Tuesday, February 28, 2006

No habla espanol

6.5 hours seems to be my standard shift lately. On Monday I had the chance to clock out after only 5 hours, but I chose to pull rank and send an extra board dealer home early. I feel just a touch of gulit for doing that since the extra board dealers are only getting 3 days a week, BUT I have expensive habits. So be it.
After I clocked out, two games started within minutes. I jumped into the 4th $4-8 limit game (unusual in that we typically only have 3 games at this limit). I only bought in for a rack when my usual M.O. is to put two racks in play. I pissed away about 60 chips before going on a nice run and finished, in 2 hours, nearly 2 racks in the black. This is something I really need to do more often. Book a win when possible. Too often I find myself up a rack or so and then continue to play until I am in the red. **mental note: booking a win is good for the soul and the roll**

Headed to Gold Coast with Jules and Mark for some grub. Once again, Chinese food. Ping Pang Pong has decent food but I would say that Chang's at Palace Station is better. Additionally, there seemed to be a strange communication problem. At least 7 different restaurant employees stopped at our table to see how things were going and I would guess that 6 of them had very little understanding of what we were saying to them. Perhaps my biggest complaint was that soda refills were not free. Give me a break. Soda fountain drinks cost pennies per serving and considering that the glasses were small I don't think that a free refill is too much to ask. On the positive side, I used comps. It's hard to beat "free".

At the risk of sounding like an arrogant (caucasian) american...........
I received a mailing from Bank of America. I can only assume that it was some type of junk mail. I'll have to make that assumption since it was entirely in Spanish. Maybe having the last name of Murphy made them think that I was fluent in Spanish. I've saved this piece of mail and I intend to cart it with me on my next trip to the bank. I may just make an ass of myself and pitch a bitch. I realize that it wasn't that long ago that Las Vegas was Mexican territory but unfortunately I don't speak the language and I don't think that it is too much to ask that they send me my junk mail written in English.
On Monday night I made one diamond flush which gave me one entry into the Palms Diamonds are Forever drawing. There are 10 $100 winners per day, Monday through Friday(entries are earned Sunday through Thursday)
As I arrived for work Tuesday afternoon I noticed that my name had been drawn. I got into the box $100 richer and knowing that I had a "freeroll" buy-in for after work poker playing.
I only worked 3.5 hours before I jumped out of the line-up and into a game. I honestly tried to play my best donkey poker. I played all kinds of hands. I couldn't give my money away. I played for 5.5 hours without getting all-in and never being more than $60 winner. More than once I let that table know that I was free-rolling and was liable to have ATC. I cashed out a $1.50 loser. One whole dollar and 50 cents. It's not a strategy that I can recommend for every day use, but it is a lot more fun to play a large percentage of your hands. For the most part, rivered flushes kept me in the game.

Monday, February 27, 2006

When the obvious isn't

Last night Linda, Greg, Amy, Vivienne, Marie and Gary and I met at the MGM poker room to play/socialize. Amy didn't actually play and Gary ventured off to play $10-20 but the rest of us ended up on the same $3/6 table for several hours. Seats 6-10, not that it really matters.
I got involved in a hand with KQoff. By the turn I had top two but the board read K,10,J,Q rainbow. It was heads-up. An ace spiked on the river and I immediately bet out. The other guy thought about it for a few seconds and called. At this point I don't think he realized that the nuts were on the board. After the dealer started chopping the pot the light bulb went on inside the other guys head and he spits out "There was no reason for you to bet.....we were chopping it anyway".
What I should have said: You're right! I am an idiot.
What I said" Of course there was a reason for me to bet; Maybe you're stupid! How would I know if you are paying attention or not.

