Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Check this beauty out:

Eagle Nebula M16

It makes me shiver…that’s what fairy tale heavens and ethereal dragons are supposed to look like – according to me anyway. It’s the Eagle Nebula M16 taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. Every now and then I go off the deep end – a child of Earth staring at space through the aid of the Internet and the Hubble – and I spend too much time going to ‘next’ – ‘next’ – ‘next’ because each picture is completely better than awesome.

Return to Earth.

There’s always poker afoot. The Blogger’s Tourney is rapidly approaching, all kinds of bloggers writing about it, and why not – it is going to be fun. Hopefully everyone will have a great trip report when they head for home…with pictures.

On the work scene, Moi has missed the last two nights of work. Sick call in, no not mentally ill (well maybe just a teensy bit on the strange side), but the dust mites and pollen grunts invaded my head. Maybe they’re boring for oil or looking for gold. I have that damn vertigo (Ménière’s disease) thing going on, when I lay down and turn over, or even lean my head back to the left, the black vortex has me…and it even spins. It’s allergy related, fluid in the inner ear. It’ll go away soon. I hope. It will…won’t it? *nervous laugh* No…really, it will. It comes and goes about three or four times a year and Dramamine helps believe it or not.

What I have missed by not going to work is – of course the damn money – the beginning of Bellagio’s Five Diamond World Poker Classic. I’m sure it will be rocking and rolling when I hit the room tomorrow. I’m prepared to deal my little fingers off and work my full shift. Except for Friday, I have to E/O, if at all possible. Big Garage sale is kicking off on Saturday and for some reason, people like to come during the day (when I would normally be asleep). I’ll be up all day drinking coffee and Red Bull, ready to haggle and dicker as I wish they would all go home so I can s-l-e-e-p.

Monday night, my first game was $40-80 Mixed. Adam was playing and started a conversation with me about my blog post; a friend of his had sent him the link. Of course I missed a raise in the action, not missed it in as burned and turned, but had to be stopped so I didn’t burn and turn too soon. The 4s, an Asian female, basically told me to shut up and deal – not exactly in those words. I did. She was right anyway.

Later in the night, I was waiting to push a game right next to the game Adam was still playing in. We went back to the conversation. He had asked me if anyone else in the room read it. I don’t know. He seemed a little in awe of the fact that I would just write about Tony like I did, since it was sort of public. I explained that it was my diary, and that’s what I did. I write about people and happenings in the room and in my life. I told him management knew that I wrote the blog and he seemed even more in awe of that. I laughingly told him that if I’d known he was going to read it, I wouldn’t have been so complimentary to him. Ok, Chris, you can rat me out and tell Adam I wrote about him again. *laughing*

The reason I brought up that particular conversation with Adam is because I can’t help but wonder why people think they should be secluded or hidden from the public just because they play poker. And I mean people in general, not just Adam. TV has everything going on with poker, they even show players standing up and cursing when they take a beat, so why shouldn’t players be written about? I always thought it was amazing that when Andy Beal was playing the biggest limit game in the world at Bellagio, and everyone playing in the room, during that two year interval, knew about it, went home and wrote all their friends about it, posted about it on the Internet on RGP, and all other chat groups in the world, that it was supposed to mysteriously disappear from everyone’s mind – like it never happened. History in the making and no one – especially me – was supposed to write about it (that’s another story for another time).

With all the media jumping on the poker platform, there is absolutely no way a poker player is going to escape the public eye. Check out the daily news…they never leave any stone unturned and poker ain’t gonna be no different, Kids. If you, as a player, can’t stand it, start a private game and stay out of the casinos. And as I’ve said before, if you misbehave and act like an idiot, why shouldn’t you be written about? And if you act like a real person, Adam, you get written about too. J


I called my brother, Kenny, in N. Idaho, the place we have our family reunion at each August – six inches of snow yesterday and six more expected tonight.

Then I got this email from my sis, Vickie, Missoula MT:

*Begin email*

It snowed about 9 inches of light fluffy snow last night, wanted to puke when I got up. But anywhere it was plowed or shoveled it melted off.
Love you

*End email*

Kee-rist! Why don’t these people move?

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Ron is doing my post for the day:

*start email*

—– Original Message —–
From: Ron Robinson
To: [email protected]
Sent: Wednesday, November 30, 2005 4:46 AM
Subject: Ron from Texas says ‘Linda can’t leave…oh well, get to Texas then….’


As usual been following your posts religiously. The moment I saw the first truck picture some time ago, I immediately knew what you were going to do.

….Go on the Pro circuit for a Monster Truck rally…..

My second guess (more realistic, I guess) was that you would be hitting the road to become ‘America’s Poker Dealer Extraordinaire’. You would basically show up in local towns, explain who you were, deal the biggest games, get the biggest tokes, slap people down with acerbic wit and before they could respond, be a ghost in the night….

…I mean as ghostly as one can get with a Monster Truck and huge trailer…

Of course, I find out at work yesterday and (YIPPEE!) I get to go to a conference in Vegas again in March. Yet, it looks by your imminent garage sale that I won’t be seeing you. (BIG BIG BOOOO!!! I mean, I am REALLY sad about that).

I was psyched because I would be there mainly in the middle of the week when you worked and I just wanted to sit by you, play some $4-$8 and just laugh through the night (of course, there is the obligatory monster raise with the Hammer on a blind steal).

I think we have met only two or three times months apart and exchanged e-mails a few times. Yet, for a person from Dallas who was literally a total stranger to you, you have made me feel like a good friend.

To the people who read Linda’s blog, let me give you an example of the type of person she is. We met while she was at the Bellagio; I felt we had good chemistry and exchanged e-mails after I left. The next time I was going to Vegas, I had always read she liked wine and asked if it was OK to bring her a bottle. She said yes.

