Friday, August 25, 2006

Remember the Golden Rule.

I found this license plate to be amusing. It looks like the EO Queen can still afford a Mercedes despite taking the EO at every available opportunity.

Lately I have been the opposite of the EO King. It's resulted in a lot of breaks and even a dead spread or two but last week I worked 8, 7.5, 9, 8 and 5 hours. The second 8 hour day last week was particularly brutal. Deal table 2, break, deal table 3, break, deal table 4, break, sit dead on 5, break, deal table 8, break.....repeat.

Several players who get around to many different rooms have commented that it is very slow everywhere. There are many theories. The common denominator is that there are too many rooms/tables in town. The next most popular theory is that a lot of players are broke from the WSOP. I don't have the answer.

This cloud formation confronted me as I exited Target on Wednesday night. It was more impressive than the picture would indicate.

I hadn't played any internet poker for months. Recently I received an email from Party Poker telling me that they had deposited $40. I played a sit and go and took 1st. It helped that I had AA twice and they held up each time...... including the final hand. I guess I'll try to play at least one per day for the next few days to see how it goes.

The outrage at Wynn continues to be a hot topic on the Dealer's Lounge. As expected, it looks like Steevie did his research and determined that his decision was on solid legal footing. I am still having trouble believing that being legal makes it "right".

An online search of the Las Vegas Review Journal site today shows that this story is already beginning to fade. The only reference that I can find to the story today is in the form of letters to the editor. None of the comments are favorable to Wynn, but I would guess that he is happy that it's no longer worthy of a full-fledged story.

Remember the Golden Rule. Them that have the gold make the rules.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Say it ain't so, Steve.

In case you have missed the news reports, allow me to tell you a little story.

Casino executives, by and large, have always resented it when a player won big and tipped big.

The way they see it, that tip is money that should have gone directly to the bottom line of the casino. After all, if the player didn't tip with it what else could he do? Play, play and play some more and eventually all that money is sitting in the cage waiting to be counted. The way they see it that toke money is never coming back to them. Is that really the case? Sure, there are dealers who are smart and never gamble. I'd guess them to be in the minority. Most dealers tend to spread that toke income around. More than a fair share of it eventually ends up in the casino coffers anyway.

Since Wynn opened his joint the dealers there have been making some serious bank. On the surface, Wynn dealers were the envy of the rest of us--non-Wynn dealers. Festering away, just under the surface was the fact that many Wynn dealers were working way more than 40 hours per week. It appears that the supervisory ranks were working a lot of hours too, but we'll get back to that subject soon. Not being able to count on scheduled days off can wreak havoc on your personal life. Having requested days off denied can certainly make a person less than happy. There are things that need to be taken care of. Maybe it's a doctor's appointment. Sister's wedding. Important things.

Let's return to the supervisory ranks at Wynn. From day one, the dealers there did so well that they almost always made more than the "suits". This doesn't sit well with some of the suits, but from my point of view it is to be expected. There are many many casinos where the dealers end up making more than salaried personnel.
It's a tradeoff that I've not been able to justify for myself. Sure, there are drawbacks to being paid an hourly wage of $5.85. NOTHING over that is assured. If I take a paid day off, I get paid 8 x $5.85. Pit dealers typically get a cut of the tokes as well as their hourly wage when they take an approved day off. Again, there is a trade off between dealing in the pit and in the poker room. Keeping your own tips in the poker room, to me at least, makes up for the fact that I don't get a cut of any tokes when I take a paid day off.

We all make choices.

This week Steve Wynn made a choice too. He had a problem on his hands. Considering the fact that a dealer was making more, sometimes MUCH more, than his "suits, he was having trouble filling his supervisory ranks with experienced and qualified people. One solution might have been to give his floor staff a raise in an amount that somewhat leveled the playing field. This, alas, was too reasonable of an idea.

What has he chosen to do?

Can you say MONEY GRAB?

Steve Wynn has implimented, effective next week, a policy that will give his salaried staff a cut of the dealers tokes.

This is, in my opinion, wrong on so many levels that it surely had to be a joke.

No joke.

Salaried personnel will be given a (2/5) 40% share of a dealers cut for the day.

This has caused an uproar to say the least. Some who are green with envy seem to have taken some pleasure from it. To them and any rational person, I suggest that you look at it this way. Regardless of how much you currently make, how would YOU feel if your employer decided to reduce YOUR salary by 10 or 20% and give that money to YOUR supervisor. I doubt that anyone would appreciate it too much.

If this policy does go into effect, we had better all keep a hand on our wallets. Where does it stop?

