Prepare for a PokerGrump-like post!
Things were kinda dead for a Saturday night at Venetian yesterday. Katkin and Elissa weren't having much luck either. At Elissa's suggestion we motored down the street to Caesar's.
I'm not the biggest fan of the Caesar's poker room. Its isolation makes walk-in traffic unlikely and it feels more like a library reference room than a poker room. Plus it's a Harrah's property, which makes it inherently evil. But since we'll be at Caesars on Saturday for WPBT (and since commenter Keiser mentioned that the bad-beat jackpot promotion was no longer running) a little recon was fine by me.
The bad-beat jackpot was nowhere to be found, replaced by high-hand bonuses.
When I lived in L.A. I regularly would see terrible dealer abuse. It's appalling the way some miserable poker players take their unhappiness out on dealers. As a rule I'm not one to complain about dealers. By and large dealers have a job to do and they do it. Some do it better than others, some do it worse than others. If you get one of the worse ones for a particular down, well, that's just the way the cookie crumbles. After thirty minutes that dealer moves on to his or her next table and that's that.
Last night I had issues with three dealers in two hours. The first dealer was the least offensive of the bunch. His problem was that he spent as much time chatting with a blonde woman in the 1-seat as he did moving along the action. It was cringe-inducing and annoying to listen to (especially since the woman wasn't very bright) but at least it didn't impact the flow of the game too much.
The second dealer was the first one to light my fuse. I flopped a set of sevens on an 8-7-2 two-diamond flop and had to fold the river 8d-7-2d-9-Jd when the blonde woman made a big raise of my small blocking bet. "Look at this," I said with a sigh to Katkin. I opened my hand to the whole right-hand side of the table as I prepared to muck.
"Whoa, whoa, whoa!" the dealer yelled. He rather sternly admonished me against sharing my hand with Katkin.
"What?" I replied. "I'm obviously folding." And I pitched my cards into the muck. The dealer replied something about not being able to hear what we were saying -- pretty unlikely, since we weren't exactly whispering. But whatever, I could see where it might not have been clear that I was folding. Things would have been fine if they stopped there. Yet about a minute later, the dealer interrupted me after Katkin and I returned to a previous conversation.
"What did you show?" the dealer asked in a strong, imperial tone.
"I'm sorry?" I replied.
"What. Did. You. Show."
This is the point at which I decided that this dealer was not getting any tokes from me for the rest of the down. It turned out that someone at the other end of the table had asked what I had shown. I have no problem with that -- those are the rules. Show one, show all. Since the deck was already in the process of being shuffled, the dealer couldn't pull the cards out. If the dealer had just said to me, "The gentleman in the 8-seat wants to know what you showed," I would have had no issue. I would have happily said "a pair of sevens" and that would have been that.
Instead the dealer felt the misplaced need to exert some sort of authority over the table and it rubbed me the wrong way. I replied to his clipped query with a clipped answer. "A seven of diamonds and a seven of spades."
Fine. We moved on, I later won a $550 pot and the dealer got fuck-all.
The third dealer was named Enrique. Enrique was perfectly competent and things were moving fine until I was dealt QQ under the gun. I raised to $12 and it folded around to Katkin in the big blind. "I'll give you some action," he said as he tossed in calling chips.
I fired once at an A-K-2 flop, then shut down after that. At showdown Katkin showed Ah-6d.
I opened my queens and flicked them with my finger. "You fucking suck," I said with a laugh. "I can't ever beat you." Into the muck my queens went.
That would have been that, but Enrique the dealer jumped into the middle of things by telling me that I wasn't allowed to say "the f-word". I looked at him like he had two heads.
"You're kidding," I said. He replied that he was not, that I should not use the f-word again. So, of course, me being me, I provoked him. "Fuck that," I said. Enrique immediately called a floor over to the table. To tell on me. At 2am on a Saturday night (and no, I was not drinking).
"This gentleman used the f-word," he said, "and then I told him he shouldn't use the f-word."
"He shouldn't," agreed the floor.
"When I told him that, he said 'F that' to me." The floor turned to me and told me not to use "the f-word" for the rest of the night. I tried to explain the context -- that Katkin and I are friends who were just having a laugh -- but he didn't care and repeated his instructions to me. I replied that it didn't matter because I was leaving. By this point I was steamed, having failed for the third dealer down in a row not to be annoyed by the dealer. It doesn't make any sense to keep playing poker at 2am when I'm steamed (not even because of another player!) and being told to stop having fun.
"You don't have to leave," replied the floor. I told him I was leaving anyway because this was the second dealer I'd had an issue with in two hours. The floor decided to cut his losses and suggested that maybe it wasn't the dealers that were the problem. Katkin and I both laughed.
"I've never had a problem with any dealer in any room on the Strip before tonight," I said. I racked up and Katkin racked up as well, having decided that the game wasn't juicy enough to bother staying. These actions ticked off the guy in the 8-seat.
"Why did you have to butt in there?" he asked the dealer. "Nobody had a problem with anything. Now, because of you, $1,000 just walked off the table." He too, grabbed a rack and cashed out. Suddenly the eight-handed game was down to five players with between $100 and $200 each and was likely to break.
To sum up: I decided to take a chance and play in a room I don't normally visit. My reward for that was to have one dealer act like the king of the table (instead of the steward) and another to interrupt the enjoyment of two players who were obviously laughing around and having a good time, to the point that the dealer probably caused the whole table to break.
Well done, Caesars poker room. The way your dealers handle player interactions are unparalleled. Thankfully, after Saturday, I won't ever have to deal with them again.
Sunday, December 06, 2009
Prepare for a PokerGrump-like post!