Monday, April 27, 2009

Today's least surprising news: there's another bad dealer at the Luxor

By now regular readers know that nearly every time I play at the Luxor I end up ranting about how bad their poker dealers are. It's time again. (Click this label for the previous horror stories.)

Yesterday there was a young woman dealing whom I had not seen before. That, combined with her rather slow speed, makes me think she is most likely fairly new. That in itself is no problem. I actually have a soft spot for new dealers trying to learn the ropes, and I cut them a lot of slack. They may be slow, but they're usually doing their utmost to get everything right, and I respect that.

This woman, though, was an exception. Her cardinal sin was not paying attention, so she frequently didn't know what or where the action is, though she probably could have told you every detail of the basketball game she was watching in preference to the poker game. It was not uncommon for a raise to go unannounced until four or five players had subsequently acted. I don't think she even one time told us how many players were in the hand. She let table talk about the hand in progress go without notice. One guy was habitually splashing the pot, and she said nothing to him. She frequently forgot to take the rake until after pushing the pot to the winner. She always killed the winning hand before pushing the pot, which is just asking for a big fight to break out sooner or later, when she either gives it to the wrong player or somebody thinks she did.

But perhaps her strangest trait, in light of the serious and problematic infractions that she let slide, was how she would warn or correct players for completely innocent actions.

For example, she was fanatical about players not making their own change. One time I was in the $2 big blind. A middle-position player raised to $6, so when it was my turn and I wanted to call, I added a $5 chip to my two $1 chips, and took back one of the latter. She said, "Don't make your own change. Let me do it for you." I saw her give other players the same warning in similar circumstances.

This is nuts. She absolutely should prevent players from taking change from the chips that have been put out in front of other players, or which have been gathered into the center in the pot. That's a nasty home-game habit that one frequently sees among players who are new to casino play, and it's strictly forbidden for very good reasons. But not only is there nothing wrong with a player making his own portion of the pot right, it is a more efficient practice than having the dealer do it. This happens on nearly every hand of poker, and I have never, ever before seen any player or dealer or floor person complain about it or even hint that there is anything improper about it. I think she learned the rule about players not making change from the pot or from their neighbor's chips, and erroneously generalized the prohibition to include making change from one's own chips. It's just silly.

Here's another example: After the flop, the first player made a bet. Two players folded. The last one left to respond to the bet was an older and obviously experienced player. He deliberately mucked his cards face up, chuckling about how completely he had missed the flop. The guy clearly knew that he was the last one to act, so that there was nobody who could be improperly affected by his action. It's something I do myself from time to time. It is not against the rules, nor is it bad etiquette. It's harmless, except for the extra fraction of a second it might take. But this clueless dealer said to the "offending" player, "Can you keep your cards down, please? I don't want to have to kill your hand."

Huh? He was folding. What more did she think she could do to his hand? Furthermore, the penalty for exposing one's hand prematurely, when there is more action pending, is not killing the hand.

Speaking of cards being exposed when there is still multi-way action pending, that happened yesterday, too. This time it wasn't the new dealer, but Frank, whom I've complained about several times before. I wasn't involved in the hand, but on the river there were three players left. Action was check-check-bet. First guy was contemplating whether to call, and asked the bettor something like, "Do you really have it?" The answer was, "I bet because I don't think you have a king." (A king was the high card on the board.) To which the early-position player responded by looking at his cards, then deliberately turning his king face up for several seconds, then back down, while grinning back at the guy who had made the bet and the challenging comment.

When the dealer didn't say anything about this rather obvious infraction, I asked him if that was allowed, given that there were three players still with live cards. He asked, "Is what allowed?" He had been so engrossed in watching the television that he had not noticed the improper discussing of the hand nor the guy exposing his king for the entire table to see. Note that this was the only thing happening at the table at that moment. Nobody was talking to Frank or causing other distractions. He just didn't care enough to notice what was going on. That is Mr. Magoo level of blindness and inattention. But it's par for the course for Frank, and for most of the other dealers at this low-class, badly managed poker room.

After every visit there, I become more and more convinced that the way they recruit their dealers is to administer a proficiency test to applicants, then hire the ones who fail it. It's hard to imagine any other explanation for the astonishing level of incompetence and lack of professionalism.


Chappy & Bailey said...

For me the most important part on deciding where to play is how soft the games are. Luxor consistently has some of the softest games you will find in Las Vegas, yet I rarely play there because the dealers are so amazingly awful. It is very rare that dealers can be so bad that they will actually prevent me from playing at a place where I am sure I can be a consistent winner, but that is how bad the Luxor dealers are. You did not mention anything about this new dealer hustling for tips. It is probably because she is new. I'm sure after a few weeks of being around her co-workers she will soon take up the habit of begging for tips and making a point to vocally bitch to other dealers when she does not get tipped by the guy from Sweden or Turkey who has never played live poker before.

gr7070 said...

Grump, any chance you forward these to poker room management?

No chance of changes being made without the boss knowing there's a problem.

I'd be curious to hear if/how any room respnds as well.

Unknown said...

I bet they still rake in the tips on a big pot.