As a dealer (and as a player) I see this scenario all the time. I can't count the number of times that I have seen a player muck his hand when he could have had half or all of the pot. Who knows how many times it happens without me seeing the cards. Just today as I was dealing a $2-4 limit game it almost happened. I flopped 10,10,10 and turned a 10. I think the river was an 8 but it doesn't matter. Player 1 tables his hand and he had a Jack that played. Player 2 keeps his cards in his hand and shows an Ace. He started to muck his hand and then stopped and finally tabled his hand containing the Ace. He was within a second of throwing away the pot. It happens all the time.......
Also today in a $4-8 limit game there were two clubs, a spade and a red card on board. The river was a spade and as the 10s folded to a bet he tries to jab me with "You had to put a spade on the river". I pushed the pot and as I was gathering up the cards I said, quietly, Why were you worried about a spade on the river, there was no flush possible. You should have been worried about the possible straight. He, of course, thought one of the clubs was a spade.
I could go on and on with this line of thought. Hopefully you get the picture. Sometimes the obvious isn't so obvious.

The room today was slow and unusually boring with one exception. My buddy Jeremy was in the $4/8 half kill game on table 3. I've written about him before. When I am in the box he is more likely to play blind than look at his cards. It's scary how often he is successful with this approach. In any case he had the whole table on tilt once again. During one kill pot the pre-flop action was capped at $21 with eight way action. Jeremy put in two of the three allowed raises. I love dealing the wild/wooly games. It certainly beats the monotony of the check-check-check-bet-fold-fold-fold mind numbing madness of the $2-4 limit games.
The fact that the action-packed games are more enjoyable to deal should be obvious. It is obvious, right? Or are you are one of the oblivious players who mucks the nuts........
Don't be a nut mucker!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Do you need a fork?

Last Tuesday I was invited to eat at Chang's, a new Asian restaurant inside Palace Station. When we arrived, the rest of our party had already ordered. As I looked at the menu Jules informed me that if I wanted anything special, go ahead and order it, but otherwise, there was more than enough food ordered and that it would be served so that we could all share. Indeed, there was a large "lazy susan" in the middle of the table. The food started coming and it seemed like the endless stream of food would never end. The turn table whirled and we grabbed what we wanted. Pekin duck, lobster, shrimp, sea bass, etc etc.
Of the seven people seated at the table, I was one of two non-Asians. There was no silverware on the table. No problem. I had an "aunt" Mieko" who was Japanese and who had taught me to use chop sticks as a child. Granted, I don't use them often, but I wouldn't starve if every fork on the planet suddenly disappeared. In any case, as I was attempting to pick up and eat a green bean my first two attempts failed. On the third attempt I got the green bean in my mouth. The young Asian lady to my left jokingly asked if I need a fork. I told her that a fork would not be necessary. About 5 minutes later she dropped a shrimp. As she picked it up on her second attemp I blurted out "Do YOU need a fork?". Maybe you had to be there, but it was hilarious.
The food was delicious and the company was delightful. The fact that it was compliments of Palace Station made it that much sweeter. I also learned that it was not wise to play low limit poker with someone who regularly bets $500 per hand at bacarrat. Only $8 to call? Peanuts. $16? $24? Chickenfeed. She's not going to lay a hand down come hell or high water....and she "gets there". You have been warned.

$16 Million
3 Days
What a coup for Wynn to have hosted this game. Michael Craig has posted that Mr. Beal had no quarrel with the poker room staff at Bellagio. I have to wonder who/what pissed him off enough to have bypassed Bellagio for these matches. It has also been posted that when he (Beal) initially contacted Wynn he asked for and received the standard room rate for poker players. On the surface it doesn't seem that he would be too difficult/demanding. For want of a nail, the shoe was lost........................
He just wanted to eliminate the "home court" syndrome. No one seems to have considered this possibility.

Don't Crap Where You Eat?

There are many reasons why I like to play poker at the Palms. There are also several reasons why I don't.
On Tuesday the room was especially quiet. I signed up for EO/Play. I dealt for 3 hours and then jumped into a $4-8 Limit game. Some of the other players in the game included 2 Palms' dealers, a Binion's dealer and a floorman from the Gold Coast. I knew everyone at the table.
On one hand I look down and see AA. I raise and get 4 callers. On the flop I bet and get one caller. The caller is one of the 4 "industry" people mentioned above. On the turn I bet while saying something like "I have to bet". The caller sarcastically spits out "Oh, you HAVE to bet do you?" He then threw his hand away.
So sue me for not soft-playing you. If you can't handle it maybe you shouldn't be playing poker. Why would you expect me not to bet my hand simply because I also deal to you?
About a year ago I was heads-up with one of our regular "older" ladies. I bet and she explodes with "You wouldn't DARE bet into me!" I would dare and I just did. Unbelievable.

