Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Monday, March 29, 2004

I think I need a break from live poker. I've gotten to be like those people I hate most in cardrooms; cynical, sarcastic, jaded and grumpy.

I've never been the nicest person on the face of the earth. I am extremely blunt and have no tact whatsoever. So some of the dealers most likely hate me at the Belle. That is to be expected. I've heard some of the dealers complain about the nicest players in the cardroom. So since I don't have a "nice" bone in my body, I'm sure I have my share of whining dealers.

A Stud game was breaking up. I offered to sit in and keep it going until some of the seniors could get back from dinner. I don't mind doing this, because I love Stud, and the Belle wasn't taking a rake.

One of the daytime dealers, Mark, pushed into the box. He recently got his hair cut off, crewcut style like mine. I was teasing him about his hair. He tried to slick it back, but it is way too short to go back very easily, so instead it looked all wrong. I told him to let it stand up, he would look young and hip like me (this was all said in a joking way). My hair stands straight up, due to the shortness of it. He didn't take the teasing well at all, and ordered me to stop talking about his hair.

Jeez, I'm batting .1000 here (not). When the table started filling up, I simply walked away. Someone asked Mark if I was a prop as I was leaving, he sarcastically sneered that I was not a prop and something else derogatory about me under his breath. I know I'm not the most pleasant person in the cardroom, but why bite the hand that feeds you? Go figure.

Just when I thought things couldn't get any worse for the night, the NLHE tourney started. I was at a table with ALL tourists. Some experienced, most newbies. During the first hour (LHE), I got three Group One hands. All three cracked. The worst one was the first. I was dealt JJ. Another player and I raised and reraised, trying to get HU. He was clearly the most experienced player at the table. He was tight and aggressive. Anyway, one guy stayed in for the whole enchilada, four bets before the flop. I flopped a jack. The turn was a blank, the river was a third heart. The experienced guy had AK and mucked, the four-bet caller had 92s, to make a flush. Yes, he truly called four bets BTF with 92s. LOL.

The other beats were horrendous, both on the river, but not quite that horrendous. I had to rebuy twice.

JV is a dealer from the Phillipines who has been working at the Belle since Glenn and I moved to Arizona. If you played at the Belle, you would swear it was JV's first day dealing. He makes mistake after mistake. He is super slow and always acts confused.

One day in my journal I noted a hand that took 14 minutes to complete. Yep, you guessed it, JV was the dealer.

Anyway, in the last twenty minute level, JV pushed into the box. I groaned inwardly. I knew we'd see about seven hands, max, and all of them would be disasters. Sure enough, JV screwed up the very first hand, trying to move the button forward twice. The next hand he let the players play 10/20, instead of 20/40. The guy on my right got screwed and was starting to get a little steamed.

On the very next hand JV screwed up again and tried to force the players to play 40/80. This time both the guy on my right, and the experienced guy in the ten seat started getting angry at JV and objecting.

The next hand, JV skipped the woman in the four seat completely, she still had cards but hadn't called. The table started grumbling, got very tense and angry. Doug was called over, but usually by the time he got there, action had taken place after the mistake, and he was powerless to do much about it.

The problem with management at the Belle is that they are so easy on their staff, they pooh-pooh anything away. This guy should not be dealing. Period. He makes mistake after mistake, he never learns from these mistakes. Eight months after Glenn and I arrived at the Belle, he is still dealing worse than the newest dealers at the Belle. Some dealers do better on their very first day of dealing than JV.

Anyway, the table was hot. They were so mad and tense. I don't like these kinds of tables, plus I felt that JV was getting worse than ever by the way the table was reacting to him. So I sat and thought for a few seconds about something I could say to break the tension, get everyone laughing and relaxed again.

I blurted out, "JV, I don't know how many times I've told you to lay off that crack pipe!" The table burst out laughing. Even JV laughed. The table relaxed like before, we started chatting and everything was fine. Not long after that, we got our break before heading into NLHE. JV was pushed.