Upon my visit, I see her in the poker room in conversation. I have the wine in a bag (no…not a brown paper one) and walk up to her.

Now, take it from my perspective: we just a met over a few days on my last visit months before. She hasn’t seen me in months. Although I look cool and calm from the outside (I’m 6′ 4″), I felt a little nervous because this lady sees a million faces and five million hands of poker. As I approached her to re-introduce me, she stopped her conversation, walked to me, say ‘Hi’ with surprise and delight and gave me the biggest hug…

At that moment, she melted my crusty ol’ Texas heart.

At that moment, based on a nod of her head, I would slap Sam G., try to bluff Sam F. with the Hammer and basically do anything she wanted within the law (but, hey, we are in Vegas… the law is a little loose).

At this moment, I am sad but happy for Linda; how many people get to do what they want to do with their lives? Think about it. Very few of us.

If Linda wants to hit the road and have her freedom from jerks playing $10-20, then I say “Jerks be damned!”

Dallas does not have legal poker but about an hour’s drive north at the Texas/Oklahoma border, they have Winstar casino which is expanding their poker room. And of course, Shreveport is about 3 hours a way.

Linda, if you walk in either place and with enough notice, I will be standing there with a bottle of wine, a smile on my face and a Texas hug to welcome you on my part of the long road that you may travel.

I ==really== hope I get to see you again either if you are passing through Vegas in early March or through Texas in the months ahead.

OK… get to your garage sale. Don’t let them dimwits try to nickel and dime you on selling your toaster.

If you want $2 for the toaster and the price tag says $2, well, damn it, give me my $2 bucks!!

Two bucks is all you need to pay the first toll fare so you can get to the rest of your life…

Take care,
Ron Robinson

*end email*

See why all you should make sure to introduce yourselves and visit with me when you come into the room! And Ron, I’m not planning on leaving until the end of April… 🙂

Monday, November 28, 2005

It’s early a.m., the wind stopped but the damn temperature is in the low 40’s and today is garbage day. That means Linda will be shivering her tush off as she takes out all the crap that should have been thrown away years ago, but is definitely going now because it’s time to downsize. S-H-I-V-E-R…ugh! Where’s the perfect climate? Or is there even such a thing? I know we need a ‘perfect climate sphere’ with 24-hour poker…that’s going on my Christmas wish list.


Well, blogger tournament buddies, I spoke with Mike Matusow, in person, tonight at Bellagio. He did get my email asking if he could make it to our pre-tourney gathering. He said he’s going to be sequestered for a ‘reality TV show’ for about two weeks. That may be a slight exaggeration but he wasn’t sure if he would be out and about for anything. Now how in the hell can this guy miss all the Five Diamond events that start tomorrow at Bellagio? BTW, the final event of that is a $15,000 + 300 buy-in. Well…back to the blogger’s tourney – bet we have more fun than any other tournaments around the world. Can’t wait to hang out with everyone and laugh and giggle…just 12 more days.


Jack it up – crank it down! One of the $30-60 H games I went through found everyone agreeing to put the ‘live $60’ on it for two full rounds of the table. Kee-rist! Talk about chip wars. And what exactly does that mean – ‘live $60’? The player UTG made it $60 to go before the cards were dealt, giving them last option to raise, and most of the time, they did. The game was huge. One guy signed up to play $80-160, he was moving up in limit trying to get even for the chip throwing frenzy that was going on in this game. Scary! Move up to catch up.

I thought I’d fall off my chair when this happened: $2-5 NLH. The 9s looked like any bigger than average guy off the street, plain clothes, drinking and a little slow with his speech and actions but he wasn’t slow with putting chips in the pot. He raised it anywhere from $60 to $80 pre-flop, and after the Flop, he would bet/raise $100 or a little higher, almost every hand. No one had a hand to contest the 9s with and he stacked chip after chip. The 1s even whispered in my ear that she was sure the 9s had nothing most of the time but she didn’t have anything to slow him down with.

The 9s went to the bathroom (yes, I know it was the bathroom because he asked where it was), and put a napkin over the top of his chips when he left. Umnhhh! When he returned the gamble, gamble, gamble continued. Finally he and the 3s ended up heads-up.

The 3s checked the Flop – a small bet, like $40 or $50, by the 9s brought a call from the 3s. The Turn paired the board with 8’s. The 3s checked, the 9s bet $105, and the 3s raised to $315.

The 9s called and accidentally hit his own chips, knocking some of them into his lap and onto the floor. He bent down to pick up chips and the 10s helped him. While he was picking up chips, that damn napkin ended up falling over his cards. I reached over and grabbed the napkin, tossing it onto the floor as the 3s declared that he was going all-in before the River card came.

The 3s pushed out the remainder of his chips, approximately $200, and I burned and turned off the River. The 9s sat up, looked around, looked at his hand, and asked, “What just happened there?”

I said, “He went all-in before the last card came.”

“No, I mean what just happened there? Those aren’t my cards.”

For some reason, without even thinking about it, I said, “Unless they fell out of your sleeve, they are.”

Several people at the table tittered, “What does he mean those aren’t his cards.”

The 9s was still trying to look bewildered.

I said, “Those are definitely his cards.”

The 9s finally threw his hand away and I pushed the pot to the 3s. I believe the 9s rarely even looked at his hand throughout his time of play. He just raised/bet when it came to him and he finally got caught with a check-raise. He may have discovered a draw that would bring him in for $205 more but on the River, he was finished and just didn’t want anyone to know. Or he completely misread his hand and was playing a previous hand on this hand. It happens to all of us at some time or another…we think we have one hand and look back and the cards have changed.

