November 7, 2002

Lock and Load…it’s poker time. The room may appear to be quiet but the games are good. Lots of action going on in all of them. The usual $4-$8, $8-$16, $15-$30, and $30-$60 Holdem games going but add $80-$160 and $200-$400 to that list. Lower limit 7 Card Stud action is $1-$5, $4-$8 and $20-$40, no $15-$30 the last few days.

There were two other high limit games. One was $400-$800 Mixed, on Table 1, with Larry and the 7 Seat, David, and Ralph P. Guess Curtis couldn’t make it tonight. Bummer! While dealing a game next to Table 1, I overheard David, on Table 1, bring up the fact that Curtis had backhanded his glass towards David the night before. David really wasn’t very happy about it and repeated it several times during the next few minutes. I have to agree with him, I wasn’t very happy about any of it either.

I opened a game on Table 7, $400-$800 Deuce to 7 Triple Draw. It was Archie K. and Shuen playing heads up. Archie had me scrambling the deck after the 3rd hand. He gets pretty tense if he’s not in action. When I moved to Table 8, Lisa, the dealer following me, had to call the floor because Archie was having a ballistic twitch with her over something. I don’t know what it was and didn’t ask but Suzie L. even came up and talked to Archie for a few minutes.


A few nights ago, I dealt a $15-$30 Holdem game that rocked. Action, action, action, double that dose, shake well until it fizzes and pour over hot coals.

When I walked up to the game, a young lad that I really like, initials J.C. (please do not confuse him with J.C.P., Puggy’s brother), was in the 1 Seat and Jackie was in the 2 Seat. They both started teasing me with, “If you really like us you’ll deal us winner, we know you can,” and on and on.

I said, “Yeah but even if I could, who would I pick to lose? It’s just not in me to do that.”

J.C., “Wouldn’t it be nice though?”

Me, “Can you imagine how disgustingly ugly a person would really be if they had the power to do that and did it?”

J.C., “Come on…you could find someone you didn’t like…”

They really were teasing me…they’re cute and funny…and likeable…and Jackie flopped a Set of 8′s on the 2nd hand in a seven way action, capped before the flop, pot and got paid off in two spots on the River. The pot was huge. She got a raise in on the Turn and got four callers. She smiled the giant smile, stacking chips like crazy, and smurfed out, “See…I knew you liked me.”

Of course it was the opening for J.C., “Now Linda, if you really like me, you’ll deal me a pot like that one too.”

Some things you should never make book on…

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Is there a light at the bottom of Marianas Trench?

There are times that I do a self evaluation and search through my being to see what I am, where I am, what the hell I think I’m doing, and how I got where I am. This search continues for days at times. It’s so intense it’s like looking for light at the bottom of the Marianas Trench. Lately I’ve found myself quite at peace with me. Well…enter the end of my night…table 1. Continue reading

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November 1, 2002

Let’s discuss the tenuous, tangible, ongoing, never ending beast called POKER! Oh my God! She’s drinking again. I do not profess to play it well, understand the theory and logic, or the mathematical side of it. I know many things about poker and players that the rest of you will never know. I have a sense about it. You can laugh, talk it up, play it out, try to figure it out, but I, on the other hand…have been there…am there, day after day.

I see you. I watch you. I listen to you. I know that everything you present to the world is not the real you. I know that everything I hear from you is not what you really are. I know that most of you really don’t understand yourselves and don’t want to know what you are really like. I know that life is hard and frightening and yet beautiful and bitter and sweet and painful…such is poker. There is no mercy. There is no justice.

