I forgot to tell you about this story when it happened. It was in March, when I played a daily Venetian tournament (described a bit here).
All of you who play live tournaments know that there tend not to be enough of the lowest denomination chips. When the antes kick in, it can be tight, and the dealers often have to get whoever won the last pot or two to make change (because that's the person, usually, with the most ante chips, and the dealers don't have extras in their trays). I had never seen this be a problem, until the tournament in question.
There was one guy at our table who just flat refused to make change when asked. I guess he had some weird fondness for low-denomination chips, or some weird aversion to exchanging them for high-denomination chips. Or maybe he was just an uncooperative jerk generally. He said virtually nothing the entire game.
Because he never gave any ante chips back, after a while he had a hugely disproportionate number of them. It was becoming increasingly difficult to make the remainder of them stretch. There were just barely enough, and it was taking more and more time every hand to get the antes right before the cards were pitched. Yet still this louse would not yield to repeated requests to help make change, as he sat on a pile of the ante chips. He was cornering the market.
Finally we got a no-nonsense kind of dealer. He made the obvious request the first time and got the usual refusal. He made it through that hand, but seeing how desperately short we were and how difficult it was to make things work, on the next hand he upped his own ante, so to speak. He told Mr. Uncooperative, "If you don't make change voluntarily, we'll give you a ten-minute penalty and make the change from your stacks while you're away from the table."
This finally broke the impasse, and change was given--but it was hardly done with pleasure. Everybody at the table could see that the guy was seething mad at this dealer. It apparently put him on major life tilt, and he donked off all his chips in a rapid sequence of three hands, both of them spots where it was just crazy--bluffing into the obvious nuts, etc. He rapidly went from one of the chip leaders to busto.
When he was eliminated on the last of these, he stood up and let loose a string of invective at this dealer that was, I believe, longer, louder, and more foul-mouthed than any I have heard in a poker room, and I have been around for some doozies. The TD quickly came over and tried to calm him down, to no avail. He rapidly escalated to making threats of bodily harm to the dealer, at which point security was called. He was escorted out. And by "escorted" I mean "half-carried," still cursing and yelling out death threats to the poor dealer over his shoulder.
I have absolutely no idea what his problem was, but it was clearly a lot bigger than not liking to part with his ante chips.
I don't have any actual point to make about this cretin. I can't exactly try to draw an important moral from the story--"Be sure to help make change when the dealer asks you to"--because 99.9% of people (and, I'm sure all of my readers!) already know and do this as a matter of course. It was just one of the odder occurrences in my poker life, and I thought it deserved airing.
I emailed a short version of this story to a dealer friend of mine, and he responded with this note:
I've never seen that before. Had I been the dealer, I would have
simply reached into his stack, made the change, smiled at him, and said "Thank you, sir!" before moving on. Of course, I've always worked with floor staff who would back me up, so I would have confidence that my floor wouldn't have an issue - or at least wouldn't have one in front of the customers...
I'm still stuck trying to figure out why he wouldn't make change. There are only so many of each denomination in play, and if he has the majority of them, one would think he could figure out he would be forced to help out eventually. Weird.
Closest thing I ever saw to this was during the WSOP a couple years back. During the color-ups, the chip leader at the table is required to buy up the denomination being colored off and then floor staff colors up one person per table. This guy refused and was throwing a fit until the TD basically told him he had no choice and if he continued to not let the staff touch his chips that he would be disqualified from the tournament on the spot.
Too many weirdos in the world :)
Amen to that.