Thursday, June 30, 2005

I seriously wondered if I’d make it to the end of my shift last night. The temperature in the room is mostly unbearable. Add the bodies – all packed together in a confined space – the conversation, the temperature of ‘steaming’ players, and it’s like a convection oven. There still is not enough space between tables to move about without getting ran into or bumping into someone’s chair. While the chairs are comfortable and attractive, they have a three inch rollover on the back, at the top – a lip – and it takes at least six inches out the traffic lane. That ‘lip’ is also plastic and instead of allowing clothing to slide over it, appears to grab and make it more difficult to pass. The chairs also do not ‘slide’. They stick to the carpet and are hard to move, even if no one’s sitting in them. I hear this complaint continuously as I deal At this moment, I wonder if I have the energy to go back tonight and fade another night of earblasting microphones, people chatter, chip clatter, body heat, player heat, high limit, new dealers that don’t know JACK, people constantly hitting my chair and joustling me around, and the whole nine yards. The answer? Of course I do. I’ll be there all chipper, showered, smiley, and raring to go at 7 p.m. After all, it’s Thursday. One day away from signing the E/O and hoping I get out early on my Friday.

I hit one game last night that brings me to what I have wanted to put down in words for quite some time. *Begin Background* $40-8o Mixed game – the 5s was in ‘full tilt mode’. Flinging, zinging, and playing every hand, glaring a lot at me…a guy I’ve never seen before. After he blasted through all of his chips and pulled out cash for a reload, (chip runner enroute with his chips), the 8s had finished dining and tried to pass out his left over, greasy fries to anyone that wanted them. He did that by holding out the box, with his right hand, over my arms, in the middle of the table – AS I WAS DEALING A HAND! I stopped dealing. No one opted to take a fry so the 8s gave up…especially after the 5s (while glaring at me) stated that he would like the dealer to finish the deal and wasn’t interested in food.

While the chips were enroute, the 5s – BB in Omaha 8 or Better – called a raise from the 1s, heads-up. The 5s demanded that I put the 1s’s chips in front of him to mark up what he owed the pot! Shit! Get real here…moi’s first day? NOT! I simply replied, “Just leave it where it is. That’s how much you owe the pot.”

The hand went to multiple raises and finished long before the chips arrived. The 5s lost and demanded to know what he owed. The 2s – a woman (deals somewhere in CA, I think just from the conversation) said, “$280.”

I repeated, “$280,” as I stacked it all out in nice little rows for the 5s to see. The chips were out on the table, in front of the 1s, and I did a complete release so there was no doubt how much the amount was. I then pushed them to the 1s. The 5s did a double back, shit-flip, barking at me, “How do I know if the amount’s correct? The least you could do is count them out so the person that lost can see how much they owe.”

The 1s pushed the chips back out onto the table. I professed an apology and did a complete repeat of exactly what I’d done before, counting them out in neat little stacks, while he was barking at me that he still couldn’t see them because my hands were in the way. Horseshit! I finished the stacks and pulled my hand completely back to the box, waited for him to grunt, and then pushed the chips to the 1s. Don’t worry, when the 5s got his chips and pushed them over to pay the 1s, I made sure I slowly counted them down, out on the table just so everyone could be damn sure he’d sent the right amount.

The 2s won a huge, multi-way action pot in which the 5s was involved. She hogged it. He got lippy with her. She got right into his face. She told the table that she knew treys and sixes were good on the Flop (she hit a six to make sixes full on the River) and they needed to pull up their panties and start playing if they were going to keep up with her. Hysterical! Everyone took it well…except the 5s. He went into ‘grim and hell mode’ and just sort of disappeared out of the mix…not physically. He was there hours later when I walked by the game. *End of Background*

The personalities that meet at the table and go to war over chip control are what makes poker the mix it is. Poker wouldn’t be any fun if everyone sat in a neat and orderly fashion and were all brushed and polished, totally polite and completely empathetic, sympathetic, and understanding. It just wouldn’t work.

I do write about the extreme and the lunatics and the people that make it hell and very seldom ever write about the people that really make it a pleasure to be there. There are a lot of people that make the game of poker pleasurable but let’s face it, if we got up every day and lived in ‘pleasantville’, and everyone gushed sweet and sugar, life would be boring as hell. That’s the way poker plays out…if the ego freak, the playground bully, the kid with all the marbles, the beauty queen, the guy that lives in the dumpster out back, the granny that lives alone, the mom trying to escape the boredom of life and housework, the dad that hates his job and the world he fades everyday, the young bucks coming in to vye for king of the hill, the grinders, the celebrity chasers, the tv watchers, the newbies, the oldies, everyone and anyone that ever played poker on a kitchen table, and all those new faces that never played before didn’t race in off the street to take a seat and be part of the action…poker would be like ‘pleasantville’ – boring as hell.