Poker is what it is…there are no judges, no juries and no executioners. There are, however, the lunatic, crazy sides of it that should be part of all movies…the perfect moment when the guy that didn’t have a chance just called all raises to pull runner-runner gut shot against top set. It’s kind of like a ‘Rocky’ story. There’s a surreal sense of beauty about it yet an ugly sense of reason and mathematics that appears to be kicked off the edge of the world to end up falling for eternity into the realm of disbelief.
I get a kick out of the guy/gal that comes in to play and doesn’t know jack shit about the odds or why they are there or what they think should happen. They just came to play. That’s really what it’s all about. If these people didn’t come in, you guys that know it all wouldn’t have anyone to feed off of, right?
Strange as it may seem, you guys that need someone to feed off of really aren’t always the ones that get the meat. You think you’re IT! Well, honey, you aren’t. It’s possible that you meat eaters really don’t know what’s going on. Look around! There’s a whole world out there of people that want to breathe fresh air and eat meat too. You’re going to have to try a lot harder if you want to fill that freezer up with meat…er…ah…poker chips for the winter. Get a new attitude. Play poker for life not for the day or session. End of lecture!
There’s a post in the ‘discussion’ section from one of the players that read my diary posts about him. I find it to be quite interesting. If anyone has anything to add, please feel free to do so. Interestingly enough, only 2 people that have ever read this Diary have thought that Bellagio should be ashamed to have me as an employee…one is Mason M., (he’s referenced in a post here), because he doesn’t want to be ‘flamed’ or feels that anyone else should be ‘flamed’ yet he doesn’t mind doing it to others, and Bobby K., because I have a tattoo…not because I don’t do my job well, but because I have this website and I state what goes on from the people side of poker and a…oh my God…she’s really got one…TATTOO!
I pushed into a $8-$16 Holdem game tonight and Gail was playing in the 9 seat. She was cold and mentioned it several times. The 10 seat offered his sweater and she told him she already had on a sweater and a jacket. I laughingly told her that 5 minutes of Jumping Jacks would cure it.
She still continued with the ‘cold’ thing and I said, “Huck Seed drops down and does push-ups when he’s playing $400-$800 7 Card Stud so you can do Jumping Jacks if you want to.”
The 10 seat asked, “How’s Huck doing these days?”
Me, “Hell if I know. They never discuss their bankroll with me.”
Gail, “They don’t tell you, huh, Linda?
“Nope and I don’t ask them. Huck just comes in to play and never acts like a cry baby when he wins or loses, just gets ready for the next hand.”
The 10 seat pulled out his Driver’s License as I dealt the next hand. His last name is Seed. I said, “Wow! Interesting.”
He said, “He’s my cousin.”
Embarrassing here because a hand was in progress and I apparently took $1 too much in the rake. My friend, Jan, and I had just talked about that a few weeks ago. He was in the game and after I pushed the pot, he asked me how much 4 times $16 was. I told him it was $64. He told me I had taken $1 too much in rake. I pulled the $1 out of the rack and gave it to the guy that won the pot. Ouch! I’ve tried to be so careful about that because the rake cut-off is $1 below the $64…it’s $65 for $3 to be taken for the rake.
I told them I was sorry and that I would have to quit talking while I dealt….
Satellites begin tomorrow for the trip to Melbourne Australia…every Saturday through November and on December 14th…check it out.

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October 31, 2002

Halloween – Fright night! The only players that came in dressed in Fright Night Garb were Todd B. and his wife, and Jennifer and her husband. Jennifer looked like a little 10 year old from the Munster TV series. They didn’t come to play and didn’t stay…must have been at a party.

I had a run in with Cuckoo…not at the table so a little background is needed here. Kassem AKA Freddie D., plays high limit in our room and has since the Mirage days. I used to find it quite frightening when I approached a high limit game and Freddie was in the game. Not anymore and not for a few years. Freddie is referenced in other posts here and he also took 3rd place in the Bellagio Five Diamond World Poker Tour Tournament.

I dealt to Freddie in a $400-$800 7 Card Stud game the other night and he was brutalized by the deck…low card, low card, low card. He won two pots when he went all in. He finally went all in with his last $800 – Morad caught 6-6-6 showing – but the pot was huge and if Freddie caught, he would win. Freddie had the best hand until 6th Street and lost the hand. He never flinched, winced, or cringed. He simply said, “Nice hand,” as he left the game. I really admire his attitude and his play.