The Playboy Bunny sign was hung on the new tower of the Palms this week.
If you are old enough, you will remember the Playboy clubs of the past...London, Atlantic City etc. Those clubs all closed sometime during the 1980's I believe. George Maloof and Hugh Heffner have joined forces and will open the world's only Playboy Club Casino in the Fantasy Tower at the Palms. It should be interesting to see how this one plays out. I'm not sure about the poker situation in the Playboy Casino. I guess time will tell.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

And I sang happy birthday to me

At 8:23 AM today (2/19) I turned 40 years old. It can't be possible, but it certainly is. The dark side of the moon; cresting the mountain; preparing for the (hopefully) long downhill slide. In any terms, it is a milestone. A sick and demented milestone.

I had thought about taking some time off and going somewhere I hadn't been. My procrastination won out and I simply decided to go to work and pretend like it was just another day. A lot of people would love to spend their 40th birthday in Las Vegas.....and I didn't need an airline ticket to do that.

Yesterday Linda springs it on me that she and a few friends were coming to the Palms to play poker today. I implored her to not make a spectacle out of it. Yes, come play poker and share my birthday with me, but let's not go the singing/balloons/cake route. Vivienne, in her own special way, decided to mark the occasion by wearing and "XL" sticker on her shirt. I had no clue what it meant, but she kept pointing to the sticker and asking me if I knew what it meant. My only guess was that she was living (extra) large. She laughed and said I must not be into Roman numerals. Indeed XL--The Big 40. Clever, Vivienne. Very clever.

I tried my best to get out of the line-up so that I could play too, but it was not to be. The room was busy and there was not an abundance of dealers. So deal I did. I opened table 6 which was the table that included Linda, Vivienne, Marie and Greg . I high carded for the button and Ms. Linda received the As and the button. On the first hand Linda came out firing, kept firing and took down the pot. She looked at me, said happy birthday buddy and pushed the entire pot to me. That's about the best gift a poker dealer can get. Linda, I would still love you if you hadn't done this, but it was a nice gesture and I appreciate it immensely.

When I finally got off of work, I went looking for Linda. I found her and we headed for dinner. After dinner we parted ways. I stopped to wash my hands on my way to the employee exit. When I exited the washroom, a strange and mysterious force guided me to a Keno machine. As usual, I got buried....and then.....Eureka!!

And you thought the swings in poker were bad? The keno machines have been my evil mistress for almost a month now. I have had some nice hits, but the long, dry spells in between have been brutal. In any case, the dreaded machine decided to give me a sweet birthday present.

Happy Birthday to Me!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Upon further review........

You can not "buy the button" and unless every chip in any/all pots goes to the same person, there is no "kill". Nice to have gotten some clarification on these issues.

Recently I mentioned to a friend/peer that I might be interested in purchasing a gun. Yesterday while I was pushing into a NL game, he asked me if I wanted to "go shooting" on Thursday. I stated that I didn't own a gun. He said he had plently of them....
About 10 minutes later Brian in the 10s doubles up with quad treys. While we were waiting for the high-hand jackpot money to be delivered to the table Brian jokingly throws me a blue ($1) chip and says "here is your toke". Brian had heard the shooting conversation. When he gave me the $1 I immediately asked him if he wanted to go shooting with us.....and if he did, while we were in the wilderness with firearms, he could just call me Dick (Cheney). He "got it" and tossed me 4 red birds. Funny how the mention of filling his ass with some lead brought out the red chips.

