Aruba/Ultimate Bet 2005 – Page 8

So…Friday – the 30th – for all intents and purposes, I was done with dealing…except for the final table. I crawled out of a drunken blitz somewhere around 11 a.m. And while it may appear from the posts that I’ve been ‘drink, drank, drunk’ throughout this trip, that’s not even close to the truth of it. I had too much to drink one other day but this was the first time that I was drunk. The norm is one to three brews a day. I managed to doze off intermittently until the phone rang at 2 p.m. It was Suzie telling me to meet her in the poker area of the Radisson so she could walk the Final Table Dealers over to the Azzurro for our practice session at 3 p.m. I made it on time but we had to wait for another dealer to arrive. There were five of us. Unusual to me because when I dealt the final table two years ago, there were three of us…but what do I know about it?

When we got to the Azzurro, we were told they would be using two women and two men – we were at three women and two men. Suzie left us, she had work to do back at the Radisson. I spoke with Linda Johnson, away from the others dealers, and asked her if she thought I should opt out because I’d dealt it before, or if I should just wait and see what happened. She told me to wait.

All of us took a seat with Linda, at THE table, as the crew worked around us setting up lights, microphones and a few million other things that it takes to make the production work. It was hot as hell.

There were numerous changes to the table since my debut as a ‘TV dealer’ two years ago. For one thing the rail is about three inches higher, awkward even with the dealer cut out in the rail that puts our hands and arms at table height – the rail made it difficult to deal to some spots at the table. Then to make it worse there are two domes in the middle of the table, on each side of where we would put the flop. The domes house cameras and look like ‘security camera globes’ that sit on the ceiling in casinos. We could not touch the globes because our fingerprints would have to be cleaned off of them before play continued. They were definitely a card pitching hazard.

WPT Dome Cameras

Then we were introduced to the ‘wonder cam’. It is in the rail, on the right hand side of the dealer. If the hand went to a Flop, no call on the Flop or Turn, we were supposed to push the pot, then burn, bring the Turn off face down, burn, and bring the River off face down. And then show the Turn and River to the wonder cam, not allowing anyone else to see it, and not to look at it ourselves.

WPT Wonder Cam

Each of us took a turn at dealing – practicing the expected procedures – while the rest of us and Linda Johnson played. Linda talked us through everything. The only time we were to speed up was during the shuffle and the deal, the rest of it is ‘slow-mo’ for camera and effect. If a player accidentally exposed or purposely showed one/both cards, the cards were turned face up and left lay on the table so they could be camera documented, etc., etc., etc. We were being schooled in ‘the drama of dealing’.

At the end of the session, I asked Nikki and Janie if we should high card for who would be dealing on Saturday. Barry was in the box and I asked him to shuffle and deal us off a card. Nikki objected and wanted to draw her own. Ok…the deck was spread, she pulled a four, Janie drew a trey, and I drew the Ace of Spades. Holy Chit, Mon! I usually find the Deuce of Clubs anytime I draw for seat choice…or when they are high carding for the chip race.

Linda told Janie that if she wanted to come the following day, it would be fine. She went on to say that sometimes things happen and a dealer can’t make it – and one time a director even took a dealer out of the line-up during a final table taping. I know Janie was disappointed but by now I knew I really wanted to deal the final table and I wasn’t going to just disappear.

My clothes were drenched, I probably looked like I’d jumped into the sea with them on…and that’s pretty much how I spent the following day too – drenched. But I headed back to the room and managed to find Jim. We hit Gilligans for food (somewhere in this few day time span, Wayne deserted us for casino action – some of the machines kept calling his name). Shortly after we were seated, Sipu, one of the Turtle team, joined us for food. I was so relieved that I didn’t have to fade the live action at the Radisson that night and we talked about what had been going on with the dealers that had been scheduled for live action at the Radisson since arrival.


Even Suzie had talked of how difficult it was to work around the Casino management that was in charge of the actual workings of the poker room. It wasn’t Dane and Mace, the brothers that owned part of the room, it was casino management. When our dealers would show up to be put in the line-up, most of the time, they would tell the dealers to check back in a few hours. At times this went on throughout the night, some of our dealers even coming back in at 3 a.m. – just to sit and wait or told to come back in a few hours…repeat, repeat, repeat. The regular room dealers also did not want to deal anything higher than $4-8…unless they knew the players in a game were tipping well.

And yes…I, and most of our dealers, understand the fact that these people are here all year long and they need income. That wasn’t our problem though in working with them. Our problem was that we were not getting paid to be in the poker room, we could put out a lot more hands per hour, and we were skilled in running a game and knowing who/what won the pot, and we were a long ways from home with most of our group (don’t include me in that) hoping to put in some time in the box and make some money too. We were getting the short end of the stick by them expecting us to deal all the Ace to Five/Deuce to Seven triple draw games (no money in those babies) and they wanted all the gravy games and we were supposed to hurry up and wait for them to decide to let us deal. It was leaning towards mutiny. One of the best parts of the whole dealer side of it is that Suzie is always aware and really stands up for us…she’s like a mama bear that has her cubs threatened. And if you ain’t ever seen or heard tales of mama bears with cubs, you have no idea how scary it can be. Way good news for us though.

*end background*

But back to Gilligans. We finished our food and it was shower time at home away from home. I went back to the Radisson with Jim when he was ready to report for work…Wayne would meet us there. I drifted in and out of the main tournament area and the satellite area…the showdown for the final six was in progress.

Jim and me visited the poker room at the Radisson, standing around on the rail, him trying to decided if he even wanted to show for the 8:15 reporting time, and a few other Turtles appeared and joined in the conversation. One of our Turtles had been hanging around since before we showed up and they put her in a game. We stood on the rail for close to half an hour, Wayne arrived, more discussion of, “Should we check in to work…” – “I’m not coming back if they tell me to come back in a few hours…” – and on and on it went. But they knew they couldn’t get fired so what was the worst that could happen? They might not be asked back next year and most dealers like this gig.

