Tuesday, January 9, 2018

"Get Up! You're in my Seat!"

This happened my last night in town, New Year's Day.  Because I had been up pretty late New Year's Eve, I got a late start and didn't get out of my room until like 5:30 to play poker for the last time in Vegas.  And because I got up so late, I hadn't eaten dinner yet.  I figured I'd have a relatively short session, grab a late dinner and get some rest to be ready for the long drive home.

By the time I made it over to Planet Hollywood it was close 6 pm.  My idea of a late afternoon session had turned into an early evening session.  Lucky me, I got there a few minutes after they filled up the last table and was first on the list.  I didn't expect a long wait—that's usually the time poker rooms start emptying out as people head off to dinner.  I wandered over to an empty table to sit down while waiting.

It wasn't completely empty.  There was a guy sitting there, head buried in his phone.  Since I was first on the list I knew he wasn't waiting to get into a game.  In fact, a few minutes after I sat down, a woman came over from a nearby table to talk to him for a bit.  So it was kind of the opposite of what you usually see—it was a guy hanging out while his lady to was playing instead of a woman hanging out while her guy was playing.

I was there for awhile and they didn't call me.  I think they had four tables of 1/2 going so I was surprised there hadn't been an opening already.  I went back to the podium to see what was going on.  Well, I was still first on the list, but now there were about 4-5 names under mine.  The one directly under mine caught my attention.  It was "RBI."  I wondered if that was a nickname for perhaps a huge baseball fan or if those were really somebody's initials.

Well, as I was hanging around at the podium, I saw a guy go up to the person at the podium and show him his player's card.  I heard the podium person say, "Oh, you should show us your diamond card right away, as soon as you give us your name."  He did something on the computer in front of him and---voila—RBI was now #1 on the list and I was second.

This is a policy that all CET rooms have and I don't like it.  If you have Diamond card status—which means you spend big bucks at Caesars' properties and piss away a small fortune gambling in them—you get priority in getting a seat in the poker room.  It seems like a non-sequitur to me.  You can't get Diamond status just by playing poker....if you have that status, you are playing slots and/or table games, but not poker.  In other words, you're a major gambling degenerate.  I guess some of those folks play poker too, but they're not really poker players.  They're degens who dabble in poker.  Why should they get preferential treatment in the poker room?  That's for poker players.  If you have Diamond status you have your own lounge at CET properties and all sorts of other benefits.  The poker room should be an egalitarian place, right?  No other poker room or chain I know of does this, certainly not their biggest competitor, MLife (MGM).  Only CET treats the average poker player like this.

But it's not Planet Hollywood's fault, it's the corporate policy of CET.  Furthermore, they didn't ask my opinion before doing this.  They can do whatever the hell they want.  And so they do.

But I was a little miffed and frankly it was taking longer than I anticipated to get into a game.  The person at the podium asked if I was on the list and I said yes—and then said they might start a new game since there were almost enough people on the list to do so.

I wondered off but found myself back at the podium a few minutes later.  RBI was off the list, so apparently he had gotten into a game.  So I was first on the list, right?  Nope.  Now I was third.  Seriously?  Yes, apparently two people who had Diamond cards showed up and jumped ahead of me.  Yeesh.

Well, at that point I was thinking of telling them to take me off the list, I was going to have some dinner and maybe I'd be back.  But a dealer came over and said they were starting a new game.  OK, then.

The table they were opening was the one I had been sitting at earlier.  A few spots were already occupied (by people who had earlier gotten tipped off that they were gonna start a new game).  A woman was sitting in seat 9 and a guy was in seat 5, and another player in seat 6.  That guy who was hanging around while his girlfriend played was still in seat 1.  That was actually the seat I wanted but I didn't say anything.  I took seat 4 but the guy not playing started to notice people taking other seats at the table and realized we were about to start a game there and got up and moved to another empty table.  So I grabbed the seat he vacated—Seat 1.

By the time the dealer got the game going, the table was actually full, that was nice.  And so the dealer dealt a hand or two.  Suddenly, while I was out of the hand (couldn't have been more than the second or third hand that had been dealt), I felt someone grabbing me by the shoulders and I heard a very stern voice saying, "Hey buddy, you're in my seat.  Get up."  WTF?

I didn't recognize the voice but my first thought was that it was somebody I knew who saw me and was making a joke.  Just a week or so before I ran into an old acquaintance in this very poker room.  Well I looked up and saw a very tall, rather mean looking guy with his hands still firmly on my shoulders who I didn't know from Adam.  Perhaps he mistook me for someone else and thought I was a friend of his and this was still a prank?  I think I managed to mutter something like, "What?"  He was pretty damn serious.  "I'm not kidding buddy, you're in my seat, get up."

The other thing that raced through my mind was that, was there anyway this was the guy who had been sitting in that seat that was waiting for his girlfriend?  And that he had intended to play at that table and hadn't said anything when he left the seat, but just expected it be held for him? But I was close to 99% sure this wasn't that guy.

