In my previous discussions about my adventures as a poker room dealer for The Poker Room NH in Hampton Falls, NH I mentioned that I am a “work in progress”. I need to deal more and to practice more in order to become the best that I can become.
There are at least 42 steps that must be followed out for every hand of poker that is played. This includes shuffling the deck, cutting the deck, making sure that blinds and antes, if any, are collected prior to dealing out the cards. Then each player is dealt one card at a time, starting with the small blind (the small bet) and ending back at the dealer button, until they each have two cards.
In the early stages of a tournment, there might be as many as three actual players and seven “dead stacks” to deal to at my table. Once every player or dead stack receives their two cards, I must collect back those cards that do not have a live player sitting in front of them and place these cards into the “muck” or stack of non-playable cards face down, beside me. While I’m doing this, I must call the action as it progresses around the table, indicating who is calling, who is raising, who is folding, etc.
I must make sure that the correct total of chips are in the pot and that each player that has change coming back if they did not have the exact amount available when they either called, bet, or raised and were called.
Every step is an opportunity for a mistake to occur and when I first started out, I easily made a mistake in almost every round of play or so it seemed to me. My worst mistake to make was to sweep away players cards that were active but too close to my reach when I was folding the other cards belonging to the dead stacks (chips with no players sitting at the table).
Now when I have a fairly empty table with less than 5 players, I warn them ahead of time to protect their cards or I might toss them into the muck.
My supervisor recently said to me “you’re improving, Brogan … I am getting less complaints about you”. I actually took that as a compliment as it is true that our poker players are very vocal in their opinions.
At a recent tournament, I had one player lean over towards a younger female player and tell her to be careful, that the dealer (me) is not very good. I am not sure if he thought I had ears but I smiled towards him and told the young lady that indeed I am not perfect but we have a whole table of players that will help to ensure that I do everything correctly.
The complaining player busted out of the tournament within 15 minutes of play but I did not warn the young lady that he was a bad player.
Etiquette you know.