Sunday, November 01, 2009

Dealers: One funny, one lazy

I generally like interacting with dealers. It's one of the big reasons that I prefer the two seats on either side of the dealer: I get to chat with them. When there's a dealer I know and trust, I can make comments on how people are playing, share snarky jokes, etc., all in a voice soft enough that it's not likely to be heard by anybody else at the table, unless they're deliberately trying to listen in. I can also quietly point out the common errors or problems that I notice (player being passed over for action, pot not being quite right, misreading a hand, cards getting flashed, or whatever), without having to shout to make myself heard. I don't like being noisy. I don't like being the center of attention.

One of my favorite dealers is Wayne at Mandalay Bay. He's the one that looks like Al Roker. He always brings just the right mix of seriousness and lightheartedness to the table. He is able to keep players smiling even as he keeps the game moving and under good control.

He had two consecutive downs at my table today. When he had been in the box for about 55 minutes, and I assumed he was about to be pushed finally, I realized that I had not won a hand that entire time. So as he was cleaning up the detritus of one hand, I asked him, "Doesn't it say in the Official Dealer's Manual that you're supposed to push a pot to Seat 1 at least once in a while?"

Wayne didn't miss a beat. He replied, "Yes, it does. But right after that it adds: 'With the provision that Seat 1 has to be very, very patient.'"

As they say on "Family Feud," good answer, good answer!

Earlier in his shift, there had been a monster pot in which several people lost a lot of money, and one guy got seriously enriched. I had folded from the small blind, so didn't get hurt. As Wayne was getting ready for the next hand, I told him, "I think I played that hand better than anybody else--I only lost one dollar!" Again, he took no time at all for the zinger in return: "Congratulations. That is a marked improvement!"

I actually laughed out loud at that--kind of a rarity for me at the table.


Sometimes, though, dealers are just annoying because of being inattentive or incompetent or too talkative or a hundred other sins. Last night at Binion's I had one that was startingly lazy.

My usual practice when making a bet is to make a single stack of chips and slide it forward. It's often difficult for an opponent at the other end of the table to see how much the bet is when it's done that way, but that's deliberate. There are bits of information to be gleaned from watching and listening to the other player as he asks the dealer what the bet is, and how he reacts to the answer.

Last night I bet $35, and the other player in the hand asked, "How much is that?" The dealer at that point is supposed to count it out. This doofus, though, instead turned to me and repeated, "How much is that?" It caught me off guard, because I've never had a dealer relay that question to me instead of determining the answer himself. I said, "$35," before I had a chance to think about it. But as the other player was contemplating a call, I got annoyed at the dealer for expecting me to do his job for him, and causing me to speak during a hand, which is against my religion. I decided that I wouldn't do so again.

The player made the call. Turn card came, and this time I slid out $55. Again the player asked, "How much is that?" Again the dealer turned to me and repeated, "How much is that?" This time, though, he was met with stone silence, and was eventually forced--horror of horrors--to actually do his job and count the bet.

I did not run into that problem again thereafter.

Dealers. Give me the funny one over the lazy one anyday.


The Vegas Flea said...

I can tolerate roughly 20% of the poker dealers in Las Vegas. The rest can pretty much kiss my ass.

astrobel said...

Eureka !

That's why you moved from seat number 4 to seat number 10 the day I had the pleasure to play at the same table at the Mandalay Bay.

I was in seat 1 and at the time I found really strange that you wanted to give me position on you and be on my right, after all I was the biggest stack at the table and daresay the most competent player...... ( till you arrived of course :-)

I knew who you were and kind of wanted to tell you how much I like your blog but found the situation a bit awkard and did not want you to feel uncomfortable.

Rakewell said...

Hmmm. I don't remember the situation. Oh well.

For future reference, I don't mind being "outed" at the table. I've never found that it made any difference in how people play. So next time, feel free to introduce yourself. Always nice to meet readers.

Anonymous said...

Wayne is a very good dealer! Also he loves to play the horses and from what I hear never does well. If Spike is there start talking about horses with Wayne and you will have an hour of enjoyment.

astrobel said...

Dear Rakewell,

That session took place on October 5th. You won a medium size pot with AJ right away and twitted about it. Then you moved to my right.
I played for a while and eventually left with $821 (up $621). Someone at the table said something like "you did very well" to which I replied "it's been good" (at that point you and I made eye contact).

I have got a great memory, please don't think I'm obsessed with you :-). Somehow I did find intimidating to approach you though. Thank you for reassuring me for next time.

Back to Vegas in February.

Photoc said...

Astro, you found rakewell intimidating? He's one of the nicest guys I've ever dealt to and talked to. He just sits and plays, doesn't cause problems, enjoys the game that he's very good at, and stays out of the bs drama that other players love to cause.

I would never have thought of him as an intimidating type and I knew him as a player long before I ever dealt to him.

astrobel said...

Dear Photoc,

I'm sure Rakewell is overall very nice indeed. I guess myself finding him intimidating was due to two factors combined. First, he mostly writes about things he disapproves of and I surely did not want to be on the wrong side of his judgement. On the other hand to talk to him I would have to get his attention while some unknown entities are watching / listening and without knowing if he was likely to feel uncom fortable.

Next time I will just say something like hi, I really enjoy reading your blog. Now I know he won't bite :-)

Rakewell said...


You are not alone. I have talked to my friend Cardgrrl about this several times. Although she went out of her way to make arrangements to meet me during her first trip to Vegas after becoming a reader, and was presumably prepared to find me to be an interesting person, she later told me that she was surprised to discover that I'm actually a *nice* guy. She says she is confident that others would be equally surprised.

That, in turn, kind of surprises me, because I have many, many times in my posts tried to make clear that (1) this blog is an outlet for all the things that I'm too quiet and reserved to gripe about in person, and (2) I'm actually about as benign a soul as you could hope to meet. The whole grumpy thing is kind of a schtick. (As it turned out, I couldn't sustain it for every post, and a few months into blogging started adding disclaimers that some posts were "not grumpy." Now the truly grumpy ones are a minority, and I've dispensed with the non-grumpy disclaimer.) But apparently, if Cardgrrl's read is to be trusted (and she's the kind of highly perceptive person whose take on such things I tend to listen to), such disclaimers get drowned by the grumpy tone when I work up a good lather about something. The net image left with readers, apparently, is that I'm generally prickly. The truth, though, as Cardgrrl phrases it privately, is that I'm "a big ol' marshmallow softie."

And, BTW, I have never written a single unkind thing about a reader I have met, and can't imagine that I would ever do so.

Paul said...

Last time I was in town in august i stopped by and did i drive by rakewell hello. I swung by harrahs and said hi after getting a tweet. I 1st observed for a couple minutes watching rake's very deliberate moves. Then said hi and went back to osheas.

It did feel a bit creepy at 1st but then I was laghing about saying hi to a blogger I had read for a long time.