Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Erroneous Antes & Exhibitionist Bathrooms

I timed my most recent Vegas visit to coincide with the Red Rock/Ante Up Challenge, a tournament series at, surprise, surprise, The Red Rock.  I gather that Red Rock has usually had this event that time of year, but this was the first time they partnered with Ante Up Magazine.  As I’ve mentioned a few times, I’m the Vegas columnist for Ante Up.  Technically, my title is Las Vegas Ambassador, although I do not have diplomatic immunity.

I visited the venue twice during its run, and got the “business” portion of things accomplished on the first day, a Monday.  That included meeting one of the publishers of the magazine, Scott Long. Scott was sponsoring the event, covering it for Ante Up, and playing in many of the events.  A triple threat!  Most of our business took place while he was playing in the 3:00PM tournament—which he cashed in, I might add.  I sat behind him and we talked. Very nice guy.
The business details aren’t relatable, but I did want to mention the dealer who was at Scott’s table for most of the time I was there.  He looked awfully familiar.  But I was mostly sitting behind him and didn’t get a good look at him.  He turned his head to look at me, and I thought there was some recognition in his eyes.
I eventually figured out who he looked like.  Yes, it was a character I’ve blogged about—twice, in fact, and once very recently (see here).  It was the “Italian Guy” I spoke of in that post and also originally mentioned here.  My first encounter with was a bit unpleasant, but he seemed like a nice guy when I played with him at Aria in December.  I was surprised to see him dealing.
I actually had a chance to talk to him later when he was on a break, I just wanted to be sure it was the same guy.  I confirmed it, he remembered me from the Aria and he definitely knew Stump (jeez, lately Stump’s been getting a lot more mention on my blog than his own).  I asked him if he regularly dealt at Red Rock.  Nope, in fact, he’s not a regular dealer at all.  He said he was a professional grinder and was only dealing for this special event.  I know poker rooms bring in outside help when they have these special events, but I figured there were enough unemployed and underemployed dealers around town that they didn’t have to tap non-dealers for help.  Guess not.  The fact that Red Rock brought in non-dealers to deal plays a big part later in this post.  But although I wasn’t paying that much attention since I wasn’t in the tournament, from what I could recall, Italian Guy performed his dealer duties flawlessly.
Anyway, Italian Guy really seemed like a nice guy, and we had a very pleasant chat.  If he remembered our less pleasant meeting at the Orleans tournament, he sure didn’t bring it up; nor did I.  I guess I caught him on a bad night that first time.  Getting lucky with an all-in call with King-10 will do that to a guy, I suppose.
I didn’t play one of their special event tournaments that night, but returned two nights later to play in the 6PM tournament.  To be honest, I was less than thrilled with the structure the tournaments for this event.  I can say this because Ante Up really had nothing to do with the structures, it was all on Red Rock.  Some of the tournaments in the Ante Up tour are run by the magazine, others they do little more than lend their name to and promote, and some are in the middle.  This one was completely Red Rock run.
But I wanted to make sure I played in at least one event there, and the $100 tournament this night seemed the best bet.  Although previous 6PM events at the same price had been better attended, this one only had 23 runners.  I went with my newly acquired “chip up big early or bust out early” strategy, even though this was hardly a deep stack event (7K in starting chips, 20 minute levels).  I chipped up some early with pocket Jacks.  Got a couple of callers with my preflop raise and nobody called my flop bet.
Very next hand, I had Ace-9 clubs, in late position, limped to me.  I decided to raise there and see if I could steal the limpers money.  Nope, I got a few callers.  The flop missed me completely, but it folded to me and I made a continuation bet.  No one called.  Nice.
That set up a nice situation not too much later.  I got a couple of Aces and one guy called my preflop raise.  I don’t remember the board, but I didn’t catch my set, nor did it look too scary for my hand.  I bet the flop, the turn and the river and got called every time.  The last time the guy said to me, “I’m calling, I just want to see your hand.  You didn’t have to show before, so I want to see your hand.”
Is it always that easy?  I showed my rockets and he mucked without showing, repeating that he just wanted to see my hand.  And then I said, “I had Aces those other times too.  I only play Aces.”  Surprisingly, no one believed me.  Not long after, the same guy busted out, but it was within the re-entry period and he re-entered and took the exact same seat he’d busted out of.  Keep this guy in mind.
Soon, one of the more unusual things I’ve seen in a tournament occurred.  I mentioned I wasn’t thrilled with the structure.  One of the reasons was, the antes started with the second level.  Yeah, the second level.  I’d never seen that before.  I knew this from when they sent me the details of the tournament (for my job with AVP).  So when the second level started and the dealer didn’t request antes, I was a little confused. 
A couple of things here.  There were actually three tournaments going on at once in the tournament room.  The 12PM and the 3PM tournaments were still going on when the 6PM started.  So the tournament director and floor people were spread kind of thin.  Our tournament clock was a tiny hand timer that one of the two dealers for our tournament had.  The dealer had a little sheet in front of him to tell him what the antes were, and it was obvious he didn’t know this from having dealt this tournament before.  He was clearly one of the non-dealers (or part time dealers) who was bought in just for this week long event.  He didn’t make any dealing mistakes, but he looked confused as he was calling for the blinds to be increased.  He tried to find someone to ask about the blinds but there was no one around when it was time to increase them, so he just kind of winged it.
He asked for the proper blinds but didn’t say anything about the antes.  I know I should have said something.  The structure sheet, which I had folded up in my pocket, indicated that there should be antes now, as odd and as odorous as that seemed.  But I suddenly flashed back to high school.  Saying something about the antes would make me feel like that guy who reminds the teacher that she hadn’t given the class homework yet.  So I said nothing.  I tried to see the other table and see if they were collecting antes, but could never look at the right time.
But somewhere along the line, the dealer figured out there were antes. I have no idea how he figured it out, and he didn’t do anything about it until the third level though.  When the third level started, he referred again to the sheet in front of him and said that he had made an error, and he should have been asking for $25 antes all through that level.  Too late to do anything about it, but now there were $50 antes for this level.
It seemed to me he should have told somebody in authority about his goof, but he did not.  But now he was asking us for $50 antes before each hand.  There was some grumbling about that but no one really said anything. 
About ¾’s of the way through the level, a floor person finally came by and noticed that we were putting antes in.  There was some discussion, the tournament director was called over, and the dealer was informed that there were no antes at this level.


