Friday, January 6, 2017

The Tournament Rake

Well, last night I finished writing my column for Ante Up.  All I have to do now is proof-read it tonite and send it off.  That means I can start blogging!

I don’t have much time so I’ll start with a quickie little tale from one of the tourneys I played in Vegas.  I’ll just do this as a separate post so I don’t have to identify the room it took place in, that way I won’t embarrass the poker room (or the dealer, if he could be identified).

As I said, I was playing in a tournament, it was still early and players were still registering.  It was like the second or third level.  As soon as this particular dealer pushed into our table, I sensed he was really out of it.  He said virtually nothing, and I can’t recall what, but he made a few very minor goofs that gave me the feeling his mind was elsewhere. Also, it actually looked like he might doze off in the middle of pitching the cards.

This was confirmed for me when a new player came to the table and took the seat immediately to my right.  He couldn’t play a hand right away, he was between the small blind and the button and of course, couldn’t come in. When that hand was over, the dealer moved the button to him and thus expected me to post the small blind for the second hand in a row.  I moved the button myself and explained to the dealer that it was my button, he was a new player, etc….and he just kind of grunted.  He didn’t argue with me and the hand was dealt properly.

A few minutes later, however, something really odd occurred.  Now I didn’t see the whole thing because I was tapping out a note about the last hand in my phone.  But I heard a couple of players, almost simultaneously, call out to the dealer, “What are you doing, this is a tournament, not a cash game.”

Apparently the dealer had taken a $25 tournament chip, put it in the rack, and made “change” for it with real casino chips.  He put $4 worth of chips on top of the chute where the rake for the cash games goes!  He was just about to pull back the handle to drop the rake when the players stopped him.

I can’t verify this, but I assume he had put out some of the real casino chips in the pot (full of tournament chips) in order to make proper change for the $25 tournament chip.

He said nothing.  I would have expected him to laugh at himself for his dumb mistake, even make a joke at his own expense.  But he just undid what he had done, returned all the chips to where they belonged, and said nothing.  No apology, no joke, no nothing.  If the players hadn’t stopped him, he would have had a fun time explaining to his boss why the rack was short.

He managed to finish his down without further incident.  When the new dealer came in, someone who was very chatty and energetic, it was quite a difference.  The players explained what happed with the rake and he laughed and explained that the previous dealer had two jobs.  But later, when I was reassigned to another table, I was back at the first dealer’s table.  He still was quiet, and I wasn’t there long enough to see him doing anything odd, but when he left, one of the players said, “I hope you feel better.”  Maybe it was illness that caused him to be so out of it.

Anyway, that’s the story.  Hope you enjoyed it.

Note:  The pic above, believe it or not, is Kate Upton with a rake.  A “rake”—get it?  Unfortunately, it is one of the least sexy pics of Kate I’ve ever seen, and I couldn’t really find a good pic of a girl with a rake.  But we all know that Kate is the kind of gal just made for appearing on my blog (and has appeared, many times).

So here’s a much better pic of Kate.  And I guess it is appropriate for my post, because, you know, in addition to the rake reference, there was also a rack in my story.


  1. Seen a lot of weird stufff, but this is a new one.

  2. This is for Chad Harberts, who pointed out that I originally written the blind/button situation incorrectly (the situation that happened before the dealer took the rake in error). I've corrected it and here is what I think actually happened. The rest of you can ignore this, or enjoy it as you wish. Chad is a floorman for a Vegas poker room so he caught the error. You can follow Chad on Twitter (and find a link to his blog there) at @chadharberts.

    I was the big blind, the player two seats to my right was the small blind and the seat between us was empty. A player took that empty seat during the hand where I was BB. Had he gotten there 1 minute sooner he could have come in as the big blind.

    The next hand the dealer told the player he had to wait one hand to come in. I had to be the small blind that next hand, and the player on the new players right had to be the button since he was the small blind the hand before. The new player thus could not play a hand.

    After that hand, the dealer incorrectly slid the button to the new player, which would imply I was the small blind AGAIN. Obviously that's not right, so I slid the button to myself and explained that I was the button because I was the small blind last time, and he agreed.

  3. This happens more than you'd think and is always humorous: The dealer deals the flop first before any of the players have their two hole cards.

    1. I think I saw that once or twice. A sign of the dealer on auto-pilot, I guess.

  4. I saw a dealer once scoop up the flop after the betting action

    1. Don't think if I've seen that one yet. It's a good one tho, geezer.