Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year....

I'm back from a 9 day visit to home in Western Maryland. This was my 40th xmas and I've been fortunate enough to have spent all but one of them with my family. The nostalgia was palpable. Nearly every ornament on the tree told a story. Some of these ornaments have hung on the tree since my mother was a child. The train ran circles under the tree just as it has for each of the last 40 years. My old Lionel sits in box awaiting repairs and has been temporarily replaced by a more modern version.
David, my 4.5 year old nephew added some drama and allowed me to see this time of year through the eyes of an innocent child who still believes. This child has multiple santas. When asked how many toys he has, his reply is often "too many". Conspicuous consumption be damned. I took him shopping two days before the 25th and gave him instructions to point to what he wanted. Of course I ran the risk of duplilcating what santa may have already loaded on his sleigh. So be it.
He and I embarked on the project of making a snow tunnel. Once complete he crawled through and shreeked YIPPEE! Ah, the simple pleasures.

This is a child after my own heart. For his 5th birthday he wants to come to Las Begas (his pronounciation) and have a Poker Chip Party.

I've already placed some coins on my window ledge so that fortune and prosperity will come with the new year.

My resolutions are:
No Slots 2006
Drop 20 pounds
See at least six shows in 2006. O, Elton, etc.

I'm headed to work in an hour. After work it's off to Linda's for one last card party in her "old" home. While the rest of humanity will be revelling in the debauchery of the LV Strip, I'll be quietly bringing in 2006 among good friends. Life could be worse.

Wherever you are or however you celebrate, I wish everyone the best in the coming year.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Full Tilt's Global Poker Challenge II

It would probably be easier to list the notables who were not in attendance than the poker professionals who were there. The tournament had roughly 64 players representing the USA and 64 players representing the rest of the world. It was relatively painless to deal and there were some funny moments. Who knew that Kenna James had a voice of gold? While I was dealing at his table, the cameras were focused on my table and Kenna took off with singing the National Anthem. He was seated in the 1s and when he finished his rendition, I quietly apologized to him for not being able to stand up while he was singing. He laughed and said that he had forgotten to take off his cowboy hat. He broke out in song at least one other time, again singing the national anthem. Before the first hand was dealt, Robert Thompson was making some introductions and going over the rules/structure. When he stated that cursing/abusive language would not be tolerated, I looked at Mike Matasow and said "Mike, did you catch that part?" I don't think he appreciated it, but I made myself giggle.
The structure was a shootout. I think that there were 17 tables with most of them being 8 handed, some being 7 handed. The winner of each table advanced to round two with them then playing down to the final table. During the initial round, the teams scored points when someone was knocked out. If the player taking a bow and hitting stage left was from the other team, your team scored 1 point. During round 2 each knockout was worth 2 points.
I guess you'll have to watch it on TV to see who won.

When the shootout portion of event was finished, most of the dealers were released. A bunch of us went to eat dinner at Garduno's at the Palms. After dinner, another dealer-dominated $4-8 limit poker game broke out. By dominated, I don't mean that the dealers were winning every pot, I just mean that more than half the players were also dealers. The game was, as expected, a wild one. Several non-dealing players changed tables. They left our table. Why? Sigh. Some just can't handle the ramming and jamming. Who wouldn't want to be in a game where $12 extra dollars were going into the pot with $4 live and dead $8 before anyone looked at their cards? One non-dealing player stated that he liked the game because dealers knew not to waste their money by trying to chase him down. I looked him in the eye and stated that he needed to pay attention. We were trying to give our money away. We just know him well enough to know that when he bets or raises, he has the nuts or very close to them.

I only have 4 more days of work before I head back East to brave the snow and ice. I look forward to spending the holidays with the family........especially my 4.5 year old nephew.
Whatever holiday you are celebrating this time of year, I wish you the best.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

One wild poker game.