I capture and record what happens in the real world…poker, that is. I have the best seat in the house. Somedays I want to pull my hair out, somedays I am frustrated by the mix at the tables – at times by the mix of people I work with. Somedays I work harder than I should have to and other days it’s like eight hours of sandbox…and I make money too. I wouldn’t trade it for any other profession. If it was all ‘pleasantville’ I’d go juggle bowling balls in a mine field…hey, maybe I already do. 🙂

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Heat! Yup, I got it! Only on one table though and not in Bobby’s Room. And yes, I dealt both of the games running in Bobby’s Room. My start was 40B…take a break and get ready to dive into the line-up from hell. That’s what I did. I had a lot of problems following the dealer in front of me. He’s new. Not sure where he worked before Bellagio snagged him out of the spawning dealers swimming upstream but he landed right in front of me. I pushed him out of Table 1. Half $1,000-2,000 PLH and $2,000-4,000 Omaha 8 or Better. Chip was in the 1s and I asked him what the ‘cap’ was on the PLH. $200,000…that means each player can’t put more than $200,000 in each hand they play.

Nate appeared, before my butt hit the seat, with a handful of lammers. The rack is supposed to have $1,500 in it for that limit and I required a fill of $1,270. Obvious oversight on the new dealers part as there were 70 blue chips, two red chips, and eight green chips. I couldn’t even break down a $100 chip to take Time with. Chit Mon! Good thing Nate was on top it or I would have been screaming for a fill while I was trying to take Time out of the first pot.

This game consisted of a new player in the 1s, Lyle – 2s, Minh – 3s, 4s – walking, Doyle – 5s, Johnny World – 6s, Sammy F. – 7s, and Chip – 8s. I slipped through it without any brain bruises or problems.

Tables 2 and 3 were down and I headed for Table 4. $400-800 7 Card Stud. The 2s was walking and a towel was thrown over the 2s’s chips for a play-over. An absolute “NO-NO!” All play-overs must be counted down by the Floor Person and covered with a clear, plastic play-over box. Another stab from the dealer I’m pushing. He should have done that…did he know? I have no idea how informed our new staff is coming in. I stopped Skip as he passed the table and pointed out to him that I had a playover and needed the chips counted down. He complied…verbalizing on how did that happen? I told him the new dealer may not know the procedure. This game wasn’t any fun. Mimi was in the 4s and she showboats so much on each action she takes that it gets OLD fast.

Table 5 was $300-600 Mixed. Another bone and gristle kind of game when I wanted a slice of pie. Table 6, $25-50 NLH. It was a distorted kind of mess as I had four walkers and one of them I had given the fourth ‘no player’ button to. He should have been picked up 15 minutes after he received the third button from the – OMG, same deal – the dealer in front of me. I called for a List Person at least four times, they were so busy, so much noise and confusion, and games to the max that it took forever to get it straightened out…in the meantime we lost another player and I was trying to get that seat filled. All in all, it was fairly easy except for the stress of the pick-up and the empty seat for too long a time. Now…why would I suffer any stress over it? Because I keep hearing it from the players, nudging and reminding me, asking me what’s going on with that seat and that player, etc., etc., etc.

On to the only low limit I game dealt in the night, a $4-8 H game on Table 8. On Table 8 the Dealer’s back is to the rail. When I got tapped out, I turned around to “Linda!” and found LarryBud. Our first meeting, although we’ve exchanged posts before. Nice break in a long night.

Bobby’s Room was waiting on Table 10. I never got my brain straightened out in this game. It was embarrassing. They were playing $1,500-$3,000 Mixed and I just couldn’t get a focus on the chips and limit until about the third hand into my down. They were also playing Deuce to 7 Triple Draw seven handed instead of six handed…run out of cards…yup. Johnny World was in the 1s and he was more than helpful while I was being an idiot. David G. was in the 4s and he was helpful too. GOD! I hate it when my brain takes a LOA and my body remains behind to fade the aftermath. I didn’t make any mistakes or errors but I just butt-fumbled through a few things that make me look like it’s my first day.

Table 11, met a guy from Montana that wondered if he knew me from the old days. Nope…as it turns out. But he was talkative and the game was easy to deal, $15-30 H.

The HEAT happened on Table 12. $800-1,600 H. It had been three handed but the 1s decided to move to the 5s and sit out for awhile. That left Aaron – 2s, and Peter – 7s slamming it out heads-up. Slamming might not even be the correct verbiage but Peter’s hand didn’t know how to BRAKE! He just kept pumping until he was busted. He went for more chips.

While Peter was gone, Aaron took a walk with his cellphone and Aaron’s sweater remained. A player I’ve dealt to before, don’t know his name, pleasant and plays higher limit, sat down in the 1s to visit. He showed me how to band $10,000 together into a neat little packet as he counted and settled his own funds. He turned the conversation to Peter, asking me if I’d heard about Peter losing over a $100,000 on the color of a card. “Nope,” I said.

The 1s told me that Peter had been playing the night before in a game and bet $50,000 on the color of a card coming off the deck. Peter lost. He promptly bet $50,000 on the color of the next card coming off the deck and lost that too. Aaron’s sweater said he’d heard it was $120,000 – not $100,000.

Ouie-Kadouie. How does that happen?

Heat time. Peter returned with $10,000, looking for Aaron to continue the game. Aaron returned, the 5s now took the blind and they were playing three handed. Aaron made a comment about Peter’s only having $10,000. Peter said he had more on the way and would play behind. I told them they couldn’t play behind. They argued with me. I said, “No playing behind.”

Mary C. was walking past the table and I asked her to find Kamell, I was going to need a decision. Aaron and Peter were making a deal that they would just do it anyway. Kamell arrived. I asked, “Can they play behind.”

