Playing and Dealing Explained

Oh what a surprise life brings me from time to time. I wrote a decent piece about playing and dealing and I got several comments about it and most were fairly positive. The unexpected part came from my local friends who really had no concept of what I was writing about. I scratched my head and a few other things and decided something gives.

First I have to realize most of them came to poker in the last five or six years during the Moneymaker boom. This makes them green as grass and not entitled to an opinion; other than the fact that they play in games and pay the rake and therefore deserve to be treated decently. I might add that they have no idea how to tip. Like my good friend Amy says, “Tipping is like sex you get better with experience”.

Second most of these guys are playing in the same card room night after night and that is all they know. Just because that is how they do it at the big card room downtown does not make it right. So I of course told them that the big card room is not run very well. The staff was never trained and the floor people can barely spell poker and the management and owners have no idea what it takes to get players to come play.

The biggest misconception is that when I say the players are supporting the dealers and paying their wages my friends do not understand. Simply put these dealers are making $1000 a week for sitting in the box and pitching cards. They are not running the game or even trying to see that the game is played by the rules. As a player I expect the dealer to run the game and not the players. This is a huge problem at Club One in Fresno because they allow the dealers to play. The games often have off-duty dealers in them and the dealer does not correct the off-duty dealers. This is particularly poor behavior and absolutely unacceptable. An off-duty dealer should be on exemplary behavior and remain absolutely silent allowing the dealer in the box to run the game. No chit chat either.

I will share a few examples from my time playing at Club One. The dealer had a bad habit of rolling the deck and I asked that he not roll the deck. Because he did not know what I was talking about he asked another player what I meant; an off-duty employee who tried to explain to him to keep the deck flat and level. Needless to say this is really poor training and horrible that you have to ask another player if the way you deal is acceptable. A few hands later I asked very directly that he keep the cut card tight to the bottom of the deck as I was able to see the bottom card. This only created problems. He said to me, “How about I deal and you play, I do not tell you how to play your cards you do not tell me how to deal”. I asked for a floor man and was told the floor was on break and I would have to wait. I went and sat at an empty table and waited almost 30 minutes to speak to the floor man. The floor man went to the table and asked the dealer and the off-duty dealer what the problem was and neither of them mentioned anything about the deck roll or the exposed bottom card. They both said I was giving the dealer a hard time and complaining about the way he dealt. I was told not to give the dealers a hard time and I would be asked to leave if I kept up my disruptive behavior. They did not need me as a player. Since that day I have done my best to avoid the place.

The second example was a game where an off duty dealer was in the game and behaving badly, cussing, splashing the pot, exposing cards and playing out of turn. Once again I asked the dealer to control the game and the dealer replied, “He knows he is not supposed to do that”. I asked for a floor man and the dealer refused to call a floor man. A few hands later the off-duty dealer splashed the pot out of turn and there was no way to tell how many chips went into the pot. I asked for the dealer to call a floor man and once again was not granted the request. The dealer simply asked the off-duty dealer how many chips he put into the pot. I was having no part of this and just held my cards and refused to act when it was my turn until the pot was correct. The floor came eventually and I demanded the pot be made whole. I could see the pot was short and made them count the pot down and find the pot five full chips short. I knew he shorted the pot and I knew he lied about it. This time I was told to leave.

These are two examples of the problems of letting dealers play where they work. Pretty soon players just will not come into a room that treats players other than their own employees like crap. Playing in the place you work should require you to be on better behavior than the rest of the players.

I will probably end up playing in that card room again but I know that I will never tip a dealer or floor man in that place for a very long time. My friends simply think that this is the way a poker room is run and that there is nothing the players can do about it. We can simply choose to play elsewhere and we can also choose not to tip.

If you are going to play in the game against me and expect me to tip you when you deal to me you better be on your absolute best behavior. One wrong move and I will put you on tip restriction for life and you will have to work very hard to restore your character in my eyes.

Because of all of this, I feel a dealer should only play in a game as game support to keep a short game going. Once the game fills up the dealer should jump up and give the seat to a player. You are a dealer in the room you work and will always be a dealer there. If you want to be a player go to another room and be a player.


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