Dealer’s Choice

Neil Johnson Hi, my name is Neil Johnson. I’ve been a dealer for a few years now and in that time dealt just about every event you can think of. Just pick an acronym… WPT… EPT… WSOP… etc. I live in Seattle, Washington and spend my down time here attempting to be a struggling actor. And I will have you know I succeed admirably at the struggling part. See you at the tables…

Well we’re fresh off the EPT Final in Monte Carlo and it was an absolute blast. While we were there we had a little discussion about all the different moves players make and all the different angles to be shot. So I thought I would share with you what the dealer is actually thinking while you are making your move.

My favorite story is from a major tournament in 2004 in the U.S. I’ll tell you how a dealer can end up dealing to an empty table for 10 minutes. At the end of this you can tell me if you think I did the right thing or if I should just… how do they say it… ”Shut Up and Deal”.

It was a single table satellite for a Super Satellite. They were paying two places and there were three players left in the 2, 3 and 6 seats. The blinds were 400/800 and the big blind (2 seat) had 1750 left. The player in the 3 seat said “How much do you have left?” The 2 seat told him and he said “Okay then”. I watched the 3 seat count his stack and he only had 1725 in his bet. He then tossed in 1725 and said raise. The small blind folded and the big blind said “Let’s do this then!” He pushed in all his chips and turned his cards over. I tried to stop him, held up my hands and said “Wait!” but he had already exposed his hand.

Now I was forced to call Floor and explain that the player in Seat 2 had exposed his hand before action was completed. The player in Seat 3 still needed to decide if he was going to call the remaining 25. The Floor ruled (correctly) that action for the hand was now complete and if the all in survived they would be given a 10 minute penalty. The All in did survive and was sent to the rail for 10 minutes. I have to admit it was a very slick move by the player in Seat 3. The only time I’ve ever seen that move done and it worked perfectly to get the short stack a 10 minute penalty.

However, the following hand is where Seat 3 made his mistake. The player in seat 6 had sat quietly through all of this and was now on the button. He looked at his cards and was thinking to himself. Seat 3 then says “What are you doing? Just fold so we can blind this guy out and get this over with!” Seat 6 responds with “Oh yeah, sorry, wasn’t thinking”. Then I immediately responded by calling floor and explaining that the 2 remaining players were colluding to beat Seat 2 and both players were given 10 minute penalties for collusion.

And I was left with no one at the table.

Unfortunately there is no happy ending, because they all came back at virtually the same time and Seat 2 was still very short chipped and ended up finishing in 3rd place anyway. So all I really accomplished was guaranteeing that neither winner tipped me when the Satellite ended.

So what do you think? Did I simply postpone the inevitable? Was I just doing my job? Or should I have just “Shut up and Dealt?”

Well, the push is here and I have to go to the next table. So thank you very much Ladies and Gentlemen and good luck. See you next time I’m back in the box.