Kamell told them no, it was against gaming regulation. Fortunately for me, Kamell walked away from the table, towards the center of the room but didn’t leave the area. I don’t believe Aaron even noticed that Kamell was about six feet from the table listening to the conversation.

Aaron snapped at me, “That’s why players get pissed off at dealers, Linda. We said we would play the board.”

He was implying that they had changed their mind and would only play table stakes and I was creating the problem by calling for a decision. I did not hear any of that, and if they did, it was only after they knew I had asked for a decision and they knew they were not going to be able to pull it off.

I replied, “I work for Bellagio, Aaron, not for you. I do what Bellagio tells me to do.”

He continued on the vein that I was out of line for even calling for a decision. Kamell stepped up to the table and stated that the reason he had arrived for a decision was that playing behind was a repetitive issue with the same players and they were not playing behind. It was dropped there. The game went on.

David O. sat down next to Peter. Aaron and David did a little tete-a-tete on Aaron paying David not to play in his game…that lasted about 40 seconds. David posted the blind and I dealt. Peter lost all of his chips again – to David this time – and left for more money. I got pushed.

Later – when I looked over from another game, Peter was there, slamming it out with Aaron and a few other players.

I briefly wondered if Aaron or anyone else out there knows that players get pissed at the drop of a hat. It doesn’t take much to set them off. Do I care? Only if I make a mistake or didn’t hear ‘raise’ or something else that pertains to game play. If it’s over house rule or getting a hand beat GROW UP! And remember – getting pissed off only hurts you…it puts your chips in jeopardy.

All-in On Life! A thought on Charlie Tuttle.

One of the greatest sites I’ve ever seen in Vegas happened a few months ago. I was heading home from work a little after 3 a.m. – on the side streets instead of the freeway – and spotted two people hanging onto their grocery carts (not food filled carts but living off the street filled carts) to keep their carts from getting away on the downhill grade. They were on the dimly lit street ahead of me – a man in the lead, about 15 feet in front of the woman following him. As I approached and passed them, I couldn’t help but watch the woman. She was fairly thin, possibly in her thirties although it was hard to tell in the light. She held her cart with one hand and with the other, pressed the headphones up against her head as she ‘did the dance’. Literally. Using the cart’s weight to pull against, she twisted, gyrated, bent over knee dropping, back up and shaking, for all she was worth. It was as if there was no one else in the world…just her and the music and her body moving to its demands. She was ‘all-in on life’ at that moment. Beyond awesome!

I see rare glimplses of people that are experiencing the true essence of living. The moment when they just love being alive and nothing else matters. So brings me to Charlie Tuttle. I won’t profess to say I knew him…I did meet him and spend a bit of time jamming with him in a poker tournament. I met Charlie at The Clan Jam in March, 2005. He was pretty quiet – but then who could be heard over all the noise and people chatter, food grazing, tournament chip clatter, and confusion that was going on. I briefly stopped to visit with him and the Tennesse Crew (that would be Jason, Rachel, Lydia) that had arrived together. I knew, just from the way Charlie sat and the energy coming off of him, that he wasn’t well but didn’t know what the circumstances were and it was definitely not the time to talk about it. We were there to JAM. Poker was afoot. Jam we did. Charlie won our tournament.

There are a lot of things I want to say about living life and enjoying every moment you spend with yourself, people you love, and people you wish would go away. Out of all of the ways to verbalize, write, think, conjure, and try to be creative, it usually ends up in the same place. You are the master and major decision maker in how your time is spent. You can spend it being angry or spend it learning from those around you about yourself and finding ways to improve your mental health and life in the overview. Some circumstances are beyond our control…that is a given. But most of our lives we could/should release all of the frustration and anger into the air and let it blow away, leaving only a reminder of something we don’t want to do to ourselves.

I believe that’s what Charlie did. He took the best part of himself and put it forward to people around him, that’s why he was loved by so many people and his passing leaves him written into the minds of those that knew him. That my friends is the only way to achieve immortality…in the thoughts of others.

The main thing that impressed me about Charlie was that he was just so damn glad to be there. He was very happy to meet me, more than once thanked me for having them at my house, and all in all, just easy to be around. It was his first tournament…he won it! He was ‘all-in on life’.

Ahhhh…and Lydia and Rachel, the flower you brought me has been repotted and is adorning my entry way with beautiful, bright red flowers. *yippee – applause – launching rockets*

Friday, June 24, 2005

Thursday was mass mayhem. Not just in the fact that the room was crazy, everyone seemed to be a little bit crazier and I had a major blow out on Table 5. I started my night by dealing two of our daily tournament tables, got a mini reroute when one of them broke and a 45 minute break. Time to stroll leisurely through the room and see who was where and playing what before heading down to Mangia for a meal. Did I say leisurely stroll? You have to have more moves than Fred Astaire to navigate through the bodies and chairs in the room. Not only that, no one can see me. If they could they wouldn’t walk right into me, right?