I left them in their quandary and headed for the room. I had the blues…I missed my baby and his baby. And I was ready to just dissolve into solitude…like get the hell away from everyone and just do a ‘Linda thang’ – escape from the real world. I also needed to work on posting here and wanted to find some decent sleep before I jumped into the final table action on Saturday. I managed to find Sand Woman Land somewhere around midnight.

Aruba/Ultimate Bet 2005 – Page 7

Yesterday evening, after dealing the second day of dayshift, we went once again to the Sunset Grill. This was my second opportunity to order food and have the waiter/waitress disappear with me thinking I was going to get it…and one of my meal mates got some of what I wanted but they were out of what I ordered. Kind of like a repeat of the English Muffin thing at breakfast yesterday.

I ordered the shrimp cocktail, having had it on my first trip to the Sunset Grill…wonderful. A few minutes later the waiter appeared to tell me they were out of shrimp, did I want something else? Ugh!!! But don’t worry, Wayne got stuffed shrimp for his meal. It looked exactly like the shrimp on the shrimp cocktail only with some kind of stuffing. Now the Kids Across the Hall were really chuckling at me because I was on a ‘bad food run’…everything I wanted, they were out of. It was also the worst service and overall food experience we had in Aruba.

But on to Thursday, the 29th, the Kids Across the Hall called my room, woke me up around 11:30ish a.m. We were going in to work Swing Shift in the tournament area that night and they were up and about and wanted to go use our food coupon before work. I was dragging ass tired but couldn’t go back to sleep because 10 floors below me – poolside – the aerobics instructor was screaming out commands and the bass/beat of the music was pounding through my skull – so food time.

We went to Gilligans for lunch. Another food ordeal. I ordered the Tuna Melt, supposedly with avocado and other things. I got it. But there was no avocado and other things. I questioned the waitress, she questioned the cook, and came back to tell me they were out of avocado. More chuckles and jeers from the Kids Across the Hall. These boys do have a mean streak in them.

We finished our food and headed back to the hotel. Jim wanted to walk down the beach, the sun was out, it was hot…and yes…I did mention the fact that I don’t do sunshine. Wayne ragged at me, “Come on, Linda. Don’t you want to walk barefoot in the sand?”

He followed it with something like, “Live a little.”

PH-F-F-F-T! Where the hell is he coming from? Few people could keep up with me on jamming life into every minute of consciousness. And just in case any of you were roaming the Radisson Foyer a couple of times…I was the one blowing the bubbles that hung in the air. *fun*

So…I took off my shoes and we wondered out to where the sea meets the sand…and it was hot…and the sun was glaring down on my little vampiress body…and they talked about swimming…and we arrived home…and I handed my camera and bag to Jim and said, “If you drop this, I’ll kill you!” and I waded out into the sea until I was at float level. Float level? I cannot sink. It’s a true story. Even as a skinny little child, I couldn’t sink.

So here I am, about 20 yards from the shore, my feet above the water, my hat never got wet – floating – and the Kids Across the Hall stood on the shore while I ‘lived a little’.

L.R. floating in Aruba

Back to our rooms with the thought that we would all nap and then get ready for the evening shift of tournament dealing. I couldn’t sleep. Damn it! I was running on dead tired.

We went to work. We were all dealing in the satellite area. The main tournament was breaking down rapidly – it was down to four tables and the players were going on dinner break. We got our table assignments, it was a $1,000 buy in tournament. We had a few minutes before the players would be filtering in to take their seats and I talked to Jon and Suzie about getting an E/O. But then what else is new?

I knew I was going to be dealing the final table – of the main event on Saturday – and I also asked Suzie if I could be excused from the Friday night ‘Turtle Line-up’. The Turtles were scheduled to deal live/late at the Radisson Poker Room. She gave me the Ok…woo hoo!

I signed in at my first table, a few players came in and joined my table, but I got pushed before the tournament actually started. I was on a break. I milled around, went to the main tournament area and took a few more pictures. One of the dealers there asked me what I did. “Do you just take pictures?”

*Chuckling* “No. I deal poker.” I’m sure he found it hard to believe.

I dealt one table of the $1,000 tournament. It’s so relaxed and everyone’s so easy going. The guy in the 1s’s wife brought him a gourmet coffee from Coffee and Cream upstairs in the foyer. He didn’t want it but asked me if I did. I jumped on it…the aroma had already pulled me into the magical lure of great coffee.

He set it on the table, between him and me, with the cover intact. I know it’s hardly kosher but in that moment and time, no one seems to care – so during a ‘wait a year for a player to decide to call’, I took a few sips.

A few minutes later, we lost two players. Jon (tourney director) told me to wait while he brought in a player. I set the deck down and sipped coffee.

The woman in the 4s had been talking to the 6s and didn’t realize we were waiting. She suddenly looked up, “What are we waiting for?”

The 1s piped up, “For her to drink her coffee.”

I jumped right in, “Yeah. I’m drinking my coffee.”

I know she’s a player, I’ve seen her beau before, and I was surprised when she said, “Oh…I just wondered…”

I explained we were waiting for a player. The whole thing was funny. We got our player, I finished the down, Suzie told me I was OUT of the line-up and she would have the Kids Across the Hall out in a half hour. Yoo-hoo! I visited the Radisson Poker room and milled through the main tournament area while I waited for them.

We headed for home and the water. We changed to our swim togs, got a bag of brews and ice – Jim did a pepsi-vodka thing or something like that – and we headed for the sea. It was dark, warm, wonderful. We floated and gabbed and drank until we ran out of libation. Jim went up to the rooms for more, Wayne and I held hands (to keep from drifting apart) and just floated – under the stars – in the Caribbean Sea, a million miles from the rest of the world, the pull of gravity, and any stress or strife. Then we swam out to a small pier/dock and as soon as we saw Jim hit the beach with the booze, we were back in the water.

We turned into people sized, wrinkly bags of flesh, somewhere around two hours or so in the sea, then it was off to the pool. I was close to ‘pig’ drunk.

