Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Ace-little SUITED

In my never ending battle with the infernal machines I have claimed a small victory. Today marks 30 days of not playing casino slot machines. One WHOLE month. Don't get me wrong, I still WANT to play them, but I am resisting with every molecule of my being. Wish me continued will-power........
When I lived on the East Coast, I am sure that the mailman thought I was a lunatic. My mailbox was constantly jammed with offers from the Atlantic City casinos. Living 200+ miles from the casinos there tended to temper my, uh, enthusiasm for gambling. I still made that trip about 6-8 times a year. Now, living in LV, my mailbox is still crammed with offers. "Free" food, "free" trinkets, "free" slot play, "free" table match plays, "free" rooms etc etc. The strength of these offers ebb and flow based on the strangth of my will-power to avoid dumping every last hard-earned dollar into the coffers of the casinos. Yes, I've been a bad boy at times. I'm staying "free"at Wynn in two weeks based on one night of frolic with the Denver Duck slot machine. It will likely be my last offer from them since I intend to "stiff" them by only playing poker during my stay.
Today I headed to the HR for my free play. No luck. I tried the Let it Ride table and a bill disappeared without me winning a single $. Off to the roulette table to recoup nearly all the losses from the LIR Table.
I hadn't played poker at Mandalay for 6-8 months. I always mean to stop there because several dealers from there play at our house frequently. A $20 "free" food offer tipped the scales and I pointed the Buick toward the golden glassed Mandalay. I waited about 10 minutes and was seated in a $4-8 limit HE game. About 3 hands in I look down at A-2 SUITED. Oh well, it's only $2 to call, right? The flop brought the 4 and 5 of spades so a gut shot straight flush was within the realm of possibilities. The turn wasn't my perfect card, but the river was. Sweet trey of spades. The high hand bonus for that little gem was $500.
When I quit playing I headed to the players club to redeem the "free" food offer. The nice lady behind the counter looked over my information and then informed me that I really should have an executive host since, in her words, I play a LOT. (not necessarily at Mandalay, but at MGM/Mirage properties). Little does she know of my master pay for my own damned food
Anyhow, the food at Raffles was quite unremarkable and I don't plan to eat there again--"free" or not.
I hope to have some tales from the Lederer Fantasy/Reality camp the next time I post.
Until then, may all your straight flush draws get there.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

All in a day's work

I've been dealing to Jack for as long as I have been dealing. To say that he is "slick" would be an understatement. I don't necessarily mean "slick" in a bad way or that he is a bad person. I think it is just a little game he plays. Back in the beginning, he was a regular in the Hoggy (7 stud/hi/lo/double qualifier) game. I had yet to get my feet planted firmly under me and I had my hands full just running the game, let alone trying to grow eyes in the sides and back of my head. On several occasions, he would so something "wrong" and then quiz me as to what he had done. I appreciated it and it made me realize that really had to heighten my senses when in the box. It is not really possible to watch every player every second......but we do try.
Jack disappeared for several months, but returned to us about 2 weeks ago. During a hand yesterday, Jack was the BB ($5-10 blind NL). There are other examples, but this is the most recent and easily recalled. It was raised and called in a few places. When the action came around to Jack, he mucked his cards and gathered his two reds and placed them back in his stack. I quietly told Jack to put the $10 back on the table. He did. As the hand finished and I was gathering cards/dropping rake etc I looked him in the eye and asked if other dealers allowed him to take his BB back when he folded. I said it with just a touch of sarcasm. He just grinned.
As I was getting pushed, he slid three blue chips my way. I thanked him and started to get up. He pushed three more blue chips toward me. I said you already gave me three, Jack. He said he knew, so I thanked him again and dropped them in my toke box.
Have I passed some sort of test? I would like to think that he threw me $6 as a way of thanking me for really trying to pay attention to what goes on at a card table. Who knows.
A few days ago I was dealing a $4-8 limitH game when I noticed the guy in the 4 seat. More specifically, I noticed his T-shirt. The shirt said something like "5th Annual Elf Tossing Contest". As the wearer of the shirt was smaller in stature and, in my opinion, could be described as elfish, I started to chuckle to myself. A few hands later it was aparent that the mood at the table was light/jovial. I asked "tossing T-shirt" how his sense of humor was. He said it pretty good, so I asked him how far they threw him. Everyone laughed, but he roared. He said that people always asked him how far he threw the elf and that I was the only one who had put him in the tossee category.
If only every table was as fun as that one.......
Other recent T-shirts I've seen at the poker table:

