An uneventful evening

Official seal of Hampton Falls, New Hampshire

For the past four months I have been working regularly on Friday’s and Saturday’s from 3:00 pm on, at The Poker Room NH in Hampton Falls NH.

My first time dealing poker as a professional started on January 3, 2012, this year.

I am probably their least experienced and least capable dealer but I am trying to improve each day that I go to work.

Currently, I am only dealing Texas Hold’Em:  cash, tourneys. and “sit n go’s”. I soon hope to be dealing Omaha Hi/Lo and Stud Hi/Lo.

Each time I sit down at a table to deal, I never know what is going to happen. Sometimes the cards I deal out are very interesting.  Sometimes I make little mistakes that can irritate the players and slow down the games.  Some players are more understanding than others.  But I have no problem dealing with complaints and accepting them, when I am at fault or not.

Each day that I work, I have as a goal to have one perfect session, where nothing goes wrong.  Even our best dealers make mistakes from time to time and I hope to become more like them.

On the plus side, I am one of three dealers, so far,  at The Poker Room NH that has dealt out a “bad beat” that has resulted in players winning hundreds of dollars, so most players are  happy to see me coming to their table.

Last night I worked from 5:20 pm to 10:00 pm. I did not even start dealing until 6:30 pm as I was at a table waiting for more players to enter our 5:30 pm tourney. We had set up six tables but ended up filling only four.  When it was my turn to go to an active table and to deal, I was able to do so and I dealt with the minimum of problems.

About my biggest challenge was when the antes kicked in.  Antes are small amounts that every player must put into the pot in addition to the big blind and the small blind.

So after I am done my shuffling of cards and before cutting the deck and dealing cards, I must collect the antes and make sure that the blinds are posted. That adds an additional 20 to 60 seconds to each hand being dealt, depending on if I have to ask for the antes and if I have to make change etc.

For the first night since I have been there, I had a practically perfect night dealing. But I must not rest on my laurals, as I know I need to improve in counting bets, chips, side pots, etc.

Still, I did feel good and went home in high spirits.

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Bad Santa

Bad Santa?

Dealing poker at our local poker room, The Poker Room NH, can become very interesting at times.

I work two days a week, Friday and Saturday, and I get to see many people coming to play at our tables.

I deal at the tournament tables and also at the cash Limit Hold’Em tables.
The cost to play at the $2/4 limit table is a buy-in of $20 minimum.

Some of the players that I see are regulars and most of them know how to play. Occasionally we do get new players that have never played a limit hold’em cash game.

There is a certain basic strategy that good players follow. Good players do not play in every single hand unless they have very good cards.

New players however may not understand or know that concept and think that every hand that they see is an opportunity to win a pot.

Recently three young ladies have been becoming regulars at the cash tables and I have dealt to them when I have been assigned to their tables.

English is not their native language, but they speak it rather well. I don’t know if these three ladies are related or not but the younger one smiles when she sees me coming to the table and says “Welcome Santa”, I know you will be kind to me.

Now my basic task is to try and make their experience enjoyable, but I am only able to guarantee that everyone at the table gets two cards each. Beyond that, it is the players responsibility to do what they can with these cards to win the pots.

The problem that I see with the young lady who calls me “Santa” is that she plays every single hand that she is dealt regardless of what they are.  To her sorrow and dismay, she usually finds that she has lost all of her chips within an hours time. And she usually buys a hundred dollars of poker chips at a time.

I am not always at the same table for long periods of time because we are moved from table to table every 30 minutes or so, and I do not see when she ends up re-buying more chips so I do not know how she is doing.

One evening however, I did end up dealing to these ladies twice in the same evening, although at a different table.

The story was the same. Big smile and a “Welcome Santa”, but at the end of the session, with her chips all gone, she looked at me sadly and said “Bad Santa”.

You know how it goes … you cannot please everyone …

(This post will appear on MomPopPow.com)

Being consistent … not

Collect and Connect

Collect and Connect (Photo credit: fengschwing)

One of the things that makes for being a great dealer is consistency.

There are at least 42 steps to each hand that a poker dealer deals.

