Friday, January 28, 2005

Love bites........

Not that kind of love.
I pushed into a NL game tonight and as I was settling in, the 3s, who deals in a downtown cardroom, stated that I was his man. Last week I was in the box when he went on a rush. He is a player that will take the dealer along for the ride when he goes on a heater. Since then, he has done well when I sat down in his game. Tonight, when he made that statement, I chuckled and told him that Love Hurts Sometimes. Sure enough, two hands into the down he flopped a full house and ended up losing a large pot to a bigger full house. Most of the time I am satisfied with letting probability and chance play out, but once in awhile I wish that I had some control over the cards.

Another player that I have been dealing to for about 8 months is always asking if I want to do a shot with him. When I am in the box, my standard answer has always been that I needed a shot but that I still had Xhours left in my shift. For whatever reason he never seemed to be in a game when I got off of work. Tonight, we finally did that shot after I finished and clocked out. Even though I ordered two shots of Sambuca-chilled, it was delivered on the rocks. Oh well, it was "free" and tasted good. I chased the shot with a beer and then started making my way out into the Nevada evening with another work week in the rear view mirror. I got sidetracked and ended up talking to a player who was trying to get on the list for a NL game. This player is new to the game and has only been playing B&M poker for about 6 weeks. He started out playing $3-6 limit (at another casino) and quickly jumped to the NL action at our house. We talked about ego, poker and rational thought. He knows that he is in over his head in the NL game, but his ego will not allow him to back down to a lower limit. He is not alone in that predicament, but I think that he is unique in that he admits his dilemma. Of course, his NL lessons" are becoming increasingly expensive and I could buy a new, low-end automobile with what he has lost in a few short weeks. I sincerely hope that he completes his course-work before the stash o'cash dries up.
Last Saturday was spent hiking the Valley of Fire with Linda and Jim. The scenic beauty of the desert continues to mesmerize me. I saw my first petroglyphs. It is amazing to think that these carvings were done somewhere between 1 and 4,000 years ago. In some places the wind and the rain have nearly erased the designs and in other places they look as if they were freshly carved. To me, at least, they serve to remind me that our time on this earth is freakishly brief when compared to time immemorial. 4,000 years from now, will ANYTHING that I (or you)have done be of any consequence? I doubt it.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

And from the "What will they think of next" category....

I waltzed through NYNY on Tuesday night and was stopped in my tracks by what I saw. They have a 21 table that has slot machines inbedded into the table at each player position. Two, two two ways to lose money in one location. This got me to thinking about the enormous potential that these machines would have if there were 10 of them inbedded into every poker table. How much of your table time is spent waiting for the current hand to finish after you have mucked your garbage cards? 90%-95%. The implications are startling and I would predict that some casino will shoot this angle in the very near future.
What WILL they think of next?

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

The road less traveled.......and the soup kitchen queue

What do you want to be when you grow up?
I want to be a poker dealer!
I'm positive that these two sentences are not often spoken one right after the other. I know that I never uttered the second in response to the first. Frankly, I am not sure what grown up actually means. I've often wondered how I was supposed to act when I turned 25, 30,35 38 etc. With the exception of marriage/children I've pretty much done what I assumed was expected. Graduate from high school, graduate from college, get a real job, pay my bills. During those 15 years in the "normal" world 60 hours of work=$xxx, 30 hours of work=$xxx, ditto for 40 hours of work=the same $xxx. If that didn't make any sense, I was always a salaried employee. As a dealer, a small hourly wage is the only constant. The bottom line is that if you push the pots to the "right" people the results can be lucrative. If those same pots get pushed to players who choose, for any number of reasons, not to bestow a gratuity, the results can be the opposite of lucrative. Obviously, you can perform the same functions, in exactly the same way, and witness outcomes that are vastly disparate. Honestly, depending on the generosity of others leaves me with an uneasy feeling that I have not yet come to terms with. I'm not at all sure that I will ever be completely comfortable with the whole concept. Although I know that there is a significant difference-- like the fact that I am performing a function in return for the toke that I may receive-- I often ponder the similarities between myself and the ubiquitous LV off-ramp panhandler. Holy steaming mound of crap Batman! Isn't that a comforting thought?

Monday, January 17, 2005

The awe inspiring beauty and ruggedness .....

of the desert is hard to describe with mere words. It must be experienced to be truly appreciated. Imagine the harsh forces of wind and water, at work for a few thousand years, transforming the landscape into a sculpture.
And then, from the briefness of a sudden rain storm a delicate work of art is created. In a few days the puddle will dry up and the wind will erase this temporary masterpiece.
I spent yesterday hiking the East Bowl of Fire with Linda G. The sensory overload of Neon Madness that is Las Vegas is perhaps 25 miles away. Is it possible that somewhere between North Las Vegas and Lake Mead we have driven through a jagged hole in the time-space curtain? This cannot be the same planet, much less the same county in the same state.
This was my third adventure with Linda. Previously we hiked the Anniversary Narrows and Calico Basin. I would have never become a hiker on my own initiative and I was more than a little skeptical when we first discussed the possibility of hiking together. I am indebted to Linda for introducing me to this form of escape and I look forward to many more of these adventures.

