Saturday, April 30, 2005

Poker takes a backseat.........

In more ways than one.
I haven't played since last Saturday, and I am enjoying my last of four days of not dealing it. Wednesday morning found me picking up the family at the airport. We went directly to Ellis Island for steak. I told my sister, who had never been to Las Vegas that I was sorry that her first LV Casino experience would be in dump. I specifically pointed out the 6 seat sports book. Last night we ate at the Hilton and she got to see the world's largest (at least according to the sign) Superbook. Quite a contrast.
In between Ellis Island and the Hilton we squeezed in a night at the Flamingo, two nights at my place, a paddle wheel cruise on Lake Mead, a tour of Hoover Dam, the TI Pirate show, the volcano at the Mirage Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay and a few jaunts through some other casinos. My 3yr/10m old newphew was with us, so that explains some of the events that were geared, somewhat, to children. This was my parents third LV trip in 18 months and once again they spent at least one night at the Flamingo. I originally put them up there because it was centrally located and I had a ton of comps there which took care of the room charges. After the first visit, I discovered that my mother would probably be content to sit in the room and watch the Bellagio Fountains from 25 floors up. One the second trip, I again requested a corner room as high as possible. Once again, the fountains entertained mom. This time, the room was still 25 floors up, but the view also included Caesars since we were strip-front. Of course the lake at Bellagio was still easily viewed. The only problem was that we waited and waited for the water show to no avail. I finally called across the street only to be told that the show was cancelled for the evening. (It was a little windy, but not overly so) I couldn't help to think that it was ironic that the fountains were dark on the very night that Steve Wynn was opening his new joint. Maybe I was the only one on the planet who linked those two facts, but it struck me as funny.
In any case, the family was worn out from a long day of traveling and they all turned in early. No way on earth I was going to miss the grand opening of Wynn LV, so around 10:15 I walked north on the Strip. Just past the Venetian I ran into the back of the southern end of the line of folks lined up for Wynn. Holy crap. I continued walking and when I got to Sands Ave I considered seeing what the South Valet area looked like and if there was also a line there. I decided against that idea and continued to walk past the main entrance. The line to the North was much shorter, so I entered the queue. Everything was orderly and civil. When the marquee counted down to the We Are Open message a cheer went up. Partly because the place was now open for business and partly because almost no one in the line really thought that it would open on time. Anywhoo, there was an initial movement of the line and then it stopped. Then the cross walk light changed to "walk" and a huge mob crossed the strip from the Spring Mountain intersection and bolted directly for the front gate. So much for civil and orderly. All hell broke loose as the Wynn Security staff tried to keep some level of calm. They were only letting 10-15 people through the barricades at a time. Bags were being checked, etc. The people who waited patiently, for hours, on the sidewalk on the East side of the strip were pissed that those who bolted across the street were let in before us. Verbal barrages were fired back and forth between the increasingly mob-like crowd and the security staff. Shortly before I finally made it past the first check point it got scary for a few minutes. I weigh somewhere north of 200 pounds but at one point I swear that had I been able to lift my feet off of the pavement I would have been propelled forward. I now know how sardines feel. Well, how they would feel if they were stuffed ALIVE into the tin. Once I made it past the first barrier, another 10-15 minute wait occurred just outside the main doors.
After I got inside, I wondered why I had even bothered. I swear, the place is Butt Ugly The floors have a sort of garrish mosaic. The ceilings have shockingly un-pretty flowers painted on them. And the WATER FEATURE? Looks to me, unless I wasn't looking in the right place, to be a simple wall with water cascading down it. The similar panels behind the check-in desk at the Hilton are nicer than that. With a price tag of $2.7 BILLION I don't really know what I expected. This place cost over $1 Billion more than Bellagio? Maybe it will grow on me. I actually hope that it does. Maybe you need several million in net worth to appreciate the "beauty" of this place. I visited Wynn again last night, hoping to see it in a different light. Still ugly in my eyes.
Tonight is the weekly shindig at Linda's. I wonder if it will be Pan or Big 2? It really matters not. The brand of cards played takes a back seat to the company of good friends.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

In all fairness........