Dealers have traditionally been a fractured group who can never seem to agree on anything. Possible unionization is discussed periodically, but never seems to gain traction. Unions would LOVE to bring Las Vegas dealers into the fold. Steve Wynn may have just opened up the can containing the union worms.

Where Steve leads, will others follow? It's highly likely.

Personally, I have never been pro-union. Then again, I don't see Mr. Wynn reducing his unionized employees pay by 10-20%.

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I still want to think that this is all a hoax.

Read all about it Here, here, and here


Friday, August 18, 2006

The Decline of Western Civilization?

On Tuesday I was dealing a $2-5 blind NL game when I overheard an interesting conversation. It was not like I was eavesdropping or anything, the young man obviously didn't give a crap who heard him.

He was winners around $800 and had consumed a few adult beverages, complimentary, of course.

Although we now "officially" have a no cell phone rule for our room I've given up on trying to enforce it. If you can talk AND keep the game moving along at the same time, I don't really care if you are on the phone. I've also come to the conclusion that if it was really that big of a deal the floor people or even the manager might make a token attempt at communicating the policy change to the customers. Maybe you could print up a sign stating the policy? Sue me, I don't care.

In any case, this suddenly prosperous young man was burning up his air time minutes trying to find an available hooker. He wasn't going to settle for just ANY hooker, it had to be one of the ones that he had on speed dial. Sure, prostitution is illegal in Clark County but what happens here stays here aparently. The new Embarq Yellow Pages has "Massage" listings from page 1,438 all the way to page 1,482. "Entertainers" grace pages 869 through983. Every one of these ads is protected by Constitution. It's free speech! Perhaps there is irony to be found in the fact that there are 210 pages advertising attorneys.

A sample page

He was lamenting his fate. "Why aren't they ever available when I have money?" Believe me, he, more so than most, was only one hand away from losing his new found "do something special for myself money".

I have no idea how it all turned out.


Some days I do some super-surfing of the good ol' WWW. I never know where I will end up. I just click and click and click.

Today I found myself landing at the Men's Health forums. I clicked on a thread paying for sex where the topic of conversation dealt with the question of whether a "massage" with a happy ending constituted prostitution.

From there it was a short surf to a thread about showering naked . This thread was started in 2003 and continues to draw attention. If you are able to wade through the homo-erotic bath house myths and the occasional tangent, there is information here about the changing cultural fabric. Any male who has ever suffered through puberty has dealt with this issue. When I went to school, showers after gym class were mandatory. Trust me when I say that if anyone had taken a shower in their underwear they would have ended up in the Finan Center (local psychiatric retreat). I still remember that there was a senior posted at the entrance to the showers, clip board in hand, marking each of us off as we exited the showers. In today's world, this apears to be a law suit waiting to happen and many school districts across the country have banned showers.

I guess times have changed in the last 25 or so years. Maybe it's due to pedophile priests on the all-news-all-the-time channels? Maybe it's due to Madison Avenue? Some even draw parallels between this "modesty" and the increased use of steroids in young men. These and other possible explanations are explored in the 13 pages of posts on the subject.

The generalization of the topic as a whole is that, if possible, the youth of today are even MORE hung up about their bodies than those of us with some grey in our hair are. I'm certainly not an exhibitionist, but When in Rome comes to mind when as recently as Wednesday I treated myself to a (legitimate) massage at Luxor. My routine before and after a massage is to lounge in the sauna/steam room/jacuzzi for a few hours keeping the real world at bay for as long as possible.

After reading through the showering thread I thought back to Wednesday. With the exception of one very large (I'm guessing 400+ pounds) man in a swimming trunks the only other people covered with more than a towel were two young guys in board shorts. As is mentioned in the thread, it seems that in a situation where nudity is the norm, being clothed makes you stand out as an oddity.

I really don't know the answers but maybe somewhere in this train of thought there is a glimpse into the profound cultural changes we experience in a life time.

Then again, maybe there is a legitimate reason for showering in your underwear.

Or maybe I should only think about reading hands and pushing pots. Does anything else really matter?

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Crime and Punishment

Today I'm dealing a $2-4 limit game. One of our regular $4-8 players joins the game while waiting for a $4-8 seat. Said player hasn't tipped me at all for several months. I really hadn't given it too much thought. I've given up on trying to figure people out.

In any case I push her a relatively large pot. She hesitates for a split second and then tosses a dollar toward me while saying "As much as I hate to".

Hmmm, how to respond beyond simply saying thank you?

Me: Oh, that's nice.
Me: What did I ever do to you?
Player: I have a short (I think she meant long, but she said short) memory.
Me: ????????????????????????
Player: You snapped at me.
Me: "Players name" don't you think that is a little out of character for me?
Player: Yes.