Well…hell. Time to freeze, shake, shiver my tush off with the garbage expedition. If I’m not back by tomorrow, send backup, with flamethrowers to thaw me out.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Wow! The wind is trying to blow us off the face of the Earth…at least us kids in Vegas. I’m crawling. Between the dust I’m stirring up by cleaning out, sorting, getting rid of, and preparing for a garage sale – and the wind kicking up all the dust in the valley – my lungs and sinus passages are begging for a body bag that has a filtration system in it to protect me from my environment. Help, Mrs. Wizard, can’t you cast a ‘no dust around Linda’ spell? I struggle on. Cleaning out the file cabinets, moving that acre of dust out of a closet that’s been unopened for months, shifting through papers and mess that comprise a lot of my life…because I’m a saver. My nephew, Chad, probably said it best, “Wow! This is an unusual rummage sale. For all the ‘user manuals’ and remotes to be with all the VCRs and everything is incredible.”

Umnnhhh! Maybe it is a little much but that’s a Linda thing. When I move into the new dwelling, there won’t be any room for any muss or fuss and everything will have a place. I can clean it in about an hour. No room on the walls to hang anything, no secret drawers or closets to stuff full of papers and mess, all in all that’s a very good thing.

But coupled with the wind that’s shooting half of the valley into the breathable air, it’s colder than a well digger’s ass. I’m freezing my tush off.

So let’s do poker.

On the up and coming Blogger Tournament at the IP on the 10th of December: I have Daniel Negreanu’s assistant, Travis’s phone number, and plan on calling him tomorrow to find out what kind of goodies Daniel would like to donate to the blogger tourney. I also received an email from Ron Rose, he will be in Vegas along about Monday and he is up for meeting the Bloggers for a bit before the tourney begins. Michael Craig, “The Banker, The Lawyer, and The Suicide King” will be a guest speaker at our shindig. I sent an email to Mike Matusow and asked him to come too…remember that I really like Mike. Haven’t heard back from him yet.

I worked the full week, with the exception of a few E/O’s. I didn’t race through the door every night, ready to go home, I went thinking I would work. The room was busy as hell. I did get out of the line-up somewhere around 10ish on Thanksgiving night, and on Friday I escaped around midnight. I played on Friday until the escape hatch opened. It was brutal. I didn’t lose a lot but I was never a contender for a pot. Fold was my number one wrist action. I have ‘carpal fold’ in both wrists. A few of the dealers drove me insane…one kept digging into his pocket and pulling out the $1 tokes and trading them for a $5 chip out of the rack. Ughhh! Manny was coming through my table and I took a walk. I was outside the poker room by the Sport’s bar when someone yelled, “Linda.”

I turned around to find a tall youngster, leaning over the rail from the poker room, asking me if I remembered him. To which I bluntly replied, “No.”

He went on, “Henry, from Card’s Speak.”

Then the bell rang and everything fell together. We got to visit off and on as I walked on a few dealers. Henry was playing $30-60. He’ll be at the Blogger Tourney on the 10th.

Sure…I’m a dealer…and the question could be boiling out of your thoughts about my ‘walking on a dealer’. Here’s why: some of them deal the game so shitty, and do all the stupid, disgusting things that are not part of their job, and they get on my nerves. I never walk because of a beat or a string of bad hands. I walk because a dealer doesn’t do their job and I get irritated if I sit and watch them screw up my profession.

So let me get into me dealing this last week. This is so stupid that it’s hysterically funny. I hit a $2-5 NLH game. The 7s plays intermittently, fairly young, tall, well built, and extremely sure of himself in his poker related statements. One would almost think he wrote the poker bible, if there was such a book. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve had to choke down some rude responses, from time to time, when he takes off on an opinionated statement about poker. He’s not a bad guy, just knows everything and wants to make sure the general population knows that he knows everything. So…he’s in the 7s, wearing headphones that almost dwarf even his head (considering he’s bigger than the average person).

The 10s was in the process of losing a buy-in when I tapped out the other dealer. He barely speaks any English. I make sure I stop to see what he really wants to do when it’s turn to act, because there’s some hand waving and motioning going on that I wouldn’t want to misconstrue for a fold, bet, or all-in. He’s peppy and upbeat. We are managing quite well, even though I don’t know a word of his language.

After the Flop, the 7s and 10s end up heads-up. The Flop brought J-little-little. The 10s bet something like $40. The 7s, never removing his headphones, said, “All-in,” and gestured at his chips.

I turned to the 10s and asked him what he wanted to do. He gestured, in a long waving motion towards the table and said something – but hell if I could figure out what he said. I pointedly said, “He is going all-in. Is that what you want to do?” as I nodded at the 7s.

The 10s made the same long waving motion towards the table and said something that resembled ‘all-in’. I made it a point to ask again, if he wanted to put all of his chips in the pot. He said, “Yes.”

This process between the 10s and me took almost a full minute. As soon as I was positive that the 10s wanted to push all-in, I looked at the 7s and said, “Turn them up.”

The 7s said, “Have him turn his hand up.”

I said, “You are the first person to turn up your hand.”

The 7s persisted, “Tell him to turn his hand up.”

I couldn’t believe I was getting this from the guy that acts like he wrote the Poker Bible. I said, “You are first. Turn up your hand.”

By now three or four other players had jumped on the bandwagon, demanding that the 7s turn up his hand.

The 7s looked at me like I’d just torn a few pages out of his Bible. “I want to make sure that he’s going all-in. Have him turn his hand up.”

I may have been a little snotty by now, “You are first to turn over your hand. Turn it up.”

“I want to make sure he’s going all-in.”

I went off on him, “I just spent the last minute making sure of what he wanted to do. And you should give me a little more credit than that. Turn up your hand.”

