Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Bourbon Street

Aren't you sorry that you missed Paris Hilton's Birthday Party?

Does she really need to rent billboards to get people to come to her party?


The game is $2-5 no limit. It gets down to heads-up and they both get all in. She has around $1,700. He has about $1,300.
She wins the hand. He isn't happy and doesn't make a move to push his chips.

He: Count her down.
She: What are you talking about? I have you covered.
He: I have a right to have your chips counted.
She: Be a man.
He: When's the last time you even saw a man?
She: Never at a poker table.
He: You are the biggest scumbag I've ever played with.

It all went south from there.


The past few days have been interesting. Not good and not horrible, just interesting.

There were plenty of NBA players in and around the room. After all, the Palms was the host hotel. There were also a lot of wanna be gangsters/thugs hanging around too. Some were generous but most weren't. It wasn't too much different from the norm from my perspective although I'd have to say it was a little on the not too generous side for me personally.

There were also a few shootings.

The crowds were certainly over the top. All Palms employees were forced to park off site. (I got no sympathy on that front from Linda who informed me that Bellagio employees parked off-site for EIGHT years lol) The shuttle was a little unpredictable, but I'm always early anyway so it didn't really impact me in a negative way.

I talked to one of the Palm's pit dealers who visited out of town friends at the MGM on Friday night. He parked on the 5th floor of the MGM parking garage. So far so good. When he tried to leave it took him four and a half hours to get out of the garage. I heard someone else say it took them three hours to get out of the Aladdin garage.

The general consensus is that this event was great for the hotels and not so great for the employees. I don't think there is much casino employee support for bringing an NBA team here.

The crowds aren't going away any time soon (barring a major disaster of 9/11 proportions).

The Review Journal reports that the current building boom in Las Vegas will create 113,000+ new jobs. City Center, Echelon Place, Encore, Palazzo etc. Even with 7,000 or so people moving here each month between now and when all of these projects are complete there will be a labor shortage. New resorts open with workers lured from other properties. It's a vicious cycle and highly competitive.

The George Wallace sign is covering the old Bourbon Street Casino Sign. The Bourbon Street building itself was demolished months ago but the sign stood as a lone reminder of what once was. Hopefully the Bourbon Street sign will find a final resting place in the neon boneyard. Until then I guess Harrah's Entertainment will use it for advertising.
Bourbon Street discontinued table games a few years before they closed for good. This chip is from a time when they offered table games there.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Don't ask me, I don't know how this happened.

I'm dealing a $2-5 NL game on table 7.
After I deal all 10 players their two hole cards I notice my bright yellow cut card laying near the jackpot drop slot. Oh shit. I just casually slid the cut card to the bottom of the deck while wondering what the hell?? Did I even cut the deck?
Then it happened.
The red light on the shuffle master starts to blink. I notice that the message says too few cards-51. I instantly know what I will find above the yellow cut card and below the bottom of the stub. You guessed it. The missing card from the green deck. I had used it as the cut card. I have NO idea how I managed that. I also have to wonder how/why not one player even noticed.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Cashing Out?

I'm cleaning the kitchen in preparation of hosting a gathering. Why I have a casino chip in the kitchen is anyone's guess. Disorganized and unmotivated to alter the disorganization the chips, literally, fall where they may.
In any case it was a timely discovery.
A chip simply facilitates a gamble. Could we simply use cash for all gambling transaction? Sure we could. Would it be convenient? Not at all. Let me tell you that it isn't the easiest thing in the world to try to count a stack of $100 bill with one hand while a deck is firmly grasped in the other. A stack of $100 chips? No problem at all. We cut them out in two seconds. If people used cash they may even stop for a second to contemplate what that $100 bill would buy or which utility bill they could pay with it. A chip is just a little clay/composite disk. It's not of much use in the real world and you certainly can't mail one to Cingular and expect that your cell phone bill is no longer due. If I had a dollar for every time I've seen a player toss their case chips into the pot with little or no expectation of getting that pot pushed to them. I'm going home they say. It's as if they don't know that they could cash in those few chips for actual folding money. What difference does a few dollars make? Hell if I know.
I wonder when & how some lives take on the less-than-real quality of a casino chip.
It's always worth face value but only if you cash it in.
And if you truly cash it in, nothing else matters at all.
I don't have any real feelings about the life and death of Ms. Smith. Part of me wants to pity what passed as her life. Contempt creeps up to the door but it doesn't come in. What was real and what wasn't?
Did she ever handle this chip while visiting the Seminole Hard Rock? If so, did she gamble it away or did she cash it in?
Are you cashing it in?

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Rest of the Story

The last post ended with a player giving me a sincere compliment. When he did this my reply was more than a simple thank you. I told him that I appreciated it but in this town there were so many mediocre (or worse) dealers that a dealer who really tried to follow the rules stood out like beacon in the night. Don't read too much into this. I certainly don't feel like I am a beacon or the poker gods gift to players.....I'm NOT.

There was some wierd and crazy shit this week.

