Friday, May 25, 2007

Yet another dealer who doesn't know procedures

I promise I'm not going to turn this blog into a one-note song about dealers who don't know the rules, but it's really irritating.

Yesterday at Caesars Palace I was dealt what's known (for reasons that escape me) as a "boxed card"--one that the Shufflemaster had accidentally turned face-up in the deck. It did not flip over during the deal. The dealer announced that it woud become the burn card.

This isn't the standard procedure. The usual means of dealing with this is to treat it as if it were an extraneous piece of paper--not even an actual card--that got stuck in the deck. It is shown to the table and then goes in the muck. It does not become the burn card, as would occur if the card flipped over during the pitch. I really don't know why a boxed card is treated differently from a card inadvertantly exposed during the deal, but it is. (If anybody can provide a rational explanation in the comments section, I'd appreciate learning the reason.)

Anyway, I asked the dealer if she was sure that the boxed card should become the burn card. She emphatically answered yes. (A couple of other players chimed in to agree with her, but it never surprises me that players don't know details of the rules.) As with the previous incident involving the amount of a raise, I really didn't care very much, so I didn't protest further or ask for a floor decision. But after the hand, I went to the floor person and asked, because, again, for all I know, Caesar's might have some idiosyncratic house rule under which the dealer was correct. But no, they use the standard procedure, I was told.

A boxed card is not rare. I would guess that an average dealer sees it happen once a shift or so. So how long has this dealer been following an erroneous procedure, 100% confident that she was doing it right?

I may never understand how people develop such confidence in their mistakes that they're unable or unwilling to experience any sense of self-doubt when questioned, and unable or unwilling to ask for clarification from a supervisor.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Another dealer who finished last in his class

I have griped previously ( about dealers who not only get something wrong, but stubbornly remain insistent that they're right after being gently corrected. Well, I ran into another one yesterday at Caesars Palace. (I only recently noticed that there is no apostrophe in "Caesars Palace." Apparently the sense of it is "The Palace of the Caesars," rather than "The Palace that belongs to Caesar.")

In a $1-3 no-limit hold'em game, the player under the gun raised to $12. The next player said "Reraise" and threw in $20. My turn was next. I pointed to the $20 and asked the dealer, "Is that a legal raise?" (I knew that the answer was no, but I was trying to be nonconfrontational about it.) The dealer said yes.

I pointed out that the initial raise to $12 was a $9 raise, but the reraise was only an additional $8. Are you sure that's OK?

Yes, the dealer repeated. His explanation was that since the big blind is $3, any raise or reraise just has to be a minimum of $3. Since the $8 reraise is more than $3, it was legitimate. Presumably, then, this dealer would even have approved a reraise to just $15, though I didn't ask him that exact question.

Well, it was clear that I wasn't going to win this argument. I had assumed at first that the dealer just hadn't noticed that the reraise was smaller than the original raise--it's a very easy thing to overlook, and I wouldn't fault anybody for missing it. But with this bizarro explanation, it became obvious that the dealer just plain didn't know the basic rules involved, and that wasn't something I could (or wanted to) fix on the spot. Besides, it was only a $1 difference, and I was going to fold my trash hand anyway, so I just shrugged my shoulders, mucked, and let it go.

I didn't want to make an obvious immediate run to the floor person, so I waited until after this dealer's down at my table was over. But then I left the table, pulled the supervisor aside, and asked, "What's the minimum amount of a reraise after an initial raise to $12 in a $1-3 game?" I knew without any doubt what the standard rule was, but there was always the possibility that Caesars uses some quirky house rule under which the dealer was correct. He confirmed that the dealer should have corrected the reraised to $21 (a minimum $9 reraise of the first player's $12 bet).

Bizarrely, though, I got the distinct impression that he did not believe that one of his dealers didn't know this basic point. I left that conversation pretty well convinced that the floor person believed that I just hadn't understood the situation, or had related the details wrong. I guess I can't blame him--it is pretty startling that a dealer wouldn't grasp how raising works. But if I were him, I would pull that dealer aside and quiz him on what constitutes a minimal reraise, just to make sure. Because if you really do have a dealer that is that deficient in a fundamental understanding of the game, wouldn't you want to know it and correct it? I'd bet $100 that nothing was said to the dealer as a result of my conversation.

Anyway, this is yet another plea to dealers (although I must admit that it's unlikely that any of the ones who need to hear this will ever read my words): Please, please, please--if you have even the slightest degree of doubt about a point of the rules after being twice queried by a customer who has the appearance of being a reasonably knowledgeable player, it doesn't hurt anything to ask the floor person to step over and clarify things. You will educate either yourself or the player (along with the rest of the table), either of which is manifestly a good thing for all involved.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

It's Elton John! No, it's Liberace!

I had a, uh, interesting-looking gentleman sit down at the table in the Hilton poker room today. See for yourself. The photo resolution isn't great, but if you look closely you'll see the big double earrings, the oversized ring, the watch that's as big as the face of a grandfather clock--completely covered in fake diamonds--the heavy silver cross on a fat chain around his neck. And to top it all off, the glasses that Elton John would reject for being too ostentatious and effeminate.
I wonder if people like this have any idea how ridiculous they look.