Above is the Riviera I wish I were at. The one I have actually been at this week is considerably less glamorous. But it has at least been profitable, as some compensation for being a dump. I may continue going there every night as long as the pool tournament is going and most of the locals are staying away. The Riviera games are pretty soft on a regular basis, but right now they are marshmallows.
Last night after I had been playing for quite a while, a Riviera regular (one of maybe only four I've encountered this week) showed up. When he was under the gun, he put out a $5 chip. The dealer announced, "Five dollar straddle." I assumed he had just had a slip of the tongue, so I asked, "Five?" He said yes. Both the player and dealer said that the straddle can be either $4 or $5. I had never seen this before, here or anywhere else.
Half an hour later we have a new dealer. Same player puts out a $5 chip. Dealer makes change and announces, "Four dollar straddle." The player tells her that it's $5. She has never heard of this rule, but rather than calling the floor over (which seems the obvious thing to do), she just says, "Oh, OK," and lets it go.
When I was cashing out at the end of the night, I asked the floor guy at the desk. He told me that, yes, the straddle can be $5 if the whole table has agreed to it. Hmmm. At the time of the first incident, I had been at the table longer than anybody else, and nobody had ever asked for consensus. If the whole table had, in fact, agreed to this arrangement before I arrived, and the first dealer knew this to be so, is that agreement still valid when not a single player who had made it remained at the table--that is, after a complete turnover of players? That seems odd.
I asked the floorman why some of his dealers seemed not to have heard of this option. His response: "Because we kind of make things up as we go."
Ah. Well, that would explain it, all right. Fine way to run a poker room.
I really don't care whether somebody straddles for $4 or $5. The advantage is that it saves the dealer making a lot of change. It also makes it that much easier for me to fold marginal hands. The disadvantage is that it's non-standard (I have a general dislike for non-standard rules, unless there is a very good justification for them), it's unknown to most of the players and apparently even some of the dealers, and it relies on 100% table agreement, which is no longer present as soon as somebody new comes along.
It's not important, but it's peculiar, which obligates me to report it here. Now I have done so.