  • I'm not a gynecologist, but I'll take a look (worn by two different guys)
  • Yes they are real........(and in tiny print) REAL EXPENSIVE (On a gorgeous blond with "enhanced" anatomy)
  • Thank your girlfriend for me
  • Awesome lover (or something like that)
  • Tengo un coche grande (Since I don't speak Spanish, I incorrectly assumed that this shirt was describing the, uh, size of the wearers penis. I asked him if his shirt meant what I thought it meant.........He said that it meant he had a big CAR)
Sometimes unhappiness is a state of being. It's too hot, it's too cold, the lighting is too dim at this table, the lights are too bright at this table (same table, two different players), I can't get a drink, you give me the same two cards every hand, change the deck, don't change the deck, scramble them. It's a constant barrage that would drive you insane if you allowed it to. Two days ago a regular in the 10s of a $4-8 game (Who was winning) was repeating over and over and over that he had had 14 straight losing sessions at the Palms. If I lose today, I'm never coming back. I don't know why I even play in the effing place. I can't win here. Loop these statements together and listen to them for 30 straight minutes and you'll come to understand the negativity coming from this in and day out. Keep in mind that he was WINNING. No matter, he can't get past his negativity even for an hour or two to enjoy the fact that he was, at least for the time being, beating the game. He did cash out while still ahead. Yesterday he was back at it...starting another losing streak.................
{I can't help but think that if this guy was having relations with Miss December he would be complaining that she wasn't Miss November. I could be wrong, but I doubt it.}

Yesterday a lady, I'll call her Shirl, was bemoaning the fact that I never deal her a winner. Same cards over and over. etc etc. I just nodded my head up and down at her. She snapped "Don't shake your head at me" I said Shirl, I'm nodding my head up and down. That means that I agree with you. Jeeze, woman, take YES for an answer. If she had accused me of rolling my eyes up into the top of my head I would have had to plead guilty be reason of insanity.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Howard & Annie's Fantasy/Reality Poker Camp

I just learned today that I will be dealing the tournaments that will be held in conjunction with the poker camp. For $2,999 you, too, can participate. Click here for details.


From the "Only in Vegas" front.......
This morning I toured the new Hardwood Suite at the Palms. This suite has a basketball court IN the suite. There are only two "normal" bedrooms, but three NBA sized Murphy beds emerge from the wall along the baseline. There is a locker room complete with three showers. This picture was taken from the second floor of the suite from the area that contains the pool table. There are two jacuzzi's, a wet bar and three plasma TVs in the living area. The alarm clocks are Bose. The only glaring absence was the poker table. I know that a customized poker table has been ordered, but I don't know when it will be installed. If you want a really cool place to host your next poker night, you should rush to book the Hardwood Suite at the Palms.................Rack rate is only $50,000 PER NIGHT.
Dennis Rodman christened the suite and stayed there on the first night. His autograph adorns one wall of the court area. That alone should help to justify the price......................