The last post included a reference to chip and card throwing. Perhaps I should have added that I was being an impish brat and goading some of the other players about their losses - nah, nah, nah.....and that I set myself up to have things thrown at me with the little 'natter, natter, natter'... At least one person complied and responded with what I obviously had coming to me.
Like I say when a player throws me a toke that is a little off of the mark. As long as you don't put and eye out, you can throw chips at me any time.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

When will they learn?

I was not dealing, thank goodness........
No limit. Seat 2 takes the protective chip off of his cards and leans back in his chair. The dealer mucks the cards. Fairly large pot......the player who "unprotected" his cards had a 7 high straight flush which, in our room, is worth a bonus payout of $599. As you would imagine, all hell broke loose. After reviewing the security tapes, 2s was awarded the pot and the bonus. IMO he was VERY lucky. In most of these cases, the ruling is that the player, ultimately, must protect their own hand. Don't ask me why, in some cases, an exception to this this rule is made.
I see it every day and I do get tired of reminding players to protect their hand. What are they thinking? On a related note, at the showdown, why do players just throw their hands, face up, in the middle of the table. When I am playing, I'll turn my cards face up, but I keep my hand on them until a better hand is viewed or the pot has been pushed to me. Sometimes the dealer will ask for the cards before the pot is pushed. I'll simply tell them to push the pot and then I will release my hand. I can only guess that the dealers who want it another way are NOT players.
This time I AM dealing. Table 4, $2-4 limit HE. Seat 7 is a poker dealer in a house on the Strip. The first pot that I push her, I get air. The second pot I push her (which was a split pot) she throws me $.25. Don't mistake that figure for $25. She gave me 25 CENTS. The third pot I push her I again get the 25 CENTS. Don't get me wrong. Those 50 cents will not change my lifestyle at all. I am not usually vindictive, but this time I did take it personally. I promise that I will play in her house, I will play in her game and I will have a roll of pennies handy of which she will get half. I may even give her half a roll of pennies when she pushes me my first pot. Why wait until the second one. What the hell is this woman thinking? If we dealers don't take care of each other, who will take care of us?***
***Most dealers are overly generous to a fault. Reciprosity makes it fun. Even though the dealer has NO bearing on the outcome of a hand, it doesn't hurt to have someone mentally pulling for you...........


Three more sleeps.......
That is how the sands through an hourglass are explained to a 3.5 year old. On Wednesday morning I will be picking up some people at the airport. Mom, dad, my sister and my 3.5 year old nephew are coming for a visit. Neither my sister nor my nephew have been to LV. It should be great fun. David is my sister's only child and to put it mildly, is the apple of my eye. I get to play Unctle Wayne (David's pronounciation) and do my best to spoil the shit out of him for a few days.
He has recently watched some war movie where a dam was blown up. He wants to see Hoover Dam " before they blow a hole in it". Wow, I hope that he is not prophetic--although I can't even imagine the amount of explosives it would take to even make a dent in that colossal mass of reinforced concrete.

25 days and counting..........
I am still on the No Slot Machine Wagon. Yesterday did find me venturing into the Pit at the Flamingo. Let it Ride-Lost. Pai Gow-Lost. Made my way into the poker area to, you guessed it, lose there too, although my poker loss was only $42.


Last night found me once again performing the Saturday night ritual. Food, drink, friends and cards at Linda's house. What used to be a night of Pan with the occasional game of poker mixed in has, for the last two weeks, become Big Deuce night. I've fallen in love with this frustrating (aren't they all?) game. Last night I was, figuratively, run over by the deck. Paradise found, right? Once I was even hit in the chest, literally, with chips. You see, Linda has this habit of throwing the deck/chips when she can't get a hand. Usually she just tosses the deck harmlessly over her shoulder. I figure I'll get her into anger management classes about the same time she gets me to submit to laser treatments to stop smoking. (Linda, I hope you are laughing as you read this because you know that I am just joshing with you!)