I'm dealing a $2-5 no limit game. After all of the cards were delivered and the pre-flop action was half way around the table the 3s stopped the action and told me that his first card must have been boxed. (a boxed card is a card that is face UP in the deck. sometimes this is the dealers fault and sometimes the shufflemaster does crazy things) He had his cards directly on top of each other but the bottom card was face up. Anything is possible but I don't believe for one second that I dealt the card to him face up. I believe that I would have seen it or another player would have seen it coming off of the deck face up. If for some reason no one noticed it as the first card was delivered that card would have had to have sat there face up for a few more seconds as everyone received their second card. Since I'm aiming the second card to come to rest in the same position as the first card it just seems unlikely that the first card was boxed.

When card is truly boxed the procedure is to replace the card immediately with the next card on the top of the deck. Since I had completed the deal this was not possible. Consequently the ruling by the floor was that I was to replace the card. (this option assumes that I flipped the card over as I dealt it which makes it even MORE unlikely that I didn't notice this happening)

My assumption is that the player somehow flipped it himself but that is irrelevant.

Of course the exposed card was the Ace of Spades. Of course the player involved threw a fit.


Sometime mid week I'm dealing $2-5 no limit on table 10. It's an unusually LOUD table. On the turn the 4s bets $40. The 7s sets out $40. They were heads-up. I brought in the bets. I tapped the table. I burned and turned. ONLY then did the 7s yell that he had SAID $140. My response would have been sorry about your luck, pal. Of course, with the oversight of the floor, I brought the river card back and began shuffling it into the stub as the $100 raise stood. The 4s mucked. The 7s had a fit. The first river card was a 10 which gave the 4s three tens. The 7s claimed that the river gave him queens full of tens.

The 7s has a reputation among the dealers for verbally but very quietly stating his raises while physically only setting out the amount of the call. Speculation is that he waits to see the action of a few players behind him before loudly stating that he said raise or if the action is not to his liking he just remains quiet. Knowing this I should be more diligent monitoring his actions. He also should be subjected to some type of torture......

In another $2-5 no limit game I bobbled the first card to the big blind. It wasn't blatent, but it fluttered enough that I could tell it was a black card. No biggie really. I just stopped dealing and retrieved the two cards that had been dealt and reshuffled. (in our room it is only a misdeal if the first card to either blind is exposed--otherwise we just replace the exposed card after completing the rest of the deal). The player made a point to thank me for doing the right thing. He said that most dealers would have kept dealing while hoping that no one noticed. Really?


Sunday night a local celebrity of sorts was in the 1s of a $4-8 limit game. He was about 8 drinks beyond drunk. The game was totally out of control. It just doesn't work when there are 5 or 6 table captains and 3 or 4 of them are drunk. I though I had the game reasonably calmed down when the 1s started to running his fingers wildly through my hair while making strange noises. Perhaps I should have been upset but all I could do was laugh.

The 1s and 5s (who claimed to be friends earlier) were escorted out by security about an hour later after a physical confrontation.


I've mentioned before that the limit side of our room will be closed on Thursday evening and open sometime late on Friday night. I've taken that opportunity and arranged not to work. I'll be hosting the roving pan game at my place. I look forward to it.


Last Thursday I won a few dollars at the Tuscany. I hit two solid six spots within 5 spins. I decided to treat myself to a massage. I hadn't done that in months. I visited the Spa at the Orleans as I had never been there before. Everything was fine, but it isn't anything special. It is a little bit cheaper there than at a spa on the strip though.


Anna Nicole Smith

For the last 5 years you could have purchased this chip for around $7. It's funny how society is fascinated by the death of a celebrity. This chip has recently sold for as much as $132 on Ebay.

You can have this one for only $100.

Just kidding (I think)

Maybe I'll just keep it in my collection.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Give Me Strength

Was there a full moon? I don't know.

Last week started on a high note when I dealt a heart royal to a player within my first hour of dealing. Within the first thirty minutes of that day I also dealt a four of a kind. I've been dealing three years, three months and 7 days (but who's counting) and I believe this to be only the sixth or seventh royal that I have ever dealt. In this case it paid a $1,098 high hand bonus to the player. He was extremely excited and extremely generous. Thanks T*****!

Somewhere buried in last week was the Super Bowl. Would someone please remind me to take that day off next year? It's near impossible to run a game when everyone is watching the football game and not paying the least bit of attention to the poker game that they are supposedly involved in. If I said "The action is on you" once I said it 300 times that day. Brutal.

As the week progressed I became less and less able to laugh at the problem children. Why can't some people just play cards and for that matter why can't some dealers just deal them while simultaneously keeping a neat and orderly box and running the game? I sure as hell don't have the answer to either of those questions.

I know that I have my quirks, but work with me here, alright?

Stacks of 18,19 or 21 chips? Higher demonination chips in the outside tubes? No lammers at all? Games totally out of control? Players discussing and showing cards while the hand is in progress. Players "checking out"? Players throwing cards and cussing the dealer? This list is endless.