Before I get to the fun and festivities, let me relate two unpleasant incidents from the last few days. The first occurred as I planted my ass in the box of a NLH game on table 7. The two guys in the 9 & 10 seats were speaking German between hands with one of our regular player who was standing behind them. I had never seen the 9&10 seats before. On the first hand that I dealt, the 10s discarded his hand in front of the 8 seat. My muck was only inches away from his hand, but for whatever reason, he felt it necessary to "muck" his hand two feet from the muck pile. I'm sorry, but I see absolutely NO reason for this. My only conclusion is that he is a complete ass. What purpose can it serve? Is this part of his "table image"?? Fortunately I have a pretty wide wingspan and I can reach nearly all areas of the table with little effort. By the end of my down he was mucking his hands in a more normal manner. Go figure.
Yesterday as I was waiting to push into the box on table 8, I rested my left hand on the back of 1s chair. He shot me a truly evil stare and made it clear that he didn't want me to touch "his" chair. I can't help but pity people like this. With negativity and pure evil oozing from their every pore it must suck to be them. As Olivia was gathering the cards and preparing to exit the box, she told me that the "Gentleman" in the 1s liked his cards to land either here or here as she pointed to two imaginary points on the felt. "He doesn't like them anywhere else but here or here" as she again pointed to two spots on the felt. No problem, he'll get them where he likes them.

The Palms Employee Holiday Party was held last night inside RAIN nightclub. Everything from sushi to prime rib and lots of good stuff in between. When we checked in, we were given three drink tickets. Those tickets didn't last long. The booze was flowing and it didn't take long for a bunch of drunk poker dealers to descend upon the poker room. We plopped down around an empty table and asked for a dealer. The game was extremely loose with lots of live straddles, dead straddles, raises and re-raises galore. The working dealers were well taken care of for putting up with our antics. The coctail waitress recruited a security guard to help carry her burden of shots and backs. We really needed a waitress dedicated to just our table and not the entire poker room. I haven't had that much fun playing poker for a long time. Win or lose. And after being up about $200, I ultimately lost. About 4AM I finally gave up and headed for home.
KK is evil. I had KK 5 times and they only won once.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Random Thoughts

During the Lederer Fantasy/Reality Camp, Robert Thompson kept referring to Clonie G. as Clowie. As an example, he would announce "Clowie to table 27 please". She was annoyed, but instead of simply telling him that he was pronouncing her name wrong, she asked Theresa, the SNG coordinator to tell him that her name was CLO_-KNEE CLO-KNEE. She (Theresa) did (tell him) but he continued to refer to her as Clowie. It was funny in a sick way.

During the camp, I only ran into one person who was slightly difficult. He was an older gentleman who questioned a raise. It went something like this. Blinds were 25-50. A few players folded. The older man raised to 100. A few more folded. The guy in the cut-off said raise and put out a $100 chip. Pretty standard except that he thought that he was raising it to $100. I told him that it had already been raised to $100 and that the $100 chip he had put out was the call, but he still needed to raise. he put out $300 more. The older guy went nuts. I immediately called the floor. The floor agreed that the cut off could make it $400 total (or any other amount up to and including all in). The older guy was miffed at me for calling the floor. I tried to explain to him that a dealer should not be making decisions from the box. My inital "ruling" was that it was now a total of $400. He didn't agree. What did he want me to do except call the floor?
If I wanted to be a floorman, I would be a floorman. I don't, so I'm not.

Also during the camp, on Friday, as Phil G. was leaving for the day he walked around to all of the tables and was telling everyone goodbye. When he stopped by the table that I was dealing, a kid (to me anyone under 30 is a kid and it is not intended as an insult) in the 9s decided that he wanted to rashambo with Phil. Phil agreed that they would play for $100 two out of three. The kid stood up. First try, Phil won. Before the second try, Phil told the kid that he was going to go with rock. The kid went with scissors. Phil indeed went with rock just as he said he would. Phil grabbed the bill and headed out the door. The kid was amazed that Phil told him exactly what he was going to do and did it.
I have no desire to play this game with Phil G.

I have no details, but yesterday morning there was a fight in the no limit poker room at work. It was supposedly complete with lots of blood and flying chips. I don't regret not having been in the box for that show.

The Palms has added poker room give-aways on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights. Once an hour from 6-10PM a table and seat number is drawn. If you are in that seat, you win between $100 and $500.
We are still running the Sunday and Monday night football promotions. Every time a team scores a touchdown or field goal, a table/seat number is drawn and the person in that seat wins between $100-500. At least ten drawing per night. If there are less than 10 scores, a drawing is conducted every 30 minutes after the game until there have been 10 drawings. We have 10 tables, so you have a 1 in 10 chance of scoring at least $100.

