Rule No. 45 of Poker: If a player uses comments usually reserved for online play, such as “nice river” or “nice catch,” at a casino poker table, that player is generally a fish and easily beaten.
I should add as an addendum that this player I have in mind as I write this used the “nice river” comment to me after I made a four flush on the river with my pocket aces, after he had made a flush on the turn with Jd8d. Sorry for being such a fish, sir.
In the meantime, as we move away from the rules of poker, let’s welcome Jerry Buss to town. Ted played a SNG with him yesterday and I saw him this morning as Ted and I played a SNG. Clad in an untucked collared shirt and worn out blue jeans, Buss clenched a fistful of hundreds on his way to sign up for today’s $330 limit hold’em event.
Buss (the owner of the Lakers for those not in the know) looked like a guy who just walked in from the street. An odd look for a man with multi-millions in the bank.
Buss is the only “celebrity poker player” I’ve seen since I’ve been here, unless we count William Hung (and let’s don’t.) I don’t imagine we’ll see many come to town until next week right before the big one starts.
As for me, I continue to lose to players who play poker worse than Stephen Hawking plays Pictionary. I did find some success in a $10-$20 Omaha Hi-Lo game last night and will use the proceeds to play the $330 O H/L tourney tomorrow morning. Ted and I both agree that the overall play here is better than you would find in Vegas. Fewer tourists, more real poker players. And when the few who can’t play keep lucking out on you, you know it’s going to be a bad trip.
The Hilton is also not nearly as crowded as any other poker stop I’ve been to. If you play past midnight, you’ll find that the poker room is nearly dead at that point, with few games still running. It’s very strange. I guess Reno is one of the more isolated stops on the tour. The others, like Foxwoods or Tunica, are close to a large segment of the country’s population. That’s my best guess anyway.
I played with Jen, a former dealer here, in a $4-$8 game on Sunday. She travels the circuit, dealing the WSOP events, and came here for her first WPT tournament. But her box was $60 short one night and she flipped management the bird rather than make up the difference. Now she just plays poker.
When I told here I was trying to interview some dealers for a possible poker magazine story, she started going off.
“Harrah’s has ruined the World Series. And they don’t help us out on rooms or travel costs….”
I always assumed that the casinos put the dealers up for the duration of the tournament, but apparently the dealers have to pay their own way. Jen stayed with a friend at Arizona Charlie’s for about $40 a night, $20 after the rate was split between them. I didn’t get a chance to ask her how much dealers make a day, but I figure after minimum wage and tips, they should get around $20-$25 an hour.
Jen told me that the dealers got shorted at the WSOP last summer from the main event. She said their envelopes of cash were about $1,000 short of what they should have been after the 2 percent was taken out of the prize pool. She also told me that Joe Hachem didn’t leave any extra tip on his $7.5 million victory.
“A writer for Card Player told him we were already taken care of,” she said.
I’ll leave you with my favorite dealer story of the trip. One night I sat at a table with a fellow who was drinking heavily and acting very slowly. The dealer, a guy who isn’t afraid to speak his mind, leaned over to the player to his right and asked, “Is he drunk or just stupid?” loud enough to be heard by me, sitting at the center of the table. I laughed so hard I squirted Guinness out my nose. (Believe it or not, they serve that beer here at the Hilton.)
Yesterday, the same dealer was off duty and sat down in my game. Shortly afterwards, a complete fish busted out and left the table.
“That guy,” I told the opinionated dealer, “he was just stupid.”