The anthill with amplified sound

Picture an anthill teeming with activity on a warm summer day and add SOUND.  That’s Bellagio Poker Room right now.  The noise alone overwhelms the senses.  There seems to be no happy medium, either it’s too quiet or too busy. Continue reading

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The never ending high-limit

This night found me dealing everything but a low limit game except at the very end of my shift when I got to relax and laugh through a $1-$5 7 Card Stud game. Continue reading

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The freak of all freaks

A little catching up.  On the 4th, I managed to deal to the Freak of all Freaks, J.C. Pearson.  Truthfully I hope he reads this site someday or someone points it out to him and he takes a reading.  He’s the subject of other posts here and in previous years.  He hates the world, he hates life, he hates himself…Oh yes, I’ve listened to, “He’s just a good old boy away from the table.”  So are wife beaters and child molesters. Continue reading

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George almost stalls out

05/04/02 – First game tonight?  $200 – $400 Blind, Pot Limit Omaha with none other than you know who…George. Continue reading

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The Worst Move in Poker!

What’s the most idiotic, no brain move that a player can make in a poker game?

We aren’t going right to the answer because it would take away the suspense and the guesswork. There are a lot of stupid things that players do…some of them could be classed as smart moves – stupid things that smart players do to make you think they’re stupid or innocent blunders that new players make that experienced players think are moves. The possibilities are endless with this one but let’s move on lest we become trapped in the mental meanderings that constitute our decision making ability as we while away the hours waiting for position and playable hands.
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I have a deck of these cards. They are uniquely beautiful, truly a work of art, and no, we aren’t going to break them out in one of my Saturday night games. :-)

To view the entire set of face cards, door card, jokers, etc., visit here.

The following information is courtesy of of this site.

The Deck

In 1955, French playing card publisher Editions Philibert produced what was to become regarded by many as one of the most beautiful decks of playing cards ever designed.

Artist Paul-Emile Becat took four years to design and create the memorable images in the deck, which was produced in a limited edition of 12,000 decks.

An article about the deck was published in the Spring, 1962 edition of Eros magazine, with the following information about Becat’s inspiration for the images:

“For many of his illustrations Becat drew upon a set of paintings by Renaissance masters which the monk Savonrola had destroyed in 1496 because they revealed too much of the intrigue and sordidness of Borgia family life. Savonrola was greatly beholden to the Borgias. Detailed descriptions of these paintings had been preserved, however, and it was from them that Becat was able to paint a number of his miniatures. The balance of his pictures he based on other Florentine themes.”

Below is a list of the illustrated cards from the deck, and the names Becat gave them:

Ace The Allegory of Love
King King Francis I
Queen The Lady and the Rose
Jack Lovers of Verona
Ace The Allegory of Gold
King Duke Leonardo, Patron of the Arts
Queen Her Majesty Encourages the Arts
Jack Leonardo da Vinci and One of the Beauties He Immortalized
Ace The Adventuresses
King Allegory of the Soldiers
Queen “La Belle Ferroniere,” Favorite of Young King Francis I
Jack The Messenger of Love
Ace The Poisoners
King Bluebeard
Queen Lucretia Borgia
Jack Machiavelli

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Is there a doctor in the house?

There’s always a need for a Dr. You never know when someone may choke…an elderly person with a heart problem might keel over…AA gets busted and a player goes ballistic…etc., etc., etc.

It’s been said the safest place to have a heart attack is in a poker room. Trained medical people, (security), are available and their response time is ‘top of the line’. It’s not as if you’re driving down a lonely road or on the free-way with no way for anyone to get to you or even know what might be going on with your medical history.
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December 31, 2001

All swing shift employees had to be at work by 6 p.m. and were scheduled to work until 4:30 a.m. Reason? The entire strip is locked down by 7 p.m. and nothing moves across it or by it until sometime around 3 a.m. – except bodies…thousands of partying bodies.

Just getting into employee parking was a nightmare. If you allow three feet between your vehicle and the one in front of you, someone cuts in with reckless abandon…frustration supreme here.

Surprisingly, the poker room was packed. In past years it’s common to sit dead-spreads for hours because there are normally about 15 games running out of 30. Not so on this night. We didn’t have enough dealers to man the games. At 4:30 a.m. there were still approximately 20 games running. It was a long, noisy night. I worked my 10 1/2 hour shift and escaped…many of my fellow employees were there much longer.