I stood at the podium with a veteran dealer (not from our house) and watched another dealer deal a hand. The veteran dealer turned to me and said... the dealer only rolled the deck 20 times during that hand. TWENTY TIMES.

Give me the strength to dig a hole in the sand just large enough to fit my head into it. Give me strength to just do my job and ignore the circus that rages around me on a daily basis. Give me strength to just keep my damn mouth shut.

I've nearly given up on improving my surroundings. Just let me focus on me. Let me run my games the best way I know how and let everyone else wallow in their own apathy.

By (my) Friday I was fried.
Toward the end of my day I was on table 6 and there was an unknown in the 10 seat. During my second hand the 10 seat got all in only to be drawn out on. A gut-shot straight no less. He tossed out something like "you're fuc%$&* terrible" directed toward the lady who drew out on him. I discretely leaned toward the 10 seat and whispered "I understand the frustration, but please don't berate our players." He stated that he really wasn't directing it at one player, they all were terrible. I then said, alright then, don't use the F word. He took it pretty good and I thought that I handled it in an acceptable manner.
I don't know what the 8s thought I said to the 10s but obviously he perceived it as my consoling the 10s because he got drawn out on (give me a break).
Then the 8s started saying something that I didn't quite understand but I instinctively knew, based on said players history, was a swipe at me I stopped the game. I asked him to say what was on his mind. He stuttered through something that basically said I had no integrity I simply yelled FLOOR and let her deal with his ramblings.
The 8s claimed that a "few weeks ago" I had pushed into the box of a no limit game and proceded to tell the 1s that I was going to put him on a rush and that he would get all the chips. Are you kidding me? I've NEVER in my life said that to a player. First of all it would be unbelievably unprofessional. Secondly, I don't have those kind of powers thank you very much.
He then tried to tell the floor that he was trying to give me a compliment on how I handled seat 10. Sorry, you can't wiggle out of this one 8s. You just didn't think I would call the floor on you. I'm just supposed to sit there and let you question my integrity. Isn't that what you expected? Ah, sorry, NO. Not that day and not tomorrow either.

On my last table of the day and week I did receive a sincere compliment from a stranger in the 10s of a no limit game.
Six simple words.
"Murph, you run a good game".
Thank you, thank you very much.

Bookend the week with high notes.

Today starts another week in the box. I can't wait to find out what's in store for me this time around.

Give me strength.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Gaming Chips/Markers

I have been collecting casino chips for 20 years.
If you say that really fast it won't make me feel quite so old.
I love the mystique associated with the older ones. Today I acquired the Boulder Club chip shown below. It's not a particularly expensive chip (around $20) but I think it is a classic example of an Old Vegas chip. The design is simple yet classy. Todays chips with multi colored graphics don't hold a candle to this beauty.

Imagine Fremont Street 58 years ago when this chip was in play...........

Boulder Club

118 E. Fremont Street

Las Vegas, NV

Circa 1949

Through the years gaming markers/chips have been made from various materials. The two shown below are some type of animal bone which was stained with pigment and then hand etched. The off-white color being natural bone. Most bone chips were produced during the 19th century

Perhaps the most beautiful markers ever made are mother-of-pearl counters.

Dale Seymour, in his book titled Antique Gambling Chips says:

Easily the most beautiful of game counters are those intricately carved from
mother-of-pearl in China in the early 1800's. These counters were made in
various shapes such as ovals, rectangles, circles, squares and fish
shapes. Many of the sets of chips are incredible works of art in
miniature. A set of 140 chips must have required hundreds of person-hours
of work. Often a set of chips was custom-made for a European customer,
depicting the customer's initials or even a coat of arms.

The quality of the engraving varies, but most chips show scenes of Chinese
gardens. The details on some of the finer chips can only be appreciated
when viewed through a 25X magnifying glass. In some sets, every
carving on the 100 plus chips shows a different scene of two to three
characters. There is speculation that a set of chips may have depicted a
story in the carver's imagination.

Some elaborate borders appear to have been cut out with a fret saw.
Most of these chips were probably made to be sold in Europe for use in the games
of Pope Joan, loo, ombre and quadrille.

It has just been in recent years that the full value of these chips has been
realized. The more elaborately carved, thicker chips sell for
$50-$90. This is especially true of chips that contain an identifiable
coat of arms. Mother-of-pearl game counters are frequently sold mounted as
necklaces at the finer antique shows.

Most of the sets of carved mother-of-pearl counters purchages around 1835
were bought by wealthy European families. This material was probably
chosed for its beauty. However, later in the 19th century and early into
the 20th century, some high-class private casinos probably chose mother-of-pearl
because it is extremely difficult to counterfeit.

The three counters shown below (front and back of the same three)are from my
collection. Since these were hand engraved no two are exactly alike. You
have to trust me when I tell you that a scan doesn't do justice to
their true

If you have any interest in collecting gaming chips or perhaps joining the Casino Chips and Gaming Tokens Collectors Club please send me an email. I'll be more than happy to provide any information that I can.

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