Ask a Poker Dealer...floor is open

I see a lot of poker threads on here, and benefit highly from surge in poker players. Please note, I do not play, have no desire to play, and am bored silly by playing. However, I would like to offer my expertise to this board for questions regarding poker from a dealers perspective, or even general questions regarding poker room etiquette, tipping policies, etc.

BTW, rude guy I had thrown out last week. You are now a “known problem” and they will be watching you much more closely. Oh, and don’t pretend to be gay to convince one of our regulars to cash a check for you. We are on his side.

We are holding an all women’s tournament today, YAY!

Have you ever punched someone in the face 20 times?

It must be tempting.

How do you feel about an “all women’s” tournament, out of curiosity?

I think they’re sort of silly - women have no competitive disadvantage to men at poker, and probably an advantage due to the way men tend to play differently towards them. Also, it’s sexist, and I can just imagine the outrage of they held a “men’s only” tournament.

Do you make mistakes? Say, award the pot to the wrong player 'cause you read the hands wrong or something like that?

I’m gonna hazard a guess, based on her “YAY,” that she’s OK with them.

I find that most uses of “yay!” in that context are sarcastic.

I bite my desk in protest!

Careful, you’ll splinter your teeth.

I think it was Linda Johnson who wrote a column last year about women-only tourneys, and I pretty much agree with her reasoning for liking them. Men still outnumber women by a huge margin when it comes to playing tournament poker, so by having women-only tourneys casinos help introduce more women to the game in an environment they consider safer. If women-only tourneys lead to more women playing open events and bringing money to the table who otherwise might not play, then I’m in favor.

What’s the best tip you’ve ever gotten?

I’ve played at a casino once. Near the dealer’s left elbow was a slot in the table (and I’ve seen that detail duplicated in at least one online site). The rake is by the right elbow, there were chips and (I think) cash in the tray right in front of the dealer; what’s the slot for?

Also, is it hard to keep track of the rake along with all the other things you have to do? Any tricks or special methods to help you do it?

Ooh, I know this one! There’s a plastic wedge thingie that fits in the slot. When someone buys chips from the dealer, she uses the wedge thingie to push the cash into the slot. The dealer should not have had any cash just sitting in front of her, unless something was going on that I don’t know about.

Is there some advantage that a player can use to ‘beat the house’ mathmatically w/o cheating like card counting in 21?

It’s poker. You don’t play the house. You just have to play better than the other players to systematically win.

Ok then how does the house get it’s cut then?

They have really deep chairs and collect all the change that falls out of players’ pockets.

Do casinos ever have newby classes? I’m totally intimidated.

There is a house rake. Either as a percentage of every pot (with a max rate cap) or as a set payment for time, such as $5 per person every half hour.

That should read “with a max **rake ** cap.” Sorry for the typo.

(What that means is that once a pot gets to be a certain size, no more rake is taken no matter how much larger the pot gets.)

This could be read as meaning that you think card counting is cheating. Just to be clear, it’s not.

Wow, a lot of questions, let me start at the top.

Disclaimer, I work in a state that limits poker to $2 betting, however, we do have tournaments.

I have been sorely tempted to punch many people in the face, however, 99% of the patrons are absolutely wonderful, it’s that pesky 1% that can ruin your day. I try not to let it get to me, but Friday and Saturday nights, my evil twin can come out, I am not known as an easy dealer. You follow the rules, or I get very nasty.

All Women’s Tournament: For the reasons cited above, many women are intimidated, poker historically has been an all male sport, well, except for barmaids bringing them beers. So yes, I view it as an opportunity to open one more door for women, as far as it being sexist, men had poker to themselves for a very long time, it has only been recently that women have begun to participate, so IMHO, men had decades of “men only” tournaments, and turn about is fair play. From my perspective, I am not interested in having half the population not interested in something that pays my mortgage each and every month. Bring 'em on, bring 'em in.

We make mistakes, I deal a hand about ever 2.5 minutes, and am encouraged by management to go faster. Yes, that is 2.5 minutes for hold 'em, 7 stud the standard is 3 minutes. On a 12 hour shift, that’s alot of hands. However, our job is defined by procedure, those procedures help protect you, the house and the players. Most mistakes are fairly easy to fix and aren’t critical. Today, in a tournament, I turned over the river card and called for showdown, they didn’t realize until after they turned over their cards that they hadn’t bet, oopsie.

Protocol for pushing pots to the wrong player: If the player that got the pot chooses not to surrender the pot to the proper winner, the dealer pays for the pot out of pocket. Yes, the whole pot. I have never had a player not surrender the pot, but then again, I rarely push a pot into the players chips, so it is easily discernable what is in the pot.

Best Tip: I worked at an indian poker room that was allowed jackpots, I dealt a royal flush for a jackpot of $4596, I was tipped $596. Where I work now, on occasion, a player will award the pot to the dealer, that’s a sure fire way to make the rest of the players feel small, but it it is a rarity.