While we were kicking around in the pool, I managed to get off on a ‘love’ run. It was all about telling people you love them before they are gone from your life and you never have the chance. It’s something that is paramount in my thoughts at times – because I’ve lost five family members and a husband – and I feel that letting important people in your life know you care should be a priority. Not to worry, I turned into a ‘tear ball’ for a few moments. Kee-rist! So I’m an emotion slut…there are worse things in life.

Then it was time to pass out…yup…that’s what I did. After I checked email and played a game or nine of ‘Cubis’…I was out for the count.

Aruba/Ultimate Bet 2005 – Page 6

Get the hell up you Turtles. It’s another early start day for us…Turtles and Lizards have to be there by 11:15 a.m. Get off the floor and stop laughing. Of course you’re wondering how 11:15 a.m. could be considered early. It all depends on your perspective and your normal sleep hours. Mine ain’t day time. I’ve been called a vampiress more than once in my life and now I believe it. Daylight hurts!!!!

But before we got there, we stopped for breakfast at the place where the iguanas hang out. This was the start of my food disappointment on Aruba. Every time I ordered, no matter where it was at, they were out of something I wanted…but they failed to tell me until after I’d placed the order. I ordered scrambled eggs with cheese and English Muffins. The Kids Across the Hall ordered Eggs Benedict. My eggs came without cheese and I was told they were out of English Muffins and they had ordered white toast for me. “NO!”

They brought me wheat toast and took the eggs back to add cheese. But D-A-M-N, the Kids Across the Hall got their Eggs Benedict on English Muffins. So…they were just out for my order? Shee-it, Mon! That makes me crabby.

We slammed down our breakfast and headed for the poker tables at the Radisson…Hello, Suzie! This is the continual motion, never stop, wonder woman that takes care of us in Aruba…we all love her. As Melissa Hayden put it, “No one wants to disappoint, Suzie…I mean…how could you disappoint Suzie?”

With no further intro needed:


While we were waiting for our line-up to be set and milling around, there was a blackjack tournament – that Ultimate Bet sponsors threw together just for the hell of it – running on a few tables in the satellite area. And here’s the million dollar question. Where do past WSOP Champions end up?

Russ Hamilton and Mansour Matloubi

Answer? Aruba…of course…cheering for the blackjack players. Russ Hamilton won the WSOP in 1994 and Mansour Matloubi won it in 1990. You just never know who you’re going to see at a poker tournament…no matter where it’s held.

Still chuckling over this one…my start in the line-up was Table 27 in the main tournament area. This is what it looked like after I set my chips down in the Dealer’s Chair.

Table 27

It just plain flat wasn’t there. All the other tables were where they should be. I yelled at Suzie, “This is a first. I’ve never been assigned a table that wasn’t there.”

She sent a few of the healthy guys to pick up a table from the back and bring it up. Yup…I was going to be expected to deal again. Drat!

I took my camera with me on this dealing venture. I just hung the strap over my knee after I slid into the box. I milled around and took pictures of people while I was on break, looked over the crowds, and in general had a great time. These are the easiest tournaments in the world to deal. No one behaves like they know everything and they aren’t rude or mean when they take a beat. It’s just poker. Just the way it should be played.

So it began again, Day One, Flight Three. I stopped to visit with Mike Matusow for a moment. His butt was dragging. He’d had a hard time with flight arrangements and no sleep. It had to be brutal for a lot of people.

I just sort of cruised on down the line…deal a few tables…take a break…deal a few more.

One hand that really was amazing happened about four hours into my day. The 8s was empty when I sat down and about 10 minutes later we got a player from a broken table. The 4s was the BB. The player UTG raised it to $2,000. The 8s raised it to $4,000. Everyone folded to the Button. The Button pondered for over a minute, looking back and forth at the players, fidgeting with his cards, and finally giving up his hand.

The BB called the raise and raised it $10,000 more. UTG…the original raiser pondered life, God, poker, his kids to be, and possibly his grandchildren to be…or at least that’s how long the lapse seemed. He eventually folded.

Now the pressure was on the 8s. He counted himself down, a little over $9,000, and he started the card fidgeting, looking at his opponent, fidget, look, fidget, look, counting down his own chips again, asking, “Do you have those Aces?”

The BB replied, “Call me and find out.”

The 8s, “The first hand. I can’t believe it’s the first hand…” He finally called. Of course he turned over K-K.

The BB turned over A-A and won the pot. The most amazing part was that UTG said he had Q-Q and the Button said he held 10-10.

Somehow the conversation developed into that I dealt at Bellagio. The BB asked something like this, “Were you in on the Andy Beal game?”

My reply was probably a little curt, “In on it? There was never any collusion in that game. They played heads-up.”

He backtracked. He didn’t mean it that way. He was reading the book, The Doctor, The Lawyer, and The Suicide King, and he was fascinated by the whole story. We did visit during my down about proposition bets and players in high limit. Everyone at the table was fascinated by the whole story line. It is a great book. It describes the whole of a player, not just their table presence.

On the last table I dealt, Men (master or not) was in the 5s and Karina was in the 6s. They were having a conversation in which I heard her say, “He makes pretty good money for a dealer. What does a dealer have to know anyway? About five things.”

Men replied, “They need to know how to call a Floor Man.”

No Shit? In general – when they deal to him – they definitely need to know that…just to survive. I was honestly disappointed in Karina’s statement. I’ve known her a long time and I would hate to think that she’s regressed into the idiot player mentality where she thinks dealers are mindless lumps.

I was out of the line-up after that table. The Kids Across the Hall were out soon too. We escaped…out into the sultry night air. Yippeee!!!!

Aruba/Ultimate Bet 2005 – Page 5

Tuesday, the 27th, the Butterflies and Turtles were on deck at 11:15 a.m. to set up and get ready to deal flight two – day one. That was us, me and the Kid Across the Hall, Turtles Extraordinaire. We met for a meal – down where the iguanas hang out – watched a few members of our group trip by, and all in all enjoyed lazing in the shade, staring at the tranquil peace of the beach and merging of the ocean and skyline. The meal was great, so was the company, but eventually we had to move our butts down to the Radisson. We did.