Sunday, November 20, 2005

It took 2 years and 14 days for

a player to blatently call me a c*ck sucker.
Of course there have been many times when a player has lost a pot and mumbled some derogatory remarks about me simply because they lost a pot. I typically take it in stride and don't even give them the satisfaction of knowing that I even heard what they were mumbling. Today was an exception.
Drunk guy in the 5 seat of a $2-5 blind NL HE game had been steadily giving his chips away even before I entered the box. Shortly after I sat down he was again digging in his pocket for money. This time he was only able to produce $85 which he added to his stack of about $15 dollars. The fact that he was down to pulling out $5 bills told me that he was NOT going to be doing any additional buys. (Yes, I take this into consideration when a player is being obnoxious. If he is being the King of the Donkeys and obviously has the potential for several more re-buys, I tend to give him some lattitude in his squalor. I can stand a little of the dip-shits heat if it means he will be giving away a considerable amount of his money. Shame on me, I suppose, but that is just the way it is.) In any case, Drunk/Obnoxious Guy is down to his last few dollars when he begins mumbling a string of profanities. No big deal, really, until I hear C#ck Sucker. I was in the process of dealing the next hand when I halted, looked directly at the guy, and stated, "Sir, you can NOT call me a C&ck Sucker. I continued to deal and after delivering the last hole card I looked back at him and stated that that was his first warning. No second warning was needed as he lost all his chips on that hand. In hind sight it was pretty funny. If I had it within my power, these types of players would NEVER stack a pot. Alas, it is beyond my control, which is specifically why it is silly to blame me for your misfortune (read stupidity)
I wonder if Reader's Digest would publish this as one of their "All in a day's work" articles.........
In our little, humble room it is rare for a game over $2/5 blind no limit to break out. Break out indeed. Today a $10-20 blind NLgame erupted. Typically, these games burn themselves out quickly. Today was an exception. When I left work the game had been in progress for about 9 hours and it showed no signs of breaking any time soon. The guy in the 4s had been playing since before I got to work and when I left he had about $14,000 in front of him. I had never seen the guy before. I got to deal that game twice and it was a nice break from our typical lower limit games. During one down some of the players were debating whether to turn it into a pot limit Omaha game....... Since I only regularly deal all hold'em all the time, I was actually hoping that it would turn into an Omaha game. In just over two years, I have only dealt Omaha twice. If variety is the spice of life, I ain't living much in the way of dealing various forms of poker.
I just returned from the Saturday night ritual of cards/booze/food at Linda's. She hinted that tonight may be the end of the line for this tradition. I'll leave it to her to reveal the reasons behind this "end of an era". In case this was indeed the last of the card parties at Linda's, I brought a few bottles of Martini & Rossi Asti. As the bubbly was passed around, I told Linda that she had to make her own toast. She simpy stated "To Me" and we drank.
Linda, you know that I wish you the best. I thank you for welcoming me into you home, for your friendship and for your love.
And if tonight was the end...................I WON THE LAST HAND

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Las Vegas has lost another piece of it's history.

They say that Las Vegas never looks back. Landmarks are imploded and the town celebrates the future. I don't think that this quest to rebuild and remake Las Vegas is all bad, but I can, and do, appreciate the history of this dusty outpost.
Today, a casino that was roughly the same age as I closed the doors forever. The Westward Ho bid us farewell, and I was there.

Before they had even closed, the painters were busy painting over the signage. Since the place is slated for demolition, I have no idea why they took the time and expense of doing this. It sure doesn't make sense to me, but I guess they had their reasons.

I actually visited the Ho three times in the last 6 days. Each time I figured it would be my last visit, but I was drawn back by unknown forces.

Today I played roulette (won) and Let it Ride (lost $5). I did, however, win my last two bets, so I said goodbye on a high note. The dealer who dealt me my final winner was the lovely Lynn. I deal to Lynn a lot at the Palms. She asked me if I get nervous when I deal to her because I made her nervous when she dealt to me. Sorry, Lynn, I can't say that you make me nervous, but I can say that I wish you luck with your job search. I'm sure that you will land on your feet. Without further delay, here's Lynn......

In case anyone was actually looking for poker content, this is as close as I can come. Rumor has it that a very high profile player is in negotiations to possibly call the Palms "home". I think that this, should it actually come about, can only be good for our room. I'll keep you all posted should anything develop.

Well, actually, there is one more thing on the poker front. Two friends of mine are involved with a new online poker site. Instead of rake-back, this site will pay you based on your play as well as the play of anyone who signs up "under" you. This network will go five levels deep. If this sounds interesting, please check them out. I would appreciate it if you would use my email, murph4qs @ (remove spaces, obviously) as your referral.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Sir, I'll take your word for it this time?!?