The tournament director advised the entire table that there was an error and he was extremely apologetic.  Apparently, after the first day of the series, they had so many complaints about the antes starting at the second level, they changed the structure for the rest of the event.  So there were no antes until the 4th level (pretty normal, of course).  He took the blame himself for not making sure all the dealers were advised.
That’s fine, but I still blame the dealer, who was likely not a regular dealer.  The moment he notice his “error”, he should have called someone over and explained.  In other words, he should have told the floor that he had erroneously failed to collect antes through level 2, so that the floor could decide what, if anything, could be done about that.  Had he done that, he would have been informed that his error wasn’t really an error at all, that the sheet he had in front of him was wrong, and that the antes didn’t start until the 4th level.  And no harm would have been done, and no error would have been made.
Instead, we had played most of a level paying antes that should not have been paid.  Meanwhile, the tournament director said there was nothing to do but apologize, he understood that the erroneous antes may have affected chip counts but there was no way to go back and correct the mistake.  There was a lot of grumbling now.  The guy next to me said he even saw a sign at the front, where you pay to enter, that the antes started at the 4th level, not the 2nd.  Why he didn’t say anything, I don’t know.
The reality is, at that level, and with the antes only $50, it may not have affected anything.  But how can you know for sure?  It’s possible those antes in a pot might have changed someone’s action preflop.  Someone might have tried to steal when they wouldn’t without the antes.  Or resisted a steal when they wouldn’t have otherwise.  And who’s to say that someone with some extra money from a pot they would have won either way wouldn’t affect things down the road?  You know, the blinds at that level were 100/200, so the $50 was a pretty significant percentage of the pot, preflop.  It indeed could have affected things.
I was kind of shocked that something like this could happen, but you know, I try to look on the bright side at times like these.  I have something to blog about!
A few minutes later, some dealers came around and handed out Red Rock Challenge/Ante Up Poker Tour t-shirts.  I thought they were giving these to everyone in the tournament, but no, it was just our table.  It was apparently a make-up to us for the ante error.
The trouble is, even though the antes were only erroneously charged at our table, the other table was certainly affected.  Even if no hand would have played out differently at our table, the chip amounts we all had were affected.  Again, that different chip count as the tournament progress could have totally changed the complexion of the tournament, could have totally changed who won, who cashed, who busted out when.  But we’ll never know.
Back to the tournament.  I was doing pretty good until I got pocket Jacks again.  I made a decent raise and it folded to the guy who had busted out earlier and re-entered.  You know, the guy who paid to see my Aces.  He acted hesitant at first, then said, “OK, I’ll go,” and shoved.  He was short stacked and it didn’t cost me much more to call so I did.  He was Hollywooding.  He flipped over two Aces.  I would have called even without the act.  I didn’t catch a miracle and suddenly I was crippled.
After the break—and I’ll get to the break in a minute—I was now in desperation mode.  An older gentleman raised, and the guy who had crippled me shoved.  I was in the small blind with pocket 7’s.  I suppose I should have folded, but in my situation, desperate for a double up, I decided to gamble.  I would be out soon enough if I didn’t hit something soon.  The first guy folded (Ace Queen, he told us later) and the shover had Ace-King.  I was happy with that, I figured he had high cards, so I was ahead.  But of course he caught a King and my tournament was over.
In my car onto the next stop, I wasn’t thinking about the tournament too much.  Well, the whole ante fiasco some, but mostly I was thinking about the bathrooms. 
Yeah, the bathrooms.
Before the break, I heard some guys talking about them.  I should point out that this tournament series was held in an unusual venue.  It was not in the Red Rock poker room.  Instead, they used a nightclub that apparently had closed.  The club is called the Cherry Nightclub.  They had to bring a ton of extra lighting so you could play poker in there.
Anyway, someone called the restrooms inside the club “see-through bathrooms,”  I couldn’t quite figure out what he meant, but during the break, I found out.  I went over to the where the bathrooms were, a single entry way that led to two rooms.  The first thing I noticed was that it was very difficult to figure out which room was which.  I stood there for a few seconds, and finally, very low, not at sight level as you’d expect, were two not very prominent letters, “W” and “M”.  Ok, took me a second but I got that.
The Men's room was unlikely anything I’d ever seen.  First, there were the urinals, which, as you can see from the pictures below that I got off the internet, they are shaped and decorated to look like, well, a woman’s mouth. A woman’s mouth covered with bright red lipstick.
So you’re basically pissing into a woman’s mouth.
Also, I now understood what was meant by “see-through bathrooms.”  There was glass, and I guess mirrors, all around.  When I was using the urinals, I could see out into the nightclub. Could people see in from outside while I was relieving myself?  I can’t tell you for certain they could not.  Also note that, unlike most Men's rooms, there are no dividers between the urinals.
But by far the most interesting things about the restroom were the stalls.  You know, where you would go if you had to sit, not stand.
Both stalls were surrounded completely by glass.  Totally see-through glass.  There was no privacy whatsoever.  If a guy goes in there, drops trou and has to squeeze one out, he is completely exposed to anyone in the Mens room (at least).  Seriously, anyone and everyone could see you doing your business.  For that matter, they could see your business.
While I was in there, guys were going into the stalls, but only to urinate, so their backs were too us.  But as one guy said, “I’d hate to have to take a shit in this place.”  Indeed.
Then someone pointed out that you could see the glass enclosed thrones in the Ladies room from outside, as you were walking into the Mens room.  I hadn’t noticed.  But I had to check it out.
There were no women around.  I don’t think there was a single female playing in any of the tournaments that night.  I could tell the Ladies room was empty.  I exited and turned around and walked back toward the two rest rooms.  Sure enough, without any effort whatsoever, as I was seeing the “M” and “W” signs, I could very clearly see at least one of the glass enclosed thrones of the Ladies room.  If a gal was using it, if she was just sitting down to pee, any guy walking into the Mens room that moment would see her on the toilet.  And if she went in there for a wardrobe adjustment, forget it!  And again I point out, with the poor signage; it would be real easy to enter the wrong rest room, not that you’d need to see a show.
Now, I’ve talked about bathrooms before (see here). But what this sorta reminded me off is the exhibitionist bathrooms at the Rio.  In their guest rooms, there’s a little window in the shower, so that the person showering can look out into the bedroom, and someone in the bedroom can look into the shower. 
I suppose that’s fine for a couple but the first time I encountered it, my buddy Norm and I were sharing it, and it was a little disconcerting.  He was in Vegas on a business trip, and since he had a free room, I joined him on vacation.  Trust me, neither one of us had any interest in watching the other one showering.
But these Cherry Nightclub restrooms were way, way beyond that.  These were public restrooms.  Very, very public.  Pubic too, now that I think of it.
Definitely exhibitionist bathrooms. 
I left thinking the erroneous antes were a pisser.  And that I had pissed into….well, you know.
(Note, speaking of Ante Up, Scott talked about me in a recent Ante Up pokercast. Since I'm telling you about, he must have said good things.  You can go here to hear it. Scroll down to the 1/24/13 episode titled :"Ante Up Poker Tour at Red Rock.:"  He starts talking about me at around 52 minutes in.  A little bit before, he talks about the Cherry restrooms, has a bit different take on them).