Hello Table 5. They were playing $25 ante, $25-50 NLH. Rodeen was in the 1s, always pleasant – he teased me one time that I would write about him if he wasn’t 🙂 But I believe ‘pleasant’ is just his nature. He’s placed in two final tables at the WSOP this year. Congratulations Rodeen! The 7s is Lyle Berman’s son and while I hate to tag anyone with being ‘son, wife, daughter, husband’ I don’t know his name and this is the first time I’ve dealt to him. The game was four handed when I sat down and went to five handed a few minutes later.

Everything was fine, quiet, controlled, I dealt they played…UNTIL I got caught doing my job. The 2s (later found out his name is Lee – I’ve dealt to him before but infrequently, mostly tournament time) and the 7s went to war in one pot. It started with a raise of $200, then a reraise of $1,000, then an all-in by the 7s – somewhere around $12,000.

They started kibitzing about running them twice. Hey…I ran into this noise during our tournament in April and specifically checked with our Supervisors and the word is “NO” unless it’s in the $2,000-4,000 or higher game. I don’t write the rules so please…if you see me in the cardroom don’t start on me about the high limit players doing whatever they want. If they told me to take the deck and throw it into the wall, I would when I’m dealing that limit. If you don’t get the picture then maybe you should trying donning a name tag and an apron for six months just so you get the feel of rough burlap scraping your skin when you hit those games. I stated, “You cannot run them twice.”

Begin Problem…me…I’m the problem.

Lee called the all-in bet but they were still hashing whether or not they wanted to run them twice, intermingled with arguing with me that they’d been doing it and it was up to them – not the house. In the meantime, a chip runner was passing the table and as I waited for them to decide what they were going to do, I asked the chip runner to send Pete, I was going to need a decision.

Rodeen told me they had been doing it. Lee informed me that it was up to the players to decide. I calmly replied, “Yes, Sir. And as soon as my Floor Man tells me it’s ok, I’ll be happy to do it.”

They decided they wanted to run them twice. I waited. They wanted me to deal, arguing with me about it. I told them I’d wait for a decision.

Lyle walked up to talk to his son…yup, he plays the $2,000-4,000 game and $4,000-8,000 game and whatever else he feels like playing.

Pete arrived, followed by Carmen. I asked, “Can they run them twice?”

Pete said no…that brought up a discussion and Lyle piped up with, “We run them twice in my game.”

More discussion and the final word was “NO”.

I dealt the rest of the hand. The 7s’s Aces held up. Pete and Carmen left. Here’s the best part. Lee stated, “You are the only dealer we’ve had a problem with.”

Me, “Maybe I’m the only dealer that doesn’t want to lose their job.”

Lee, “Your the only dealer that won’t be getting a tip from me.”

Gee! I’d never heard that one before so I simply replied, “Do whatever you think is best.”

Maybe I was supposed to grab my chest and feign a heart attack or fall of my chair and scream into the carpet but I did what I always do…I dealt. Calmly, professionally, running the game to the best of my ability, my voice and manner never changed. That’s what I like about me. Whatever I undertake to do, I do it to the best of my ablity without letting anyone else affect how I do it.

The 7s wondered out loud – more than once – why ‘they’ wouldn’t let them run it twice. Rodeen tried to soften it for me by making a comment that it was probably a discrepancy in the dealer knowledge of the rules. Lee’s main comment was that he wished it would be consistent…although he did add more than that to the conversation. I did push him five or six pots and and he was true to his word.

I don’t really care. If I have to sacrifice my ethics or work standards, or pride, or self for money then I need to look for that cliff in Calico Basin. I need to be happy with myself for the way I lead my life, not the way someone else thinks I should lead it. But I really don’t feel badly towards a player for wanting consistency in rules and for not tipping. That’s their choice. I made mine.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Somewhere, out in the universe, a small hole started when the first poker player kept digging away at the barrier between the player and the poker table. That small hole has turned into a raging tidal wave of players, all intent on visiting Bellagio’s Poker Room – sure a few of them planned to stop other places but eventually they all come to Bellagio and it feels as if they are all there every night on my shift. Noise and bodies to the max. Don’t even bother looking at the room capacity sign (which is displayed on the wall inside the room) because the Fire Marshal couldn’t get in there to move them out even if he had a vat of vaseline and a shoe horn. Besides…they wouldn’t go, they are waiting for the next hand.

Which reminds me of a funny: Montana, years ago, playing at The Oxford and it was freezing outside, which meant it was freezing inside. Those old places have more leaks than a bad drunk in a home game. We had one game, it was 3 a.m., I was locked in trying to get my money back, shivering my t-t’s off and my feet were chunks of ice from the draft blowing across the floor. *IDEA* I raced into the storage room, grabbed a giant sized garbage bag, unfolded it as I stumbled back to the table on ice stumps, stepped into it like it was a pair of fine lace panties, pulled it up around my chest, and sat down. Wonderful! No more drafts and my body warmed up. Most of the other players did the same thing…the poker game ran on and on and on.

On to a few more fun things: In the last few weeks, I’ve met more than a few people that read here. Jeff was in the 5s in a $30-60 game, introduced himself, and towards the end of my down, I exposed one of his cards – red Ace! Aghhhh! Apologies from me – he graciously let me off the hook without any kind of emotion or expression. Later in the night, he came over and told me that he would have had pocket Aces but it must have been lucky for him because he had a load of chips now. On the card exposure, we have several tables in the room that have a draft (hell no I’m not making this up) with the venting above the table and it’s very difficult to deal to certain seats and not have a card flip up. I normally deal forever – literally – without exposing someone’s card unless they start reaching for their cards as I’m dealing…but that damn, sneaky draft.

