Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Ashes to Ashes and Stardust to Dust

It looks like the Major Poker Room FreeRoll has been approved and the contract signed. The details have not yet been released. Think huge committment in terms of hours played and a cool $1,000,000 or so in prize money. The million takes care of the fortune. Television coverage will take care of the fame.
Get ready kids, this should be VERY interesting.
From what I have been able to gather this could either be the best promotion ever or the world's largest flea circus. I'm hoping for the best option.

Molasses. As in slow as. On a January morning in the mountains of Western Maryland.
There are a few players that could kindly be described as deliberate with EVERY move they make on a poker table. Less kindly they could be described as old and painfully slow.

Yesterday I am dealing to a table containing one of these players. Painful begins to describe it. His skill level (non-existent) somewhat offsets the aggravation for the players. For me, there's no bright side.

Yesterday, within 5 minutes, I had two issues with said player. The first time it was three handed and he was in last positon. First position bet, middle position called and the action was with speedy. He looks at first position and I understood him to say "did you call?". This question makes no sense since first position BET. First position heard "call" and turned his hand over. Whoops. I defended speedy by saying that I did indeed hear him ask "Did you call? I had no idea WHY he asked the question, but that is what I heard.

Maybe two hands later there is a bet and a call and the action has stalled with speedy. He said a single word, raise, and set out $8 (which was the amount of the call only). The next player threw her hand away upon hearing raise. I looked at speedy and told him that he needed to put out $8 more. He then claims that he didn't raise. I heard it, the entire right side of the table heard it. The floor asked him what he had said. He claims that he said NOTHING. I guess we have all had a word or two slip out of our mouth but he clearly said something that either was raise or something very close to it. He was adament that he had not said anything.
The floor told him that he had to raise. He mubled something about everyone wanting his money. (Isn't that why we play poker?) He lost the hand and stormed off. It was a slow, rolling type of storm, but a storm in any case.


"I can never win with this dealer" she says to anyone who will pretend to listen as I push into the box. In reality, she doesn't care if anyone else hears it. She know that I hear it. That's what it is all about.

My mental response is "It's a miracle that you win with ANY dealer. You play anything and everything. If you get there, good for you. If you don't, don't blame me."

This was on Sunday and during that down I decided to keep track. She played every hand, except one (this single hand was thrown away on the turn), to the river. On Monday I again paid special attention during my 30 minute visit with her. This time I just made a mental note of her seeing flops. She saw all but one flop. I can't help but wonder what two cards she deemed unworthy.

And you think the dealer is to blame? Funny, funny stuff.


Murph, you look older. Are you catching up with me?
This comment came from a player who I haven't seen in a year or so.
I simply said that I was 40 and that whatever age difference there was between us (he's 59)would never change. (until you die )
I then laughingly said that dealing poker was an extremely stressful job. It takes it's toll.
I left it at that.


The Stardust ends a long and storied run today. Out with the old and in with the new once again.
I hadn't planned on returning to the 'Dust but I knew that I had to head over there one last time this morning.

The chip dated 1958-2006 was the last one ever issued by the Stardust. The other one is circa 1960.

For whatever reason, blogger isn't letting me add any more pictures to this post. I'll post a few Stardust pictures soon.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Bad Beats and Expensive Eats

A quick (?) rundown of the poker room promotions at the Palms:

The old diamond flush promotion has returned. You can earn entries Tuesday-Saturday and the drawings are held at 9:00AM Wednesday-Sunday. You need not be present at the drawing to win, but you must claim the $100 within 24 hours of the drawing.

"Faces Full" or better (with a showdown and at least one hole card playing) earns you a football square for the Sunday or Monday night football games. If your numbers match the score at the end of the quarters you win at least $150. You must be present to win. If the winner is not present, the prize carries over to the corresponding night/quarter the next week. Progressive quarters have been worth at least $600. (maybe higher, but I haven't noticed if they were)

We still pay instant jackpots for quads or straight flushes. Both hole cards must play for straight flushes and you must have a pocket pair for quads. There must be at least $12 in called bets, but there doesn't have to be a showdown. Seven high straight flushes and royals are broken down by suits.
We have lifted the $599 cap on royals and now the sky is the limit.

The bad beat jackpot is now in effect.
Aces full of 10s or better beaten. You must have a pocket pair for quads and, of course, there must be a showdown.
This jackpot resets to $5,000. 45% to the losing hand, 25% to the winning hand and 30% for the remainder of the table.

The bad beat was hit while I was off either last Wednesday or Thursday. Quad 9s and quad 6s. Rumor has it that the bad beat dealer did VERY well that night.

Yesterday the bad beat was almost hit twice.
The first time, by the turn, there were three aces on the board with two players having pocket pairs 10s or higher.
The dealer put the 4th ace on the river.
Now that's a bad beat!

