11/11/2010

Love Poker, Hate Poker

Vicki Mead

Always with poker come conflicting emotions. Some days I can't wait to get back to the felt and play, then other days I seriously don’t want to hear a single word about it. I love it and then I hate it and constantly contradict myself when deciding which of the two it is. Dealers can go through stages of both loving the game one minute and then despising it the next. Of course, we all love it when we get to deal to some of the biggest poker names in the world, although I still don't get how some dealers become completely star-struck with them. I mean, yes, they're well known in the poker world and are great at what they do but they are also normal people. You know, the kind that eat, drink and sleep just as you or I do...

It always surprises me how poker players can speak about poker 24/7. Surely, there is more out there then just poker? I find myself cringing at bad beat stories on the felt and of course the obligatory ''oohs'' and ''ahhs'' in the right places that are almost expected of a dealer. “Hey Vick, remember when you dealt me them aces against that guy's jacks and you stuck a jack on the river?” Hmmm, honestly, no I don't. I deal hundreds of hands every day, the same as poker players play hundreds, I can't remember every single hand. In fact if you asked me what the last flop was, I probably couldn't tell you. Why? Because it's done and dusted and the next hand is in play and to be fair I don't need to remember it!

Poker players seem to revel in bad beat stories, they always remember the bad beats – funny how they never remember the bad beats they have given someone else quite so vividly... To be honest, bad beat stories are all boring! Not only do other poker players hate hearing them but dealers also get bored of hearing the same story over and over again. Ok, so we understand you're not happy about it but do you really have to post mortem it over and over? Once is more than enough.

One of the funniest dealer stories was one that I will never forget. In one of the casinos I used to work in the company used to hold dealer (staff) poker tournaments. These were normally around the 4am mark back in the day when casinos used to close for the night. We'd all finish our shift and then go to the card room for a drink and a bit of poker. After a few drinks some of the dealers were a bit on the tipsy side shall we say. I'm not going to name anyone so for the article's sake I’m going to call this dealer John Doe. John was one of the nicest guys in the dealer world that you could meet, very polite and genuinely a decent bloke but he always left himself open for witty comebacks from the other dealers. This one particular hand that he played he sat thinking for ages on the river of what his next move was. On a board that was completely rainbow with no flush or straight draws but with a pair on it he finally checked and turned over quads. The dealers looked at him completely dumbfound and asked him ''John, why the hell didn't you bet?'' Completely serious and straight faced, John shrugged his shoulders and said “I was worried about his kicker” - Pure genius, cue a bunch of croupiers rolling on the floor laughing.

Hence, from that day on he was known as John 'the kicker' Doe. So, maybe it's not just poker players who have their bad days dealer's are just as guilty! Just remember what I said, we all eat, drink and sleep just like everyone else.