Then I met Chris from New York – $80-160 – he was in the 5s. The game was pretty fast and with four players in the pot, I announced, “Three Bets!” as I waited for the SB player to call. Chris asked, “How many bets?’

I emphatically stated, “Three bets!”

Chris asked again, “How many bets?”

The bell went off somewhere in my head. The 1s had made it four bets. Thank you, Chris! Damn…not enough coffee or too early in the morning for me…or perhaps that’s just an excuse. Whatever the case, I always appreciate help when something is awry.

One of the most fun tables I’ve dealt in a long time was a $2-5 NLH. When I sat down, the 10s told me that no one would get on my case while I was dealing and they were all having fun. Fun was an understatement. Most of them were putting the live $10 on the Blind and the game was rocking around insults and challenges they were throwing out to each other. Somewhere in the first few minutes of my down, the 7s asked me if I was the one that had the website. I said yes.

Wow! The 10s took off with something like, “Oh my God! Linda?” as he leaned around, eyes searching for my name tag.

Then it became even more fun. The 10s turned out to be Matt from N. Carolina and he never slowed down. He won a pot and instructed them all on how to tip me, putting a red chip on his cards as he pushed them to me, talking and animated, not only was he good for my pocket, he was great for my brain. It was the end of a long night and I had found myself wondering if I’d make it through the next hour. Nothing like laughter to lift the fog.

Chris was in the 5s – the target of the Red Chip Tip Instructional from Matt and when I left the game, both Chris and the 6s handed me a red chip. Woo hoo! Big bucks in this game. Hey…I don’t work for the insurance – I have a mortage, and grand kids, need and want a bed and a hot shower, and kids, and a life, and….

I walked around behind the 7s to visit with him for a moment when I got pushed. His name is Anthony and his friend, Steve, is a big fan of Tango. Anthony’s from L.A. and I did pass him the following night in the room. Great smile!

Matt was blasting it out in a $10-20 NLH game with The Unibomber, Phil Laak, at the end of my shift and I saw him the following night in a full $10-20 NLH game. He’s a kick! Pokerzestive and the kind of person that I really enjoy because their enthusiasm for life infects everyone around them.

An earlier $2-5 NLh game: Seats opened and players were on the way. One player sat down in the 9s with a wad of $100’s and wanted to buy $500. The 8s told him he could only buy $200. The 9s asked me if he could leave his bills on the table. “No!”

The 9s had a tiz, something along the lines of, “How can I protect my hand?” – “That’s completely stupid!” – “Who would want to play in a game like this?” all as he was looking at me.

I sold him $200 in red chips and said, “It’s quite simple. If you don’t like the rule, there’s a suggestion box over there,” as I motioned to the Page Desk.

He walked – waiting for the Blind. The 10s laughed, “That really was a great reply…about the suggestion box.”

Well hell! If you don’t like something, why harp about it at the table? Go to the person that can change it. I’m never consulted before there’s a rule/room/game change so I’m obviously the wrong person to handle that kind of complaint. But on the other side of it, I honestly believe the $2-5 NLH game has never broken down since the day we started it. It’s ran 24/7 and we generally have three to four of these games every night. So if it ain’t broke…don’t fix it!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

There’s an incredible dance going on across the sky right now. It’s early a.m. – work behind me – I followed the dance across the city as I headed North towards home. An occasional gutteral rumbling echos an encore request each time the dance stops. One compliments – one performs – and so it goes on and on…unfolding in a spectacular show that never becomes out of date or mundane. Poker seems so trivial at this moment but I feel compelled to immortalize it and the people I find in it – even as I watch the dance.

The Big Game tonight was a $4,000-8,000 and I missed it. I was in a completely different part of the room. Hey…hey…hey..hey! Life is good. The game was full of Name Brand Players. Sammy F. was in that game and has been wearing a brace on his left wrist/hand. Last week when I dealt to him, I asked, “What happened to your wrist?”

He waved his arm and said, “I broke it hitting a dealer in the head.”

I mocked shock, “Oh no!”

He laughed, “Oh…not a poker dealer. A blackjack dealer.”

I still think it’s funny. But I’m twisted.

Monday night there was some guy out in the Sport’s Book with a camera and everytime one of the Name Brand Players walked out of the poker room, he snagged them for a picture with him. Sammy was one of them. Cute! I do think it’s pretty damn kewl of these players to give autographs and allow photos. I can remember a few short years ago they didn’t want you to address them by name. Poker’s come a long way.

Earlier this week my first game of the night was a $30-60 H. A new player sat down in the 5s with two racks. I asked if he would like to post and be dealt in or wait for the blinds. He opted to wait. Fine. I dealt the hand. He made no move to take his chips out of the rack and I politely said, “When you have a chance, please take your chips out of the rack.”

I got the croaking, “W-H-A-T? What did you say?” like I’d asked him to donate a kidney or blood or something bizarre.

I repeated my question. He snorted, “I know the rules!”

I said, “Ok. Excuse me.”

