Dealing and Playing

The subject of playing in the game that you deal in or dealing in the game that you play in came up recently and people were surprised to hear my take on the subject. I will start by admitting that I have a double standard and it fits my own personal needs.

When we discuss playing in a game that you deal, I am talking about dealers playing where they work against the same players that toke them day in and day out. These are the people that provide you with your living and you should be very careful as to not jeopardize your relationship with any of the players. I feel so strongly as to say that dealers should not play where they work other than to provide game support. When you are shilling to keep a game going it should be made clear to the players you are a shill. Play soft and give lots of air to the players and try to hold the game together. When the game fills up, by all means, get up and give your seat to a player.

A dealer can not afford to sit in a game day after day losing money just to make the players happy. On the other hand, a dealer that wins in the game day after day will turn the players off and hurt their future tokes. If you want to play poker just drive down the road to the next card room they will be happy to have you as a player and you can play any style you want.

Dealing in the game that you play in came up in reference to a time when small card rooms had a single dealer locked in the box for hours at a time with no breaks. In these games it was common for a player to jump in the box and deal a few hands to give the dealer a break. While I have always felt this was an acceptable practice I will say that it should not be over utilized. If you are always the one giving the dealer breaks other players may feel that you are partners with the dealer and suspect shenanigans. When the dealer asks for a break any qualified player should have the option of jumping in the box for a few hands. I might add that when a player is dealing to keep the game going and allowing the dealer to take a break, I feel no rake should be dropped.

These are purely my beliefs and the rules on these issues vary from place to place.

A more complex and interesting subject is making floor rulings in a game you are playing in. When this arises it is typically a difficult situation where the floor person does not know how to resolve the matter and asks for help. I have also been involved when the dealer was alone without help and asked for advice. I must say that this is the trickiest of all really bad situations to find oneself in as a poker player. I tend to explain the situation and the factors under consideration followed by possible resolutions and allow the floor or dealer to choose the remedy.

Many years ago in a $3-6 limit hold’em game a totally unique situation arose and I was forced to make a ruling in a game that I was playing. Keep in mind that I was not a casino employee and was just a regular player. My regular game was being played ten handed with a bunch of the regular players and Randy a veteran dealer. I was sitting in the four-seat and Rich was in the three-seat. Smitty an older regular player was in the ten-seat next to Randy. I mucked my hand from under the gun as the button was in the one-seat. The pot was not raised and about five players saw the flop of J 7 5. The hand checked around to Smitty who made a $3 bet and Rich folded and two young guys called. Unbeknownst to most of us at the table Randy had scooped Smitty’s cards into the muck as he was making his bet. The turn card was a queen and the two players both checked and Smitty bet $6. The two players folded and Smitty went to his cards to proudly show his set of jacks and exclaimed, “Where are my cards?”

Randy had mucked all the hands and still had not pushed the pot when he called for a floor ruling. Most good floor men would have a hard time making a ruling in this situation. Our floor had no idea what to do. Everyone looked at me for a thought.

I took the time to explain exactly what had happened. Smitty had cards on the flop when he bet and his hand was mucked by the dealer. Smitty is responsible for the protection of his own hand and because it was not protected or covered he has lost his hand and any rights to the pot. When Smitty made the bet on the turn he thought he had cards and so did all of the players in the hand. The bet was not a legal bet and was made by a player that did not have a legal hand. That money is also lost to Smitty and will remain in the pot. The tougher matter becomes to whom the pot is awarded. Because both players folded and lost control of their hand they have no right to continue in the hand. Because both players were accidently duped into folding their hand by an illegal bet and I have no way of knowing who had the best hand or would have had the best hand had the hand gone to the river. I declared the pot to be split between the two players.

The ruling was understood and the players all seemed to agree with the outcome there are other thoughts and consideration. The last player to lose control of their hand could make a legitimate claim to the whole pot on the basis that nobody else had a hand.

I hated making the ruling and I am not sure it was a good ruling but it was the ruling that I thought best fit the intent of the rules.

Try not to mix business and pleasure if you can at all help it.


2 Responses to “Dealing and Playing”

  1. ehonda500 Says:

    I also hate playing where I deal at, but if the players ask for it, then its up to them. Sometimes when the game gets short, I might have the 2nd dealer horse the rest of the night and I’ll jump in the game, but when I jump in the game, I am not working any more and now a “player” instead of house.

    But in my experience, stacking the players I deal to doesn’t matter as long as I dont get back in the box. The players don’t seem to care anyway, they chant Tip Back Program when they want me in the game! LOL

    • victorshaw Says:

      Thanks for the note and welcome to my blog…let me know if you have any thoughts or story ideas. I appreciate the comment and the effort you put into keeping a short game going.

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