I left it at that.

I have my doubts that I ever "snapped" at her. About the only time I really raise my voice while in the box is when I am stating "time" or "hold on a minute, please" while I am trying to stop the dominoes from falling after someone has acted out of turn and it starts to snowball from there. If I don't stop the action as soon as possible it can get ugly and complicated.

Who knows what the circumstances were on that fateful day when I supposedly dissed her, but......I guess she showed me.



Today was my first day of "8 hours, hell or high water" campaign.
It wasn't pretty.
I dealt a 7 ball and then we played up and down.
Feast or famine.

At one point we had 10 dealers and 5 games. Here is what our line up looked like. Obviously there were no games on tables 1,4,6,7,10.

Me thinks it will get worse before it gets better..............

Friday, August 11, 2006

Victoria, BC, Canada

By this time I was tired of taking pictures and my memory stick was full. I borrowed another memory stick but for some reason it would only hold about 10 pictures. Beggers can't complain so I took what pictures I could until the memory stick filled and filed the rest of the scenery away in my human memory brain.

The whole trip seems a blur.

I have no idea when my next cruise will be but I don't think the scenery of this one can be topped.

I only played poker twice on this cruise. Both times it was $2-4 limit. I lost $15 once and won $9 the other time.

Since returning to land I played $3-6 at the Tuscany (+$176). They have a nice room over there.

Yesterday I got a call from Nicholas in the 3s . He was in town on business. We had a bite to eat and a few drinks and then headed to Treasure Island with hopes of playing the mixed game there. No such luck. We managed to convince one other person to get on the list but the floorman wouldn't even start the game short handed.

We then headed to the Mirage and jumped on the list for $6-12. It took about 30 minutes but we finally got in that game. I tried to run over aces with jacks and my AKh was no match for pocket 4s. Other than those two hands it was rather uneventful and I cashed out down $69.

Today I head back to the red and purple felt jungle. No green felts at the Palms.

See you there.

Ketchikan, Alaska

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Mama said there'd be days like this.

If every work day was like today, I would have quit yesterday.

When my day starts with "first break" I know it's usually all down hill from there. First break simply means that I get to take a 30 minute break before I deal my first hand. Typically this is caused by too many dealers and not enough games. That was indeed the case today. First break lead into up and downs. Deal 30 minutes, take a 30 minute break. Wash, rinse and repeat.

It's no fun to be a dealer when this occurs.

Ironically, many of the full time dealers have decided that we need to endure this in order to drive home the fact that we have too many dealers in comparison to our level of business. When we, as full time dealers, choose to take an EO instead of suffering through the up and downs, we, in effect, let the schedule maker off of the hook. We voluntarily reduce payroll which allows the true situation to be ignored. There are many days when there are enough scheduled dealers to staff a room running at full capacity. Unfortunately, there aren't many days when all tables are up and running. On at least one occasion the number of scheduled dealers must have assumed that we would have 13 tables in operation. The major problem with this scenario is that we only have 10 tables.

You do have to wonder................

Today I had the distinct pleasure (insert heavy sarcasm here) of dealing to a 2006 WSOP bracelet winner who hadn't played in our room for a few months. Some things never change. One of those things being said bracelet winners tendency to shoot any and all angles. Twice today he tried to take back money while I was dealing. He had raised and was reraised. By the time the action got back around to him, his raise was sitting back in his stack of chips. I learned a long time ago that I had to watch him like the proverbial hawk. You would think by now that he knows that I know how he operates. It's his only MO and I guess he can't turn it on and off.

What makes me want to puke is that his behavior is well known, but he is still allowed to frequent poker rooms around town. I'm quite sure that he has tricks that are older than me, but I do try my best to thwart his every attempt. It's a sick sort of game and it's not pretty. It is what it is I suppose.

It is interesting to note that aparently winning a bracelet means that you no longer feel compelled to toke. It must be an unwritten rule. Win a few hundred grand and start stiffing the dealers.



Our Aces Cracked promotion has met an untimely end. It appears that the term "Aces Cracked" is governed by some trade mark/service mark/copyright issues. Rather than debate the point, we've discontinued the promotion.

As compensation, our "splash the pot with $50" promotion as been expanded to once per hour Mon-Fri instead of once every two hours.

There are less than two month until UltimateBet-Aruba. WooHoo! I can't wait to drink Iguanas...a tropical mixture, heavy on the rum, with just enough Midori to make it about the same shade as the real iguana below.

Here's to tropical breezes 3,236 miles from Las Vegas.

Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska, USA

Saturday, August 05, 2006

In the Gloaming

Somewhere along the Inside Passage

Friday, August 04, 2006

Skagway, Alaska

This morning I received a phone call asking me if I could come in to work early. Since I was ready to go out the door anyway I said that I would. I rushed to work expecting a mad house. It really wasn't that busy, but who am I to make that judgement?
Most days I am glad that I just punch a time clock. In previous lives I had responsibility--budgets, projections, productivity reports. Endless days and phone calls in the middle of the night. Now I just clock in and toss cards to the endless stream of poker players who wander through our room. Sometimes I need to be reminded of how much I hated my previous jobs. It makes it easy to overlook some of the crap that I deal with now. Everything is relative......

It's not often that a reader introduces themselves. Today Larry Brady caught me during a break. We chatted for a few minutes. He said that he was also trying to catch up with Linda, but that she never seemed to be working when he was in town. Linda, I guess you need to go back to work. Your public expects you to be at Bellagio.
Larry, it was nice meeting you.


Today I had a player bark: "Don't touch my chips".
Excuse me, your excellency. (I want to say excuse me, you pompous ass, but I won't). There are plenty of times that I need to touch "your" chips. Technically every time you put your chips into the pot in a stack over 5 chips high they should be broken down. In this case, I was simply making it easy for everyone to see what was the call portion and what was the raise. Honestly, what did you think I was going to do? Steal a freaking $5 chip?
Besides, if you would learn to cut chips it would make it easier for everyone.

Skagway was our second port of call. Again, the scenery was spectacular, but there really isn't much else there. Several of us took an excursion on the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad.

This railroad was built to transport people and equipment to the gold fields in the Yukon Territory. The other option was to carry about 2,000 pounds of provisions via pack animal. The railroad charged a hefty fee, but I can't imagine making that journey on foot.

We climbed for about 20 miles, up and up and up, until we crossed into Canada. At that point we turned around and headed back to sea level.

The weather thus far has been cool, rainy and gloomy. Quite a welcomed change from the 100+ degrees of Las Vegas.
The weather also complimented my mood.
What can I say? It's how I typically view the world.

It's hard to describe several hours of twilight. The farther north we sailed, the longer the days became. After sunset, it just didn't get dark for hours.
Again, this suited me just fine.
Can you guess my favorite time of the day?
In the gloaming.
I find it surreal.

Next stop, Glacier Bay

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Seattle to Juneau

After a very pleasant week long cruise I eased back into the daily grind with a two day work week. Monday was rather uneventful as was today. Just the way I like it.

Today I did witness a young man turn a $200 buy-in into about $8,000. He started out in a $2-5 blind NL game and parlayed his way into a $5-10 blind NL game. It didn't matter what cards he played, and he played just about anything, the deck hit him in the face. Typically, he didn't stay on fire forever. He gave back $8,000 in two hands.

At least he will have a hell of a story to tell the boys back home...........

I plan to break the cruise into sections. On Sunday we sailed from Seattle.

We had the cards in the air as soon as legally possible. It's fun to watch people on vacation, with pockets full of money, jump into the fray. Of course on a cruise you have a captive audience AND there will be no "new" money entereing the games for a week. This fact plays itself out during the course of the week.

Classis Gaming Cruises always offers a free-roll tournament for cruisers who have booked with Classic Gaming in the past. Here's a picture taken during this free-roll.

This looks like a typical poker room with the exception of the windows visible to the right. The windows allow you to play poker while the majestic scenery glides effortlessly by.

At my normal job majestic scenery also strolls by---it's just enhanced with silicone.............

Speaking of a room with a view, how about this bathroom?

The picture is a little too dark, but you can see the urinals at the bottom of the picture.

Plenty of women heard about, and consequently visited, this men's room during the cruise. Aparently the women's room didn't have a view.

Two 2007 WSOP Main Event seats were given away during the cruise. The first seat was determined by a $150 buy in NL tournament. With only 39 players it was quite a good deal.

The second seat was by random drawing. Each pot during a live game contained a raffle ticket. At the end of the week a ticket was drawn and the winner got a $10,000 seat. Again, what a great deal.

If you have any desire to book a Classic Gaming Cruise, tell Ms. Maura that I sent you.

After a trip through the Inside Passage, our first port of call was Juneau. A few of us took the cable car 1,800 ft. up the side of the mountain. Here is the view from the top. The body of water is the Gastineau Channel.

Many people were suprised, as was I, that we were actually in a temperate rain forest. When I think of a rain forest, Alaska is not my first first thought. Never too old to learn something new I guess.

Next Stop Skagway............

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