Jim (same Jim as the "I'm buying the button") is originally from NY. I don't know how long he has been in LV, but he was a car salesman out here before he retired. He has a habit of being "grouchy" and routinely throws out comments like "Murph, you stink". I roll with the punches and don't give it a whole lot of thought. Yesterday the conversation at a table full of regulars turned to my dealing skills or lack thereof. Jim asked if I went to dealing school. I stated that I had, but only for 6 days. Someone else asked if I had graduated. I blurted out Hell NO and briefly told the story of how I came to deal at the Palms. It's funny how sometimes everyone wants you to just shut up and deal and other times it is like 11 people sitting at a bar and drinking beer and telling stories. Some of these players spend more time in a card room than any other single endeavor. You get to know them and their mannerisms and the mood of the table is evident even before you sit in the box. In any case, the mood was light and Jim mentioned that he thought he might like to deal. I immediately jumped on that and told him that if he did, I would be the first one at his table and would constantly call him stinky. He smiled and said that he liked me as a person, it was just that I dealt him crappy cards. Kind words from gruff ol' Jim. That's a first.

Recently I was dealing a NL game where the 2s was the small blind. Everyone folded around to the SB and the BB asked the SB if he wanted to chop. The SB said no. Everyone at the table knew that this meant that the SB had the possibility of making a high hand and winning a bonus. They checked it down all the way and no quads or straight flush resulted. The 2s and 3s showed each other their hands and both tossed them face down to me. I calmly stated that one of them needed to show me a hand so that I could push the $10 pot to one of them. The 1s nearly yelled just give them the pot, they are gonna chop it anyway. He reached out and started to push the 5 blue chips and one red chip in the direction of the 2 and 3s. I grabbed his wrist, perhaps a little to forcefully, and told him that he should not touch the pot and that although everyone, including ME, knew their intentions, someone still needed to show me a hand.
I never saw either hand but I shoved the chips in their general direction. Part of me knows that my reaction was indignant because they acted like I wasn't even there. The other part just wants to follow some semblance or order and procedure. Sigh.
I figured that the 1s would be furious and pitch a bitch, but he didn't. A little while later he even toked me. I'd like to think that he knows he was in the wrong and that I was just doing my job. Maybe that is exactly the case.

Last night I headed to Caesars to explore the possibility of using comps to purchase and Elton John Ticket. When I got there the Players Club desk was a swarm of activity. I was told that they were switching over from the old Caesars/Bally's Connection Card to the new Harrah's Total Rewards system and that it would be at least 10 minutes. From February 12 until the 14th neither card would work and there was no tracking of slot play. I can only imagine how much money they saved by not issuing any slot comps over a 2 day period. I later wandered back to the desk. Erin, an overly bubbly and sweet lady said that I had no comps. I asked how often they expired because I haven't been without a comp balance for about 3 years. She called a supervisor who located my comps. It wasn't quite enough to pay for an Elton ticket, but it would cover a huge chunk of it. I headed to the box office. They had a ticket available for the date I wanted. Back to the Slot Club booth for a partial comp. Again, (a different rep) said I had no comps. Again, a supervisor "found" them. They were mostly earned at Flamingo. He called Flamingo and had them delete my comps there. He then added my comps to my Caesars account and printed me a comp that clearly said it was for the box office. I toted myself back to the box office. The "nice" lady there said $115 including tax/fees. I handed her the comp and the balance in cash. She looked at me funny and said $115. I pointed to the comp and the cash and said that I gave her $120 total. We can't take the comp. What?? We are a totally separate company from Caesars and can't accept the comp. WTF?? Back to the player's club. They couldn't help me, but they would put the comps back onto my account. I now asked to speak to a host. I was told to go to VIP services near the front dest. I walk to the front desk and explore the surrounding area but I can't find VIP services. At this point I give up. Maybe I will go back today and start over.....and maybe I won't.

Dinner tonight will be the ultra-cheap steak dinner at Ellis Island. I can't remember if it costs $3.95 or $4.45 but in any case it is one of the best deals in town. It is available 24-7 but it is not on the menu--you have to ask for it. If you don't care too much for an upscale atmosphere and want a good meal, give it a try. Tell them Murph sent you.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Decisions, decisions.