Back to the real world....
On Friday afternoon I played a few hours of NL at Aladdin. Cashed out a small winner. I then drove over to Bellagio. Yes, I do know that Bellagio is directly across the street from Aladdin and actually WALKING over did briefly cross my mind. In any case the 4-8 list at Bellagio was two columns long so I decided against waiting several hours to play there. Back to the car for a short ride to the Rio. No list there. Actually, there are 5 empty tables. Instead of immediately joining a game I head to the dreaded PIT. As usual I was misguided as I proceeded to contribute a few bills to the Harrah*s war chest. Question: When will I learn? Answer: Never!
Back to the poker room as a $3-6 game is just getting started. I take a seat. It soon becomes apparent that this game is like so many other hold'em games these days. Get your money in with the best of it and watch as the wheels of the slot machine stop on, you guessed it, runner runner flush.....runner runner gut shot straights. Cold calling three bets with long shots only to be rewarded with my money. Reminding myself that this is what I WANT them to do is little consolation. I clawed back to within shouting distance of my buy in and at 3:30 am called it a morning.
Saturday night was spent playing in the weekly Pan game. I think I ended up $1.85 winners.
Weekend results: Poker-net winner. Pan-winner. PIT-Loser! Mental note: Stay OUT of the pit.
7 hours until I'm back in the box.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Off in the not-so-distant distance......

there will be 40 poker tables at my place of work. I've heard that we will be helping to accomodate the overflow from the RIO during the WSOP. I don't look forward to dealing satellites. Hopefully we (regular employees) can just deal the ring games and they will bring in dealers to deal the satellites. Where all of these dealers will come from is anyone's guess. If you have ever harbored a desire to deal poker in LV, now would be the time to take that leap of faith. I've heard that after the Series we will shrink back down to 16 permanent tables. Six more than our current 10.

I'm more than a little frustrated with poker right now. For some reason I have struggled for two nights in a row. Who the hell knows where my mind has been but it sure has not been situated squarely inside my skull. Stupid mistakes and indifference have moved in and taken control and I am not at all happy about it. As I ended my shift last night (1 hr OT-- I must have deserved an extra hour of torment) I wondered if I even cared if I saw the inside of a card room ever again. Silly boy! Of course you will. You'll spend a good portion of your three day weekend firmly planted in a chair at a poker table. Maybe I'll try the $6-12 or $10-20 at the Mirage or the NL games at the Aladdin. Who knows.
The $10-25 blind NL game min $1000Buy at our house is being spread with more regularity. Joe A. seems to be the catalyst. Last weekend a fairly famous football player was apparently the center of attention in this game. I don't really have any other details.

Tomorrow is my little sister's birthday. She'll be 35. Is that even possible? Happy Birthday Deb. Love & miss you kiddo!

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Observations vs. Complaints and a menacing DEMON

I am fond of saying that I am NOT complaining, just making an observation. I'm not sure that anyone actually buys it, but I like saying it anyway.
I began tonight by entering the box in a little $2-4 limit HE game. This game, like so many others these days, was populated by several unknown faces. Invariably, these new faces are internet players making their first foray in a B&M card room. The first three pots that I pushed resulted in me grabbing a handfull of air. Translation: the winners of these pots chose to withold any gratuity. During this 30 minutes of work, this happened 7 more times for a grand total of 10 air balls. I can honestly say that this set a new personal 30 minute record for me.
The dealer that relieved me from that game later told me that her experience in that game was much like mine.........BUT.... she overheard some of the "new faces" discussing how much the dealers must make because of all of the money going down into that "little hole" . I am laughing as I type this... TOO funny! They thought that the dealers were pocketing the rake! Of course she took that opportunity to explain the rake and to point out in her most non-hustling manner that her toke box was hanging there beside her.
I don't attribute my performance for the rest of the night to that inauspicious start, but it was not my best night. Sometimes things just don't "feel" right. In fact, a few hours later, I dropped the deck after the turn. I hadn't done that for a LONG time. I'm probably my own worst critic and I HATE it when I make a bone-head mistake like that. I tend to beat myself up when my performance is sub par.
In spite of it all, I later dealt to a player that I had not seen for several months. She is one of the nicest people that I have ever had the pleasure of dealing to. A few hands into my down at her table, she commented to me that I had, in her absence, become much more experienced and that I now dealt with so much confidence. Well, hell, I wish that she could see me on a "good" night. That is assuming that I ever have a good night again. I get a chance to redeem myself, at least in my own eyes, in about13 hours.