Another player jumped in and informed him that it was a house rule. He again stated that he knew the rules. Then he went into a tirade about playing in another game earlier and a woman in that game had her chips in racks and no one said a word to her – he was looking at me.

I said, “I apologize for the other dealer, Sir.”

He acted like I wasn’t there and looked around the table. “If you ever played poker in L.A., you’d never play here.”

Well polish my brass buttons and call me Matilda. WTF is he doing here? I wanted to ask him if he’d lost his way and I could find an address on Map Quest for him. Instead I clammed up, exploding with laughter inside at how ridiculously overinflated some of these people are.

Several other players informed him that he paid a lot more to play in CA than he does here…he wasn’t having any of it. I was happy to be tapped out shortly after that and move on.

The chips in the rack thing is one of those idiot things that makes me want to choke the other dealers for not doing their job. It’s pretty standard in most places throughout Pokerdom and not something novel and unusual. But I ran into it again in a $30-60 last night. Ho was in the 2s and his chips are always in racks because he had a stroke some years ago and cannot handle chips. The 4s had a ton of chips in stacks and one rack with chips in it. The 5s – female – had a rack with chips in it. When I dealt the first hand, I said, “Everyone knows that racks aren’t allowed on the table, right???”

The 4s did the dual ballistic bitch thing. “As long as we have playable stacks we don’t have to take the racks off the table.”

Barry T. was in the 3s and he went with my statement. The 5s took her chips out of the rack. The 4s continued to ramble that he’d played in a game last night…blah, blah, blah. And he finalized it with telling me to call the Floorman.

The 9s piped in, “It’s the rule and you might as well not argue about it. Calling the floor won’t change it.”

I did call the floor. The decision was ‘take your chips out of the rack’.

Then came the discussion of Ho having his chips in a rack…finally that was settled…then came the threats that the 4s was going to watch in every game he played in to make sure that other players didn’t have their chips in racks. Oh my God! The Chip Rack Police are in the room. *laughing my butt off* Like who’s he going to hurt by doing that? Certainly not me, it would make my job easier since the other dealers can’t do theirs.

We finally settled down to the game of poker and he lightened up. Love it!

Exit poker! The dance is still on. The air has an exciting, sultry feel to it right now. I love to sleep to the rumble of thunder. G’nite real world. G’nite Emerald City.

Spring Mountain Ranch and dealing with an idiot

On my Friday I dealt one game and took a break, then I was out to play. The game was $20-40 Omaha 8 or Better with a half kill. While the chips were definitely going into the pot, no one was in a rush to act. I knew two of the players and have dealt to them since early Mirage Days, Laurie and Double A. The others were all new faces.

Late in my down, a giant mistake occurred. The 7s had barely played a hand other than the blind and he’s the one the mistake happened with. While I feel it is my fault, I also feel it’s the player’s responsiblity in this particular type of mistake and I refuse to feel that I’m totally out of line…which he implied.

It went like this. Raises pre-flop. The 1s, 2s, 4s, 7s, and 9s were in the hand. The 1s and 2s checked the Flop, the 4s bet $30 (it was a Kill), the 7s’s cards were covered and he never made a move, the 9s folded, the 1s and 2s called, I pulled in the bets and announced, “Three players,” tapped the table, and at the same time I burned and turned off the Turn card, the 7s threw in $30.

The funny part of it was that everyone was playing so slow, the 7s had plenty of time to stop the action. I called for a decision. Nate arrived. I explained. Nate thought for a moment, talking through the action, since the player allowed three people to act behind him, his hand was dead. The 7s got his $30 back and relinquished his hand. I apologized. The 7s did make the comment, “…the dealer was messing around.”

I never said a word. I haven’t figured out how I was messing around…go figure…how in the hell do you let three people act behind you without saying something?

I left the box for the other side of the green felt. I spent the next four hours with a bunch of crazies in a $4-8 H game. We chattered back and forth, I won, clocked out at 11:30, drank two “ultras”, and hit the door to start my weekend.


I visited Spring Mountain Ranch State Park with Viv, Greg, and Wayne Saturday night to watch Dr. Seussical. Great fun – cool breezes after the sun dropped – we brought chairs, wine, beer, sandwiches, cards, and hung out under the stars watching and listening to a magical, muscial extravaganza.

I brought my favorite Catch a Bubble and blew bubbles in intermittent spurts before the show started. People in front of me had them stuck in their hair and clothes…hey, they are water soluble. The kids went nutz with the bubbles flying through the air…jumping up to try and grab and catch them. Wayne took the task of bubbling while I hit the bathroom at one point. When I waltzed back out into the open air, bubbles were drifting everywhere…good job, Wayne. I gave two vials of bubbles to kids around me.

I have more fun than the law allows sometimes…I took water guns too and gave each of my buddies one – after I squirted them. I know it was unfair but no one said all things have to be equal. I thought we would have a water fight but they let me blast them without blasting back. Umhnnnn! Maybe they’re setting me up for a bucket of water over the head. Wayne did shoot me in the chest and said something about a Wet T-shirt Contest. That’s really funny…

I recommend the Spring Mountain Ranch show to everyone. I thoroughly enjoyed it and will be there again this year.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

How many times can you pass Go and not collect $200? If you’re in the Emerald City…never. If you’re in the real world, I figure it can go on forever. Let’s talk real world…poker. Thursday night…welcome to High Limit Country. Most of it was unbelievably funny. Although it was probably funnier to me than anyone else, most of the high limit players seemed to either be in a very sociable mood or high on drugs…just kidding about the drugs part.