I could feel the guy squeezing my shoulders when the dealer spoke up.  "This is not your seat.  You're at the wrong table. You're at table 3."  And she pointed to a table one table up and over.  There was no one sitting at the seat 1 on at that table but you could see there were chips there—this guy's chips. Thank goodness this dealer had been at the table where this guy belonged earlier! The guy looked over and oh my what a change in attitude.  He turned into to the meekest, most apologetic guy I've ever seen in my life.

No kidding, he started apologizing profusely. "Oh, I'm sorry...I'm so sorry...I' m really sorry, buddy."  He kept at it.  In the meantime, he hadn't taken his hands off my shoulders—but instead of squeezing them, he was massaging them. It was a pretty good massage, too.  It was part of the apology.  He was massaging my shoulders the entire time he was apologizing.  And he was taking his time apologizing.

But he finally left and went over to the right table.  At that point, everyone at the table just started cracking up.  No one had seen anything quite like this.  They couldn't figure it out, either, though they all knew there was no chance I was sitting in this guy's seat.  I explained the various theories I had until the dealer came to my rescue.  One of the players suggest that, as a joke, if I noticed that guy getting up from his seat at his proper table, I should run over to it and sit in his seat as a gag.  You know, I didn't think that was a very good idea.

Well, after we'd all stopped laughing about it, the guy came back over to me and started apologizing all over again, just as profusely as the last time!  "Hey buddy, I'm really, truly sorry." He didn't grab my shoulders  this time but he did pat me on the arm a couple of times while he was getting his apologies out.  I told him to forget it, it was OK, but he remained sorry.  I almost said to him, "No need to apologize sir, you just gave me a blog post."

The poker this night was nothing memorable.  I was having a card-dead, losing kind of night when things somewhat turned around with of all hands, the dreaded pocket Kings.  I guess I had a bit more than $100 left of my $200 buy-in when I got them.  There were a couple of limpers so I made it $12.  Two players called and the flop was Jack-high and rather non-threatening.  But the gal in seat 1, who hadn't been heard from much all night, donked out $31.  She didn't have that much left.  I shrugged and called, the other player folded.  She put the rest of her chips in on a blank turn—it was $35-$40.  I didn't ask for a count, with no Ace on the board I was going to call.  The river blanked and he she had Jack-x—and the "x" didn't help her.  I got back most of what I'd been losing to that point.

Soon thereafter I called it a night, taking a $10 loss for my last session in Vegas. 


  1. The only thing missing from that guy's apols was an uncomfortable very-close man hug. The kind where your belt buckles make clicking noises. Now THAT would have been a hoot....

  2. C-minus (for no cleavage pics) but the puppy is cute.

    1. Sorry, man. New blog policy. No more boobies. Just puppies.

  3. Rob, as a poker player, you should welcome all diamond card holding non poker players. If they are not good at poker, you want them seated quickly!

    1. Well...that only makes sense if I'm already in a game, doesn't it? If I'm waiting to get in a game it doesn't help me at all to let a bad Diamond player skip over me get into a game ahead of me. I can't get their money if I'm not in a game, and perhaps the other players will get their money before I even get into a game!

  4. Diamond card holders are often splashy and bad. You want them in the game!

    1. I don't want them banned from the games, I just don't want them to jump ahead of me in line. It doesn't do me any good if they're in the game and I'm not!

    2. They are far more likely to sit down and play if they don't have to wait. A $300 buy-in is one hand of blackjack to these guys.

    3. I have to admit, that is a valid point.

  5. Look - you can certainly argue that poker game shouldn't even be hosted by casinos and that they should be hosted in their own locations.

    Once we agree that the casino is going to host a poker game they should treat their best customers as well as they possibly can. The Dismknd players are worth a lot more to the casino than the regular poker player and if they want to play poker or go to the buffet or whatever they shouldn't have to wait as long. As you said, if someone does not like that policy there are plenty of other rooms that are more egalitarian.

    A Diamond Player who has spent more than he'd like to admit at CET properties and wants something in return!

    1. You guys get plenty of other perks though.

      Damned elitist.

  6. Still I think it's smart business. On several occasions the idea of not having to wait as long to play poker has convinced me to go to one of those properties. Given the many better options in Vegas to play blackjack or VideoPoker in Vegas, they need to have a reason to get people like me to visit their properties.

    I actually play relatively very little at CET properties in Vegas for this reason. I've become a big fan of the Southpoint in terms of just going somewhere to gamble but the poker games there did not strike me as very good.

    1. Well, it is interesting that CET does it and the others don't. I wonder if the fact that they have the WSOP is a factor?

  7. At most of the casinos if you have status they really don't do that much for you except getting extra discounts now at MGM properties you do get to cut the line for the buffet and stuff like that but it's much more obvious when you're at

    I think they are smart to target the mid-level gambler. Obviously if you're a real highroller you don't even interact with most of the people in the casino if you don't want to.

    I know people that had gold status at Venetian and outside of being able to eat and there's one lounge I can't really think of what they received.