Thursday, November 29, 2012

There's No Excuse for Abusing the Dealer

I feel like venting.
I’m going to vent about poker players who vent. 
More specifically, poker players who vent against dealers who had the audacity to put a river card down they didn’t like, or give them too many garbage hands in a row, or who, even worse, keep dealing them the second best hand.
When I first starting playing poker—and then even more when I first started playing No Limit—I would occasionally take some abuse from another player at the table.  One such example was described here.  It took me awhile, but when I run into a person who gets upset with me for some dumb reason at the poker table (and it would have to be a dumb reason, since I would never give them a good reason to be upset with me), I pretty much handle it in stride now.  I don’t let it get to me.
But to this day, it irks me a lot more when some jerk at the poker table starts screaming at a poker dealer.  Especially when the poker dealer has done nothing wrong.  Of course, even if the dealer did make a mistake, it’s no excuse for abusing him or her.  We all make mistakes.  If the dealer screws up, I’m willing to bet that dealer feels a lot worse about it than the players involved do. 
However, what is really inexcusable is when a blames a dealer for the way the poker gods are treating him at that moment.
Over Thanksgiving weekend, I found myself once again playing at The Bike. Unfortunately, my results from this day are not worthy of a blog post, because I only played around 2 hours and had to leave before I really got my teeth into the session due to my back starting to ache.  But I was there long enough to witness the actions of a total jerk.
It’s funny because I had actually been thinking recently that since I started the higher limits (higher for me) at The Bike, I was actually encountering a better class of people.  One thing I didn’t like about the L.A. clubs when I was still playing limit and even the 1/2 NL there was how many low class people I found at my table.  Now, it wasn’t like everyone was nasty, most were fine and some were damn nice folks.  But it seemed like the odds or running into a jerk were somewhat higher at the L.A. clubs than in Vegas. 
Which is weird, because it’s the reverse in Vegas.  I find a higher percentage of unpleasant people at the NL table in Vegas than I ever did at the 2/4 game I used to frequent.  The 1/2 players aren’t necessarily rude or nasty, but so many of them seem so darn serious.
Anyway, since I started playing either $1/3 or $2/3 in LA., the only real jerk I had encountered up until now was the guy I described here.  The guy I ran into the other day started out seemingly harmless.  He was even a little chatty, and rather pleasant.  And he quietly built up his $200 buy in to about $400+ in about. 
And then proceeded to lose it all in two hands, back-to-back.
The first hand, he had the bad luck to have his pocket Kings run up against pocket Aces. This cost him about 2/3’s of his chips. Clearly not a reader of my blog, or he would have insta-folded those dreaded pocket Kings.  Of course, not being a reader of this blog doesn’t make one a jerk, necessarily. 
What made him a jerk was what happened next.  Very next hand he has a big Ace, raised with it, got a couple of callers and flopped top pair, top kicker.  He made a $40 bet on the flop and one guy called.  A seemingly harmless 6 hit on the turn and his bet was met by a shove by the other guy.  He called with all the rest of his chips.  The other guy had pocket 6’s.  So he had turned his set.  He hit his two-outer on the turn, and had called a $40 flop bet (about the size of the pot) with just a lousy pair of 6’s.  But he lucked out and took the rest of the jerk’s chips.
So the jerk, having gone from $400 in front of him to nothing in two hands started screaming.  He was pissed.  He was very angry.  He started calling someone at the table nasty names.
Was he yelling at the person with the set of 6’s?  No, not at first, at least.  He was screaming at the dealer, a tiny little Asian lady who had been quite pleasant with all of us to that point.  “You cost me $400 you idiot.  I just lost $400 in two hands.  How could you do that to me?  I left that other table to get away from you and come here and cost me all my money.”
I guess he’d been playing at another game (this was the only $2/$3 going at the time) and had some bad luck with the same dealer.  But that hardly justified his screaming at her.  She made no mistake, she just put the cards out as they came.  There’s an explanation for what happened to the guy’s chips.  It’s called “poker.”  If you can’t deal with it better than that, you should find something else to do with your free time.
Seriously, what is it with these bastards who think it’s the dealer’s fault?  Guys like that must go home and kick their dog, too?  

