Monday, November 27, 2006

Quad City

On Saturday I started my day by planting my ass in the zero seat on table 8. It was a $5-10 blind NLH game. We don't have a 5-10 NL every day so I was almost looking forward to a slight change of pace. As soon as I sat down the 6s (who aparently had missed his medication that day) informed me that the first dollar of rake was being taken on $40 and not $20. Of course the game plaque didn't jive with what he was telling me. I asked and was informed that non-medicated was correct. I absolutely HATE it when the players are the ones to tell me (correctly) what's up. There weren't many pots that didn't make it to the full $4 rake so it didn't make a whole lot of difference to the bottom line.

Within the first 20 minutes of my down I had dealt THREE high hand jackpots. All were quads. In order to qualify for the instant high hand for quads, you must have a pocket pair with the other two on the board. Two of these hands were back to back.

I don't think that in my three years of dealing I have done this before.

About an hour later while dealing a $2-4 limit game I did it again with quads, but there was only $8 in the pot. We require a minimum of $12 in called bets for the high hand payout so that player was SOL.


I still hold out hope that the Freeroll will happen. Not a whole lot of hope, but there is a chance.
I don't think that we should let this one pass us by, but I don't have a say in the matter.

I'd like to thank Michelle for inviting me into her home for Thanksgiving again this year.
When I first moved to Las Vegas I rented a room in a large home. Michelle was one of the other roommates on the commune. She jokes that she only invites me so that I'll cook. And cook we did. Turkey, Ham and all the trimmings. Good food and good friends made being 3,000 miles from home for Thanksgiving a little better.
Thanks Michelle!!

Cody is married to Michelle's daughter Nikki. When I moved here Cody was in the Marines. In the three years that I have known him he spent two "tours" in Iraq. When you know someone who's in the thick of it you watch the news a little more closely. He lived through it and is now out of the service and living in Las Vegas. Cody, thanks for serving, but I'm glad you're done with it.

I'll soon be heading to Florida to meet the family at Disney. David has never been there so it should be a ton of fun. Although I've been there twice, I know that when I walk down Main Street I'll feel like a little kid again. Ol' Walt did it right. I'm looking forward to it.


When I saw the bubble blower I immediately thought of Linda. When she is blowing bubbles, she, too, tends to make you feel young again.
Thanks Linda!

David and Santa. He still believes.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Two Watches and a Wedding

I swear that I couldn't make up shit that was crazier than the realities witnessed in a poker room.
While I was dealing a $2-4 limit game the man in the 5s (my guess at his age is 60ish)asked me what time it was. Since I am right handed I hold the deck in my left hand. Coincidentally, I wear my watch on my left wrist. This presents a slight problem unless I roll the deck completely over. Even in $2-4 rolling the deck is not something that I briefly transferred the deck to my right hand. This isn't kosher either, but it's a $2-4 game and there probably isn't a player at the table that would even blink an eye at the deck transfer...or understand why it's bad form.
In any case I look at my watch and tell 5s that it is 1:50 PM.
While this whole scene transpired I am staring at HIS wristwatch. I can' just let it go. I asked him if his watch is broken.
His response?

"No, it works, but it is set to New Jersey time and I need to know what time it is in Las Vegas."

Jesus, Joseph, Mary and Several Wisemen couldn't explain to me how some people make it through life. Could they breathe if it wasn't an involuntary function? I'm convinced that it must be preferable to be totally and utterly oblivious. That way I wouldn't have a care in the world and there would always be someone willing to tell me what time it was.

Tell me again why I sit at a keno machine while these clueless idiots litter the poker table with their chips?

Am I the idiot here?

Don't answer that!


Last Thursday I thought that my bedroom furniture hunt was over. Although I had read several unfavorable reports about Walker Furniture here in Las Vegas I ignored them because they had a set that I liked.....and the price was less than similar sets at RC Willey.
Upon purchase we scheduled a delivery date of 11/22. They told me that on that morning the driver would call and advise me of a 4 hour window in which the deliver would occur. This basically forces me to waste an entire day, but what else can be done?
I wake up early and dismantle my old bed and move everything else out of the bedroom clearing the way for the new one.
And I wait.
At 10:30AM I still hadn't received a call so I called them. The driver was still working on the delivery order and I was told I should receive a call shortly. Nearly an hour later I did receive a call telling me that one piece was damaged. They were willing to deliver the dresser and nightstand sometime between 5-9 PM tonight.
No delivery for me today, damnit.
If for any reason I wasn't at home when the delivered there would be an additional $59 charge for redelivery.
My time has no value to them, but that's the way it is.
Wednesday and Thursday are my only "sit around and wait all day" options and since I'll be out of town next week it will be well into December before I can get the delivery. All this assumes that they can get an identical piece to replace the damaged one.
Now I get to reassemble the old bed and move everything else back in temporarily.
Happy happy joy joy.