Cuckoo on the other hand has been running bad and his attitude sucks. He threw the cards into the rack a few nights ago when he lost a hand. I ignored the move and continued to deal. Another time he threw his cards against the rail. Fine, I just don’t want to try to defend myself from flying missiles when I deal.

Much later I passed Cuckoo in the Sports Book and said, “Grouch!”

He said he wasn’t a grouch when he wasn’t playing and then I get in the box and deal him off.

I told him I couldn’t change it and he laughed and gave me a ‘high 5′ and said he knew that. All was well.

Then (present) I made the mistake of seeing him and Freddie in the Sports Book together. I’m so weird. I believe in being truthful and giving someone a compliment plays right into that scenario. Tell people when they are cool, good, kind, wonderful, and neat. They shouldn’t only have to hear the down side of their behavior.

I stopped and asked Cuckoo if he’d gotten any sleep because the last time I saw him, he’d been up for 30 hours.

He said, “Yes.”

I turned to Freddie and said, “You are the classiest player.”

Freddie told me thank you and Cuckoo went off on me.

“You’re saying I’m an asshole.”

“No. I didn’t say that at all.”

“Well you shouldn’t say anything.”

Me, “I shouldn’t tell Freddie that he’s a classy player?”

“NO! You have no idea what we go through.”

Me, “I play poker.”

Cuckoo with a straight forward, I don’t believe you know what you’re talking about, barked, “You don’t play poker!”

Me, “Ok, I don’t.”

Cuckoo, “You have no idea what we go through.”

Me, “You have no idea what I go through.”

Cuckoo, “We are not talking about life, life is good. We are talking about poker.”

No arguing with this guy…he’s having a rough time and nothing I say will change it. But I still tried. “Well, have you ever watched Freddie play?”

Cuckoo, “You shouldn’t say anything. You shouldn’t even bring this up in front of me…”

As I walked away, “I wanted to compliment Freddie. If you take it any other way…Sorry.”

Nothing more to be said about this…thank heaven I’m not trapped inside with him because I couldn’t stand that downward spiral.

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Playing Aqua Caliente on a trip to Palm Springs

I spent my weekend in Palm Springs visiting a friend. While I’m always happy to miss the insanity of a holiday weekend in the poker room, my own weekend was slightly hectic with driving time, traffic, strange weather, and loss of sleep. My friend and I visited Aqua Caliente on Saturday night and I played $3-$6 Holdem with a half kill. Continue reading

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Once Upon a Time…

Long ago, in a far away land, a young woman named Jacqueline got up every day and milked the cow, picked vegetables from the garden, carried in wood and fired up the wood cook stove so her mother would prepare the morning meal.

Jacqueline hated the morning ritual. She hated the town she lived in, was born in, and grew up in. She spent each day dreaming of princes and castles and far away places. Anyplace away from Dullsville would do.

All the girls Jacqueline’s age were already married. Most of them had children or were expecting children. They did exactly what their parents did before them and their parents parents did before them. Ugh! That would be a fate worse than death.
Continue reading

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June 30, 2002

On Friday night I followed Sharon G. in the dealing line-up. Everyone and anyone that’s ever played at the Mirage or Bellagio knows who she is. Nope, not because she’s well liked and easy going. She’s brutal. She talks nonstop and jumps into the middle of every player conversation without being invited. She always has to have the last word and argues openly with a player even if, and after, they say, “OK!”

I stay away from her as much as possible. Her life is filled with despair, pain and agony, nothing good ever happens to her, the world picks on her, her life sucks, and those are the good points. Yes, she has had medical problems and has had some hard times but I really don’t know anyone that hasn’t so give it up and stop telling the world about misery. There are a zillion bad encounters with her, from my side, the Brush Person’s side, other dealers, players, and the Shift Supervisors.

