Upgrade from Bad Santa

As a newbie poker dealer at The Poker Room NH, I am working hard to include conversation in my repertoire of dealing tools. As a rule,  dealers should just make sure that the action at the table is brisk without rushing anyone.

Comments made by the dealer should be non-biased and certainly not unkind. There is a fine line between friendly conversation and annoying banter.

To that end, I sometimes  tell the “Bad Santa”

Bad Santa

Bad Santa (Photo credit: BRED(odevay.com))

story whenever a player complains about the bad hands they are dealt by me.

During one session a female player raised the opening amount to 4,000 chips. The table’s chip leader re-raised her to 8,000. The lady player thought about it for a couple of minutes and re-raised All-in and was called by the chip leader.

The female player tabled QQ and the chip leader tabled AK off suit.

The flop was 5 9 J, rainbow (meaning no matching suited cards).

The turn card was a 2.

The river card was an ace crushing the female player’s pocket queens by giving the chip leader a pair of aces.

She looked at me and said “you are not Bad Santa, you are the Grim Reaper!”.

Grim Reaper (advertisement)

Grim Reaper (advertisement) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Are Poker Players superstitious? How about dealers?

Black cat crossing my path in Canal Walk

Black cat crossing my path in Canal Walk (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have been dealing No Limit Hold’Em tournament poker at “The Poker Room NH” for five months now and I am starting to realize that some poker players have certain superstitions.

For some, it is playing their favorite cards. I have heard players remark, “I always play 10-5 suited” or “I never lose when I play pocket two’s” or “give me J-10 suited anytime”. I could go on and on about their favorite hands.

Some even have un-favorite hands and will say “I hate pocket aces” or whatever.  As a player in a tournament, I once saw a player that had issues with a particular dealer, to the point where that player would stand up and get away from the table until the dealer was replaced. The replacement might come in ten minutes or in sixty minutes but the player would sit out, knowing that any cards he got would not win until that dealer left the table. I thought at the time that this action was pretty extreme.

Now that I am a dealer, I am finding that some players are either happy to see me, unhappy to see me or just plain indifferent. As I mentioned in a prior post “When a player rolls their eyes”, some players just cringe when they see me coming.  Part of the reason lays with the fact that I am not consistent in my dealing skills and that I make errors in the course of my dealing. I recognize this and I do practice and I have even had some players come up to me and say that they have seen that I have improved greatly since I first started.

It now appears that I am that one that is starting to get superstitious.  The player that I said ranted and criticized me for my bad dealing apparently has me a bit spooked.

Whenever he is at my table, I am starting to say to myself, “just be calm and …. don’t make any errors until I am replaced”.  This did not seem to help.

I was shuffling the cards but apparently I was using too much force and half dozen cards flew into the air, with one even landing on the floor at the next table. This caused me to have to count down the cards to make sure that I still have 52 cards and of course took time away from the players until I finished.

Still concentrated on not making any more mistakes, I missed giving two players their second card, including my new “anti-fan”.   This ended up in my declaring a mixed deal and having me gather all the cards and start over.

Certainly that was not helping me with my vocal detractor, who greets with me by saying something to the effect that I am the worse dealer ever. Somehow I go out of my way to prove him right.

So now it seems that I am developing a player superstition and I know that I have to break myself of this notion before it gets the best of me. After all, you are what you think you are.

My new mantra will be “I am a great poker dealing and I am getting better every day in every way.” After all, superstitions are not real. Are they?

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