The 7s finally turned it up, showing J-10, and the 10s turned up J-9. The 7s won the hand. The 10s dug for another buy-in.

As the 7s stacked chips, he said something pertaining to the fact that he didn’t think the 10s had a Jack even, and he didn’t want to show his hand unless he knew the 10s was going to put all of his chips in the pot.

Me, “If you took off the headphones, you’d know what he was doing. I made sure of it. And no matter what happens, when I’m dealing, you are always going to show your hand first in that circumstance.”

Kee-rist! Take off the headphones and join the damn game.

The 10s immediately lost his next buy-in. By now, even though it’s not in my job description, I was feeling a little tug of ‘ouch’ for him. I asked him if he played poker. He said it was his first time. I asked if he would rather play in a $4-8 limit game to start with. He didn’t understand a word I said. I asked what language he spoke. Vietnamese.

I then asked Leslie (brush) to call Thang to my table. Thang was working the daily tournament. Thang arrived. I explained what I had tried to ask the 10s and asked Thang if he would explain to the 10s. He did.

The report was kind of funny. “He says you are saving him money, Linda. He usually plays baccarat and he’s saving money by playing poker. His sister plays poker and he’s learning.”

Thang was chuckling, so was the 10s, so…shut up and deal, Linda. I did. Thang left. The 10s lost his next buy-in when he flopped Aces up and the Turn got him. He left for the night. I got pushed.


A couple of great emails from readers that read my ‘going full time RVing’ post:

*Begin emails*


Happy thanksgiving and congrats. Just read your latest blog about your new future plans. Congrats on a semi-retirement well earned. I promise to introduce myself in person before you hang them up. I feel bad for saying that I am a bit sad about this. Reading your blog has been the first thing I do at work in the morning for the past 2 years. In fact, the days where you dont post my day starts a little slower.

Hopefully, i will see you in a couple of weeks. I will be in town 7-9th of December and will definitely stop by. Since the tourney will be in town, I will likely be playing mostly at Wynn since bellagio has a horrible ante structure for its middle limit mixed games, but i definitely plan on coming by to say hi.

But I digress, the mobile home looks awesome and I wanted you to know I wish you all the best. Happy travels,


****Linda’s note to Mark – But Mark, I’m not going to stop posting, hopefully I’ll be able to do a better job it of it, due to more time****


Hi Linda,
I just read your post about your grand plans. Sounds wonderful. Let me
know if you ever need the scoop on the Seattle, WA card scene. I look
forward to Poker Works from the road.

Good luck with the plans.

-Tyler M.

*End emails*

Sweet. It’s so great to hear from people that are going with me – you bet they’re going with me. I’m the eyes and ears and the mobility factor and they are going through me. Doubly Sweet!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Time to tell – to paint the picture of the ‘winds of change’. I’ve had the greatest urge (for quite some time) to go on the road, hit some great camping sites, drop in and bug my relatives for a week or two and find all the little spots and places in the U.S. that host poker on a regular basis. No…I’m not talking about private games. I’m a little leery of private games due to all the tales I’ve heard over the years. I’m talking casino/bar places that carry a license.

On top of the ‘urge’, I am easily bored by a lot of things in life. It really doesn’t take much to bring an appreciate sigh or laugh to my lips – a sunrise, someone’s enthusiasm for life, the view from a kid’s perspective, and the list goes on – but in general, the regular ‘take’ on every day life has a tendency to make me wish I took drugs. *Kidding* I honestly don’t know how people get up every day and keep their nose in the same place, at the same job, at the same pace, year after year.

I’ve moved many times in my life and I find it to be quite refreshing, starting over, finding all the new places to see/be. Change is a good thing for me. So…I’m going to take Table Tango on the road. It’s going to be awhile before everything comes together and I’m actually out and moving down the highway. Vegas will be my home base for a number of reasons. This is the plan as I see it, keep in mind all plans are subject to change but this has been shaping in my thoughts for quite a while:

1: I looked at Motor Homes and finally decided on a Fifth Wheeler, hence the truck purchase, and had decided on a Newmar Cypress back in September. First the truck was pre-ordered and now awaits my needs to move around the city and the country. (Viv standing by the truck).

Silver Steed

2: This is my new one bedroom apartment on wheels…although it’s not mine yet, that plan is underway and should happen soon. This is what it looks like when it’s ready to roll, ready for the truck to back up, hook up, and pull it off into an adventure.

road ready

This is what it looks like when I’m settled for a while – either in an RV park or at one of my bro’s places in N. Idaho. The slides are out and it’s ready to live in.

exterior slides

The living area – with the slide out for the couch:

living area

An overview of the kitchen/dining – the slide is out for the dinette:

dinette slide out

The cozy little kitchen with everything but the dishwasher – that’s because I’m not in the picture…*laughing*


The shower (the ‘water closet’ is totally enclosed with its own private door and not shown):


The shower, ‘water closet’, and washer/dryer closet are all in the bedroom area:


Don’t think this baby is cramped – every inch of it’s figured out for storage and it’s 37 feet long (inside) – that’s not overall length. The scary part is that my vehicle length, once I’m moving down the road, is somewhere around 60′. That’s a whole new driving experience for me.

So…I plan to pick up the Cypress – after having a few things done to ‘fit it’ exactly the way I want it, and move my belongings into it. That should all happen within the next three weeks – if the plan goes off as I think it should. In the meantime, I’m having a gi-hugeous rummage sale, have already rented a small storage unit to save my little treasurers that I can never give/sell/discard, and once all of the above is completed, my house is going on the market. My Cypress will be my new home.