It looks like round one of the legal battle over the Wynn toke "sharing" policy has gone in favor of the dealers. They have been granted class action status and Wynn's motion to strike has been denied.

Rio Reflections

On Wednesday I attended the wedding of Larry and Tiffany at the Rio. Larry deals poker at the Palms. Tiff plays poker at the Palms and works as a host at one of the Gentleman's Clubs.
There were several hours to kill between the wedding ceremony and the reception banquet.
What's a bunch of poker dealers/shift managers to do?
Commandeer a poker table of course.
The management of the Rio poker room was extremely accomodating, basically telling us to play what we wanted, how we wanted. It was for
all practical purposes a private game. (legally there is some debate about whether a game can actually be a private game)
We played a VERY LOOSE-completely insane 13 handed game while we kept the waitress busy carting full trays of shots/drinks. Most of the Rio dealers went with the flow as we made a shambles of poker etiquette, even going so far as to play "Indian" with our hole cards stuck to our heads. Groups of spectators gathered on the rail to watch the circus. It was the most fun I've had at a poker table since the night of the Palms Employee Holiday Party last December.
Not surprisingly, not one of the 13 players was a "winner" in the game. With stacks of chips going to the waitress with every round and handfulls of chips being tossed at the dealers with every pot and occasionally for no reason at all it's no wonder.

Congratulations and best wishes to Larry & Tiffany!


This afternoon I'm headed to Michelle's for a Thanksgiving Feast.
Please take a moment today to think about the things that you are thankful for.

Sunday, November 19, 2006


On Saturday, as usual, I'm minding my own business as I drive the whole one mile to work. As I'm sitting at a red light at the corner of Arville and Flamingo (Northwest corner of the Palms property) I hear the screaming of brakes. There isn't even time to look in the mirror before I'm slammed into from behind.
I just sat there shaking my head and wondering how bad it was. The guy from the car that hit me walks up to my window, asks if I am alright, and tells me that there isn't any damage to either car. I tell him that there has to be considering how hard she (the driver--thankfully insured) hit me.
I get out and to my surprise there is hardly a visible scratch on my rear bumper. I have no idea if there is any hidden damage but I intend to have it checked out. Physically I'm a little "tight" but the worst of it either hasn't set in or it isn't going to be an issue. Time will tell.

I have to believe that the powers that be at WYNN including it's namesake underestimated the will and determination of their dealers and that of other dealers around this town and the country for that matter.
Although I still talk to dealers who haven't even heard that there is a contentious situation at WYNN I believe that most have, by now, been informed of the details.
Two different unions are now investigating the possibility of unionizing dealers. A formal picket is scheduled for Nov 24. I have mixed feelings toward unions in general and I reserve judgement in this matter for now.

What I DO take issue with is this statement clipped from the site:

"How are the poker dealers so different? They get to keep all of their own tips, don't share with supervisors, and get the cash everyday without having WYNN'S people collect it, count it, and wait for a check."

For the record, most of us do share our tips with our supervisors/cashiers
but not because it's mandatory. The degree of sharing is based on how they
do their job. Customers tip us based on how we do our job and we toke out based
on how others do their job.
This arrangement sound like a reasonable situation to me.

Damnit. Yes, the paradigm is changing, but poker dealers have always been a different animal of a different color. I believe that the Wynn fight can be fought on it's own merits without clouding the water with poker dealer issues. And for that matter, if you are dragging everyone into the fray, why stop at poker dealers? Don't waitresses and bartenders and servers and doormen and limo drivers and room attendants keep their own too? The objective of this fight is to REVERSE Wynn's decision, not apply it to everyone else.

Green is such an ugly color sometimes.

Eventually I believe that we (poker dealers) will have locked toke boxes just like everyone else for a variety of reasons. This Wynn fiasco doesn't have to be the issue that drives us over the edge.....but it might be.

Yesterday I push in on table 9. The young man in the 1s tells me that I wrote about him.
(There are times that I wish I had started an annonymous blog. There are players that deserve to have the true and honest truth told about them. It's a fine line that I try not to cross. )
At this point I'm wondering who/what/when. He reminds me of what he had written on his hand way back then. At that point I remembered him and his Patience from 18 months ago.
I asked if he had any issues with it and how he found it. He said that a friend had googled his name and came across the post. He had no issues with it and had even somehow incorporated the post into his press release kit.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Friends and Family

This post will have little to do with poker.
Instead, friends and family reign supreme.

The mysterious Don't-call-it-a-condo-warming-party was held on Thursday night. I have wanted to host a get together for some time, but I thought it tacky to throw my own party. Consequently, it wasn't a warming in name, but in reality it was very warm.
I am extremely appreciative to those who visited, shared a drink and a few hours and showered me with positive energy and good wishes.