Last week I was standing at the page desk, talking to Suzie L., when a player from a $30-$60 Holdem game walked up and asked Suzie if she’d speak with the dealer in his game because she never SHUTS UP. Suzie asked him where he was playing, he pointed to the game, and Sharon was the dealer. Suzie told him ‘yes’, she would speak with the dealer. After he walked away, Suzie said, “She never believes me when I tell her a player complained about her.” We started laughing.

The complaints have been so numerous that I’m sure Sharon thinks they go with the job and everyone is out to get her. She’d never reflect and wonder if she really was doing something wrong. When we follow her in the line-up, we either make a lot of money, because the players are so damn glad she’s gone, or we make less money, because the players are mad at all the dealers because of her.

About 8 months ago, I ended up at the page desk, at the end of a break, at the same time Sharon did. She was bitching, “I don’t know why if they have to go to the bathroom, they can’t do it before they get in the dealer’s box. They cut my break short by running to the bathroom before pushing me.”

Explanation: We sometimes push four tables and then have a break. Each table is 1/2 hour so we normally deal two hours and then get a 1/2 hour break.

I retorted, “If I ever have to go and it’s your break, I’m going. You do the same if it’s my break.”

She had a fit. She’d lost about 3 minutes of her precious break because LemLem had taken a bathroom run.

I said, “It all evens out. We work together and sometimes it’s necessary.” With that statement, I walked away from her.

Back to Friday…It was her break out of Table 24, when I left Table 23, I didn’t even slow down, zinged past Fred and told him to tell Sharon I’d be right back, and I headed for the bathroom. I was behind her, ready to deal within 2-3 minutes.

She stopped dealing and glared over her should at me, “Please, Don’t ever do that again on my break!”

It was a demand, not a request.

I said, “If I have to go, I’m going. You do the same, ok?”

Of course she couldn’t leave it alone, she snorted, “Not on my break!”

I said, “Take it up with Pete or Suzie.”

“I will. You are supposed to push me and then if you need to be let out of the box, get someone to let you out.”

This really makes all kinds of sense if you’re retarded and/or brain dead. Instead of her dealing 2-3 extra hands, I should get in the box, call the floor, tell them I need to be let out for a few minutes, wait for the relief dealer, let them deal 2-3 hands and then come back. Umhhh!

She left in a huff. When I sat down, most of the players mentioned that they couldn’t believe how rude she was to me and why was she discussing company problems while she was dealing. All in all, three of them are regulars and they can’t believe she still has a job at Bellagio after all of her bad behavior over the years.

The 10 seat, Gino, asked me if my ears were burning. I laughed. I knew he meant she was running around the room having her little fit with anyone and everyone that would listen because I took a few minutes of her precious break time with a bathroom emergency.

She went to Pete. So did I. I told him I wanted to write her up. He said we didn’t do that…not other employees. I was steamed. He listened to me rant for a few minutes…I always appreciate him for that. I took a break and cooled down.

If I pushed her five days a week, I’d make sure I took a bathroom run on at least one of her break tables, on every shift. Yep, that’s spite and malice on my part. I go out of my way to make sure I get along with people I work with because it’s bad enough to work with some of the public and have animosity, but with your fellow employees??? No way! She never makes anything easy for the rest of us so why should we knock ourselves out to make sure her day is better? Don’t even bother trying to find an answer for that one….

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June 28, 2002

I usually post about the noise and confusion created by players that obviously have a problem because they can’t handle losing and expect to win each time they enter into a hand. This is a twofold post.

Gator came into the room late tonight. He’s been around the poker scene since I dealt the big tournaments here in Nevada from ’87 to ’89. He played at the Mirage and some time shortly after opening, became a regular. He used to laugh and giggle. Most of the dealers that I knew back then really enjoyed having him in a game. Now it’s just the opposite. He’s angry all of the time.

If he’s the low card 2 hands in a row, he almost goes nuts. He throws his bring-in bet across the table and all in all acts like he’s going to have a heart attack. He continually watches the dealer and can’t wait to catch anyone, including a player, in a mistake. He’s surly and growly with the players, actually makes comments to them about their bad play if they beat him in a hand. A seasoned player can handle it but a new player really doesn’t understand any of his reaction or the reason for it.