I believe I will be at Bellagio until the end of April when the Five Star World Poker Classic Tournament ends. If the plan goes full steam ahead, I will stay on Bellagio’s ‘hired’ list and work their three tournaments each year. Until the end of April, I will be ‘RV’ parked in Vegas, taking weekend camping trips with my son and his family (taking my home with me J) and getting used to the overall experience of an apartment on wheels.

After that – Table Tango has gone mobile. When I get tired of being once place, I’ll just hitch up and go to the next. Sweet! I may play/deal tournaments, just cruise through a place with poker and hang out on the rail, take a week and hide from the world when I’m in the mood, AND STOP ON MY WAY THROUGH YOUR TOWN/CITY.

I have another plan about setting up a route and in that plan, I’d like some help and cooperation from readers. If everything falls into place on a road trip, and I have information from readers (you), on poker in your area, what to expect, where to go, RV parking (preferably Internet urls so I can check it out ahead of time), I will meet you and hopefully visit your favorite poker room.

Coupled with that plan, a new face is coming to PokerWorks.Com. There will be a new section, for each and every one of you to have your ‘poker story’. That is not a bad beat section or a hand history section, it’s about you, how you first got into poker, where you play, recreational/for a living, and other pertinent info that you want to share with the poker world. That’s coming. There will be more info on it soon.

If we meet and have the opportunity to visit/play poker with each other, of course you’ll be written about in Table Tango. Pictures too.

It will take a little time, but soon I’ll be ‘on the road with Table Tango’.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Sometimes the nights just blur into one long poker hand, nothing eventful or noisy happens, and I just blissfully deal my way through the shift. Not so tonight. I oft times have to figure that when I’m having an unusually difficult time with game control and problems with bad behavior in a game, it’s because the dealer I’m following did nothing to settle everyone down and get the damn thing moving. That’s exactly what I believe happened in a $15-30 H game in the first few hours of my night. Fuck was the key word in this game when I sat down. Cards were zinging back and forth, along with a few barbed and just plain blatant comments on someone’s play. I hate that!

It took a few minutes to get these kids to mind their manners and most of them were angry. Why? Unknown to me and I figure it’s their problem anyway. They could always go home if they’re having such a horrible time at the card table. Not all, but most of them were just – in general – grouchy and crabby and it was towards each other.

The 5s, after making numerous obnoxious statements to everyone in general and no one in particular, demanded that I get the cocktail waitress for him…even though it wasn’t phrased quite like that, his tone demanded. I called for cocktails. Within 30 seconds, he looked at me and snorted out the fact that he wanted a drink. I called for cocktails again and this time one of our servers came over and took the table’s order.

He went all-in and lost the hand. As I brought the cards out of the Shuffle Master, I asked if he’d like a hand. He arrogantly replied, “No. But I’m going to sit here and wait for my drink before I leave this…*a few seconds of silence*…wonderful place.”

The 1s informed me that the 5s couldn’t sit there if he wasn’t going play. Yup, it’s my first day on the job. And thank you kindly, Sir, for letting me know that. I ignored 1s and asked the 5s if he was finished playing. The 5s said he was done and sat there. I called the seat open. I can’t help but chuckle over this guy’s attitude and the fact that he was staying in that seat ’til hell froze over to get that drink. He really acted like he was angry with everyone at the table and they owed him something.

A few minutes later, Boba arrived with a new player and asked where the open seat was. I opened my hand towards the 5s. Still the guy looked like he couldn’t believe we were asking him to vacate the premises. He finally got up and loitered by the table for his drink, leaving after he got it. The game ran a little more smoothly after that and they settled in to play poker. I got pushed.

I hit ‘the hill’ (the name given, by dealers, to the raised section and high limit at Bellagio). Table 4 was four handed, Lee – 1s, Lenny Martin – 2s, Cyndy Violette – 7s, Joel – 8s, playing Razz and Deuce to 7, $75-150 limit. This game was pretty uneventful but funny with Joel making a lot of noise. I think he’s funny and that’s the key word here…what “I” think. You’d have to be there to appreciate it because telling it would never do justice to Joel and his loony conversations that he has with himself as the main audience.

At one point Cyndy asked Joel what he did. His reply, “I sleep. *pause* And I play poker.”

Joel gave Sam G. heat one night – for me – a few years ago, when they were playing heads-up and Sam got on my case for calling the low card (and that’s exactly what I’m supposed to do) but Sam was being sarcastic and mean that night…not when Joel finished with him though. So that’s another reason I appreciate Joel.

My next game was where the shit hit the fan, Table 5 – $400-800 Mixed. Jimmy G. – 1s, Kian – 2s, Yen – 4s, Shuen – 5s, Mike W. – 7s. I dealt Deuce to 7 about ten minutes into my down. Kian and Yen went to war before the draw, raising each other until Kian was all-in. That’s the key word in this hand – all-in.

On the first draw, Kian drew two and Yen drew one.

On the second draw, Kian drew two and Yen rapped ‘pat’.

Kian looked at his hand, pitched two and Yen sat there with his hands over his cards. I burned, and as I dealt Kian his two cards, he was asking Yen, “What do I have to beat?”

Yen picked up his hand and looked at it to show Kian, and exclaimed, “Oh shit!” and threw the 5 of Clubs face up on the table.

I asked, “You’re drawing one?” with disbelief in my voice.

Yen said, “Yes.”

Kian went ballistic. His stance was that the Burn was off and Yen couldn’t draw a card. Yen said he’d done nothing and he needed a card (he’d discovered he held a Flush). It got incredibly noisy, Kian was extremely verbal, and adamant that Yen could not draw once the Burn was off. Yen was holding his ground that he could draw as he’d done nothing (as in tapping the table or declaring).

