November 12, 2002

THERE! On the horizon, see it? You squint into the rising sun, shade your eyes, and stay glued to the vision as you approach. A small group of atolls appear, growing larger as the current and wind carry you closer. Just as you reach the first one, the tide changes, the water races across the atoll, sending up a spraying shower that’s filled with life. The sound and sight over run your senses.

You see a meek little “YOU-u-u-”, fall out of the spray. Left stranded on the atoll, it scurries frantically for any crack or hole that will carry it back into the spray it came from. It finally gives up and cowers in a crack, with closed eyes and bowed head, it shakes and trembles each time the surf hits the atoll.

Without turning your head, you witness another “YOU” jumping far above the surf that’s turned into a boiling, mass of foam, spray, and twisting writhing life. This “YOU” is a predator. Teeth gnashing and snapping with every leap, protruding eyes search every crack and pit in the atoll and the surrounding surf, before it falls back into the water, bracing for another hungry leap.

On the edge of the atoll, appearing torn between returning to the boiling surf or staying, another “you” looks longingly at the surf, then back across the atoll, peering intently at the life beginning to teem across its surface…suddenly its gaze jerks back to the surf and then slowly returns to the atoll, time after time. The “you” scratches its head…decisions, decisions, decisions.

One “y-o-u” perches calmly on a jutting ridge in the center of the atoll. This “y-o-u” watches all the other “YOU-u-u-”, “YOU”, “you” and you. There is no emotion or spark. Calm, observing eyes that never blink or look away, keep slowly searching every “YOU-u-u-”, “YOU”, and”you” as it appears.
Another “yOu” comes in airborne, landing in a sliding heap, it jumps up and runs to the center of the atoll. Never slowing down, it walks, back and forth, poised on the tip of its feet, ready to jump in any direction at any given second. It feigns indifference but its stance and continual walk tell another tale.

A set of shifty eyes that look in all directions and keep rotating, precede a “yoU” that rolls up out of the surf. This “yoU” does a slithering slide to the center of the atoll trying to keep up with its eyes.

Now they come, all the “YOU-u-u-”, “YOU”, “you”, “yOu”, “yoU”, and some that you didn’t even know were there. They hustle to the center of the atoll, perching on protruding rocks and crags that would bust your butt, forming a circle.

Oh wait! It’s not an atoll, it’s a poker room and the whole bunch is converging on a table where a game is just starting. That’s carpet under your feet, not surf, and your sails were trimmed at valet. You’re here to join all the “YOU-u-u-”, “YOU”, “you”, “yOu”, “yoU”, in a friendly game of poker.

The only thing you have to decide, is which “YOU-u-u-”, “YOU”, “you”, “yOu”, “yoU”, are you and which group of “YOU-u-u-”, “YOU”, “you”, “yOu”, “yoU”, you want to play with.


This post by Chanzes when Linda was taking a break.

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November 11, 2002

Good ol’ Sam G. He’s something else. He must be the best player in the world on someone else’s money because when he plays high, it’s always on their money. When he’s on his own, he’s struggling in $15-$30 Holdem or Stud or $20-$40 Omaha 8 or Better.

He chortled his way through a few hours of $20-$40 Omaha 8 or Better. Like a Chatty Cathy Doll with a glitch, nothing he said was important and no one wanted to hear it yet it was nonstop. One player in an adjacent $15-$30 Holdem Game looked over at Sam and said to no one in particular, “Must be winning, hasn’t shut up in hours.”

That’s Sam though, he’s the best in the world, or at least he believes he is…he’s pretty good at something because he’s sure convinced a lot of players to put him in games over the years.

He must have left them crying in the Omaha 8 or Better game because he moved up to $60-$120 Holdem. He checked out the game on table 1 more than once…$200-$400 Mixed…it was running in high gear with maximum action fueled by Yen, Aaron, and Ralph P.

