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Neil Johnson
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Neil Johnson

Dealer’s Choice 3

By Neil Johnson (29/08/2006)

In dealing on both sides of the Atlantic I have found some interesting discrepancies in how European/U. K. Dealers and American Dealers run their games. I think it’s very interesting that procedures that would get your head taken off in Las Vegas are completely accepted in Europe, and vice versa. So I guess this article is more in the nature of a forum type Question and Answer session.

I’ve noticed that in the U.K. especially, it is quite common for the dealers to stack the pots, be it pot limit, no limit or limit. They also announce all bet amounts, including the amounts of all in’s before any player has asked the amount. Now, the last time I tried to touch a player’s stacked all in without being asked was the 2004 World Series and I came very close to pulling back just a bloody stub and spending the rest of my life with the nickname “Lefty”. Yet in the clubs I’ve visited in the U.K. this seems to be just standard operating procedure. As soon as the player pushes and says all in, the dealer immediately reaches out, breaks the stack and counts it down.

Another procedural question is the pulling in of all called bets. Should you or shouldn’t you? If the blinds were 100/200 and it had been limped around to the big, should the dealer immediately drag all of the 200’s in while waiting for the big to exercise their option. I personally believe they should and I always do. Yet I have had some players ask me not to so they can see how much the players have at risk, how they react with the chips they have in play, how they make the chip adjustment to the new bet amount, etc, etc, etc... Now, I’m all for reading your opponents, but I’ve always felt that as soon as money has been called by the table, it belongs in the center so everyone can see exactly what the pot is at any given time. Just seems to be a difference in styles I guess. Or, it could possibly be chalked up to the prevalence of Pot Limit games in Europe where you would not drag in the bets until the action is complete.

As a dealer you never want to affect the course of the hand or any stage of the action. As a fresh dealer (less than 6 months) I made a mistake in a local $3/$6 limit game. There was heavy heads up action through to the river and the board was 2 – 2 – K – 3 – 3 with 3 hearts on board. The player who had been hammering away cursed at the river and checked. The other player then kind of grimaced and checked also. The first player rolled over AJ of hearts and I announced Ace high flush. The other player said “I only have a 3” and flipped up his cards, but only one came up. The 3 shown and landed face up on top of the muck, the other card landed face down in front of him. Here’s where I screwed up. I said “3’s full of 2’s” and he looked at me for half a second and snatched the face down card and flipped it over so fast he’s lucky he didn’t get a paper cut. The other player exploded and was rightfully very angry. I should have said “I need two cards for a hand sir” and waited a moment to see if he turned it over and if he didn’t I should have killed the hand. Believe me; I learned that dealing lesson that day. The other player ended up racking up and storming out when the floor awarded the pot to the full house.

I used to think part of my job as a dealer was making sure everyone had a good time and got a fair shake at the table. Over the years, I’ve come to the realization that that is all well and good while the cards are being shuffled, but after they are dealt... well, to quote my first article... it seems more often the case that you should just shut up and deal.

So I’m sitting here discussing this with some international dealers (Finnish, Swedish and American) even as I type this and we are debating how much information the dealer is REALLY supposed to give out during the hand. There are basic rules like not asking the big blind if they want to raise because then it appears you are soliciting a raise. Not saying things like “Its ONLY 200 more to call”, etc...

But how much information do you really want from the dealer? When you are on the turn and someone says, “Hey dealer, who pre flopped raised?” Should the dealer answer, or is that information the player should have been paying attention to? Should all bet amounts be announced, regardless of game, regardless of limit? When a player goes all in, should the dealer immediately break the stack and count the amount? What about when you prepare to flop, should you announce how many players are in the hand? Or again, should the players be paying attention to how many people are in the pot?

Every place appears to train their dealers different and we all know that what flies in your local club is much different than what you would find in a major tournament or large casino. But what do you as the players expect from your dealers when it comes to information in the game? What is too much and what is too little?

I’ll have to wait for the answers as the push is here and I have to go to the next table now. Thank you again Ladies and Gentlemen and Good Luck to you.

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