Jim and me were starting in the main tournament area and Wayne was starting in the satellite area – just a big damn ballroom with divider walls, lots of poker tables, and soon to be filled with players eager to test their skills. We had a meeting a few minutes before we picked up our chips and headed for our individual tables and before we knew it, we were greeting players, checking their receipts for table and seats, and getting ready to crank out the cards. Truthfully, the cards sucked. They were some type of paper with the Ultimate Bet logo on them and after one round of the table, immediately bonded to each other with the humidity. Ugh!!!

I was starting at the last table in rotation, then on break, and head for Table 1. After I got to Table 3 or 4, the missing player in the 1s showed up…he’d been missing since the beginning of the tournament. Layne! He sat down and started kibitzing with me. I miss counted a player’s bet a few hands later and Layne peered intently into the side of my head, tapped my head, and asked, “Are you blonde in there?”

I laughed, “No but a little gray. Mother Nature just won’t cooperate.”

He asked, “Can you feel gray?”

I looked at his hair, “Where’s your gray at?”

“No. I mean…can you feel it? Because I feel like I have gray hair.”

Guess he’s feeling life but I couldn’t help but laugh.

He flirted around with a few pots and won them. Chip Jett was in the 8s and they started their own conversation. I got pushed out.

Much later, and further down the line, the blinds went to $150-$300. The 3s, a woman, said, “Raise,” and put out two $100 chips, then reached back and put out two $1,000 chips. The 4s folded, the question was posed, “Can she do that?”

Where was my brain? I don’t know. I was still on holidays. I said I thought she could. The 5s said he was sure she could only raise it to double the BB but to call for a decision just in case. I did.

When Jack walked up to make the decision, before I could open my mouth, the 5s blurted out something like, “She said raise and then only threw in $200. What can she raise to?”

I said, “Next time I’d like to ask the question…”

The 5s jumped in, “Some people just like to hear themselves talk.”

He was looking at me. I think he was implying that I liked to hear myself talk…umnhhhhh! Guess he showed me.

A few tables later and the players were on a short break. Erik Siedel came over to visit with me for a moment, asking about my website and mentioning that he’d been by and noticed a lot of changes. Don’t think for one half of a second that that isn’t pretty sweet. Nice! I did deal to him a few hours later.

Almost as soon as the players came back from break, I had to get another decision. Heads-up action, BB player threw out five $500 chips at the same time the Button Player threw in $1,500. When I told the Button that the bet was $2,500, he grabbed his bet back. I told him he couldn’t do that either, the chips had to stay, so he tried to push all of his chips in at that point. “DECISION!”

The decision? He could either forfeit the $1,500 or complete the call, but he sure as hell couldn’t raise at that point.

I ended up on break. I headed upstairs to the gift shop to pick up a double Red Bull and as I started across the foyer, I could see Phil Helmuth blasting out of the stairwell I’d just come from. I knew he was busted out just from the way he charged across the foyer.

Back into the Box. A few tables later, Phil came up to the player in the 1s at my table and apologized, asking if the 1s thought Phil swore at him. The 1s said, “No. I thought you were just swearing about poker.”

Phil, “Good. I didn’t think I swore at you but they said I did.”

They shook hands, a minute more of small talk, and Phil left. The 1s kind of chuckled and said something like, “Now I don’t have to have security escort me out.”

I started laughing.

Apparently Phil had flopped a set of fives and the 1s Rivered a set of Queens. Phil is just damn good press. I can’t help but get a kick out of his temperament and how intricately it twists itself into his poker play. Did I say intricately?

At one point I pushed a six ball. After 11 or 12 tables, me and the Kids Across the Hall were out of the line-up. We decided on Gilligans for dinner…a small bar/eatery on the beach that is part of the Radisson. As we stood in line, waiting to be seated, Erik S. appeared right behind us. I asked him if he’d like to join us and he did. Another super treat! What a great guy. He left before we finished because he was on a ‘player’s dinner break’.

Wayne and I ordered a bucket of beer each, that would be four in a bucket of ice, and it was less expensive to buy it that way. But of course we knew we were going to drink it too. I kept drinking. We cruised the poker rooms. The Kids Across the Hall had much more stamina for the fine of art of poker than I did. I was ready to be a lazy dog, swimming, more beer, and writing…what else is there?

This is part of the Bad Beat Rules at the Wyndham.

Bad Beat Rule

And in case you can’t read it:

12: Only English, Spanish or Papiamento spoken during hands.
13: Players may ask dealers for translations at anytime.

Can’t help but chuckle over the simplicity of it. Maybe it should be adopted in the States.

Aruba/Ultimate Bet 2005 – Page 4

So much to do, so little time to do it in. Isn’t that always my major complaint with life? I can never find enough hours in the day to do everything I want to accomplish…and yet I’m so hard headed that I just keep competing with myself to beat the clock. D-A-M-N! It sure is exhausting. So…let me back track to Monday. All of us ‘Turtles’ were off because we supposedly worked late on Sunday night. Most certainly a few of us did. I was NOT in the ‘few’ of us grouping. I really was on HOLIDAYS.

Monday was our free day. Me and The Kids Across the Hall set out to stroll down the beachside to all the hotels that had a casino because Wayne is a chip collector and had some chips to turn in for someone else and chips to buy for himself. It was an adventure…possibly on how much money we could spend buying beer all the way down and back. We stopped for breakfast where the iguanas hang out every day for their handout – the same place we had eaten the day before.

They seriously look like they are waiting for something to happen…maybe for the stupid humans to wake up and start feeding them.


The Marriott is over a mile from the Wyndham, on the beach side. If you walk the highway side it’s much further. And which side would you think we took? We took beer with us, downed it, and stopped at the Excelsior Casino (inside the Holiday) for chip/cash exchange. Their casino and poker room were pretty quiet. The poker room was worse than quiet. It was downright damn empty, except for the dealer that sold Wayne a rack of chips. Wayne and Jim sorted through the rack, looking for the best of crop – and the Excelsior has three different styles of $1 chips.