Inevitably, there were gifts. I have never been a gracious receiver of gifts, but I'm working on it......

Greg and Amy brought a very appropriate cacti garden. I do live in the desert after all. Amy assures me that this is extremely low maintenance and that I will have to work hard to kill it.
Linda gifted me with Lucky Bamboo, which as I understand it, is equally low maintenance/tolerant. The attached tag assured good fortune for both the giver and receiver. Sweet! I could use some of that good fortune stuff.
Viv (I'd link her too, but she prefers to keep her infrequently updated blog semi-private) brought card/poker themed snack plates and mugs. Again, very appropriate. I promise to put them to good use during future card parties. Carole and Gordon decided upon Glenfiddich Special Reserve to stock the liquor cabinet.
A card game erupted (Big2) and the blender was put to use.
Thanks to all who attended. If good wishes are enough to make a house a home. I'm home.

My buddy Benton is leaving Las Vegas on Saturday morning. For the last 2 years he's made his living at the poker tables both online and live. He's following his girlfriend Kim to Austin. It will be interesting to see how he adapts to life without live poker....and a greatly reduced selection of online offerings.
We had dinner/drinks on Wednesday night and ended up at South Point for 4 games of bowling.
During dinner Adam Ant's Goody Two Shoes came over the sound system. I mentioned that it was circa 1982 and asked how old Benton was in 1982. He held up ONE finger. I was driving and he was one. Sigh. I held up one finger in response. Yes, it was THAT finger.
I hadn't bowled for about 1.5 years but I was happy with my scores. They werent' quite good enough to beat him, but not bad after such a long absense from the lanes.

My scores: 148,141,125,128.
Benton kicked my ass. Chalk it up to youth I suppose.

Benton, I wish you and Kim the best as you start a new chapter in your lives. Drive safely and let me know when you arrive.

My nephew David started school this fall. He's already received his first report card and his marks were all 3 which is the highest rating. Needless to say I'm just a little bit proud of him.

I'll be joining him and the rest of my family (dad is staying home) at Disney-Orlando at the end of the month. It's David's first trip to see Mickey and should be a great time.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Selling the game

It was a slow afternoon.

We only had one no limit game running and I had two empty seats. The game was populated with 8 locals. The game was laid back. Everyone knew everyone. There's chit chat about the state of affairs/game conditions in other rooms. Who just bought a house? Oh, where?
Sometimes it seems like we are in a private home playing the weekly game.

A 20-something stranger wanders up and starts watching the game. I look up at him and tell him that I have a seat reserved just for him. As I'm dealing the next hand I inform stranger that it only takes $200 to get into the game. As the action progressed around the table I look up at him again and state "You KNOW you want to play...why don't you join us?"

As he starts to get his wallet out and move toward the podium to buy chips I tell the table "Don't be mad at me when he busts you all." Mike in the 2s tells me that it will be hard NOT to be mad at me since I practically begged the kid to sit down.

I dealt two more hands before being pushed. The kid was down to just $100 in chips.
I went to wash my hands and when I came out of the bathroom the kid was gone.
I asked Mike who got his chips. Mike said that he got them all.

Honestly, I felt slightly guilty. Was I wrong to encourage him to sit down?

On my way home for the night I saw the kid at the roulette table betting stacks of red (value) chips so I know it wasn't his case $200 that he lost at the poker table.

I don't think he would have played poker had I not engaged him.

He'll have a story to tell when he gets back home. I played no limit...just like on TV.

My job here is done. I did a good thing....right?


There's still no official word on the Super-Duper-Mondo-Freeroll. Word is starting to spread as we have been getting phone and walk-up questions about it. My only hope is that we advertise it heavily before we roll it out. People will be pissed if they find out about after it's half over.

It would also be nice if the rules and regulations are well thought out and presented very clearly.

Lately we've had a tendency to introduce promotions and then change the rules.

It happened with the Aces Cracked promotion. First it was any aces cracked. Then it was two red or two black aces. Then it disappeared as quickly as it appeared.

The Bad Beat Jackpot was introduced about a month ago. It's been hit four times already and the rules are about to change. In a few days it will require that aces full of tens be beaten by quads or better. A pocket pair will be required for the full houses and quads. Both hole cards will have to play for straight flushes.

It shouldn't have been a surprise that the Bad Beat would hit so often. Math isn't my strong suit but before introducing promotion one has to do the math. Changing the rules mid stream doesn't do much to instill confidence. All it does is keep the players and dealers in a constant state of confusion.


On the home front..........

Two projects have been completed.