When I lived in the Bible Belt I learned a saying. "Clean like the preacher is coming for dinner". That is what I need to do. Knowing me, I'll be doing this Tuesday night/Wednesday morning in preparation for the Family Vacation.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Murph, can you put a clock on me??

This one was a first! I'm dealing a $2-5 blind NLH game. About half way through my down, Josh, the 7s makes it $50, fold fold etc...the 2s goes all in for about $260. fold fold etc back to Josh. Josh, with his sunglasses and IPOD goes into the think tank. Actually, he is thinking out loud. Verbally, he goes through all of the possible hands. Over and over again. No one says a word. I've gotten used to these long periods of soul searching and usually I take advantage of the situation and use the time to straighten my rack and do a quick rack count. Josh finally asks, "Murph, can you put a clock on me?" WHAT? I chuckle. How long do you want? 25 seconds he says. As I wear my watch on my left wrist and also hold the deck in my left hand, I had to switch the deck to my right hand as I counted down the 25 seconds. With about 2 seconds left, Josh folded. Hysterical.....or maybe you just had to be there. As I was doing the countdown, I kept wondering what I was going to do if I hit zero and Josh had not yet acted. What would he have done had I reached out and killed his hand when the clock struck zero?
I love my job!
As I was on break, Elliott wandered into the room. I met Elliott on the poker cruise I worked in February. He deals poker at the Reno Hilton. I know that my boss has tried to convince Elliott to come to LV to deal. As far as I know, he is content in Reno. In any case, my break got cut short and I had to go start a game on table 2. I would have like to have spent more time talking with Elliott, but poker waits for no man.....or woman.................
Ashley had stepped out for a minute and left me "in charge" of the no limit room. The phone rings.
Me:Palms Poker Room, how can I help you?
Caller: Is Ken there?
Me:NO, Ken is off today.
Caller:Is this Murph?
Me:Yes it is.
Caller:Murph, it's Said, I'm flying in tomorrow (from Toledo)and can't find a room. Can you help?
Me:If you buy me a matress and box springs for my guest room, you can stay at my place.
Caller: I'll keep calling other hotels and let you know.

Well shit, I thought that it was a GREAT offer. lol

Almost daily I deal to people who want to deal poker. What are they waiting for? Now is the time. Strike while the iron is hot.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Conversation with a Marine

I spent yesterday afternoon visiting with a friend who recently returned from Iraq...........for the second time. His first deployment was to Bagdad. The second deployment was to Ramadi. He said that his experience in Ramadi was much worse than his Bagdad stint. This young man turned 21 during his second deployment. His enlistment lasts for 16 more months and unbelievably, he thinks that he will be going, one again, to the Middle East. Probably to Afghanistan. I gave him a bottle of Jack and bought dinner. Both inadequate offerings in my opinion. Regardless of your political ideals, please keep him and his brothers-in-arms in your thoughts.


I awoke around 8AM yesterday and decided to jump right in and tackle my taxes. My first calculation indicated that I owed $2500. Once I cleaned up the mess, I took a step back and started thinking about what I had obviously missed. As it turns out, I figured the COGS wrong. WHEW! 6 hours later I wrote a check for a few hundred, signed on the dotted line, jumped in the shower and then headed for the post office. My package was postmarked and I sighed the sigh of relief. Next year I'll have the taxes complete by the end of February. Yeah, right. Not my style.


I missed the Big Deuce game this week. I learned to play this game while on the poker cruise in the Carribbean this past February. Since then I have been playing on an almost weekly basis with two Bellagio dealers. We usually play on Wednesday nights after I get off of work or on Thursday afternoons. This week they were busy with the tournament and I opted to work an extra day for a dealer who wanted the day off.
Tonight is the weekly Pan game. It is an enjoyable couple of hours spent with friends, food and spirits. We play Pan for very low stakes, but that doesn't mean we don't try hard to win. This game has bounced around from Sunday nights to Saturday nights and we are experimenting with an earlier start time. Four of the usual participants are poker dealers and two of them have schedules that find them working on most Pan nights. Sometimes they can stop by before or after work.
If you are interested in either of these two card games, you can play for free at Superior poker. I'm sure a few other sites have these games, but this is where I play.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

The Tax Man Will Have To Wait!