He got out of his chair and I assumed he was done for the day, or at least for that table.  At least, that’s what I was hoping for.  But no, he eventually got some money out of his pocket and rebought.  All the while yelling some more at the dealer.
I never know what to do in that situation.  I’ve seen other players try to calm idiots down, or stick up for the person being berated, and it never ends well for either player.  Usually a challenge to take it out to the parking lot is made. Or both players are either warned or even asked to leave. So I just feebly whispered something like, “tough luck” which did no good.  Of course, the dealer has a remedy; she can call the floor.  Although players seem to get away with more nasty behavior at the L.A. clubs than in Vegas, I have seen players asked to leave, or at least told to cool off in the parking lot for a half hour before returning.
But the dealer didn’t call the floor.  She looked at the rest of us and said, “What did I do?”  And then when he kept pissing and moaning, she did somehow warn him to cut it out, and he did quiet down a bit.  Now he was merely mumbling under his breath about losing $400 in an instant. 
And then he finally turned his ire on the guy who turned the set of 6’s.  “How could you call $40 with that hand?  You had nothing.”  It was in an unpleasant tone, but not nearly as loud or as nasty as he had been with the dealer.  The guy responded in kind.  “I felt like gambling.  Aren’t I allowed to play my hand the way I want to?”  Jerk said nothing.  Two hands later, the guy raised and as he did, he said to the jerk, “Is that ok with you, if I raise?”
Anyway, the jerk finally shut up but it was uncomfortable situation.  I felt badly that I didn’t really do much.  I guess I could have gone to the floor myself, but again, the dealer had that option herself, for whatever reason, she didn’t think it had gotten to that point.  Then too, I’m sure there were floor people around who must have heard him shouting, they could have come over themselves to see what was going on.  But no one did.
By the time I felt no longer physically up to continuing—which wasn’t much later—he was still there, trying to build his stack back up, but at least he was quiet.  So I left.  But I kept thinking about the guy taking out his bad luck on the poor, innocent dealer.  What an asshole!  I mean, if you can’t control your temper any better than that, don’t go out in public and don’t play poker.  The poor dealer seemed like a perfectly nice woman, working on a holiday weekend, and I’m sure she doesn’t make a lot of money.  She deals the cards they way they are supposed to be dealt, and sometimes that doesn’t work out the way we’d like.  She wasn’t doing it to screw you over, putz.  Take a few Anger Management classes and stay out of the poker room until you can control your emotions, jerk.
I’m sure the dealer was quite a bit more upset than I was by this idiot’s classlessness.  But he sorta ruined the game for all of us. 
And that’s my rant about players abusing dealers.


  1. This is also one of my pet peeves. You see the same thing at the blackjack tables sometimes. This especially cracks me up when it's on tables with auto-shufflers. "Yes, sir, the dealer reached into the auto-shuffler and arranged the cards in that specific order to cause your losses."

    I'd be willing to bet that the ones who react the most aggressively are probably betting money they couldn't afford to lose in the first place and that's why they are so angry. Deep down they know it is their own fault they won't be able to pay their mortgage this month, but they have to find somebody else to displace the blame onto to cope with their addiction.

    1. Thanks, Jeff. I meant to mention that I had seen this for years at pit games, long before I ever took up poker.'s at least a LITTLE bit more understandable at blackjack, tho still not excusable. At BJ, you are actually playing against the dealer, and it is the dealer who is taking your money (of course, just as an agent of the casino, the entity that is really taking your money).

      So when you run into that dealer who never seems to bust, who keeps drawing to 20 and 21 for entire shoe, you're at least in some sense taking it out on the entity that is taking your money.

      As I said, that's no excusable, but at least it is a little bit more understandable.

  2. You poor deluded lad. You really think it is all sweetness and light. Have you notice Mojo (Think about the name!) cross his index fingers and move them to and fro at the deck? Do you think the chicken blood he brings to the casino is a condiment? What about that graduate degree he got in New Orleans that is likely on something other than a sheep's skin?

    You need to pay closer attention at the tables. Note that when a curse works the recipient can move beyond peckish.

    You are lucky. That left coast stuff can't match the power of the Quarter or Beale Street. If you ever make it to Beale Street, ask only politely about the Memphis Mojo.

    1. Oh wow, seems like you've just outed MOJO and his secret to success. Now he's gonna put the hex on YOU.

    2. I'm older than Mo. Where do you think he learned it?

  3. I heard a dealer say this once: "I only deliver the mail. I don't write it."

    1. Yeah, it's a variation on the old line, "Don't shoot the messenger."

  4. After spending a number of years playing poker I was asked if I wanted a job as a dealer. I figured that I could do that. In the first three weeks of being a dealer I guit 2 times. Each time the manager told me he would not take my resignation and that I needed to learn to have thicker skin. I stayed a year as a dealer until the casino closed its doors. It is amazing what people will say to a dealer and not care if that person has feelings. In our casino we were given the green light to respond to these individuals as needed and then we always had the backup of the floor. If I have the opportunity to deal again I would do it as I enjoy the game whether playing or dealing. I am enjoying your blog.

    1. Thanks very much, Steve. Dealing with the public in any form is indeed a challenge these days. People seem not to learn manners any more.

  5. I'm a dealer and the abuse we get is unbelievable. I'd quit in a heartbeat if I had the money.