Late last night, with the same dealer who dealt the first bad beat payout, an uninformed player threw away his "losing" hand. That "losing" hand would have been worth nearly $3000. (you always hear stories about this happening in rooms that have a bad beat. I don't believe all of the stories, but I do believe this one.)

PLEASE, if you are going to play, please know the rules/promotions of the room.


Last Wednesday I officially moved into the new place. In hindsight, hiring movers was a brilliant idea. Yes, I had friends offer to help me move, but I know that they felt some sense of obligation.
Some would help out of the goodness of their heart and I appreciate them for it.
Nothing more, nothing less.
Maybe the truth is that I am a lazy ass who is just getting back to normal after "pulling something" in the rib cage area I didn't want to aggravate that injury. ***END EDIT**
Let's face it, nobody really likes to help someone move. The fact that I am now on the second floor simply reinforces the conclusion that professional movers are the only way to go.
For the last week I have been slowly unpacking boxes and getting things put away or in the right places. It's starting to feel like MY place. I'm even starting to allow myself some semblance of peace and calm. Throughout the whole process I stressed and stressed some more. Sandi, in spite of her endless enthusiasm, was the calming influence. I was Sandi's first sale and we both lived through it.

Sandi, they say you always remember your "first"

If you require the services of a Realtor in Las Vegas, tell Sandi I sent you!


Yet another possible threat to the status quo of live poker has surfaced.
Harrah's and Progressive Gaming Internation Corporation have annouinced wireless "peer to peer" texas hold 'em. You can read about it in this Cardplayer article.


If your tastes run on the expensive side you could always order this "vlaue meal". The Maloof Brothers appeared in a Carl's Jr. commercial for this promotion. There are some in the Sacramento area who say that they shouldn't be flaunting their wealth while they simultaneously ask for a tax increase to help pay for a new arena for the Kings. Norm ran a story about it in the LVRJ.

Friday, October 20, 2006

So you want to be a poker dealer?

This double rainbow greeted me as I drove to the Playboy play days.
It's not often that you see a rainbow in the desert. This was the first time since I moved to Las Vegas that I saw a double one.

Several times a month I receive inquiries about moving to Las Vegas and/or becoming a poker dealer. Each email is some variation of the basic question.

Here is one such email (minor editing to protect the innocent)

Hey, I am not sure if you remember me. You probably do not. I read your blog regularly and I emailed you hoping I could run into you while playing at the Palms a few months ago, but I wasn't able to make it over there. It was my brother's 21st and he was more interested in playing low dollar blackjack.

Anyway, I was emailing you because I was looking for some guidance and you seemed like the best guy to go to for this kind of guidance. I am considering dealing. Though the industry has always fascinated me, I am not sure dealing is where I want to be long-term. I was looking for a place to work until I get the start of my "dream career" (wherever that is) and it may be a while. It seems like dealing might be a fairly enjoyable to make a living.

I was wondering if there was a particular dealing school you think I should check out. I am going to look at a couple tomorrow. Also, for someone in my shoes, would it be better to shell out for poker or work the regular pit with blackjack? I know there is a current (over?)saturation of poker rooms in the area, so maybe there is an oversaturation of poker dealers. Do candidates with a handle on the game, who are articulate, and have a personality sometimes get auditions with higher end casinos right out of dealing school? Is it a hard and fast rule that they start out in "break-in" joints for the first 6-12 months?

If you have any other advice, I would love to hear it. I get this vibe that you are a wealth of information. Based on your blog, you seem like someone who will give it to me straight and not sugar coat anything about the industry (at least not too much) and that is why I trust your advice. I hope I hear from you soon, and thank you very much.

Las Vegas Bound

My reply: (note that this was written a week or so ago when I was stressing too much)

Dear Las Vegas Bound,

You would be surprised (or maybe you wouldn't be) how many people ask questions similar to yours. I'd guess that I get this type of email 3-4 times per month.
The first issue that I would like to address is your thinking that this would be a fairly enjoyable way to make a living.....until your dream career comes along..
Beware! If you land a decent dealing job you will likely be trapped in it until hell freezes over. Honestly, the money is too good relative to other possible occupations. Let's face it, it's not rocket science and it's not laying roofing in 115 degree heat. You sit on your ass and toss cards at/to people. Of course that is an over simplification, but I'm sure you understand where I am coming from.
Another major issue to consider is this. A small percentage of poker players are degenerate assholes. Actually a large percentage are degenerate and a small percentage are royal assholes. This is true in any situation where you deal with the public, but I can't stress enough how truly crappy it is to have to deal to/with the same small group of pain in the asses day in and day out--over and over again. Don't these people have lives? Of course they don't. They are insignificant people who get their jollies by trying to make your work day a living hell. It's likely the only time they get to have center stage. Again, this is a very small portion of the poker playing public, but how you are able to handle them will make all the difference and dictate how enjoyable your job is or can be. IF you are able to secretely laugh at them and wonder how a person got to be so bitter you'll be fine. If you let it bother you at all, your f%&ked.
I'm at a point right now where I can't begin to tolerate their antics. I get like that from time to time.
Fortunately the vast majority of players are kind and generous.