  1. my title is Las Vegas Ambassador, although I do not have diplomatic immunity.

    So, you can't murder anybody and get away with it?

    1. I was really thinking more like parking tickets, MOJO, but.....ok.

  2. I haven't seen those restrooms, but I have seen others like you're describing. In them, although it LOOKS like what you described would happen, the glass is actually polarized or something, and when you shut or lock the door, the glass turns from transparent to opaque, so you get your usual privacy. It's the designers messing with you, making you think you won't.

    But who knows--maybe Red Rock really went all the way with plain glass.

    1. Thanks, Grump. You know, I saw guys in those stalls, with their backs to us, urinating in the bowls, and I could clearly see their backs. However, I suppose they didn't close the door completely, and maybe that would make a difference.

      OTOH, maybe the Ladies stalls were as you say, even if the men's wasn't. But then.....well, when I peaked in the Ladies room, the door seemed to be completely closed and I could easily see the toilet. Unless there's a sensor that could tell that there was actually someone in there.....I don't know.

  3. No diplomatic immunity? I suppose they did not even give you license to kill either.

    1. Neo, I'd settle for a license to win a hand with pocket kings....

  4. Polarizing glass. Electrical current.

    1. Thanks, WillYum, I suppose you've got it. I saw guys in there, but they probably hadn't locked the door.

      I guess the word gets out, so people know to lock it.


      Still, the lip-shaped urinals are pretty kinky.