We hit a small store in the Holiday for brew to take with us, buying two at a time because it was cheaper…believe it or not.

We made it to the Marriott and exchanged money/chips there. We sat down in the foyer, allowing the breeze to cool us down slightly, and visited. While we were talking, Layne Flack waltzed by with ‘to go’ bags in his hands. I said something like, “Hey, Cowboy, where you going?”

He laughed and made a comment that sounded like he was a food runner – and went on by. We headed back out into the sun and the sand.

We stopped in another hotel/casino (can’t even remember which one right now) and the whole place was jamming. Bingo was on! All the slot machine seats and pit tables were full of people playing bingo. And the worst of it is they all had markers and paper bingo sheets. Nothing sophisticated like push slots or electronic boards…these people were dedicated to their bingo. I don’t think there was one slot machine that didn’t have a bingo player’s butt in the seat.

We hit the beach again and headed for our home away from home. I saw this delightful bird. The zoom is to the max on my camera and I thought the picture turned out great considering how far away the bird was.


The Kids Across the Hall really liked this bird and demanded that I take a picture…so I zoomed her too.

green bird

We seemed to be collected and cool as we drank our way back down the beach. I don’t know how or why but even though Jim was halfway behaved before dinner, he turned into a totally ‘chatty Cathy’ as the evening progressed. He said absolutely nothing that mattered and jumped from thread to thread in an incessant run of conversation that would drive a drunk to sobriety. I’m wondering if this had anything to do with his ass being so damn drunk. And this was his first venture into the ocean…wading.

beach drinking

Dinner time found us at the Sunset Grille at the Radisson…our second meal there. We had such great service and the food was damn good…and it was one of our $20 designated meal places. Jim never slowed down, talking nonstop throughout the meal and we, of course, had more to drink as we listened, and listened, and listened. Jim tipped the guitar player. Wayne and me are still teasing him about that. Sorry, it’s one of those ‘you would have to be there’ things.

Although it’s only been a few days ago, I really can’t even remember the full events of the night. That was my first early a.m. beach walk, and not a lot of sleep before The Kids Across the hall called and woke me up for breakfast. So all in all, it was a long day and memory escapes me. *edit* I got it straight from the horse’s mouth…Jim’s that is. We had all planned to go swimming. After I changed and rapped on their door, Jim was planning on watching football for a little bit with his eyes closed and snores escaping from his lips. Wayne and I hit the pool. Even though it was a little more than c-o-o-o-ol, and almost uncomfortable after 20 minutes or so, we stayed. Finally we gave up and headed for the ocean. It was like bath water…perfect. Soon after that, I was toast…sleeping like a baby on the 10th floor.*end edit*

In the meantime, the first flight of Day One of the Ultimate Poker Classic Tournament Championship had finished. The first flight left 79 players in action…impatiently awaiting Day Two which wouldn’t happen until the 29th.

Tomorrow we would be dealing the second flight of Day One. Time to sleep – or try to. My average of sleep hasn’t been very good since I hit the island. But tomorrow I really do have to burn and turn. Kee-rist! They really did bring me here to deal.


Play poker with all the stars on Ultimate Bet and win a tournament so you can join me here next year!

Aruba/Ultimate Bet 2005 – Page 3

Sunday…the only day that I’ve slept like a rock and loved every second of it…Satellites were running in the ballroom of the Radisson, along with other buy-in tournaments. My group – The Turtles – was scheduled to deal live at the Radisson Poker room at 8 p.m. (All groups had different assignments and times to deal.) Sunday was also the Welcome Banquet for Online Package Winners, it started at 7:30 p.m. but The Kids Across the Hall and me had decided we were going to find someplace to eat before we had to be at work. We managed to shower, dress, and meet in the hallway somewhere around 6:30ish.

We were each given five coupons worth $20, dated, for daily use at the Radisson…so were the players in the tournaments. Sweet! The biggest draw back to Aruba is the food situation. Everything closes by about 10 p.m. and the food is horribly expensive, coupled with the fact that the establishment automatically tacks on a 15% gratuity for their staff. The coupons help offset a lot of the food cost.

We ran into Melissa Hayden and asked her if she had any recommendations for food at the Radisson. She didn’t steer us wrong. We went to the Sunset Grille and loaded our faces with food.

After grazing until we were stuffed, we walked through the Welcome Banquet. It was a serious Pirate theme. We were given plastic swords, pirate handkerchiefs for do-rags, and an eye patch. There were several of these guys moving through the crowds.


We saw Devil Fish and said ‘hello’. He looked and walked like he had been out swimming with the fishes in a bucket of rum. It didn’t stop me from getting a hug though. I’m a celebrity slut to a degree. But then I dealt to most of these players before they became celebrities so why not get a hug now that they’re famous?

I popped on the ‘do-rag’ as we were cruising through the people and the crowd. We left the Banquet just as they were introducing Annie Duke to everyone (BTW she looked fabulous) but not before I looked like this.


So…we hit the Radisson poker room. They didn’t need us to deal yet and I spoke with Mace to see if he’d just excuse the three of us and we’d play poker. Yup! We went on the premise that if he needed us to deal, we would…sort of like the E/O Play thing in the States. We were not going to receive any hourly pay, just tips, and everyone knew that before we started. Wayne and me found a seat in a $4-8 H game shortly after going on the list. Jim jumped into $15-30 H.

Moshi was at my table, along with a woman from Vegas that Wayne deals to at the Palms, Audrey. About an hour later Suzanne got a seat at my table. She used to be the Front Brush at Bellagio. She’s since gone on to work for herself in an internet business her and her husband, Brock, have built from the ground up.

Later in the night, The Kids Across the Hall and me talked with a few other ‘Turtles’ that were dealing the room. Some of them were making very little money in tips and others were doing quite well…it all depended on what they were dealing. The Aruba dealers don’t want to deal anything over $4-8 limit. Sipu and another dealer got stuck dealing an Ace to Five Triple Draw game with players that play in Vegas. That was their rotation for the night and everyone else got shifted around the game. I think I’d have had a fit if it had been me. But it wasn’t so I don’t have to think too hard about it.