You asked about dealing schools and poker versus pit.
My only experience with them consisted of 6 days (about 2 hours per day) of poker school. I went to Aces Full on East Sahara. My instructor no longer works there. In fact, he deals at the Palms. I also believe that the owner of that school passed away. Consequently, I really can't tell you much about the present situation there. As for pit vs. poker. Tough call. Poker jobs are not easy to come by in this town at this time. Unfortunatly I can't tell you anything about the pit job market. I'm simply not in that loop.

You don't have to go to school to deal poker and you don't necessarily have to start in a break-in house.
You will need to work with someone regarding procedures such as the rake etc. Having played the game is a huge plus, but playing it and dealing it are not even close to the same skill set. Yes, the poker scene is over saturated with both tables and dealers. Unless you have some juice it's simply a matter of being in the right place at the right time. You will likely have to beat the streets. Find a few rooms that you generally like and that you are comfortable playing in. Make yourself known. Don't be an ass while playing. Introduce yourself to the shift managers/ poker room manager/dealers. You never know who knows someone or knows of an opening.
Having said that, I recently rented my spare bedroom to a guy who came to town with the desire to deal poker. He scoured the web sites. He put in applications. He played poker around town. He talked to people. He even had some poker dealing experience as he had dealt in private games back east.
It was all for nothing and he has since moved back east. For three solid weeks he was in search of the job. Nothing was happening. Maybe he didn't give it enough time. Maybe it wouldn't have mattered how long he tried. Maybe he could have ended up with an oncall position where he might work one or two days a week. Maybe not.

That's a long way to get to this point. It's not a good time to be looking for a poker dealing job in Las Vegas.

On the other hand, you might find yourself with a poker dealing job within days. I'll take the over, but it's possible.

I wish that I could paint a more positive picture for you. It wouldn't be fair for me to do that, though. Before you make a huge move you need to look at it with eyes wide open.

The industry as a hole (certainly not poker specifically) has always fascinated me also. Somewhere in the back of my mind I always knew that I would end up in Las Vegas at some point in my life. I love the history and the lore. I've now been there and done that. Where I go from here is anyones guess. That last sentence surely sounds strange coming from someone who just bought a condo here. It would appear that I am going to be here for awhile. It's a tough town for me because I have an addictive personality and it manifests itself when I sit in front of a machine. I'm smart enough to know that you can't win in the long run, but too stupid to quit trying.

Perhaps the bottom line is that life is too short to not give it a try. Would you always regret it if you didn't? Are you in a position in your life where a few "wasted" months would be that bad if it didn't all work out? Could you financially withstand it? Do you have family obligations or are you single and winging it? All things to consider.

Please get back to me with your continued thoughts on the matter.

Best Regards,


We've added a bad beat jackpot at the Palms.
Aces full of tens qualifies.

I'll post the details soon.

Monday, October 09, 2006

What can Brown do for me?

Not leave a fricking 5 figure check under the door mat, that's what.

Before leaving for Aruba I called the stock broker and had him sell enough shares to cover my down payment.

That was over two weeks ago.

I was starting to get a little nervous since I hadn't gotten the check and I am to close in three days.

Tonight upon returning home after work, for no aparent reason, I kicked the door mat about an inch in order to straighten it out. The corner of a wet and dirty "Extremely Urgent" envelope peaked out. Who knows how long it's been there.

Bingo, there was my check.



It's almost comical how easy it would be get fired for calling a trifling bitch a trifling bitch. One of these days my thoughts will escape from my mouth and I'll be toast. Really, where do some of these people come from........and why do they always end up at my table?


Today I had a player proclaim that I would never, ever, as long as he lived, receive another tip from him.
My response? Do what you have to do.


I'm dealing a NL game. The pot is of a decent size. It's heads up and there is a bet, a raise, a re-raise all in......
It's taking forever for the player to decide what to do. In these situations when it is more than obvious that the player knows that the action is with him I say NOTHING and do NOTHING. I just sit there. If it takes until the end of my down, so be it. Nada, nope, I'm not saying a word unless a player calls for a clock.
During the thinking process a player who was not involved says to me "Do something". I called for the floor and asked for a clock while indicating which player had made the request. The player who said "do something" then says that he didn't ask for a clock.
What else am I to do? I either sit there patiently or call for a clock. There is no other option. I guess I could file my nails ala Misses Wiggins on the Carol Burnette show. I interpreted your "do something" to mean you wanted a clock. The other option is to shut your pie hole and realize that in this particular instance the whole effing world was NOT revolving around you.

