – Queen, the BB turned over one card – King, the 7s turned over one card – 4H. As the 7s started to turn over his other card, it did a slight pop – apparantly everyone but me saw the card – and it lit face down. I just turned over the 4H and slipped them both to the muck. As I started to push the pot to the 3s, I got the ‘hey, hey, I had three 8s’ thing. Mark and the players on that end of the table said he did. His cards were laying right on the edge of the muck and I picked them and turned them over. YUP! He did – 8-4 of hearts.

I apologized with, “I’m sorry but you have to turn your cards up for this dealer,” as I redirected the pot to the 7s. He was fine with all of it…everyone else was too because he’s obviously one of the live ones.

I was lost in the gray matter shuffle of what the hell happened there. A few hands later, I mouthed to Mark, “Am I imagining this or did that card pop over and upside down?” I really wondered if I’d fallen asleep in the middle of the hand. Mark said it might be my nightmare. He also said it did pop but it might have only been viewable by his side of the table but he had definitely seen the ‘8’.

A few hours later, I ran into the 7s out in the casino. I stopped him and asked him about it. He said he had only shown the one card because the person who did it first was a friend of his and yes it did pop…followed with how it was not a problem between him and me and the Card Fairy (ok…I’m adding the Card Fairy for additional effect). I felt a little better after that – not that I can’t get lost somewhere while dealing a hand.

Mostly the games were $30-60, $15-30, $4-8 limit holdem and a couple of $2-5 blind NLH games, with the exception of an $80-$160 that was hip-hopping, jump starting, lock and load, get your chips in the pot with action, action, action.

I had three days off and it was hard to come back to slipping into the groove of dealing poker. The mechanical skills are there but at times the mind wanders – hey…mine does anyway.

I have a few young lads that appear at my house (not what you’re thinking so get over it) on Sundays and are learning to deal…thankfully my “PAN” group all play poker too so we are the players while they deal and play. It’s been a lot of fun and gives one a new perspective on the game. Josh, one of the posters on the forum was in attendance this last Sunday. What a riot! He has the makings of a good dealer…we just need to figure out how to tape his mouth shut. If you read any of his posts, you know he’s young and ready to leap and kick…add a quick wit and over active mouth to that. Joshie…you know we loved you! Just zip it, Bud!

The shower awaits…so does POKER, POKER, POKER! See you there.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Yikes! The sands of the hour glass just keep pulling me into the eternal abyss of ‘your time is up’. Hopefully, on the day that my ashes are thrown to the wind over a canyon in Calico Basin or Red Rock, the person throwing them will whisper, “Hey…you did more than your share and realized a thousand visions and dreams in the small time you were allotted on this Earth!”

And then I have to hope that whisper is true. How in the hell can I ever catch up? Time, the most important element we are given in our lives, always escapes me. No matter how hard I try, I can’t accomplish it all. Then we have the people and businesses that waste our time.

The perfect example of that waste would be ‘Dell’, the computer giant on the internet. They have wasted more than two hours of my time right now because I paid off my account with them over six weeks ago – the check was overpayment due to a mortgage company oversight. At the time I sent the check, I instructed them to send me a refund for the credit balance. Three follow up phone calls later and major stress because they want to charge me interest when I owe them but I’m not getting interest from them when they owe me, I’m told the order to pay me was submitted almost a month ago…still no check…must be in the mail. I’m sure I’ll have to make another phone call next week, and the week after that, and the week after that…

The next perfect example is my calling a representative of Rhino Linings, in Vegas, last week and setting an appointment for Saturday morning to have the bed liner sprayed into my truck. Not to worry…I showed up, they didn’t. I waited a half an hour before I gave up. Amazing that I had the money in my hand and their work ethic/standard is so low that they didn’t even show up or call to cancel the appointment. And to make it even more grim, I even called them and got their voice mail, left them a message asking them what happened…no follow up from them to date.

There are a million perfect examples and I would need a million glasses of wine to get through all of it so let me skip onto a medium I understand – poker.

The $4,000-8,000 game has been ‘on’ for the last week or so. They aren’t playing every night – almost every night and day and into the next. It’s quite a point of interest for all the other players in the room. Lots of questions about the players and the game/limit when I’m dealing a $4-8 or $8-16 game. It’s pretty unreal when you stop and think about that amount of money being shoveled back and forth across the table.

The room has quieted down a bit and it’s very pleasant from a dealing point of view. Less noise and confusion and the games are still great…especially the low limit games. Chips rock and roll back and forth across the war zone all day and night.

One particularly cute incident: While dealing $4-8 Holdem, the 5s THREW his cards at the rack. Not because he’d taken a beat, it just appeared that he was overzealous or in the habit of throwing. He was young and I didn’t say anything the first time it happened. The second time it happened, he not only threw them again but he did it four players before it was his turn. I said, “Please wait until it’s your turn to act.”

He candidly replied, “I can throw my cards any time I want.”

I almost spit holding back a laugh as I replied, “First – you are expected to act in turn, wait until the player in front of you acts before you do anything. And second – you cannot throw your cards. Just set them down.”

He did set them down after that and a few minutes later, Eli B. walked up behind him to talk to him. Eli looked at me and exclaimed, “Lucifer – hello Lucy!”

I asked, “How’s it going, Witch?”

We both laughed. We’ve definitely had our share of his card throwing and tantrums over the last 12 or so years. We semi get along when I deal to him now and get along just fine away from the table…other posts in diary pages.

After Eli walked off, I asked the 5s if that was his dad. He replied that it was. Well hell, no wonder this kid knows how to throw cards.