There will never be universal and standard rules and regulation in every poker room on the planet. I don't even think that standardized rules would be beneficial. Each room has wrinkles that dictate variations. What I would expect is that, within each room, the rules would be understood and applied evenly. Two situations arose today that flew in the face of my expectations. The first situation concerned the kill button when a side pot was in play and the other situation involved "buying the button". In over 25 months, I think I have only weathered some flack twice with regards to the kill button/side pot issue. I have always viewed the kill button as being "off" and out of play when there was at least one side pot and different players won the side and main pot. Today, as I placed the kill button in my rack after a side pot situation, one of the players emphatically stated that the kill button must stay with the "main" pot regardless of side pots. The player who won the main pot did not win the subsequent pot, so it was a moot point. Out of curiosity, I called the floorman and asked the question. His answer was that indeed the button was to be delivered with the main pot. A few hours later I asked another floorperson the same question and got the answer I expected. One pot=kill button, more than one pot takes the kill button off.
An hour or so later I was informed by a player that he was buying the button. I said Jim, you know you can't buy the button in this house. In the 25 months that I have worked there it has never been allowed. He smirked and stated that the rule was changed today and that he was buying the button. FLOOR. Of course the floorperson informed me that Jim could buy the button. Very big sigh. I can't stand learning of changes from the players. It makes me look like an idiot and makes me wonder about a lot of things......
Such is life. Adapt and roll with the punches.

The days of the Palms spreading predominently only $2-4 & $4-8 limit and $2-5 blind NL seem to be over. The fact that we aren't completely full lately has freed up tables to experiment with. We always had the occasional $5-10 or $10-25 NL but recently I've seen $5-5 blind NL, $1-2 blind NL, and $3-6 limit. I wish we had the demand for games other than hold 'em, but it is rare that anyone evan asks about stud or omaha. Maybe I should be careful of what I wish for. I still think a mixed game would be good for the room, but without demand there will be no game. I think if we pushed a slightly larger limit game that it would go as well, but it takes all shifts working from the same page and pushing the game.

The keno machines have not been kind lately. Give a little bit and take back a lot more. One day I will learn what I already know.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Hooters Casino Opens to HUGE crowds

Hooters hosted a VIP party this afternoon in advance of the 9:00 PM opening to the general public.
I'm not a Hooters VIP, but I was there.
I'd like to say that I walked in like I owned the place. The truth is that I walked (snuck)around the rear of the casino and entered via the pool area. End justifying the means I suppose.

I sat down at a 21 table (wo)manned by a lovely Hooters Girl with the highly recognizable orange short-shorts and white t-shirt. Besides myself, the three other players were all Hooters Girls identically attired. The dealer was practicing with play chips and I played for about an hour.

I wandered off to check out the poker room. There are three tables "on the porch". Poker on the porch is one of many play on words that the Hooters promo dept. utilizes. The poker dealers are not forced to wear the orange shorts, although all of the dealers that I saw could pull it off with ease. I don't know exactly why, with the rest of the casino going LIVE at 9:00, but the room manager told me that he hoped to have a game in progress by 6:00 PM. How could I resist. By 6:15 the cards were in the air with myself and 4 or 5 Hooters Poker Dealers playing $4-8 limit with $1-2 blinds. I'm in the SB and look down at A5c. I had already decided that I would play this hand to the bitter end come hell or high water. A 5 fell on the turn and my pair of fives was good enough to win the first ever poker hand at Hooters. I am very happy to have this "first" under my belt.

*****I also had the opportunity to play in the last poker game ever dealt at the "real" Binion's. On the last hand we all decided to just put $10 each in the pot and play the hand face up. We gave the whole pot to Dawn (the dealer). Mike Paulle had the honor of winning the hand that ended an era of poker that can never be duplicated. Although I would have loved to have won that hand, I am still glad that I was there when the final curtain fell on the Binion's of old.*****

By the time I left the poker room (with a $148 profit) there was a $1-2 blind NL game in progress. The buy-in was $50-200. There was also a $4-8 mixed game in progress. I think that if they are able to keep the mixed game going that it will be a success.

They have a 10% $3/max rake with no high hand/bad beat drop.