Around midnight or so, I gave up. I’d won one small pot when I first sat down and never drug another chip after that. I ran out of steam, chips, and desire to play all at the same time…so I said goodnight to The Kids Across the Hall and headed for the room. There were all kinds of tables open and I didn’t even check with Mace.

I was full of Balashi…island brew…and ready for a swim. I hit the pool about 2 a.m. – beautiful night, the water was just right, and I was ready for sleep.

I didn’t find out until the following a.m. that Mace had come to The Kids Across the Hall about 3 a.m. and told them he really needed them. They ended up dealing for a couple of hours. She-it, Mon! I’m really glad I left when I did.

With our schedule for dealing, if we are on the ‘deal late’ roster at the Radisson, we get the following day off. Damn! How kewl is that?

Aruba/Ultimate Bet 2005 – Page 2

Wow! I have a lot of catching up to do. It’s ugly. How many brain cells can I find that will pull together and help me concentrate on memory…kind of like running a hard drive without enough RAM and a processor that’s too small. Besides, I just put in a real dealing shift – in Aruba – and came back to my room to pour a really cold can of Ultra into a glass that was in the freezer compartment of the small refrigerator I requested for the length of my stay. The beer and glass were both so cold that they created a mix of froth and frozen crystals that kept running over the top of the glass. Hell yes, I had to keep sipping to keep it from running over the sides. It was incredible…the taste…crisp, cold, and just what the witch doctor ordered. Yumblie!!!!!

Now that I’ve explained that I’m drinking, I need to catch up so let me start with my view.

That’s any given morning, but check out the sunset.

Ain’t it just too beautiful for words? Kind of makes me feel as if my spirit has taken flight. No…it’s not the icy cold beer talking.

Backtrack to Saturday, the 24th. My buddies (Jim and Wayne) are now ‘the kids across the hall’. We asked for adjoining rooms but I guess all the rooms at the Wyndham were full so it just wasn’t to be…they are directly across the hall though. Their room stinks. It smells like musty mildew and mold that has been processed, canned, and sprinkled all over a room. Do I know why? Hell no! Mine smells all fresh and sparkly new – but theirs is ‘stanky’.

I asked for a refrigerator at check-in. I knew I was heading for a grocery store. After our first night of buying brews, The Kids Across The Hall knew they were going grocery shopping too.

We got up somewhere around 10 or 11ish and hit the restaurant on the beach for ‘brekkie’ before heading for the front desk and a cab.

Believe it or not, these guys are regulars, all over the outdoor restaurants, and we have to watch out for them. But they don’t bite, they like veggies. This beauty was around two feet long.

While we were feeding and watching people, and watching people watch the beauty above, a bird that was roaming the area (lots of them there as they’ve become food sluts…waiting for a handout – just like a poker railbird), flew right onto the rim of Jim’s glass and splashed around in his coke. It was so unexpectedly funny, we all busted up. He tried to drink the coke but we held him back…the bird silly. Jim insisted on a fresh glass.

Our waitress took a picture of us…and then the bitch acted like she was dropping my camera as she handed it back. Hah…hahhhhh…hahhh! Funny! NOT! She was a great waitress but she lost me when the fake camera trick happened. I liked her customer service though.

We headed for Ling & Sons Super IGA Center, a new grocery store on the island. Shopping at its finest. I picked up a little over two cases of Ultra, p-nut butter, graham crackers, broccoli, apples, rye crackers, and shampoo.

This is what Wayne bought:

Jim just stood there. Hell…he was waiting for someone to come in with a forklift.

We finally made it to the Cashier. Each of us left a healthy chunk of change in the registers for the Aruba economy. We had arranged for the cab driver, that delivered us, to come back in an hour. He was there waiting as we filled his trunk with our goodies. And what a system they have, it was cheaper going because he wasn’t hauling anything but us. Go figure!

Back to the hotel, unload, have a bell person load up and take our stuff up to our rooms. We were there waiting. Don’t think we hadn’t already been drinking…we were. We slammed down more brews as we discussed what time we should head over to The Radisson for the dealer meeting.

Suzie Lederer is our group commander in Aruba. She works her butt off getting all the dealers organized and informed and there, and she runs our line-up and works through each shift, staying there as long as she’s needed, to make sure we are taken care of and that we show up and do our jobs. We gathered across two rows of five tables and each row drew to see what we were…butterflies, fish, lizards, porpoises – our row? Tortoises. We were kewl with that. Especially since the Butterflies were going to have to deal live at the Radisson that night. We were free, wild, untamed, slow moving, hard shelled creatures that lived in the desert…ok…some of them live in the ocean. But we did NOT have to be to work until Sunday night at 8:15, then we would be dealing live at the Radisson. But for tonight, we were on the loose again.

I asked Wayne to put his hand out on the felt…the 1st hand.

After we left the dealer meeting, at the top of the stairs, in the foyer of the Radisson, we saw Phil Helmuth – a couple of hitchhikers in tow – heading for the place we just left. He had six champagne glasses in one hand and a bottle of…let’s assume it was Dom Perigon in the other. We exchanged a few words…not that he knows or remembers or differentiates between me and the sand crab out in back of the joint. But he did speak to us.

We hit the Radisson poker room for live play. Wayne and me jumped into a $4-8 Holdem game and Jim went to $15-30. The dealers had no idea – they did know they had a deck of cards in their hand but that was the extent of it…nice people though.

In one hand, three way action, (BTW you can bet $4 or 8 on the Flop. No shit? Yup!), 5s bet, 10s called, the 1s released $8 and reached back for $8 more and then said, “Raise!” as he released the next $8.

The 5s looked at the dealer and said, “He can’t raise. It’s a string bet.”

The dealer pushed back $8 to the 1s and said, “No raise.”

The 1s argued, “I said raise.”

The dealer took $8 from the 1s, stacked it in front of the 1s, looked at the 5s and said, “Raise.”

The 5s said, “He can’t raise.”

