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.