Upon leaving the poker room I encountered a literal sea of humanity. It was impossible to move unless the people around you also moved. Every table I saw had a $25 minimum. I passed on the pit games and pointed myself toward the main entrance.........once outside........my car was GONE. I calmly asked a security person what might have happened. It seems that at the last minute they decided that the surface parking lot needed to be cleared. They towed a LOT of cars to a vacant lot on Ali Baba street. I left with a sour taste in my mouth after a pleasant 6 hours.
In spite of that, Hooters is open for business and the Hooters are on display.
Go see for yourself. Delightfully Tacky.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


When I fell off of the no slots cart I did it with gusto. Last Tuesday I found someone to work for me and took the day off. I headed to NY NY because I had $50 in "free" slot play. Eight hours later I left NYNY with a W2-G for nearly $1,400. Friday night after work at the Palms I played and played. Deeper and deeper into the red, until...... Jackpot. Where, oh where was #22?? Another W2-G to deal with. Since then I have given a large portion of it back, but so what.

For a year or so Linda has been threatening to play poker at the Palms so that I could deal to her. Sunday she made good on the threat. It is funny that I don't get nervous about dealing to famous people, but I sure got a little jittery when I knew that I would be dealing to Linda. Maybe I was worried about screwing up and becoming the subject of a "It drives me nuts when a dealer does this or that" post. She and Viv purchased a few racks of ammunition and planted themselves on table #2. About an hour later I push onto table #2. It was a fun 30 minutes as Linda snaped pictures of me and of the players who explicitly stated that they didn't mind being photographed at the table. She handed out some business cards and told them to look for their pictures in the near future in a Table Tango post. I managed to push Linda one decent size pot and, despite my jitters, made no mistakes. Whew!
Me in action:

The poker scene at the Palms has been a mixed bag of busy and slow days. I've written before about 100+ more new poker tables due to come to town between now and April. Hooters will bring a few this weekend when they open. Yesterday I heard that Treasure Island will resurect their poker room. Where will it end?
The Palms is unveiling a new high limit lounge this weekend. It will be called The Mint and it is a two story affair--although it looks like the second floor of the lounge won't have much of a view. A poker table has been built for the lounge, but, as I understand it, the table may or may not be in the lounge at any given time. On-demand poker with the table being moved in/out as demand dictates. I'm not sure if dealers will rotate out of our two existing rooms or be temporarily assisgned to deal in The Mint only. This should be interesting. Stay tuned for updates on how this venture plays out.

About a month ago I heard a rumor that Daniel N. was in negotiations with the Palms to play his challenge matches at our place. It seems that this didn't come to fruition and that Daniel will be setting up shop in the new room at Caesars. Another rumor that seems to have not been true was the one about Doug D. leaving the Bellagio to head up poker operations at the Venetion. It now seems that Edna D. will assume that role.

Last night after work I headed to Bellagio to play a few hands of poker. I jumped into a game and in over an hour I won exactly ONE small pot. I racked up what I had left and headed to the Keno machines while I waited for Linda to find her escape hatch. She found it shorty, but not before I was buried. While I was playing 25 cent Keno, the guy behind me was playing a Keno machine for $20 a spin. He hit for $7900+ shortly after I sat down. When I left, he was still banging away at $20 a spin..........
Linda and I headed to the Palms to play, you guessed it, Keno machines. Several hours later we were both battered and bruised. As we were leaving, we walked by the roulette tables. My head was screaming 19-19-19-19. I am not allowed to play table games at the Palms since I work there. I told Linda to put a $20 bill on #19. She said she never played roulette and she wouldn't know what she was doing. I explained that she didn't need to know anything....just walk up to the table, lay a 20 spot on #19 and say "money plays". She reluctantly made her way to the table. She reached out to drop the $20 on #19 just as the dealer waived his arm and said "no more bets". We were NOT in action. The ball dropped into.........wait for it.......... 19. Arrrrrrrgggggggghhhhhhhh.
For the want of one or two seconds that $20 bill would have turned into $700.
I flopped around like an idiot and we laughed all the way to the car. A sick-demented laugh. It was either that or cry. I chose to laugh about it. Sigh.

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