Towards the end of the break, Glen (the floorman) asked to see me outside. He told me that he was very upset because JV told him I'd accused him of being on drugs. I laughed and tried to tell him the joke. He wouldn't listen, he just kept talking over me. He insisted time and again that it was inappropriate, and that I should never purposely try to humiliate the dealers, and that I should have called the floor over every time he made a mistake. He went on to say that JV tends to compound mistakes, so we probably should have "just ignored the first mistake, so he wouldn't do it again." This shows you how much value he puts on poker players. 'Just throw your money away in order to make a dealer feel comfortable and good, no matter how bad he is.'

I admit that maybe my humor was a little lost on both Glen and JV. The funniest thing about the crack comment is that JV is so slow and mellow. He is extremely calm looking, sometimes falling asleep at the poker table while he is dealing. He is the exact opposite of someone on crack, from what I've heard. Somehow the table got the joke, but JV and Glen were completely lost.

I suppose I shouldn't have said it at all, but truly, I was just joking with the guy, trying to protect HIM from the angry players, and lighten the situation.

At any rate, Glen never let me get in a word edgewise (and believe me, I have a big mouth, it is very hard to out-talk me!).

We re-entered the poker room and I went back to my table. Some of the people at the table asked me what happened. I told them. They were incredulous, they were saying, "OMG, everyone knew you were joking! I can't believe they would pull you aside and chastize YOU, after how that dealer screwed up so badly and you were just trying to make HIM feel better."

Pretty soon the whole table was talking about it, in on it, appalled that *I'm* the one who got in trouble, not JV.

Before I could even turn around, Glen literally ran over to our table and got right in my face. He started pointing his finger at me and had his face in mine. His face was purple and he was screaming at me, "I told you to shut up! Shut up and sit down, do not talk about this in the poker room!"

It was clear that he was embarrassed and thought he was being made a fool of. Maybe he figured his authority was being usurped. He was screaming at me, he was telling me to shut up about it, now. I said he'd never told me outside that I "wasn't allowed" to discuss what happened, and the table asked me what happened. It's not against the law to tell them what had transpired outside. He screamed, "I was trying not to embarrass you! I was trying to keep it private, between us. You have no right to tell the table what happened out there!"

I started getting mad, too. I yelled, "You're not embarassing me, you're embarassing yourself! If you've got something to say to me, you can say it right here, right now. Don't go threatening me about 'sit down and shut up,' I don't have to SHUT UP!"

I cupped my hand over my crotch, "I've got balls, unlike some people I know, I can handle whatever you have to dish out. You want to start something with me, you start it here! You don't threaten me, you don't tell me what to do."

He got right in my face and screamed, "I'm telling you for the last time, sit down and shut up or you are out of here! I'm not refunding your tournament money either! You sit down and shut up about this NOW!"

Glenn was upstairs getting our cappuccino's, and I didn't know whether to just push Glen out of my face, keep going off on him, or back down. He was clearly a "big man," showing how he could use his position to bully me. Everyone was standing there just staring at us, in shock. One of the dealers was so freaked out she put her head on the table, over the box.

Knowing I could take the high road, get a hold of myself and act mature, while later being able to explain to James and the management of the Belle I chose to sit down. I kept lashing out at him, though, as he walked away. I just couldn't control myself. I lost my cool.

I don't behave well when people get in my face, start threatening me, trying to bully me, and pointing their finger right at my eyes.

The whole table got quiet for a minute, and then started whispering. "No matter what you need, we'll back you up. He was completely out of line. That should not be tolerated in a public place. We all knew you were joking, and he took it too far, trying to scare you into acting like a little girl and backing down."

Doug came over and the table started saying, "She was right, Doug, we'll be witnesses! She didn't do anything wrong! He just went ballistic on her!"

Doug said he couldn't get involved. He refused to even take their names.

Believe it or not, I played very well after this incident! I know, it's amazing. Most people would steam away their chips and be out of the tourney.

I went all-in not long afterward with AKs. A player with ATo called, I doubled through. I stole a few blinds with frequent raises. Several players were knocked out. Our table got short and was close to breaking up.

On the button, I was dealt AJs. I tried to go for the steal, raising to 1000. I had 1500 chips. Somehow the dealer thought I was all-in and said, "All-in for 1000." The solid player in the ten seat said, "I'll go all-in, too." He was in the BB.

I said, "Steve, I'm not all-in, I still have 500 chips!" I tried to stop him, I kept saying, "Stop, stop."