After an exhausting search last night (actually early this morning), I decided that yes, tomorrow is another day. I chose to end the frustration and just go to bed. I would continue the search for the tax documents when I woke up. This proved to be a good idea and after rubbing the desert sand out of my eyes I rummaged, for the third time, through the desk drawers. Bingo! I located the W2s. They were just one of my issues because for 8 months during 2004 I had an internet business. The details of the profitability of that venture still lay just out of my reach, so I will mail the good ol' extention request sometime on Friday. Nothing like waiting until the last minute. The only problem with this approach is that you basically have to complete your tax forms in order to file the extention. If I knew what I owed I would just file the taxes in their entirity. I'll make an uneducated guess and write a check to send along with the extention. In a few months, I'll be in the same position..........
A while back I wrote about the two ladies who berated the player who did not live up to their toking expectations. This week found me in a similar situation. I'm dealing a little $2-4 game. One of the players was experiencing her first brick and mortar poker game. She kept talking about her online prowess and made the claim that she had won over $1,000,000 online. I have a sneaking suspicion that she was talking about "play" points, but who knows. Some of my co-workers believe that she was talking about cold, hard cash. Who knows?? Anyway, while I am in the box, she makes a Club Royal. In our room, that hand is worth $599 plus the pot. When I paid her her bonus, she threw me three chips. Don't worry, they were Blue Chips worth $1 each. I don't know where it started, but many locals adhere to the conventional wisdom that 10% of a bonus win is the standard toke. One of our regular players literally screeched at the jackpot winner and told her that she needed to give me at least $25. -----I don't know where she came up with the $25 figure. The cynical side of my brain wanted to say that if you are going to badger her, tell her to give me $60 damn it. --- I immediately said hold on a minute here. I looked the lady in the eye and told her that she should give me whatever she was comfortable giving me. If it was $3, so be it. If it was $60, so be it. If it was $25 or $0.00 so be it. I think I offended the lady who spoke up on my behalf. That was not my intention. Anywhoo, I eventually got the $25 toke. Another player in the game told me that my attitude in those circumstances was what made me his favorite dealer. I told him that I was going to eat one way or the n'other..... Why make a Broadway production out of a stiff or what some would consider a toke that was somewhere south of what they deem appropriate. It all comes out in the wash.


I'm on the NO SLOTS bandwagon again. 15 days and counting.

Tuesday night found me meeting a friend at the Rio for some poker. I hadn't played poker for about a month. Three hours later I had won two pots and split a third. Despite this dismal fact, I only lost about $30. Wednesday night, the poker muse called again. Same friend, different venue. We checked out he new room at the Trop. Six table, two sat dark, two had dealers sitting dead spreads and two were in action. One game was $1-3 spread limit HE and the other was $2-6 spread limit HE. We opted to be relative high rollers and jumped into the $2-6 game. Not much happening here and we chose to leave after only 30 minutes. I think I was stuck about $28. The game was severely short handed when we left and it broke minutes later. We then strolled across the bridge that spans Tropicana Ave. in order to check out the new room at MGM. We got on an interest list for $6-12 HE and also got on the $4-8 list. The 6-12 never materialized so we played 4-8 for a few hours. I ended up $8 to the good.
The room at the MGM is very nice. It's location is great as it is immediately seen by anyone entering from the corner of LV Blvd and Trop. Ave. It is a looooong way from the MGM parking garage, but then again, everything is a loooong way from the MGM parking garage. By recomendation would be to valet park at the Trop and then walk over teh bridge to MGM. The "room" curves around the Centrifuge Bar which leads to one of the major detriments. I don't know if it happens every day, but on Wednesdays, on the hour, female dancers appear at Centrifuge. The dancers are not visible from the poker room, but the soundtrack to the dance is VERY audible. It is deafening! I would guess that the poker room management and the bar management need to have a summit.
As a side note, while playing at MGM I saw what looked like a familiar face at one of the No Limit tables. Jim from Colorado was indeed in town. We chatted briefly about going to Aruba for the Ultimate Bet event. Should be great fun. Linda, Jim and I unleashed in the Carribbean. We may need to notify the liquor distributors in Aruba to stock up........