Funny part of the whole thing was that Skip was standing right behind me with a Fill for my rack. He was the Brush for that section. I asked him for a decision, explaining what happened. Not to worry, Kian cut right into that conversation. Skip said he didn’t know the answer and would need Nate. Nate was standing a few feet away and I called him over.

The conversation from the players at my table went on and on. Amazingly no one even knew what had happened except Kian, Yen, and me – so much for player observation. One of the players asked why Kian and Yen didn’t just split the pot. Kian refused. He had Yen beat if Yen wasn’t allowed to draw.

Nate came over. I explained what happened again, in painstaking detail because Kian was hot under the collar and demanding over and over that Yen couldn’t draw because the Burn was down. Finally Nate decided he couldn’t make the decision either, he would have to get Jason, the shift supervisor.

While we waited for Jason, Joel (from the game I just left) called over and asked if we wanted him to make the decision. I would have laughed but this was not a laughing matter.

Jason arrived, by now the hand was in about the eighth or ninth minute. I explained what had happened. Yen reinforced his position that he’d done nothing – as in not tapped the table or said anything – and he should be allowed to draw. Kian continued to verbalize the fact that the Burn was off. After some deliberation and listening to everyone, Jason made the decision that Yen could draw and left the area. I gave Yen a card and he won the pot.

Kian went even more ballistic. He accused Yen of taking a shot and stated that he wanted Doug (Poker Room Manager) called. The conversation went round and round as the next hand started. Kian took a walk. The conversation turned to the fact that if Kian hadn’t asked Yen what Kian had to beat, Yen would never have noticed that he had a Flush and Kian would have won the pot without an argument.

Jason came back a few minutes later and quietly told Yen that he would run the security tape and if something showed up on the film, Jason would ask Yen to give the money back to Kian. Yen said, “Ok,” and once again told Jason he’d done nothing, like check or make a move to signify that he wasn’t drawing.

Kee-rist! There was so much going on that I dropped the deck on the Turn in Omaha 8 or Better with two players still in the hand. Fortunately for me, I always drop the deck intact, on top of the muck cards. Yen and Mike were the two players and they were all right with me just picking up the deck and dealing the last card.

Finally…I got pushed. According to reports I heard later, Jason saw something in the playback of the tape and did ask Yen to give the pot to Kian. Yen did.

My report: This hand is one of those freaky things that just NEVER happen. One of the key facts is that all the betting took place before the draw. Once Yen has stood pat on the second draw, since he’s not facing a bet or a raise, there’s no reason for me to believe that he’s going to draw on the third draw with Kian still drawing two cards. If Kian hadn’t asked what he had to beat, Yen would have held his hand until Kian completed his draw and turned over his cards. And Yen would have turned over a wheel in Clubs – much to his own surprise.

It all boils down to dealer error. I should have gone to Yen and made him rap pat or draw before delivering Kian’s cards. I just fell into the ‘assume’ role and coupled with Kian’s hasty query and the compounded craziness of the hand…well…ugh!

The rest of the night? A slice of pie and I was rolling down the highway for home by 3 a.m.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

I sent out the usual email to the ‘Pan’ group, advertising that they needed to show up for the 6 p.m. card party because it could possibly be the last one hosted at my present residence – and even possibly the last one I host in a helluva long time. Yes…that secret plan that I keep talking about. Remember the big assed truck and the fifth wheeler? Those are things that are whispering the wind of change. Only at this point it is no longer a whispering wind – it’s picking up force and starting to tug at my hair and clothes as I move about my daily life. But honestly, that subject and everything involved in it is a post of its own…probably in the next few days.

Scott, Ryan, Maria, Mike, and Carole and Gordon couldn’t make it to the Card Party. The rest of the group came rolling in at 10 to 15 minute intervals. Kram, Greg P. and Amy A., Chad P., Viv, Gary and Marie, David brought Heather (she’s a new face to our group – just visiting Vegas), and my nephew, Chad. Chad P. brought two friends that just moved here, Nick and Tim. Wayne was at work and showed up as soon as he could get here (on the funny side, I called him before he left work and he said, “If anyone’s interested, there’s a helluva $10-20 NLH game going here.” – he works at The Palms – and I replied, “Why would I want to break up my card party by sending someone there?” We both laughed.) When everyone or even almost every show up, it’s really quite a houseful. We usually start in the backyard, huddled around the chimenea, with a drink and visiting, and then it’s off to ‘super grazing’ and cards.

Tim and Nick want to deal. I sent my ‘dealing mpg’ url address to Nick in an email and we visited a little bit about the dealing aspect. They both play, are young, enthusiastic as hell, and eager to be involved in poker. The flood of new faces wanting to enter the dealing side of poker is huge. The card parties are the perfect place for new people to jump in and get their feet wet because everyone in attendance either is or was a player or a dealer. The downside for them is that we don’t always want to play poker or teach people to deal so if they show up, they have to do play what we are playing or take a hike. I think they get the best of it, either way.

We played Big Deuce. Amy and me switched off playing the same stack of chips for a while. There are times that I could care less if I play cards, but I do like the company so switching off works well for me. Chad P. had to leave for work – MGM. Wayne arrived. He brought champagne so we could toast to me.

We finally switched off to poker and let the new kids take turns dealing to us. I even won…5c stakes…yippeee!!!. Kram and me went to war in a few hands but he’s easy to go to war with. He likes to scramble it up at the table and he kept goading/teasing us to play NLH. Nope! We didn’t fall for it. We just wanted a friendly little game of ‘graze and visit’.