There is the shuffle, shuffle, riffle, shuffle. Making sure the blinds are posted. Dealing out the first hand. Collecting the bets. Burning a card. Dealing the flop. Collecting the bets. Burning a card. Dealing the turn. Collecting the bets. Dealing the River. Collecting the bets. Awarding the pot. Moving  the button. (in cash games, dropping the rake (the poker room’s profit), and dropping the toke (the dealer tips). And this is just in  one hand. (Note: I did not list all of the 42 steps).

In addition to the above tasks, there are also the collecting of antes, the counting of chips when a player is all in and the other player(s) need a count. There is also the creation of side pots in the events that someone is all in and two or more players are still in the pot. There could be up to seven side pots, heaven forbid.

At any given time, I do make mistakes,

I may miss a player altogether dealing at a tournament. (you must deal a card to each chip stack regardless of if the player is there physically or not). In cash games, you must deal to the actual people and not the chips stack. Some players walk away from the table for various reasons. Some are gone to play in a sit n go tourney and leave their chips behind. If a player is not at their seat for a cash game, they are still responsible to put up the big blind or small blind, I must take care to leave a token that says they owe for the big blind and/or the small blind and must settle before they can resume play if they choose to return and play.

So I must take care to not deal to someone that is not there in a cash game, but deal to the stacks in a tournament even when someone is not there.

Other ways I can err is to flip over a card when dealing it to a player. I can miscount chip stacks when awarding a player chips from another player.

Oh the things I could do wrong are numerous.

This brings me to the point of this blog. Too many errors at one time and some players get very upset. Some even get vocal. Some are downright mean in their comments. But they are the customer and the custumer is right.

So I always apologize for my error(s) and try to keep on going. Now the problem is that after it happens I am now trying too hard to not make an error. Oh well.

The good news is that all dealers are rotated from table to table every 20 or 30 minutes, for the most part. This gives us the opportunity to walk away from our mistakes and start fresh at a new table. As a dealer, I need to get over the bad expierences quickly and move on. After all, as they say, it is nothing personal.

In spite of the downsides of having to deal with upset players, the upside is the satisfaction when things run well. When the players get excited to finally be getting good cards. Yes I am that dealer that gives out the dreaded 7-2 or 2-8 or 3-9 or other garbage hands to players, sometimes two or three times in a row. At least that is what they tell me.

On the plus side, I now have players that greet me warmly when I approach their table. I now know many players by name and the banter is friendly or at least cordial. After all, they are here to play and/or have a good time while they are doing it.

My favorite table to deal at are are the ones where most of the players are smiling or laughing and having a great time.

Now if it could aways be that way …

Next post:  Bad Santa ….

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Dealing poker is different than playing …

Deutsch: Dealerbutton

Deutsch: Dealerbutton (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have been working as a poker dealer at a local poker room, The Poker Room NH, at least two days a week, since January 3rd 2012.

I also play at the same room, “The Poker Room NH” on my days off, schedule permitting.

My dealing skills are improving, albeit slowly, but I am getting better.

How do I know?  My supervisor, Chris, tells me that he is getting less complaints from the players. I even have had some players tell me that I have improved from when I first started.

I still have a long ways to go. Who knew that my math skills would be needed and that these same skills have eroded from non-use over the last four years.

My dealing goal is to have one perfect session per day. A session consists of when I sit down at a table and perform all of the duties as a dealer until my replacement comes.

We are usually moved from table to table in 30 minute plus intervals. This is done for many reasons. It keeps dealers fresh, it keeps the players happy if they think the reason for getting bad cards is the dealer.

Some days, I come really close. On other days, I don’t even want to talk about it.

The reason I wanted to work there is still valid. The staff of dealers, floor personal, wait staff, and custodial staff, are all nice and friendly people. They are who inspire me to be a better dealer. I am even getting to know the regulars by name (we are encouraged to do so). It is a friendly place and a lot of smiling employees who really love what they are doing or if off duty,  playing.

Plus it is fun dealing, I never know what cards the players are going to get. The cards that I flop always amaze me – like flopping three of a kind or three cards to a flush and then watching what the players do afterwards. Are they bluffing or did the flop make their hand that much better..

All in all, I think I found my perfect type of employment. Did I mention that if I am dealing, I am not losing at the tables? Another plus!

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