The Palms has announced that they will host a Summer Poker Tournament Series. These tournaments will begin on May 28th to coincide with the WSOP. With the WSOP being just across the street we should see a fair amount of business. I forgot to bring home a schedule noting the details, so this is culled as accurately as possible from my failing memory. There will be Noon and 7PM events every day. There will be $200 (or $300---I can't recall exactly) and $500 events with a few $1000 events thrown in towards the end of the series. The lesser buy-in events will allow rebuys and the $500 events will not. The total prize pool is expected to exceed 5 million. I believe that all events will be No Limit Hold'em.

Off to sandman land. I'll need the rest because I need to do some creative accounting in the morning in order to get that extention post marked April 15, 2005.

Desperately searching for............

If I could find the damn thing, it would have already been pushed.
I can't find ANY tax related documents. W2s W2-G Interest statements etc etc etc etc.
It is now 4/14. I have one day left to find them as they have been "lost in the move". Do you think the IRS will understand that I just moved and I have not a clue where else to look for the paperwork? I guess I'll just write them a big check and send it in with the extention request. That will give me a couple of months to find everything that I need to do my taxes. Next year I'll file them in February! Yeah right.....this is par for my course.

On a much more serious note, one of our regular players died suddenly on April 1. We did not learn of this until this week. Someone (another one of our players) finally made a phone call to see where he had been.........whoops. Whitey had been a regular in our room since it opened. He was one of the first players that I ever dealt to. In talking with one of the floormen after we learned the news, he said that Whitey had been playing in our room for 3 years and he had never really gotten to know him outside of poker. Towards the end of March the floorman and Whitey stepped out of the poker room and talked for about an hour and learned a little about each other.....makes you wonder....
That got me to thinking about the last time I had seen Whitey. He was playing $4-8 on table 3 and had a huge pile of about $800 in chips in front of him. I asked if he was on the rush of a lifetime (this was $4-8 remember) or if he had hit a couple of high hand jackpots? No jackpots, just on an amazing rush. Makes you wonder...........

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Whoops, we did it again.........

What did we do again? Our job, that's what.
As I was pushing into a $2-5 blind NLH game on table 9, I saw the 3 seat push a stack of red chips ($100) to the 5 seat who had just been busted. As the previous dealer was getting out of the chair, I asked her if she saw it. She had. She had apparently already told those two that they could not do that. She went to get the floorman. He came over and reiterated that table stakes applied and that they could not pass chips. The 3 seat brought $100 out of pocket and the 5 seat was back in business........for about 3 hands....and then he was busted again. He was the proverbial fish at that table. No more money came out of pocket and the 5 AND three seat left the game. The 3s took about $1200 with him. The rest of the players at the table were pissed at the previous dealer for enforcing the rule. Of course they wanted that $100 and another $100 and another $100 to be in the possession of the aquatic creature. I jumped right in and told them that if she had not informed the floorman that I would have done it. That put me right at the top of their shit list too.
Now it gets hairy and scary. I presented this situation to three others in positions of authority and their answers were, grudgingly and hesitently, that it should not happen, but it sorta, kinda, depended on the situation. IMHO not the right answer. A few of the players said that they did not care. One in authority, when I said that I thought that my job was to protect the game replied, well what if the game did not WANT to be protected?!?!
The 3s did not have everyone else at the table covered.
What if one of the players DID want the rule to be enforced but was not comfortable speaking up? What if, on the next hand the 3s went all in and lost? The winner of that pot would have been entitled to $100 that he would NOT have gotten.
One of the things that I have always struggled with in life has been grey areas. I like things in black and white. I can live with a few players being pissed at me, but I guess I need to start thinking about looking the other way at certain times.........maybe I can get used to living with that too.