Greg P. and me were both telling everyone we had to play in the Titan free roll the following day. For some reason, Greg picked up his phone to find out something from a friend and found out that we both missed the Titan free roll. It was held on Saturday. It’s just a little bit funny that we both thought it was on Sunday. There’s another opportunity for a bigger free roll at Noble Poker – it’s a $5,000 freebie for just a $20 deposit. I’m going to see if I can manage to remember what the hell day it’s on and be there. *chuckling*

Late in the night, Wayne pulled out the champagne and poured. Him and me were standing the kitchen talking, coffee brewing, chocolate cake waiting to be cut and devoured, when he informed me that I should think of a toast, since this was a kind of farewell. I can get all creepy emotional at times and I didn’t want to think of this as goodbye to anyone – and it isn’t, it’s just hello to change.

So when everyone had their glass of bubbly, I simply raised my glass and said, “To me,” with a small smile. We all drank. It went over quite well for me, nothing emotional about it, and we were off to the next hand. I finally kicked them all out about 1:30 a.m. My butt was dragging.

So ends my reign as the Queen of the Pan Game Hostess and Poker Dealer Instructor in Las Vegas. The winds of change are steadily increasing.

Friday, November 18, 2005

I am seriously trying to change my ways. In that, I mean I’m trying to go to work and work my full shift five days a week. But when I walk through the door on Monday and the supervisor asks me if I would like Thursday and Friday off, something in the back of my head snaps and I say, “Absolutely!” One would think that I would just tra-la-la-la right into the dealer’s box every night and be totally content to be there. I really DO like my job. And it’s the greatest show on Earth but I’m just like the next kid on the block – a slacker.

There was a time when it was almost impossible to get an extra day off. With all of the poker tournaments and new players coming in to the game, there has been an incredible rush of new faces in the dealing force. And believe me, at Bellagio, we have more than our share. That’s why I’ve been able to be a slacker – because we have plenty of happy, little people that want to sit where I’ve been sitting for over 20 years. Yup – I know. I’m dating myself but that I can’t be helped. I’ve been in the dealer’s box for a helluva lot of time. So that’s what happened this week, I worked three full shifts and had Thursday and Friday off.

Most of my night on Wednesday was fairly relaxed. No one seemed to go off the deep end, not a lot of noise, or any special excitement in the room. The game in Bobby’s room was running but I missed it. The only game that really rings as out of the ordinary was a $10-20 NLH. And the reason this game was out of the ordinary was not because of intense action or strange hands or problems. It was because I dealt to the 2005 World Series of Poker Champion, Joseph Hachem.

I am really impressed and completely delighted that he wasn’t in Bobby’s room mixing it up with the big name players. The rest of the world may not share my view but I appreciate a person that doesn’t allow a big win to jumble their sense of reason with visions of playing higher and against tougher competition and in games they might not understand or even know how to play, but they play anyway because of peer pressure. I did deal to Bill Gates, in a $3-6 H game, at The Mirage years ago. I DID really like the fact that he just wanted to play poker. He wasn’t trying to impress anyone with how high he could play – he just wanted to play. Just because a kid has a lot of toys doesn’t mean he wants to play in someone else’s backyard to show them off.

I found Joseph to be completely relaxed and in control of his game. Sure…it’s easy to be that way when you’ve taken down the score that he did but some people would find it difficult not to have ‘ego attitude’ after besting all those other players for the title. The players were pretty quiet. The 2s was walking when I sat down and obviously had gone for an “ammo refill’ from the look of what was left on the felt. He returned within a few minutes and bought the minimum, $600, making a few comments to other players implying that they had most of $3,000 that belonged to him. I never have any idea if what I hear at the table is the truth so it’s possible the 2s was in the game that much…or not…

Joseph left the game for a moment and in that game a player is dealt in if they haven’t missed their blind. He was UTG and came scurrying around the corner just as I dealt the last card to the Button. He said something like, “I made it back just in time. You didn’t cold deck me did you?” as he looked directly at me just before he looked at his cards.

He raised the bet to $120. And looked at me again. Everyone folded and he turned over A-K off.

He said, “If I had straddled it, I would have picked up 2-4.”

I was almost laughing when I said, “That was really strange. It wouldn’t have been so strange if you haven’t looked at me after you looked at your hand. Especially right after asking if I cold decked you.”

In general, I enjoyed dealing the whole down. As I left the game, I stopped beside him and asked if he was here for the tournament across the street. He said he was here until the first of the year.

I said, “Great. You’ll be here for our tournament.”

So…Linda meets another Super Hero in the Poker World. Damn I love this job…and I like having four days off in a row too. Sweet!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

*Post continued*

It’s time to continue, to fill in the blanks left from yesterday, which brings me to a question. If a person is going to call a bet, or going to bet, why don’t they just put the damn chips out on the table instead of saying what they are going to do – verbalizing without moving? I can understand that statement in a no limit game but not in a limit game and I ran in to it twice – once in $80-160 H and the next time in the $40-80 mixed main game. The Mixed game is the one that it really was the worst problem in but that story is coming up.

I drifted through several low limit games and while I was dealing $4-8 H, the $2-5 NLH, along the rail, burst into a flurry of noise. One of the players jumped up and made more noise than the rest of them. But then why not? The player was Mike Matusow. One of the players in my game wanted to know what in the hell Mike was doing over there. I didn’t really know the answer but I conjectured that Mike had a friend in the game and that’s why he was playing so low. Later on I found out that he made a royal flush and that’s what all the noise was about. And yes, he did have a friend in the game.

I hit a $30-60 H and the 4-s played every hand and raised almost all of them. If someone raised in front of him, he reraised. It was like watching a lemming on its way to the ocean. I’ve dealt to him before – he’s a friendly face but I don’t know his name. E.Z. was in the 5s. He chatted with me off and on as I dealt and the game rocked on.