Slot by the well: poker typically does not have those slots, because our wells remain constant because you are not playing against the house. In order for me to get more chips, I have to give the money to the brush (floor person). BTW, it is usually illegal for a dealer to give you cash out of their well. The process of getting more chips is called a “fill”

Ahh, the rake. Rakes are typically a percentage of the pot, how the house takes the rake varies, we are pretty exact. We have a 10% rake with a cap at $5. That works out to one dollar for the first fifty dollars in the pot. I can not take a rake if the pot does not go over $4.50. Please note, the rake counts in the pot for raking, so $45 in the pot better have $5.00 in the rake because it totals $50.

Keeping track of the rake, I use chips to mark my rake variance per round, I cheat. Some dealers know to the dollar how much is in the pot, some keep track via a plus/minus system. It’s like this, first betting round 6 players, two dollar bet, 12 dollars, 1 dollar for the rake and you carry two dollars. Next betting round, 4 players, two dollars, eight bucks plus the carried two gives you another dollar for the rake. It can get confusing, which is why I place the chips I am carrying over on top of the burn cards in a discreet little pile. That way, no matter what happens, I can see what I may not remember. My brain isn’t mathmatically advanced enough to run a game and know the exact dollar amount in the pot, frankly, I have other things to do, but I can figure it out by looking at the rake and my carry overs. Example $4.50 in the rake, 2 carry over, should be $47 pot total minus the $4.50, please don’t make me do math, I can get pretty close :slight_smile:

Beating the house: Playing the rake is about the best you an do with poker, but that’s sketchy at best, IMHO, every thing over the $5 rake is free money, so I don’t understand the hestitation at times. Tournaments are a better way to get a return on your investment, if you are good that is.

Playing better: well, chance is chance, yes there are things you can do to improve your odds, but in our $2 game, they call it no fold’em hold’em. I once put AAKAA on the board and a player actually folded. They tried to tell him but his hand was dead.

How the house gets it’s money: From the rake, from %of tournament entries, from the dealers. Yes, they take money from us to pay managers/supervisors/brushes/cashiers, heck, we don’t know who all has their hands in our pockets.

How dealers get their money: I have never heard of a poker room where the poker dealers pool their tips. It is one of the few casino games that don’t. When you tip your dealer, you are tipping THAT dealer. The only exeption is tournament play. In tournaments, all the dealers that dealt in that tournament split the winnings, so say the winner of a 120 player tournament tips $60, that’s less than 2 for ever dealer in the tournament, and the tournaments last for hours. The upside is, only the winners are expected to tip, you can lose all the tournaments you want and we'll never ask for a dime. We make minimum wage and tips are our life. Yes, we love good tippers, but we also love consistent tippers. We have a lady that always tips according to the table, if she's on a table of .50 tippers, that’s what she tips, if it’s a $3.00 tipping table, that’s what she tips. We think she just tips enough to not look bad in front of other players. Please note: tips are only expected if you win a pot, you lose, no problem.

Newby classes: yes, on occasion we offer them. Unfortunately, the internet is doing a bang up job of teaching every punk kid that they know how to play poker, that because they can spout the odds and know the lingo they are “professional poker players.” Live action/tournament play face to face is far different from online. This kid came in one day (we call them travel channel kids) and was talking all kinds of smack. He was heads up against an old timer, the OT was solid as a rock, this guy had no tells, was unflappable. Kid tells him to fold because his hand is unbeatable, there is no way he can win. OT calmly calls the Kid, Kid turns over a full house, OT turns over 4 of a kind, dealer yelled very loudly, immediately “PLAYER DOWN” Show respect for folks that have been playing the game since before your daddy was a sperm. Come in to the poker room, they are friendly and will be kind to you, but don’t showboat, your playing says more about you than your talking. You would be amazed how many “sympathy pots” I pushed to two new players the other night. They want you to come in and feel welcome, it’s they only way they will get your money. :slight_smile:

Ok, I think I got them all covered. wipes brow

For the record, being in my seat is the only guaranteed winning seat in the house, unless you sit under the table and do your best impression of a rake box. It isn’t anything like playing. I play poker so rarely they make fun of me. They aren’t related. I like eating, but I hate cooking. I love dealing, but despise playing. We don’t win every hand, but enough times a day to pay my mortgage.

I do thank all the poker players out there for giving me a job I adore, making me smile most of every day, and for pushing your chips in so I can reach them. :slight_smile: Stop in a poker room some day. Spend some cash and have some fun. Poker players have great personalities, it’s what makes the game. Especially in lower stakes games.

Correction:Ahh, the rake. Rakes are typically a percentage of the pot, how the house takes the rake varies, we are pretty exact. We have a 10% rake with a cap at $5. That works out to five dollars for the first fifty dollars in the pot. I can not take a rake if the pot does not go over $4.50. Please note, the rake counts in the pot for raking, so $45 in the pot better have $5.00 in the rake because it totals $50.