My ass, it is a draggin'

Allergies are playing havoc with me. Yesterday I fell asleep on the couch a few hours before I was supposed to be at work. The medicine seemed to only accomplish making me sleep, it didn't do much for the congestion and sneezing... The phone rang at 2PM. I was supposed to be at work at 2pm. Whoops! I have not been late for work since February 2004. I'll have to be on time for the next 6 month to work off that "point".
Once I got to work, I was still miserable. Still am for that matter.

In the line-up I followed one of our, how shall I say this, less accomplished dealers. When I pushed into table 8 and dealt my first hand, one of the regulars, with a straight face, asked me why I dealt his cards directly in front of him. Being a little slow on the uptake, I thought that he was giving me shit, soI told him that I would try harder on the next deal. He started laughing and said that with the last dealer he had to receive his cards with a catchers mitt on one hand and a jai alai cesta on the other. Funny as hell, but sad too. Later in the shift as I was waiting to push into table 4 (no shuffle master on this table and pushing the same dealer, of course) I looked down and saw the duece of hearts laying face up on the ground. The red deck was in play and I couldn't see what color the duece was. I casually bent down and picked it up and sure enough it was also red. Once in the box I counted down the deck. Including the 2h there were 52 cards. Gives new meaning to playing without a full deck, huh? I asked for a set up.
My first time through table 5 found me dealing to Mike. Super nice guy, but he never seems to do well while I am in the box. It has become a running joke. When I sit down in his game, I tell him to do himself a favor and take a walk while I am dealing. He stayed in the game and the curse continued. After he got snapped off a few times, he finally DID take a walk.....out to the dreaded machines. When I left the game his seat was still empty. On my next break he came up to me and tried to give me $10. He hit a maching for $700 and thanked me for driving him away from the table. I laughed and told him to keep the $10, that eventually I would give him a hand that held up and he could toke me $10 then. Toward the end of my shift I again sat at table 5 and dealt to Mike. Amazingly I did push him a decent pot and he gave me $5. Sweet.
In our room, on Sundays and Mondays from 4-11PM, names are drawn randomly from all players who have swiped in with their players cards. The names drawn win between $100 and $500 dollars. As my down on table 5 was nearing an end, Mike's name was drawn and he won $300. He started hysterically laughing and said that I was his good luck charm. As I left the box, Mike toked me that $10. Again, SWEET!
On table 6 I dealt to Neal who I have not seen in our room for several months. Neal is someone else who does not seem to do well with me in the box. He was one of the first players that I ever dealt to. I even asked him for advice at the beginning of me dealing adventure. Well after snapping him off a few times he commented that I ALWAYS kill him when I am dealing. I whispered out of the corner of my mouth that it did seem to work out that way, but believe me Neal, if I had any control, there were a lot of players that I would choose to torment in front of him. He laughed and started telling me to cut the cards better. Funny.

We have a new dealer in our room. Welcome Gordy! He used to work at Texas Station.

We have started spreading $5-$10 blind NLH with a minimum buy of $500 and a max buy of $1500. It has gone over well and looks to be there to stay. The $10 and $25 blind NLH (time rake) is also spread occasionally, usually on the weekends. We have recently changed our rake structure on the $2-5 blind NLH as well as the $5-10 blind. We now take the 4th dollar on $120 instead of $150. This has some of the regulars in a small tizzy.

Celebrity Poker is back at the Palms to film another episode. It is always interesting when some of the celebrities who are here for the filming venture into the live games. Wonder who I will deal to in the next few days. If you would like to see the live filming, free passes are available at the Club Palms booth as well as in the poker room. First come first served on the passes.

As a side note, if you have ever watched Celebrity Poker and seen the clip where they run down the rules/how the game is played.......when the player goes all in and then flips over the K and Q for a full house........THOSE ARE MY HANDS!! lol I'm a hand model rofl.

The condo saga is slowly coming to an end. Everything is moved and in place. I got the correct dining chairs on Saturday as well as a new sofa and love seat. Now all I need to do is get a love seated on the damn thing lol. The fridge and cupboards are starting to fill. Still need to get a bed for the guest room as well as a vacuum cleaner. Hopefull this weekend.
Tired, so tired.
Maybe I'll go lay of the couch for a little while before going to work.....................NOT!

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