I've let some time pass between an incident and this post for a reason. I wanted to make sure that I was not writing from pure emotion. In any case, let's go back a few weeks to the time period of the World Deaf Poker Tournament. A day or so before the tournament I was dealing to a kid who happened to be deaf and was in town for the tournament. I had dealt to him on table 1 and had pushed him a few pots. Airballs. No big deal really. Later I dealt to him on table 4. Again I pushed him a few pots. Around about pot #3 he dug into his pocket and threw three nickels to me. No, not three RED nickels, three 5 cent nickels. I've tried repeatedly to rationalize this. I can't. For the life of me I can't think of ANY reason to do this except as an attempted insult? Was I rude to you? NO! Did I make mistakes while dealing to you? NO! Well guess what Mr. 15 cents? I feel sorry for YOU. Not because you have been deprived of your hearing, but because you have been deprived of common decency. Have a nice life, kid.

Here comes Murph, the best BLIND dealer in town. Not blind as in another disability. Blind as in not looking at your cards....
Jeremy, one of our grave dealers, often plays when he gets off of work. Routinely he is still playing when I come to work at 1PM. He talks incessantly, fueled by Red Bull (sometimes straight Red Bull, sometimes Red Bull & Vokda). Usually, the entire table is on tilt because of Jeremy. How an entire table can remain on tilt for hours on end is amazing in and of itself. The first 5 or 6 hands of my down Jeremy will play blind. He'll raise every chance he gets and comment on each board card. He'll repeated state that "Murph is the best blind dealer in town". It is hilarious to witness and I struggle to keep a straight face. I can't count the number of times he has taken down pots because everyone has folded to his blind bets or raises. Yesterday was no exception. He played/raised blindly and won three big pots the first three hands I dealt. He had the kill button when I sat down, so he had won at least the last two hands of the previous dealer. He lost the next hand and proceeded to win the next two. Then he started looking at his hole cards and I don't think he won another pot during my down.
Jeremy, thanks for the giggles.


Another incident that I have had on ice since Saturday..........
I was dealing a $2-4 limit game on table 4. The older guy in the 8 seat posted his BB, glanced at his cards and tossed them toward the muck (folded out of turn) and took a walk. On the next hand, I tossed a "missed small blind" button in front of his stack and the game went on. Irene in the 7 seat had the button twice because of his exit. A few hands later, he returned to his seat while a hand was in progress. He sat down and tossed the button toward me. I placed it back in front of his stack while continuing the current hand. He tossed it back to me and I left it in front of my rack. When the hand was complete I tossed it back to him and stated that he had missed his small blind. He emphatically claimed that he had not missed his small blind. Getting no where with him I called for a decision. While waiting for the floorman, Irene tried to give him a dollar to shut him up. The whole table knew I was right. The floorman showed up and I explained the situation, stating that there had been a dead button and that I had announced the dead button etc. etc.
The floorman's decision was, get ready for this....... " Sir, I'll take your word for it this time"!!!????!!!??? Well what about MY word? Do you think I throw around missed blind butons for shits and grins? I was pissed, to say the least, but I simply stated Thank You to the floorman and dealt the hand. The player in the 3s was still arguing with the 8s and telling him that he was wrong. I told the 3s thanks, but asked him to let it go, it was over.....
By the time I finished my string, the floorman had left for the day. Yesterday was the first time that I saw him since the incident. I asked him if he could tell me what his thought process was during that situation. He stated that he was busy, that I was probably right, and left it at that.
Big frustrated sigh.


On Saturday night I got an EO and made it to Linda's in time to play in a $20 buy-in, half 7 stud/half 7 stud 8ob tournament. Much to my surprise when it got down to heads-up, I was in the chip lead with about a 3/1 advantage. Viv and I decided to save time and not to play it out. We did, however, play a hand face up for the title. My hand scooped it.