For about as long as I can remember I have had a passion for messing with Lady Luck. I can remember "sneaking" into the Lonaconing Republican Club and helping my grandfather open those little "tip-jar" packets that contained five little pieces of paper with a number printed on them. The packets cost 50 cents each and if your packet contained certain numbers, you instantly won money. There were also 30 numbers that ended with 00. These were called "holders" and you held those until all of the tickets from the jar were sold. At that point, a foil seal was opened and under the seal there was a number that ended with 00. If your holder number matched the number under the seal, you won $100. He would also occasionally allow me to play the poker machines that were prolific but not legal in our neck of the woods. As I grew older I heard stories of my grandfather going to the racetrack on payday. On several occasions he would lose his entire pay. Apparently he was able to borrow money from the butcher so that my grandmother would not know that he had gambled away his entire pay. I also heard stories of my grandmother putting the kid's (my dad and aunts) lunch money in the slot machines at the VFW. I guess my point is that I get my gambling honestly.
November 2004 was a decidedly bad month for me. I KNOW that there is no reasonable chance of ever beating the slot machines, but the machines have always been my money pit of first resort. I decided that if I was going to continue to live in Las Vegas that I needed to prove to myself that I had at least a little bit of control over the situation. As of today (12/13) I have not "invested" a penny of my money in a machine for ONE MONTH AND 13 DAYS. Goody for Me!
Look out when I fall off of THAT wagon.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Come sail away, come sail away, come sail away with me.

It looks like I will be dealing on my first poker cruise. I have cruised before, but this one should be interesting as I combine work with rest and relaxaion. As an added bonus, I will celebrate a birthday at sea.
Cruise Itinerary
2/10 New York, New York
2/11 At sea
2/12 At Sea
2/13 St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands
2/14 St. John's Antigua
2/15 Bridgetown, Barbados
2/16 Philipsburg, St. Maarten
2/17 Tortola, British Virgin Islands
2/18 At Sea
2/19 At Sea
2/20 New York, New York

Meanwhile, back in the desert, it continues to rain. Monsoon season. Chilly and damp. Someone remind me of this in August when I am bitching about it being 115 very dry degrees for weeks on end.
Had an extremely enjoyable evening last night. Linda and her sister sat out quite a spread of great food. Pork tenderloin w/gravy, grilled whole chickens, grilled salmon, red skin potatoes, corn, beans, green salad, and apple slaw. After dinner we broke out the chips and played poker and pan. Sprinkle in a libation or two and you have a recipe for a memorable night spent with good people. Thanks!

Friday night was memorable for all the wrong reasons. I sat in a very loose/passive $4-8 game around 1AM (actually Sat. morning) and 7 hours later I was licking my wounds from a brutal thrashing. All I could do was shake my head as I lost pot after pot to 2-4 off, 4-5 off 3-6 off etc etc. They played them and chased all the way only to be rewarded with my money. The only consolation is that since they were rewarded, their strategy reinforced, I might get to sit across from them again in the near future. Hopefully by then the horseshoe will have fallen out of their asses.
I finished my weekend with 5 hours of $1-$2 blind NLH at Harrah*s. Ended up winners so all is not lost.
Back in the box at noon tomorrow.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

The poker explosion is over.

Just kidding, although it has been quite some time since I was able to EO. By about 4PM all of our tables were fired up and it looked like another night like so many others. I slipped into the no limit room and two hours later when I returned to the lower limit room there were, get this, TWO empty tables and the list was non-existent. DO. do. DO. do. DO. do. DO. do. you have just entered the Twilight Zone. Not one to argue, I took advantage of the situation and hit the clock and got a two hour jump on my long weekend.
Some of the table talk tonight was about the $10-$25 blind NL game that we spread the other night and about the tens of thousands that changed hands in a few short hours. I heard one guy apologize to another because he was unable to reach him by phone to let him know that a VERY juicy game had broken out on table 10. Blood was in the water and apparently piranhas network too.
Looking forward to a few days off, playing some poker and especially Saturday night at Linda's....good food, a libation or two, Pan, more Poker and the comfort of friends on a lazy winter evening in the desert.