The tables await. I have to go shuffle up and deal. Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Full Tilt's Global Poker Challenge

Have I told you lately that I LOVE my job?
Yesterday I was asked to deal this event on Dec. 15th. Two and a half years ago I was toiling away in distribution management, trying to get people to move a stupid box from point A to point B. Many times I tried to remind my employees that it was JUST a box and that I was confident that they were smarter than the box. My confidence was often wasted as the box won again and again. 14 hour days were not uncommon. Calls in the middle of the night (for much of 15 years my night was your day). Department budgets. Productivity standards. Meetings. Training seminars. PHHHHHHHHHHHHT.
Who would have thought that dishing cards to people could be what?.........rewarding isn't the proper less stressful than what I had become accustomed to.
It is a little early to be reflecting on 2005, but it hasn't been too shabby. I turned 39 while floating around the Carribbean for 10 days aboard the Norwegian Dawn. I spent 10 days in Aruba for the UB/WPT event. I dealt to regular Joes, movie & rock stars and an array of the poker elite. I'll be home (Western Maryland) for xmas. Life could be worse.

Hookers in casinos?? Who'd have thunk it?


When in a casino, it is advisable to look down. You may find money, or you may just see carpet. Not just any carpet, but Casino Carpet. I meant to take pictures of all of the casino carpet in Aruba. I only managed to snap a pic of the carpet in two of the joints, but Dave promises that he will add those two pictures to his gallery. If you have any interest in gambling you may enjoy visiting his site.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Happy Holidays!

The Lederer/Duke Reality/Fantasy Camp came to a close today.

For 4 days they ran sit-n-go format games with ZERO juice.

The "little brown envelope" is used to distribute tokes. The 25 indicates how many downs I dealt. The 90 means $90. I'll save you the mad dash to the calculator. $3.60 per down.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Fantasy Camp Update

Yesterday was a looong (11.5 hours) but fun work day.
The dealers were told to report at Noon. Around 11:45 we were informed that the dealer meeting would be held at 12:50. Whatever would a bunch of dealers do to kill an hour? Get a key and open a table, that what. The regular players in our room were chomping at the bit to get into that game, let me tell you. It has been said that for a poker player heaven is a table full of white (purple and black in our case) shirts. I lost about $60 on the first hand I played. I had AJ and the flop was AQJ. I rode it hard only to find that Nancy had KT. I managed to book a $25 win in spite of that and off to the Fantasy Camp we went.......
There were around 180 people in the first tournament. They played down to 9 and will finish today at 1PM. When the tables started breaking, the sit-n-gos fired up. The unique thing about these sngs was that the 5 seat was reserved for a pro. Players could inquire as to the thought process of the pros immediatly after the hand. Players could also get a critique of how they played the hand. It was very interesting. Phil G. was dressed as a doctor complete with white lab coat & stethescope. He carried a prescription pad and would write a prescription/diagnosis when a player did something " bad". It was hilarious. I know that I picked up a few things just by watching these interactions/critiques. Although the pros bought in to the SNGs with their own money, and I would say that they were playing to win, it was a relaxed atmosphere and a unique opportunity for the camp participants to interact with their "idols".
I'll probably miss one or two, but here are some of the pros who played. Howard & Annie (of course), Freddy D., Marcel L., Michael G., Andy B., Clonie G., Huck S. and Phil G. Robert Thompson directed the SNGs and Matt Savage took charge of the tournaments. It was a well run event.
There was another, smaller tournament for about 40 players at 8PM. This was a UB/Annie sponsored event with the top prize being a $12,000 package to the 2006 WSOP.

The weirdest thing that happened to me was during the first tournament. I raced off the quarters. No problems, right? Well about 5-6 hands later, I looked over at the 7seat and the guy had a stack of green in front of him!? Don't even ask me how that happened. I was simply baffled. Fortunately he didn't have an odd amount of chips.

While dealing to a table that had Annie on it, I asked her why she didn't play at the Palms more often and mentioned that she hadn't played there since the 2004 WSOP. She put me in my place and asked me if I was crazy........She stated that she played $2-4 limit at the Palms about 2 weeks ago. I guess I was off that night as I certainly would have noticed Annie Duke playing at our lowest limit table.

I had hopped that Suzie Ledered would somehow be involved with the festivities. I asked Howard if she would be stopping by. He said that the 5 Diamond was in full swing at the Bellagio and that she couldn't get away from her obligations there.

I need to be back at work in 2 hours. I hope that today is as fun as yesterday. Shorter, but just as fun.

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