He watches the dealer scramble, shuffle, and cut, then sometimes grabs his ante back and sits back in his chair like someone drove a nail through his foot and he wants to scream but doesn’t think anyone would care anyway. He never smiles or laughs. He’s the super Grinch of the $15-$30 7 Card Stud Game.

He’s been this way the last 7 years that I know of and he now frequents Bellagio on occasion. Wish he’d go back to the Mirage and ruin their game.
On the other side of the story. Vince Stella, AKA Vinny, was in the same game tonight with Gator and I dealt to both of them. I’ve known Vinny since the Mirage opened. When Gator took a walk, Vinny and I both agreed that Gator was so unhappy when he played, we were in awe that he didn’t have a heart attack. Vinny said that Gator was very hard on new players also and last week he had to be called on it because of his attitude at the table.

We both agreed that it’s hard to be mad at someone like Gator because people like that are so unhappy, they can’t help themselves.

Which brings me to Vinny, Cullen B., David Shore, and a few hundred others that I deal to all the time. They make the games worth while. They understand and accept winning and losing and human nature. They are never hard on dealers or other players. There are no sharp, barbed words or animosity tossed at anyone during game play, win or lose.

These people make my nights. They put money in my pocket, restore my faith in poker players and human beings, and keep me dealing.
A toast to the best of the best.

Yes, I keep a list and these guys are on top.

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June 27, 2002

My very best friend, in the whole world, is moving away. She’s fun, spunky, bright, inquisitive, beautiful, and filled with incredible energy. She also has a will of her own and a caring, sharing heart. I love her very much and have shed giant alligator tears at the thought of her leaving me alone in the desert.

She’s 5 1/2 years old and we’ve grown up together…soon I’ll have to keep growing up alone. Poor Linda. Yes, I’ll see her again but things will never be the same. She’ll be in school and have boyfriends/girlfriends and life to keep up with and there just won’t be any room in her busy schedule when Grandma comes to visit. Tears here.

Guess that’s why God invented poker. So we’d have a place to go hang out and try to win a few bucks at the same time.


During the week, Lee S. and Bob S. battled it out, heads up, in Deuce to 7, five card draw. The game was No Limit with Blinds at $300-$500. They were both drinking and Bob talked Lee into going out to the bar with him to have a drink during my down. Mike W. came over once to look at the game and Lee told him not to bother playing unless he planned on drinking because otherwise he wouldn’t be able to stand it. :-)

Eli E., Magic, and Mike W. played $800-$1600 mixed games. For the first time in all the time I’ve ever dealt to him, Magic threw his cards into my stomach and the rack. He lost 3 hands in a row and finally PITCHED his cards at me when he lost the last one. I did not take it personally. I always have my hands up when I deal these games so normally a hand that is thrown too hard will hit the rack and the chips.

Eli E. was having a little bit of a hissy because he was losing and his chips almost hit me in the hands when he threw in his blind. This I ignored also. He’s a bonus for the dealers most of the time. He’s never cruel or malicious, just gets frustrated.

I was babysitting the chips and game that Lee S. and Bob S. were playing in, the Deuce to 7, while they were at the bar having their drink. And Eli walked over. I said, “You are so grouchy.”

He gave me a sheepish grin and said, “Please just forgive me when I do that. I’m losing so much lately.”

‘Nuff said there.

The $4-$8 and $8-$16 Holdem Games have rocked. Lots of action, big pots, bad hand showdown. It wouldn’t hurt to have a job if you’re going to go slamming in these games…too much action sometimes. Oh hell, get in here and find out for yourself.

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A Sunrise

The orange was vivid – running boldly across the clouds.

The purple danced, begging not to be left out.

The rosy pink was shy – showing up here and there.

Brilliant shafts of light held edges forged in gold.

The Earth stood still – just a moment caught in time.

The sun pushed ahead – a new day was born.

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