The 4s continued to brutalize himself. Towards the end of my down, he had managed to go through every chip and hundred-dollar bill that had been in front of him when I sat down. He’d lost all sense of reason but he wasn’t out of line in his behavior. He started leaving his cards lay about an inch from his fingers. Of course, I couldn’t reach them. I asked him several times to ‘push them in’. E.Z. reached over twice and pushed them in for me. The next hand, the four seat missed again after slamming as many chips in the pot as he could. This time E.Z. was looking the other way and I couldn’t reach the 4s’s cards. I did exactly what I’d done in the $40-80 Mixed must move game. I moved the deck from my left hand to my right hand, pushed my chair back, stood up, reached over and collected his cards, sat back down, pulled my chair in, switched the deck back to my left hand, and continued the game.

E.Z. looked back about the time I was pulling in the cards and apologized for not helping me. By now I was irritated as hell. I went off, “I don’t understand what anybody accomplishes by leaving their cards out of reach. How can it possibly make the game better? And what the hell does it change?”

E.Z agreed with me. The four seat never even looked up. When I dealt the next hand, I told the 4s I was going to deal his cards right in front of the rack and make him reach for them. Honest – I was laughing about it already. My little outburst helped me clear the air for myself.

The 4s told me, “Go ahead. I don’t care.”

He probably would have liked to stomp the table into the carpet and burn all the cards in the world at that point so he probably really didn’t care. I was laughing as I told him I was only kidding.

I got pushed into the main game, the $40-80 Mixed. This game was a nightmare. The 8s, from the must move game I’d dealt earlier, was in the 8s in this game and slamming chips as fast as he could. He was just in the process of losing one helluva big pot when I tapped the dealer out. The 8s picked up what he had left of chips and cash, made some comment about all the sterling play that he’d seen, and left for the night.

I sat down, announced a Time pot, and already had acknowledged the brush person that was sending a player from the must move game. Not to worry, no one in the game even heard the brush person. So immediately the demands were sent out, “Do they know we have a seat open? There is a most move game.”

That was the beginning of a half-hour of hell. Chris McHugh – 1s, might have been the most relaxed player at the table…other than Sammy – 2s. Chris used to play strictly 7-card stud. He’s taken quite well to this game and I’ve known him a long, long time.

Elaine was in the 4s and she was moving a lot of chips and managing to pull back quite a few of them. The 5s is a semi regular and he looked like he was going through a hell that no other man has ever seen. The stress on his face – and cracking through in his voice – can’t even be explained.

The next hand I dealt found the 5s heads up with the 8s on the River. Elaine had been in the hand on Sixth Street. There were numerous raises when the action was three-way. I simply left the bets in front of all of them because the raises were coming in on autopilot. When Elaine folded, after a bet and call on the River, I pulled her money into the pot as the 5 and 8s were chopping. The 5s went into a voice cracking stress fit wanting to know how much the 8s was taking back. I tried to explain that the last bets had simply been left in front of them.

He kept interrupting me with something that resembled, “I’m only asking a question for God’s sake. I’m only asking a question.”

It didn’t do me any good to try to explain it again because I got another repeat from him. So I let them stack up the money in front of them and count it down to make sure the 5s wasn’t giving up any more than he was supposed to.

There were bills in the pot. The 5s asked to have the bills. I said, “OK.”

As I counted out ten chips and stacked them (and matched up two other stacks next to the first one to signify three stacks of $100 each), and spread three $100 bills to show they were even, and got ready to push the bills to the 5s and the stacks to the 8s, the 5s reached over and counted down one of the stacks of $10 chips. I stop doing everything and sat back in my chair and looked at him. He got the picture from the look on my face. Shit like this irritates me to death. If he wants to know if the damn stacks are correct, all he has to do is watch me count them or ask me to recount them for him.

The 8s opened and Tony came in from the must move game. He was gambling and slamming but I guarantee he couldn’t begin to keep up with Elaine. He lost a few hands and immediately got “the attitude” with me.

The 5s managed to find a bad card in the deck. I didn’t see anything on the card but I didn’t argue with him. I called for a set up, got it, and spread the new deck.

Suddenly Tony looked over and queried, “How come we are getting a new deck?”

Kee-rist! Wonder how hard it is to pay attention.

The 6s and Tony went to war in the next hand. I left the bets in front of them since they were heads up. On the River, Tony bet and the 7s said, “I call,” without putting out the chips.

It was a split pot. Don’t think the 7s could remember that he didn’t put the chips out. He wondered, out loud, if he was getting the right amount while he was pulling back the bet in front of him. It took two other players and me to remind him that he didn’t put the last $160 in the pot.

As I dealt the last couple of hands, I told Chris this game was so difficult to deal because the players were always upset, and never paid attention to anything. He agreed with me. Maybe this game is so good for him because he does pay attention. But coupled with all of the above mentioned things going on in those games, there are other things happening too – like conversations, sweaters coming and going, players walking up and checking the game plaques to see what games are being played, and more. So when there’s major static going on, the game gets really hectic to deal.

The night wasn’t a bust or a waste. The two sessions in $40-80 mixed games were basically a drag but one can’t judge the whole shift on a couple of games.

Along about my next break, when I was at the Cashier’s Cage, a fellow standing at the next cashier asked if I was the Linda with the website. I said yes. His name is John. Hey, John, thanks for introducing yourself.

I ended up with the nuisance break at 2 a.m. – this means I take a half-hour break and have to come back and deal a half-hour before I clock out. I was sitting at an empty table, chatting with another dealer on break, when the 4s from the $30-60 H game was on his way to the Cashier’s Cage…meaning he had to walk directly towards me. As he approached, he had his hand up with a chip in it, “Can you catch this?”

I chuckled as he walked by and slipped a chip into my hand. It was his way of apologizing. I dealt my last game of the night and hit the door.