The player in the ten seat didn't understand that I still had chips and flipped over AA. I was given the opportunity to call or fold. I still had 500, so I folded.

After that, I figured I was living on borrowed time. Our table broke and I was sent to table one.

With only 300 chips, and the blinds about to change to 200/400, I had no time to waste. I kept shoving all-in.

I'm almost ashamed to talk about the hands I went all-in with. I had no chips, I couldn't even survive one blind. I think my first all-in was K9s UTG. Then I was in the BB the next hand, Cy raised it (which could mean anything), and I shoved the rest of my chips in with Q5o. The next hand I was the SB and Darryl went all-in with only 3 chips left with KQo. I had 74s and called the extra chips. He survived, but that was my last losing hand in a long while.

I took those two chips I had left (after calling Darryl's raise and losing), and built them up to over 8000 in chips, lol.

I figured I was living on borrowed time, and kept going all-in. Granted, I was getting a lot of good hot & cold hands in steal position, but still, I was playing very loosely. I got some amazingly lucky suckouts, but mostly I just stole pot after pot.

Soon we were down to the final table. I think I had about 4500 in chips at this point. I wasn't the chip lead, the solid guy at my first table had become the lead by the time we met up again. He told me he'd has AA three times in very short succession, and got action all three times.

A quiet, tight player from my first table was also nursing a ton of chips. He was one I needed to watch out for.

I managed to bully and bluff my way up to second chip lead. I had about 8500 in chips at one point, with the chip lead having about 10000. Then I blew it all by going over the top of the quiet, tight guy. I was in the BB, and when he raised 2x the BB, I figured he was just going for the steal. I looked down to see AKs, and went over the top. He called time and debated for about five minutes. I had him outchipped by about 2000 or so. He finally called and turned up pocket eights. They held up, and suddenly I was the shortstack.

I went all-in about ten hands in a row. I built myself back up to about 4500. We were down to five.

In the SB, I was dealt A6o. It was passed to me, and I went all-in again. The BB said, "I've had about enough of this. I call!" He had me slightly outchipped. He turned over J6o.

He flopped two pair and IGHN in 5th place.

I told Glenn what happened between Glen and myself on the way home. He was appalled. He was very angry and almost as upset as me.

Glenn and I have been covering for Glen for a long time. Most of the time, Glen was an easygoing, friendly guy. Yes, lazy, incredibly lazy, but usually calm and happy. He most definitely does not follow the rules for employees in the cardroom. I'm sure he is out of line way too often.

I have told stories of him refusing to start a 4/8 game with 20 players on the list,just out of pure laziness.

He also smokes. He is not supposed to smoke at the podium, but he is so lazy that he will take his cigarette up to the front, cupping it behind his back, just so he doesn't have to miss a puff. He will stand in the break area smoking sometimes, while the phone is ringing or several people are at the podium trying to get in a game or cash out. He will look down and try to pretend that they aren't there, so that he doesn't have to work.

One evening during a tournament, a dealer and I caught Glen doing something extremely inappropriate. I looked up at the podium, and April was standing at the monitor, trying to run the tourney. Glen stepped up behind her and pushed into her, like he was trying to do her from behind. Then he put his hands on her hips and started running them up and down her torso. She was stuck at the computer, and too stunned to do anything.

The dealer and I started grossing out. This is clearly sexual harrassment, yet she is way too introverted and passive to complain. Poor April, she says she is still on probation and doesn't want to get fired.

The rubbing incident was probably the worst thing I've seen Glen do, but these examples are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Glen. He knows that he can get away with quite a bit. He has worked there for 18 years or something, and knows he can run over James. James is way too easy on his employees.

So is there a happy ending to my tale? Well, now it is Tuesday morning, and James has already called the house. He was very apologetic about the whole incident, even only hearing Glen's side of the tale, which I'm sure was skewed to put Glen in the best light. The most amazing thing? He didn't seem surprised at all when I told him about Glen going off on me, or threatening me. Not surprised in the way that leads me to believe this has happened before.

James is going to take us to dinner at the Belle before the tourney. He wants to hear my side of things. I was already apologetic about losing my cool. I'm very ashamed of that. That was my fault, and I shouldn't have let it happen. Let Glen look like a fool, why should I?

So I'll continue this tale when the last of it is over. Wish me luck!