The first involved running coax through a crawl space above the ceiling. There's not much space up there and I'm not a small person. I'm glad it's done and hope that I'm not required to revisit that space any time soon. If I ever develop claustrophobia I'm sure that it could be traced back to those uncomfortable minutes spent crawling my way along rafters with just inches of clearance.

The second project involved putting up a border in one of the bathrooms. Originally I intended to put the border about halfway between the floor and ceiling. I bought plenty of border for that scenario, but when I started the project I decided that it would look much better at ceiling level. I ran out of border. Several days passed before I made it back to Lowe's. Luckily I was able to find the same lot number. BUT when I tried to finish the job there was a slight difference in the border size. I'll not repeat it here but the neighbors may have heard a few words that begin with M and F.

All's well that ends well and the project is now complete.

This Bob Villa stuff is fun.

It's starting to feel like home.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Happy Anniversary to Me

I'm almost positive that today was my third anniversary with the Palms. If it isn't today, it's close to it. Close enough to say close enough.

I wish that three years ago I had started a list of the famous/infamous that have sat at my table. Every once in awhile I mentally take an inventory and each time I am sure that I am forgetting as many as I remember. I can't say that I ever become star struck. It's just remarkable that I have gotten myself into a position where the world comes to me. Working at the Palms, you really never know who you may run into.

When you are hired it is stressed that privacy is paramount. We are not allowed to ask for autographs or photos of/with the glitterati that visit us.

I post this with some caution. However, given the fact that the star in question freely admitted that he was taking a celebratory vacation and then subsequently posted a picture of his Steel Wheel I don't think I am revealing any deep dark secrets. The table felts on the Palms poker tables are extremely distinctive and instantly recognizable to anyone who has ever played there.
Having said that, Mr. Navarro paid us a visit.
The hand in the picture is that of our celebrity dealer Bobby.

While on a break I took the opportunity to ask Dave if they planned to host another Rock Star Poker tournament at the Palms. He stated that he didn't know yet but that he hoped that they did it again because it was so much fun. I agree, it was a fun event to deal.

We then made some small talk and Dave stated some of the reasons why he stayed, amost exclusively, at the Palms.
(He mentions in his blog that he likes both the Hard Rock and the Palms)
He told me that the poker room is a draw and that he likes the fact that when he enters the room he sees and recognizes familiar faces and that we recognize him and treat him well.
Sometimes the little things mean a lot I guess.
In any case he is always a gentleman and we are glad that he stays with us.


I'm having a GREAT week. On Friday (my Monday) I dealt a Club Royal Flush that paid the lucky player a $1,263 high hand jackpot.
Today I dealt a Bad Beat Jackpot to the tune of nearly $6,000.
Today's hand ($2-5 blind NL)went like this:
6s raised to $30 pre-flop. 8s goes all in. 6 seat calls for a total of $163.
Although we don't require all-in hands to be exposed until the showdown, both players turned over their hands.
6s had pocket queens. 8s had pocket kings.
I flopped two aces. Immediately I (silently) along with half of the table very vocally started calling for an ace. The turn was a blank. I remember looking up at the ceiling and thinking ACE. I burned and turned the third ace.
That's all it takes to hit our Bad Beat.
The jackpot has been hit 4 times in a month.

S.P. over at Life as a Vegas Poker Dealer has posted some pictures of the new poker "table" at O'Shea's. Interesting to say the least. Go take a look.

The majority of poker players nearly have a stroke when a game starts to become short handed. Here they are starting games with a maximum of 7 players. I hope they plan to use 6 different colored decks of cards. I can see it now when the 7 seat of one table and the 1s of the "next" table have a few too many cocktails and start "sharing" their cards. S.P. mentions some of the other concerns that this configuration present, not the least of which is the limited reach of the dealer.
I think I will have to wander over there to see that configuration in action. It should be more than interesting.

On Halloween I only saw one poker player in costume. Kim got in the spirit and came dressed as the ace of spades. She had her face all painted up as well but security told her that she couldn't be in the casino like that. She took off some of the make up and they gave her their blessing.
I told her I would make her famous so here she is in all her glory.

On Saturday night the old Pan Crew under the direction of the one and only Linda headed to the Excalibur to play some poker.
I don't know if I have ever seen worse poker playing.
In one instance, heads up, when I tried to get cute and check raise with two pair the guy just called me when he had the stone cold nuts. I asked him, nicely, why he didn't raise me back. He got a deer in the headlights look and stuttered something about not wanting to. Whatever dude.
The guy to my left had pocket queens two hands in a row and didn't raise either time.
Such is poker in the big city.
In spite of it all I lost $99.75 so who am I to question the play of anyone else?

The Excalibur has moved their poker room three times in the last three years. It is currently in the middle of the casino floor again. I don't care for the location, but no one consulted with me.
The photo of me in action at the Excal is courtesy of Linda/Pokerworks.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Stardust 1958-2006

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