At midnight I was dealing a $1-$5 limit 7 Card Stud game…I barely noticed the rejoicing of the New Year…throughout the room other players left their chips on the table and went out to the Strip to watch the Fireworks Display…not the players in my game, they wanted to play so I dealt. Hello 2002!

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December 28, 2001

Poker is always a wild rush from Christmas to New Years….yeah, yeah, yeah, everyone thinks it’s dead because the holidays are upon us and people are home with their families…wrong! The expected rate of visitors is somewhere around 1.5 million from Christmas to New Years and it felt like it happened again this year.

I had one major ‘scream out’ with a player at the end of a noisy and hectic week. It was about the 7th hour of my shift, the room was full, microphones blasting, people milling, confusion running rampant throughout the room and I happened into the main game of $20-$40 Omaha 8 or Better and my 2nd to the last down of my night. I had just come through high limit and would be going to more high limit after this game.

Apparently a deck change had been requested too many times because the players told me the deck was to be changed every half hour instead of by request and the Brush just hadn’t brought over the sign yet. I called for a set-up as both decks were used. Timothy brought the set-up and I also asked him for a ‘Deck Change’ sign for the table. People were talking to me as the exchange was going on and as I put one deck in the well, N.Y. in the 2 seat, said, “Use the blue deck, we just had the red deck.”

I said, “Ok.” as I pulled the decks out to switch them.

He continued with, “Pay attention. You know what deck you are supposed to use.”

I said, “Ok.”

He continued, “Just do your job! You are supposed to be paying attention to what you’re doing.”

I said, “Sorry, I’m tired. I made a mistake.”

He still went on, “Pay attention! Just do your job. You’re supposed to use the other deck.”

Alright, I’d had it by then, I slammed my hand down on the table, which got everyone’s attention, looked him directly in the eye, and retorted, “O-K!!!!”

Still he went on, “Do your Fucking job the way you’re supposed to. Just shut the Fuck up and deal!”

I literally screamed, “Decision, table 6!”

Everyone in the room knew something was going on.

Fred came to my rescue; I explained the situation to Fred, (while N.Y. tried to interrupt me with his version, Fred told him to be quiet while he listened to the dealer).

N.Y. said to me, “You told me to shut up.”

I replied, “You are incorrect, sir.”

N.Y. then replied, “You yelled at me first.”

I replied, “You are incorrect, sir.”

Fred told N.Y. not to say one more word or he would be cashed out for the night. Fred walked away and N.Y. was silent. Of course he won the next three pots and stiffed me but it was what I expected. Three players got up from the game and went to Fred and took my side of it…thanks guys! But why don’t you just speak up while all the shit’s going on? You could stop a noisy, butthead player at any time by just getting in their face.

N.Y. is a poker player’s dream opponent…he plays every hand, goes on small rushes but gives back everything, and more, all the while he’s fuming and blaming everyone else for his beats. I’ll take the blame; it’s pretty painless…but honestly, swearing at me over the color of a deck…come on, Dude, show a little class.

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December 26, 2001

Sometimes I think there is too much to write about and sometimes there is nothing to write about…this post is lengthy…perhaps it’s because I had a great conversation with two people that I respect and admire after we clocked out of work tonight…perhaps it’s because I’m having my 3rd glass of wine; whatever the case here it is…

Poker is an intricate tangle of people – bringing us together for countless reasons…out of all of those reasons…there are those of us that work in the industry and really do try to do our jobs with pride and integrity; not because of you, but because we believe in ourselves and strive to excel…we pick up the load when others in our industry fail…we smile when we’d prefer to tell you to go hell…we see you at your worst and best but we still treat you as a person when we come in contact with you…there’s no bonus for us, just our own satisfaction that we did the best we could do with what we had to work with. Yes…poker is a customer service job but that doesn’t mean the customer is always right. Having said this, I have to move on to something that is bothering a lot of us at Bellagio.

I work swing shift, that’s 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. Our policy at Bellagio was always the day shift supervisor had Saturday and Sunday off and the swing shift supervisor had Monday and Tuesday off. That left us with a relief supervisor that worked Saturday and Sunday days and Monday and Tuesday swing shift. Bill Cheek was our relief supervisor since opening. Bill has been ill for quite some time and rarely put in an appearance on swing shift or day shift for that matter. For almost two years Pete Popovich has filled in for Bill on swing.