A week or so ago I was playing Chinese on Superior. We were three handed and one of the players showed that they had timed out. Sweet, right? Nope. The timed out hand was awarded a bunch of money. WTF? I jotted down the hand number and emailed support. Their response was that there was a software glitch and that the player had indeed submitted a natural hand. I looked at the hand history, but was unable to determine what cards the "winning" player had because their cards were displayed face down and there were 13 cards that were not dealt.
A few days later it happened again. This time it was 4 handed so I was able to determine, via hand history, that the player who showed "timed out" but submitted a natural indeed had three straights. I'd had enough in any case. I cashed out a whole $53 from Superior.

I then deposited $50 on Lucky Nugget. I know, I know, I'm freaking nuts (SICK!) for playing slots online. Who could imagine me running $50 into a little over $1,000? That's a lot of pennies, folks. Not to worry, I burned off most of those pennies, but I did cash out a few hundred. By the way, the name of this particular slot game is pretty clever. Pollen Nation. The symbols are worker bees, queen bees, bees wax, etc. Pollen Nation, get it?

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The (almost) free lunch

Yesterday found me stopping at the Klondike Inn & Casino for lunch. I hadn't been there for over a year and I am not really sure why I stopped there yesterday. To my surprise, on Mondays and Wednesdays from 11AM until 10PM they offer a "free" meal. The only stipulation is that you buy a beverage. So for the cost of a diet soda ($1.20 plus 9 cents tax) I had the choice of soup or salad (I chose the chicken gumbo), a slab of ribs, fries and cole slaw. I noticed that others also got a roll, but I never did. The soup was delivered after the meal, but who could complain? The waitress stated that this was a gambling promotion, but you really didn't have to gamble to be eligible. As far as I could tell there were no strings attached. I managed to avoid the slots AND the 10 cent roulette and headed to the Luxor........

After 12 years, the Luxor has re-racked with new chips. Being a chip collector I needed a few of these newbies before they get all beat up. Again I avoided the slots. Quick in-and-out.

I have once again decided to NOT play slot machines. Today marks day three in this quest. I'd like to think that I will never play them again in my life, but the goal for now is to be slot-free for the month of November. I'll see how that goes and then set another goal..........

And now for an observation from the dealer's box: Spring Rain vs Pile of Dried-up Autumn Leaves
The dried-up leaves are the group of players who are never happy. They grumble and moan that they can't win. When they do drag a pot, they bitch that it is only a small pot. These players are not the life blood of poker. They are more like Dracula.
The new players, and I see them every day, are the ones who keep the game viable--the spring rain that gives life to tender new seedlings. The glut of poker tables in this town (with more slated to come on-line soon) requires these new players to fill the seats and provide an influx of "new" money. We offer poker lessons Monday-Friday at noon. When the lesson is concluded, these players are asked if they would like to play in a live game. Consequently, the dealers know to hold the hands of these players in an attempt to make their first experience enjoyable enough to make them want to return again and again. I actually like this aspect of my job because without these fresh faces, the poker boom cannot continue. Having said that, there are still times when I wonder about some of them. Case in point. On Wednesday I dealt to a new player in a $2-4 limit game. Each time that the action was on him I patiently stated his options. You can call $2, raise to $4 or fold. You can check or bet $4 etc etc etc.
About 3 hours later I again pushed into his table. On the turn, he wanted to BET $8. I wanted to scream "In the last 4 hours that you have sat there, has ANYONE been able to BET $8? Are you paying the least bit of attention? Do you realize that you are in a $2-$4 limit game? Are you brain damaged??" Sigh...........Instead I explained the basic betting increments pre-flop, on the flop, turn and river......... Maybe his version of precipitation is Acid Rain.
While dealing the same table the female companion of one of the other players came into the poker room and excitedly exclaimed that she had just won 1,000 quarters on a Wheel of Fortune machine. Her boyfriend looked up and asked "how much money equals 1,000 quarters?" He wasn't joking.
How do some of these people make it through life???? BIG sigh.............

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