The dealer pushed back the $8 to the 1s and said, “No raise.”

The 1s argued and pushed the raise back out. Pointing to the 5s, I said, “He’s right. It’s not a raise.”

The dealer looked at me and then pushed back the $8, “No raise.”

We got past that. No one got a missed blind button…except me. After I’d been playing about two hours, I went to the restroom and came back to a ‘missed blind’. I went to the floor man to find out if that’s what’s supposed to happen. “Yes!”

His name is Mace, him and his brother, Dane, own part of the poker room. Mace asked me if we would all help the dealers as much as we could as they had to be trained. Umnnnnn! Ok.

I finally ended up about $80 winner. I had the best time with Moshi…he was in the 10s and really fun to play poker with. He was on a heater when I sat down and I never picked up a hand to get involved with so I watched the action. He helped me get winner and also took me off a few hands…but that’s poker.

I was tired of playing and my butt was dragging. It was close to 3 a.m. I left The Kids Across the Hall still holding down their section of green felt. I headed for the room. I kept trying to remember if we ‘dined’ that night but the answer is “NO”. We drank that night. I had a lot of Balashi, the local beer, after I took a seat in the $4-8 game.

I made it to the room, had a snack, gave up beer for the night, and crashed. I managed to sleep until around 4 p.m. God…I don’t know how. I haven’t managed to get even close to seven hours at a time since then. But it sure was nice. Sand Woman Land just pulled me in, snuggled me up, and away I went. Good night, Aruba!

Aruba/Ultimate Bet 2005 – Page 1

We made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare – on the 23rd. I got all kinds of shit from my traveling buddies…”Linda’s got airport phobia!”

*edit* And I got all kinds of shit for stating ‘plenty of time to spare’. They were ribbing me because we were three hours early and insisted that I write it here. They forgot to add that my son woke up in the middle of his night to give us a ride and he picked up all of us – in my vehicle – so no cost to them except their lazy butts didn’t want to hang out for an extra hour…wooooooo…bad beat! *end edit*

Yup! Can’t stand the thought of being late and having to run to catch a flight, let alone missing it altogether. And did I forget to add that I just plain hate the plane facts? Like getting to the airport, millions of miles of ropes that cordon us off into little trails that lead to a luggage check-in and boarding pass counter, people jostling and bumping each other, leave your luggage over there – “Is it locked?”, then off to the Security check point and more millions of miles of ropes and little switch back turns to more little trails, then take off your shoes, get your laptops out of the case, take off everything that may beep as you pass through the metal detectors…but be sure to have your boarding pass and ID in your hand as you go through, then slam your shoes back on and your laptop into its case and try to collect all your belongings as other people’s belonging filled trays are already slamming into you and yours, move off to find a thousand people trying to do the same thing you are – board the tram to your gate. Good God! There’s no reason to feel any stress about this type of thing. And then I know when I board the plane, I have NO space that’s my own for the length of the flight…that really hurts. I like my own space.

While we waited for an hour or so to pass, we played Big Deuce, ate, and said ‘hi’ and visited with other dealers that were on the same flight we were waiting for. BTW the buddies owe me a couple of pennies but they failed to narrow down what we were playing for. Not to worry, I’ll get them…the pennies that is.

When we finally boarded, the flight was full. It was the flight from hell. Bumpy, rough, stuffy and overly warm, miserable because the guy next to me was totally rude and had the center seat, he wasn’t a petite little ballerina and he made sure he sprawled out on the arm rests. Ugh! There went my space. David, the dealer/player behind me kept pushing his knees into my seat which hit me just a little lower than lumbar support. It would’ve been ok if he’d just held still. No go! I finally reached back and smacked his knee. He stopped after I explained. The beer was shitty, they had two choices, shitty and shittier. I had one and gave up. Tried to sleep but it was miserable as I had the worst case of Alien Legs I’ve ever had on a plane. What the hell are Alien Legs? Restless Leg Syndrome. My sis and I refer to it as Alien Legs because your legs feel as if they don’t belong to you and they keep trying to drift off somewhere into outer space. It’s the angle of the seats and their shortness that bothers me, they hit me right in the middle of the thigh.

The flight from Miami into Aruba was pretty easy to take. Lots of empty seats and I had three to myself. I managed to stretch out and snooze. One downside to the whole damn flying thing, we were on American Airlines and they give nothing away. Well let me change that to they give away a crappy granola bar, water, and soft drinks. If you want food, you must pay for it. She-it! The shitty beer was $5. Why pay $5 or more for a shitty sandwich?

We made it through customs, found a cab…after the self appointed taxi concierge (a local) tried to flag down a van for us that didn’t stop so he flipped it off and did the fuck thing. We were laughing at how universal sign language is.

We ended up with a female driver. This was a first for me on the island. She explained that it was election day and most of the cab drivers were already home. Also that drinks would only be served in casinos, due to election day all the party joints and stores were closed. It didn’t slow us down too much. We got checked in and hit the beach side of the hotels, drinking all the way. We had to attend a dealer meeting that was scheduled for 8:30 p.m. on Saturday but it was Friday…so-o-o-o….

Our first stop was the beachside bar behind the Wyndham. The Buddies had blended drinks, I went for Ultra…they didn’t have any so I picked another one. We stopped at a beachside bar at the Radisson, jumped up onto the barstools, prepared to order, and the guy behind the bar asked if we were staying there. We said, “No. We’re at the Wyndham.”

“We can’t serve you then.”


Another gent behind the bar came over and showed good sense when he asked what we wanted, kind of shooing the first guy away. We thought it must have been because of the election but we didn’t ask. We got one to go (yes, they had Ultra…yoo hoo) and headed for the Holiday. We went into the Excelsior Casino (inside the Holiday) headed for the Poker Room, and I visited with Marta for a moment. I dealt an hour or so for her last year and then played with her at the Wyndham. Nice to touch bases again.