Other than these few minor annoyances, I had a great day.

I hope you did too.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Playboy Club @ Palms The Legend Reborn

A few new venues are about to open at the Palms. First and foremost, the Playboy Club makes a (hopefully) triumphant return after an absence of a decade or two. A new nightclub simply called MOoN is on the floor above the Playboy club and a new Italian restaurant called Nove is on the floor below. An escalator connects Playboy and MOoN.
MOoN comes complete with a retractable roof.
Playboy has a handfull of black jack and roulette tables with a smattering, I'd say 20 if forced to guess, of slot machines.
Both are floor to ceiling glass on three sides.
The views are stunning. The entire strip as well as downtown and the spralling expanse of the valley are on display.

After two or three emails I was able to RSVP for tonights "Play Day" at the Playboy Club. A few of the bunny dealers have dealing experience, the majority do not. Play day is designed to give them some experience dealing the games/handling the chips and payouts with no real money involved.
The dealers will have one more chance to practice Friday night from 7-11PM during a private party. At 11PM the lid officially comes off and the legend that is Playboy Club will be back in business.

One of the BJ felts:

A bunny or two: Sorry about the quality and darkness of the pictures. I wasn't using a flash and despite that fact I was informed that photography wasn't allowed... so I'm happy to have captured the few images that I did.
The bunny in the 1s is Jennifer, (aparently she lost her head) a former waitress on the regular casino floor of the Palms. I don't know the dealer/bunnys name but she was an exceptionally good dealer with lots of experience. I remarked to Jennifer that she seemed happier than I had seen her in a long time. She said that this new gig was fun and exciting. Ahh, to be a new, un-jaded dealer. Give her time .........

Monday, October 02, 2006

Aruba 2006

I can't say enough good things about UltimateBet. They know how to throw a party and take care of their players and dealers.

Of course a huge part of the praise belongs to Suzie Lederer the dealer coordinator.
Love ya, Suzie!

The flights to and from Aruba, including the long layovers in Miami both ways were brutal, but that's the price you pay when traveling to paradise. Leaving Aruba is particularly painful. The line to the American Airlines counter was perhaps 200 people long and that was only the beginning. After "checking" your luggage with the airline you have to go through Aruban customs, have your carry-ons scanned, claim your luggage, cart it through US Customs, recheck your luggage, and then go through another scanning process with your carry-on items.
In spite of all this I still managed to keep my cigarette lighter. Go figure.

I couldn't help but notice that a large number of players were very young. The laws on the island of Aruba allow those under 21 the free will to choose to play poker. I have to wonder why we have so many laws in the US that are designed to "protect us from ourselves". Land of the free............

On this trip I had the opportunity to deal to a legendary gambler for several hours. I saw Bob Stupak walk into the tournament area perhaps 30 minutes after the start of a $1,000 event. I asked the 1s, a 20ish kid, if he knew if Bob was playing in the event or just walking through. The 1s stated that he didn't know the answer to my question. In fact, he had no idea who Bob Stupak was. HUH? Incredible. Then again, I love the history of gambling and the characters that give life to said history.
I was outside during a bread smoking and talking to Ron, a fellow dealer. Bob walked out and asked Ron and I how we got here (Aruba). I assumed that he wanted to know how we managed to get a dealing gig in paradise. Ron blurted out that we came here on a plane as opposed to a slow boat to Aruba. Indeed, Bob was interested in modes of travel and not the logistics of landing the gig. It seems the high humidity was making it difficult for Bob to breathe and he wanted to get off of the island and back to the desert heat of Las Vegas. He was not having any luck in getting a flight and mentioned that no one could help him until the AM. I casually said that I could think of worse places to be stuck. Without missing a beat Bob said "I can't think of any right now". Maybe you had to be there, but it was really comical.
Bob made it deep into the event and was among the 7 that ended up chopping at around 5:30AM. Sipu and I, the two dealers that stayed to finish the event, were greatful that a chop was decided upon. Otherwise, with 7 players with relatively even stacks, this event could have dragged on for several more hours.
I appreciated the opportunity to deal to a bonified "character" of the poker world.

As I write this I'm not sure that I'll participate in this event next year. Then again, it will be hard to give it up. Once you get "in", you are basically invited back unless to screw up royally. There is a long list of dealers waiting to take your place next year. Rightfuly so. It's the best dealing gig in the world and I am thankful to Suzie and UltimateBet for the opportunity.
Of course Linda deserves thanks as well. She was my "in" in the first place.
Thanks Linda!

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