On one of Sam’s visits to the table, Aaron asked Sam how much Sam thought he would need to get into the game and break the 3 of them…Sam’s reply was, “….about $6,000″. He was dead serious.

One hand of Deuce to 7, Triple Draw Low, Ralph drew 3, Yen drew 3, and Aaron drew 2. Only problem was the Dealer gave Yen 2 and Aaron 3. Aaron pushed back the 3rd card and had not taken it into his hand, it went back on the top of the deck. The Floor Supervisor was called over and the decision was made. Yen was given the top card of the deck as his last card.

The dealer apologized. The hand played out and Ralph won it. He said the only way he could win the pot was for the dealer to make a mistake. Must mean he’s running bad…

But back to Sam. He can snivel and sing with the best of them, probably better than the best of them…if he could can that ego and sell it, he’d be a very wealthy man. He could definitely write a book. The title? How about this one: You be my Sweater, I’ll be your Bettor.


This post by Chanzes when Linda was taking a break.

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November 10, 2002

One would think that with the size of Las Vegas, I would never have to run into anyone from the poker community in any other part of town unless I arranged a meeting. After all, per capita, the number of players vs. the number of non-players would make the chances close to slim and none. Not so…they are everywhere…there is no safe zone. They pop up when I least expect them and wish they wouldn’t.

A 3 a.m. trip to Home Depot produces three of them in different parts of the store.

Going out to eat with a young friend from California, in the Northwest part of town, created a “Was that your son?” query later in the poker room.

Cruising down an aisle in the grocery store or even hiking up at Calico Basin seems to make them magically appear. Worst of the worst scenarios is when they try to act like they really know me.

A perfect example is Sol, a really harmless, overbearingly lonely soul that plays $1-$5 7 Card Stud. He puts on an air and attitude, interjected with conversation, at the table that he knows me, intimately – away from the table. “That’s not what you said last night.” – “You promised you would meet me, what happened?”

One night, after a grueling eight hours at the tables, I stopped at Wal-Mart to pick up cleaning and laundry supplies. I’m chucking things into my cart, minding my own business, and out of the corner of my eye, I see him round the other end of the aisle I’m in. There’s no escape.

He throws his arms open wide and exclaims loudly, “Get down here and give me a big kiss!”

“Get the hell out of here.”

He pouted and acted like I was out of line. Oh well. I may have to smile and put up with it at the table but…

We’ve since ironed that out, now that he knows I’m not going to give him a big kiss, or meet him anywhere, or pretend to be intimate with him. It took a while to get this across…like training a bear to dance.


Curious as to what happened with Curtis, the player that backhanded his drink across the table in one of Linda’s posts? He tried to enter a bathroom that was closed for cleaning and when the Porter told him it was closed, Curtis gave the Porter a head butt. Ladies and Gentlemen, Curtis has left the building.

This post by Chanzes when Linda was taking a break

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November 9, 2002

This will be my last post to the Dear Diary. There are too many things on my plate and one of them is a screenplay that I want to finish in the next few months, along with life, work, email, friends and a social life, exercise, house and yard work/maintenance, and a few million other things. I have put a lot of thought into this and have not made the decision without a few pains and grief in giving it up. I enjoy hearing from all of you and I enjoy writing about a world that most of you will never venture into…even if you play poker, you are usually trapped in your game/limit and you never experience the magnitude of the whole experience…all the limits, games, personalities, the working side of it, the playing side of it, the emotional drain and surge, and the beauty of poker from my perspective.

I have seriously done some research in finding a replacement that will provide ongoing information and insight into the world of poker through a dealer/player perspective. Allow me to introduce Ms. Chanzes Arre. She is light hearted, witty, intelligent, open minded, and perceives the whole picture, not just a small segment of it…I like her attitude and she likes mine. We may, from time to time, do a question and answer session on the new pages, Table Tango.

If any of you wish to send her email, please do at: She wishes to remain anonymous, so please, no questions on what she looks like or where she’s from, because they won’t be answered.

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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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