Pete is an unusual man. He’s quiet, easy to get along with, thoughtful, does his job very well and originally held the position of the High Limit Brush Relief on Monday and Tuesday and worked the 7 Card Stud section on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Pete worked so many shifts for Bill that most of us never expected to see Bill, we expected to see Pete. This put Pete in charge of the Dealer line up at shift changes, overall decision making and in charge of the Bellagio Poker Room.

Recently Bill Cheek resigned due to medical reasons. To our shock and dismay, Pete has been displaced/replaced by Debbie C. – dayshift high limit brush and Bill’s relief on Saturday and Sunday. The shock and dismay is not because we dislike Debbie or feel she can’t handle the job…the shock is because Pete did/does a great job and it’s not necessary to replace him with anyone…in other words, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’.

All of us on swing shift are questioning this decision; as a player in our room, perhaps you should be questioning it also.

The next thought that crosses my wine drenched brain…the subject of Mike Danino AKA Israeli Mike. I have a history with Mike, it’s not pretty – although when I first me him he treated me as if I were human – it goes back to the Mirage days. One incident that started the downslide in our relationship happened at the Mirage. I dealt an eight handed $75-$150 stud game; Jack Graflund was in the 1 seat, Mike Danino was in the 5 seat, stranger in the 8 seat. The 8 seat was high on sixth street and checked, Jack checked, Mike raised his arms – as if ‘what am I to do?’ – I tapped the table and burned and turned off the river. Mike went a little bonkers with me and said he hadn’t checked. Everyone interpreted his motion as a check except him. For weeks after that he walked around me saying “tip suspension,” when he saw me…I countered by raising my arms and saying, “Check.”

After Bellagio opened, his attitude became more negative and hostile. One day he threw his cards into my side from the 7 seat when he lost a hand. I said, “Set them down.”

He started in with me, “Oh you want to be a smart ass, huh? You want to make something of it?”

I called for a decision. Carmen came to the table; I told her the circumstances and she told him to just do as I asked. After she walked off, he started in again, “You want to make a big deal of it? You want to tell on the players?”

I yelled for a decision again and when she returned, I told her that I just wanted to deal without the interference from the 7 seat. I opened my hand towards him as I spoke. She told him to drop it.

Since I do not hold grudges or resentment towards players, the next day when I came in to work, Mike was talking to Carmen. I walked up to speak to her and passing Mike, I said, “Hi Mike.”

He started in…”For what you did to me, I would not take from my own mother. (He opened his hand towards me in the same manner I had opened mine to him in the game the night before). I can make a call out of the casino and have you taken care of. For what you did to me, you can get Fucked!”

Very calmly, I said, “No Mike, you can get Fucked!” and walked off.

He just threatened to have me killed, told me to have unilateral sex with myself…simply because I deal poker and don’t want to put up with his bad behavior and antics…did I forget to mention here somewhere that he’s Israeli and that since I’m a woman, I’m less than a 2nd class citizen?

One time he threw the ‘no pot splitting’ sign on the table as I was dealing a game he was playing in. The other side of the sign reads ‘pot splitting permitted’. I asked, “Which side?”

He didn’t answer…another player asked him why he didn’t answer me, Mike stated, “She hates me and I hate her. We do not talk to each other.”

This is ludicrous…I would never give up enough energy to anyone to hate them.

Well the long and the short of it is that I’ve called for a decision more than once because of his behavior since then. I’ve written incidence reports on his behavior and turned them in to my supervisor. I’m far from being the only dealer that’s had a problem with him in the last five years and now we come to the crux of it all…on the 21st of December, he had Pete Popovich give all of the dealers on swing shift a note that read ‘Merry Christmas. Have a drink on me’ with a $10 bill enclosed in it.

Is there some spark of humanity here? He’s borderline for being 86′d out of the card room and has been 86′d before for a 24 hour period…once because he threw cards and hit another player.

After all of his bad behavior and sick attitude, should we now think he’s magnanimous and wonderful because he gave us a $10 bill for a drink? Hardly! I accepted the anonymous note and the $10 bill before I knew where it came from…that was my Friday. I came back to work on Monday night and passed him in the casino. I looked directly at him and said, “Thanks Mike!” He looked at me as if I was from Mars and went on by.

One of our dealers just wrote an incident report on him tonight…so how much has he changed??? Go figure.

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