Friday, November 17, 2006

Overly chatty dealers

A few days ago I'm in a game in seat #1, in late position, with 10-10 in the hole. Flop comes down J-10-4, two-suited. The guy under the gun is cutting some chips out of his stack, and there's 2 or 3 players to act after him before the action gets to me. I am focused like a laser on the guy who's acting first, because I'm going to have a huge decision to make when my turn comes around: slow-play it, make a minimal raise, make a big raise, or just push all-in and take it down. My Spidey senses are on full alert. Are these other guys on straight draws? Flush draws? Did one of them hit set-over-set on me? It is just a handful of situations like this every session that make or break my success as a cash-game player. Today is going to be a winning day or a losing day based on how well I handle just a few critical moments like this.

And in my right ear, I hear the dealer start telling me about a car wreck he saw as he drove to work. WTF???? I realize he doesn't know that a potentially huge hand is developing right under his nose, or that I'm intensely interested in every scrap of information my opponents may be giving off, but jeez--he obviously can see that I have live cards in front of me. He's a nice enough guy, but his timing is just awful. I'm afraid to even cut him off, because that might signal the other players yet to act that I'm just a little too interested in the action. But he's leaning over, and referencing something else he told me about on a previous day, so I can't just ignore him. I have to tell him to wait until after the hand.

I wanted to smack him. How dense can you be?

Another day last week at another casino, a male dealer was openly flirting with an attractive young woman in the 10 seat, which meant that he was always looking away from the action. Over and over again, we had to get his attention to tell him that a betting round was complete, and we could use another card on the board, please. Incredibly annoying and unprofessional. There is no chance that he could have noticed and stopped a string bet, or an illegal raise, or a pot that wasn't right, or two players talking about the hand improperly, or any of a zillion other things that he should have been paying attention to. I wanted to hit him over the head with a 2x4. Or maybe whack him between the legs with it, which would have been more to the point.

Look, I like friendly dealers as much as the next guy. In fact, one of the reasons that the 10 seat has become my favorite is that it makes it easy to chat with the dealers I like when there's a lull in the action. But I try to be careful not to try to talk when he's, e.g., carving out three side pots, because I know that he's got to concentrate on getting this several-hundred-dollar mess of chips exactly right, or he'll have the whole table jumping down his throat (soon to be followed by the floor person). And the vast majority of dealers are aware that they shouldn't initiate a conversation--even with a player they know well--when that player has live cards. It's just a few that don't seem to grasp the difference between moments when it's OK to gab and moments when it's not.

And it's never OK for the dealer to compromise how he does his job for the sake of chatting, even if it is with a hot chick.

Drives me crazy!

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