Some insight into the texture of a poker room

The typical layout of our poker room(s) is three $2-$4 limit hold'em games, three $4-$8 limit hold'em games in one room and four $2-$5 blind no limit games in the adjacent room. Occasionally we will spread a $6-12 limit or $9-$18 limit in the no limit room and on some Wednesday and Fridays we will spread a 7 card stud high low split with a double qualifier 8ob low two pair high with a "hoggy" feature which is essentially a kill of $10 if one player scoops a pot of $100 or more. Isn't that a mouthfull? These variations from our standard layout can only occur, obviously, when one of our 10 tables sits dead, which isn't often. On Tuesday 1/4/05 table 10 sat there forlorn and empty. A group of players waiting for a seat in an existing $2-5 blind NLH game asked if we would spread a bigger game like the big boys on up Flamingo Road play. Ok, table available, delaer available, players ready with their wads of cash. Houston, we have NO problem. We fire up a NLH game with $10&$25 blinds. Rake of $1 on $20/$40/$60/$150 max $4. No time taken, just the same rake structure as the $2-$5 blind game. What a bargain. Keep in mind that my experience in the poker world only goes back about 14-15 months. I was always of the opinion that if the players want you to spread it, spread it. Why deprive them of gamBling (I still spell gambling with a B in it, silly me) in the fashion that I see fit. Well, in a small room like ours it creats some issues. No feeder game, can't combine games, some players foolishly move up to the bigger game out of pride/vanity and get their ass kicked etc etc. Should the poker version of Big Brother try to protect players from themselves? On a side note, my observation (don't mistake this observation as a complaint, because it isn't) showed that some of the same players who toke generously in the smaller games suddenly tightened up in the bigger game. The human brain must be hardwired causing this phenomenon?!?
Yesterday, the hoggy game began at 2PM four handed. We hosted this for a few years and then a couple of months ago it moved to Sam's Town. When the game returned to our room I asked one of the regulars what politics were involved in the moving of the game from and then back to our place. He stated that it really wasn't politics at all. He stated that Sam's Town treated them nice, the dealers were good etc.etc. but that they got ZERO walk-ins at ST. At our place they can count on new faces sitting down in their game while they wait for a seat in our NL games. Ain't that the truth. Location, Location, Location. Last night the list for the NL games grew to 40 deep causing resentment from players who are used to us having 4 NL games going for the bulk of every day. I certainly don't have the answer, but it is interesting to see it play out. Most of the time we could put 10 more tables to good use if we had them and had room for them. We often joke that we are going to spread a game on the podium or in the men's room. On that note, I continue to hear rumors that our room(s) will be moving to the old bingo/Key West Room--probably adding 5 or 6 tables to our current 10--sooner rather than later. The poker boom continues in the city of sin. MGM will soon open their room. Wynn will open his room in April. I've said it before, but I have to wonder where the saturation point is. I would guess that we are quickly approaching it if it has not already been reached.
In three hours I will again be perched in the swivel chair in seat zero lording over my little piece of poker heaven. It is my Mondo Friday and I am then looking at my standard Fri, Sat & Sunday off. Bankers hours in the poker world. I plan to spend a good portion of those days in a seat with a number between 1-10.
I love this town!

Monday, January 03, 2005

From Tiny Acorns..........

As I ease into 2005 I have decided to record some thoughts and observations. Most likely this project will result, as most of my projects do, in another nagging reminder that I simply don't follow through with this type of thing.
I ended 2004 by waking up at 11:55PM, throwing on a jacket and climbing up to the roof to watch the fireworks spread along the LV strip. It was a fairly impressive display. I crawled back in bed and went to sleep. How is that for EXCITEMENT in LV on NYE?
Ushered in 2005 by hiking in Calico Basin with Linda. Later that evening we had dinner at Garduno's at the Palms and played poker at the Gold Coast. At least one of us ended up winners.
Worked 8 hours tonight. Where have all the E.O.s gone? Actually, I only worked 6.5 hours with three thirty minute breaks spread throughout the afternoon. By mid afternoon the place was a rockin'. All tables were full and the lists for the low limit games were 30-40 deep-- and it is only Monday. How long can this continue? As house after house opens (or re-opens) their poker rooms you have to wonder when the saturation point will be reached. Of course some "experts" said that LV had too many hotel rooms years ago. Conventional wisdon be damned.
I dealt pocket aces seven times. The first 4 times they went down in flames. The 5th time resulted in an uncalled pre-flop raise, but at least the aces held up. Aces number 6 and 7 were golden....just like they are supposed to be. During my last down of the evening, dealing $2-$5 blind NLH, I dealt a 6 high straight flush. Quads and straight flushes are nice to deal since they result in a "jackpot" of between $50 and $599. This particular hand paid a bonus of $492 in addition to a nice pot. The recipient was appreciative and I skated through the last few minutes of the day on a high note with a handfull of red birds. A nice ending to another day in the green felt jungle.
Out I go into the wet Nevada evening. What an eerie sight with the low hanging clouds tinted green by the emerald glow of the MGM Grand.
I must admit, I love this town.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

this is a test, this is only a test. Had this been a real life, you would have been given instructions on where to go and what to do.

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