My first game was the final table of the daily tournament. I rarely deal these, there’s one or two left when I come into work but they are never in my line-up. The usual bad beats happening at this table, it’s down to a big ante/blinds and players are dropping like flies. I try never to think about anything when I deal these except to make sure the antes, blinds, and pots are right.

$400-800 7 Card Stud for my next game. I tried not to think about anything in it either, just “Antes please!” and shuffle up and deal. No headaches, no bruises. Danny Robinson was in this game. I hadn’t seen him in years up until last week and he’s lost so much weight it took me a few minutes to grasp that it was really him…another gastric bypass person. I’m not knocking it.

The next game was the first game I started laughing in and had a hard time stopping. It was Deuce to 7 Triple Draw, $400-800 and Sammy F. was in the 1s. When I walked up behind the dealer, Sammy looked up at me, smiled, and said, “Hello, Linda!”

It was six handed since they weren’t playing Mixed games (only six players in Deuce) and Sammy was jamming it up. First he loved the game, then he hated the game, then he loved the game. Shaun was in the 7s and gambling like he had an endless supply of chips (maybe he does) but in any case, he’s one of my favorites in any game.

When Sammy F. checked, he said, “Checky wecky.” When he bet, he said, “Betty Wetty.” When he raised he said, “Raisy Daisy!”

In one hand, Shaun drew one card, Sammy rapped pat and said, “Patty Watty.”

The third player opted to draw one and I tapped the table, burned, and declared, “One – Patty Watty – One,” as I dealt their draw cards. Sammy laughed and I couldn’t stop laughing.

The last hand I dealt was a huge pot. Shaun ended up all-in and stated he was playing behind after every raise went in on every street. I said, “You know you can’t play behind.”

He looked at me. I looked at him shaking my head. Sammy asked what the deal was, was Shaun playing behind because if he was Sammy didn’t care. Shaun reached over to the 8s and grabbed a stack of chips and said, “If Sammy doesn’t mind, I’m playing behind!” and started putting in a raise.

I stopped it right there. Shaun was all-in for $900 of Sammy’s raise on the last draw. Sammy and the 2s ended up splitting the side pot with a 7-6-4-3-2-. Shaun had a wheel. WTF! Amazing those three hands. I got pushed.

Off I went to a friendly little $4-8 H game and then into Bobby’s Room to deal a $1,000-2,000 mixed. Freddie D. and John J. were playing over. Some funny things happened there in which I busted out with a belly laugh but since they weren’t game related and they were personal comments – and I was not involved in any of it, I seriously refuse to write about that type of thing.

Off and running to $80-160 H – more $80-160 H – and then off to NL Deuce to 7 Single Draw, $100 ante, $200-400 Blind. Aaron was in the 1s, Johnny C. in the 2s, Chau in the 3s, David G. in the 5s, Freddie D. in the 6s, Sammy F. in the 7s, and a name unknown player in the 8. The chips were at war at all times – mainly with Sammy and the 8s. The only easy part of the game was that it was single draw and no limit. Easy on me but not on Sammy’s BR. He went all-in several times. Thankfully, he never made a comment to me or pitched his cards at me. He just laid his hand down and waited for the next one.

The funny part of this game…no I didn’t laugh…was that Aaron left his seat to talk to someone right by the table. He turned around after I dealt the hand, as if expecting to be dealt in. When he sat back down, he asked the players (not me), “They don’t deal you in you don’t ante?”

The response was all at once from Johnny, Chau, and David, not in order, “What game have you ever played in that had an ante that if you didn’t ante, they dealt you in?” – “You figure it out!” – “This isn’t a tournament where they take your ante and deal you in.”

I was really happy to leave this table. Everyone seemed tense and out of sorts with each other. The next game was kick back $10-20 NLH. Anyone in the Must Move had to hate getting moved to this game. Most of these guys were waiting…no, they weren’t trying to pass Go. They were just waiting.

I survived High Limit Country and never did pass Go but I did find a friendly little $4-8 game for my last down. The 10s said hello to me as I planted my butt in the chair and my brain wondered if I could make it through one more down. We had three seats open and a game broke…we filled up. I woke up by teasing the 5s – he came in from the broken game. He was a demanding little dickens, nothing bashful or quiet about him. I had him laughing…and the table got involved. Here’s where I met Chris. He lives in AZ and was in the 3s. Sure…he’s a reader. So I really did pass Go!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Every night since I returned from the Emerald City, two games have been running on my shift in Bobby’s Room. Missed them…not as in I felt bad because I didn’t get to deal them.

I had a query from a $4-8 H player last night, “How high a limit do you play here, $300-600?”

I did my best dead pan, “Any limit you want to play, someone will play with you.”

“Really???” came from around the table.

Then we had to do ‘how high a limit have you dealt’ and we were off and running. I gave them a teensy background of the Beal/Corporation Game; explained that the corporation pooled their cash and they played Andy one at a time. They were completely and totally awed by the thought of a $100,000-$200,000 game. The original questioner sarcastically blurted, “Yeah, one blind is the cost of my house.”