Then we went back down to the beach. We stopped at one point to watch sand crabs or geckos or something and Lisa W. caught up to us. No grouchiness between us this year. We did a hug and make-up thang. She told us everyone was back at the Radisson, to come back and join them. Suzie had just got there with a group of other dealers and players. So we went back. More drinks. Somehow, our first night on the island ended. More later.

Friday, September 23, 2005

I waltzed into the room on Wednesday, started on a break, dealt 15 minutes of a $15-30 H and it was breaking down. They were ready to combine tables. So…I looked around the room, knowing if I stayed I’d be dealing one up, one down, and sitting dead spreads (and yes, I’d already signed the E/O)…time to escape. Kamell let me go and gave me the big X (excused) for Thursday night. Now that I’ve had all this time off, it should be time for me to get ready to deal. Maybe Aruba will find me burning and turning instead of looking for the escape hatch in the form of an E/O. Time will tell. I figure to let Suzie know – immediately – that if she needs me to work I will. But if she wants to send someone out into the night, I’m the girl to look for.

Before I left the room, some of the high limit kids were just cranking up a game in Bobby’s Room. Chip R., Phil I., Barry G., and I believe David G. If it was David, he had his back to me and I didn’t take the time to scope him out.

The Poker Drought in Vegas is about over. Summer is always slow – too many reasons to go into right now – but it’ll be cranking about the time I clock in on Monday, the 10th of October. Festa al Lago will be well underway and we’ll be slamming out cards while the jamming is running hardcore and maxed out at all the tables.

This may be my last post from the shores of the good ol’ USA for about 12 days. Then again, we do have a layover in Miami and if there’s time, and my cell connects to the Internet via computer, I may shoot something off there.

ETD (estimated time of departure) – about five hours. ETFFTB (estimated time for fun to begin) – right now. I’m on holidays. Too of my favorite lunitards are traveling with me. It just don’t get any better than this. We expect to deal poker, drink, sleep a little, deal more poker, drink, sleep…you get the picture. Except this kid still has a date with the beach in the early a.m. so the boys may have to party on with out me. Oh well…their loss.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

I woke up to a disturbing email today. My uncle Lee, the last member of my dad’s family (five boys and three girls) is in the hospital in Amarillo Texas. He’s 76 years old and has had numerous physical problems, related to aging, over the last few years. He needs chemo but he’s so weak right now, they won’t prescribe treatment.

I spent some time on the phone, visiting with my sis, Vickie, and we both wondered what he would opt for if he were physically stronger. The question of quality of life surfaces here. It’s easy for me to say where I’d be with it…I’m not there so of course it’s easy. My demand would be, “Give me great drugs and get me out into the desert for one last look at the land.”

My spirit is sad for him. I’m sad for me. I barely remember an image of him when I was little and we visited my dad’s parents. I did get to meet him, visit, and play poker with him at the family reunion in 2002. What a grand time we had. He couldn’t make it to the last few reunions and he was missed. After the reunion in 2002, he sent each of us girls little bottles of homemade wine, grape, apple, peach, and other flavors. It was like a fine sipping liquor…with a kick.

Almost time to close another chapter of my life – one that I never had the opportunity to read and explore all of the fine print.

The good news in the email was that Carl and Ellen live in Biloxi MS and their home suffered some damage – repairable – and all is well with them. Thank you, God.

I can’t think or say or read anything about the devastation in the South. It’s mind numbing. I leave that alone because I can’t handle it.


*Subject change*

Of course I’m jumping right into poker. I did sign the E/O tonight. The room was quiet, I was tired, and…I’m a lazy dudette – what else can I say about it? Apparently every place in town is slow right now. The Borgata Poker Open has all the high limit player action and ours is pretty damn quiet. Even though we may have 20 or more tables running, it looks empty.

I dealt three whole tables before I hit the Time Clock tonight…and I dealt to some of my most UNFAVORITE players. Dr. Pete. He jumped into a $30-60, posted between the Button and the SB, and won the first hand. He played the second hand and lost. He was in the 1s and he kept glaring at the side of my head. Funny how he didn’t glare when he won the first pot. I swear…one of these days I’m going to lean over, wait until he’s looking at me, and then say, “Boo!”

I know it’s childish on my part. But sometimes I want to be childish. I get the same reaction from the same people for 15 years or so and I want to behave like a five year old and throw things at them like, “Nah-nah-nah-nah!” when they lose a pot. If they think I did it to them, why not rub it in a little?

My last game was $20-40 Omaha 8 or Better with a half kill – the game of the future. Yup! That’s what I’ve heard for 20 years now, “Omaha is the game of the future”.

J.C.P. was in the 9s, looking grim and mad at life…that’s his MO though. He glared at the side of my head too. He always acts like he wants to throw the cards or have a fit when he loses but all he does is roll into his black hole and get one step closer to another heart attack. (He had a severe one about four years ago.)

The only semi funny thing that happened during my down was when Rafael moved his chips stacks from the 7s to the 8s. The stacks were way too tall to be stable and he moved one of them over and it crashed right into the side of J.C.P.’s short chip stacks. Woops! There was a tense moment when it would be hard to tell who’s belonged where.

J.C.P. ended up telling Rafael to take what he thought belonged to him and then went on to tell a story about playing in CA when a player got so upset, he threw his chips up into the air and most of them lit in J.C.P.’s stacks. J.C.P. told the table that he ended up giving about half of his own chips back to the player…so…he lost money. And he did it out of the goodness of his heart? GTF outta here. He only hates dealers? For every one else he’s a pushover, a real sweet kind of guy? Excuse me! I have to puke now!

Such a pleasure to deal this game. *sarcasm*

Adam jumped into the game of the future, started talking $40-80 Mixed games, and had an interest list started. I got pushed, took a break, and when I came back to the room, the game of the future had broke. They were all over at $40-80 Mixed. Go figure!


One bright spot and point of interest, when I came in to work, I saw Karina Jett in the audience of a TV event that was being aired on the monitors around the room. When I dealt the $30-60 H game, she was in the 7s. We have history…she played poker at the Mirage before she was old enough to play. Shhhhh…don’t tell anyone. We played together and I dealt to her. She was cute then and she’s cute now.