Several players did a guffaw/noise/throat clearing and I said, “Yes. It’s obscene. But that’s the way it is.”

*NOTE – a limit being obscene is not a judgment on my part. Everyone has their own wrinkle and perspective/priority on what it takes to make things work for them.*

They asked me questions, I answered some of them. Who was my favorite player to deal to? What was the biggest pot I ever pushed? And on and on and on. I left them laughing and they did the same for me. Fun group!

I was totally exhausted by the time I hit the end of my shift. Since our remodel, our newest tables are bigger and there’s no dealer cut out. I literally cannot reach the chips in front of the 3 and 7s – or the cards for that matter. Of course the players in those seats always set their bets out two inches from their fingers. Go figure! The Shuffle Master in some of our tables is indented so far into the table (not Shuffle Master’s fault) that it creates a lip which seems to trap cards and chips. Extra time is spent trying to pull/push cards and chips over that lip. It all adds up to irritation and exhaustion for me and most of the dealers. Plus some sections of the room are like an oven, especially up on ‘the hill’ with the beautiful new glass panels that surround it for privacy…no air moves through there. Sum it all up to my butt’s crawling after eight hours.

Andrew – a reader here – looked me up in the room. I dealt to him the first night and managed a short visit with him on a break last night. He’s on a LOA from his job and planning on spending a month in Sin City. More time to visit coming up.

I dealt an $8-16 H game on Tuesday night with a smiling, happy face in the 8s. When I sat down, he informed me that everyone was really grouchy there. He beamed and smiled through my down and by the time I left, I think most of them were ‘ungrouchy’. He found me between pushes last night and told me his name is Chris and he reads here too. KEWL!

I have a possible early a.m. hike on the agenda for Friday…right after work…with the Patterson Brothers and their Mom – Mom’s visiting from out of town. Calico Basin is my pick, easy to get to, beautiful area, and the company will be top of the line. Right now it’s shower time and I’m off to the Real World to find more people that read here. 🙂

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

I discovered Michelob Ultra…dry as hell, low carb, ‘light’ beer. Yummy! Only problem is I want one after I’ve been up a few hours. Now I see people everywhere in the poker room belting them down and I’m just dealing away with a dry mouth. Sheee-it! I tapped a dealer out of a $4-8 H game and while waiting for him to finish the hand, the 2s looked up at me. She was drinking none other than an ‘ultra’. I said, “Hey, my favorite beer.”

She replied, “No thanks. I’m good.”

Umnhhhh! Maybe she had one too many. Or I looked like the cocktail waitresses. NOT!

In an $80-160 game…mass action, one player all-in, I start to pull the bets for the side pot around and into the side pot and the player in the 6s grabbed the side pot and pulled it toward his chips with, “I’ll help you by getting this out of your way.”

He really meant it. I was flabbergasted as he pushed it back into its original spot. I replied, “I really don’t want your hands on the pot.”

“I was only trying to help.”

Me, “Still…you can’t touch the pot.”

He’s a player, been around, not a regular but someone that comes in at tournament time. Honestly what was he thinking? He couldn’t have been thinking…that’s one of the biggest sins of all time, a player putting their hands in/on the pot.


I deal for weeks without getting involved in the conversation or opening my mouth other than directing traffic and then I go off the wall and out of line with too much talk and smart ass noise. A $15-30 H game and I went into Super Lip Mode. As I came around with the second down card, the 9s had a 4-H laying face up in front of him. I did not see the card flip or flash when I dealt it. I asked, “Did I expose that card?”

He replied, “It hit my hand and turned up.”

The 10s sided with the 9s’s comment and my mouth went into gear before my brain was prepared to stop it, “Then keep your damn hands out of the way,” as I gave him a replacement card.

I started laughing. The 10s was chuckling as he said he’d never heard a dealer do that before. The 9s knew I was kidding and he took it quite well. I have always wanted to say that to a player and it just popped out of my mouth. But why did I say it? Is there some latent childhood freak show running through my brain that manifests itself in ‘smart ass mode’ when I’m supposed to be serious and professional?

I did it again a few hours later. Another $15-30 H game. A woman I’ve dealt to infrequently over the years took the 10s. She’s got the laid back, real world, lusty kind of look about her and I know she’s not offended by too much of anything…otherwise I think I could have hit the brake on my mouth and truly concentrated on being a professional. The rest of the game was a group of guys that were jabbing each other, flinging chips, table talking, and in general just gee-hawing. The boys on the right hand side of the table kept drop kicking me into the conversation – even if I tried to stay out it, it wasn’t going to work. Each pot was max raked and I always put an extra five blue chips in the pot instead of shipping it to the winner with one blue in it, it has six. Pretty standard.

The 9s, a frisky looking kid, asked, “Linda, are you putting extra blues in each pot? Do you want bigger tips?”

Woops…mouth brake failure alert!!!! I instantly queried, “Did you say bigger tits or bigger tips?”

The table went nutz-z-z. The 10s busted up and said, “If she doesn’t get bigger tips, she can’t afford bigger tits!”

They were a lot of fun. On to the rest of the night. I spent most of it laughing my ass off. I don’t know why. I hadn’t taken any drugs or giggle juice…just on a high that can only be found without looking for it…high on life.