General: A Work in Progress: The Diary of a Micro-Limit NL Player/Poker Dealer

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From the Dealer's Box: Update on Job and Poker

Catching Up

Sorry I haven't blogged in a while, I know some of you enjoyed my road to getting a dealing job. Now that I have it I am working 5 days a week a full 8 hours at a minimum, a lot of the time I am working overtime. I barely have the time an energy to put in an hour or two playing some NL25 on Stars. So my goal for this blog is to catch up a little bit on whats been going on in my life and talk a little bit on where I would like to be in the next few months.

Since I last wrote I was an On-Call poker dealer at the Showboat in Atlantic City. I worked really hard and also got really lucky to get promoted to Part-Time before my 90 day probation period was even up. I help out the supervisors a lot when I am on my breaks and I think they really appreciated it. I thought it was what we were suppose to do, but apparently I was going above and beyond what was expected of me.

Being Part-Time is a HUGE advantage on my shift. I start at 11am, which is basically the worst shift in our room because you deal more tournaments than cash games a lot of the time and we used to get forced out during the winters a lot. Because of this a lot of the dealers on the 11am shift with seniority moved to later shifts. This left me and a few others being the only part-timers which means we HAVE to be the last dealers to go home each night. It's like a quasi-raise.

I also bought a new car. I got a 2005 Honda Civic EX. It's really sick on gas, but since I got it a week ago I don't have any pics. I love the car and it was much much needed. It was really hard writing a check for 1/2 of my life's savings for something that will only depreciate in value, but I needed a reliable car.

New Room

For those of you who don't know, the Showboat now has a new poker room. We moved in early March to the back of the casino right along the boardwalk. We have windows with an ocean view and 28 tables. There is a ton of room between the tables now and the room overall has a really nice feel. I looked everywhere for pics, but couldn't find them. We are doing much, much better as far as traffic goes but the room has not been advertised much other than word of mouth. I have been working super hard to build some word on 2+2 about the room and the response has been good. Let's hope things get better in the future.

Online Poker

I have been on a pretty good heater of late. I was a small small winner at the micro stakes until recently. I just felt like everything clicked lately. I will post my graph from the last 5 months which is pretty weak, but I feel like very soon I am going to start taking my first shots at NL50 and a chance to start supplementing some income with online poker.

click to enlarge the image

Summer Goals

I am one of those types that loves to set goals in order to motivate myself to work harder. I really have some big plans for my future and a lot of them are relying on my ability to do well in the online NL cash games. I am planning to have a completely new computer setup on the way. I have to work out exactly what I want in it and stuff and then purchase and build the thing. I am really excited about that, and just saving money. I really want my next big purchase to be a condo or a small home. In order to do this I really need to start getting my grind on playing poker online and working really hard on my dealing techniques in order to make as much money as I can this summer. As far as dealing goes I am really working on making only motions that I have to make, I want to save as many seconds I as can, thus dealing as many hands per down as possible. As far as online poker goes, I need to be a little less lazy after coming home from a long day at work and put in 500-1k hands. I th ink when the new computer comes I am going to work harder cause it's going to be pretty expensive so I will have to make the purchase worth it.

Thanks for reading guys, I hope to get some pics of the new poker room and updating some of the AC poker room reviews on the site in the near future if I can find some time.

From the Dealer's Box: Tipping Response

This is going to be a more serious than my average blog because I am upset at this issue all the way around. I skimmed through the thread on 2+2 about this subject and only read the post from people that I respect. I had to weed through like 100 "Fuck the dealers!" posts which was frustrating, but people are entitled to their opinion if they back it up. Just saying that we don't deserve as much as we make isn't going to convince me not tipping is the way to go. I want this blog to be as objective as possible, so it will have been completed way before it will ever be posted to ensure that it is proofread by a number of people I respect and keep me from swaying one way or another.

As most of you know, I am a poker dealer. I have dealt in two events just like the Bay 101. I dealt the WSOP Circuit event at Harrah's A.C. and I dealt the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open as well. Both tournaments I heard dealers complaining about how much we were getting tipped. I thought it was being a bit petty, and if you don't like it, leave because there were a ton of aspiring dealers that could use the experience. Most of the time the complaining came from people who have been in the business for a while, complaining seems to be part of the culture in a casino it depresses me to a point.

When I finished up both events I ended up making around $25 per hour when I was dealing. When I was on break I made $4.3/hour at Harrah's and $10/hour at Borgata (Borgata does not pay by down they just give you a flat hourly rate and then figure a toke rate out after that).

This is a good amount, but certainly nothing I could survive on. These tournaments have become one of two things, a place for new dealer's to show their faces and gain experience/contacts or a little extra cash that month for the dealer with a cash dealing job. This is because of the poor tipping standards especially in N.J. In N.J., the C.C.C. does not allow for a part of the entry fee to be taken out as a tip for us. We rely almost solely on tips. So we are in a bit of a dilemma here because the players will never get the quality of dealing that they were accustomed to in cash games and the dealer's will never get what they feel they deserve.

Way before I was ever a dealer, I was a player. I was a generous player I thought. I tipped when I just won the blinds in a cash game (SO -EV) as well as tipped multiple redbirds in big pots. I would be classified as a good tipper to the average dealer. I did so because I thought I was suppose to, and I wasn't playing for a living and oh yea, I ran SICK good (just ask Foulky). At the same time this issue was involving a player who plays poker for a living. This is a $10,000 event that in all likelihood Brandon put up the full amount. Yes, he won 1 million dollars, yes he ran really good, but a lot of people who play low limit tournaments said 3% is the right tip. That is $30,000! For a $65 tournament at the Showboat on a Monday morning, sure 3-5% is great (trust me we would kill for this much, we probably get around .05% on avg), but for a 10K event where this guy has to pay tons of taxes, flights, hotel expenses 1% is great 1.5% is excellent.

The main issue is that players like Shaniac want a standardized tip amount or it just taken out of the prize pool so nobody has to worry about it. I agree with this to a point. For 10K's or for Majors lets call them, a standard is needed, but if you are going to go ahead and make a standard for my $65 daily tournaments 1%, I will be upset. Recreational gamblers are generous, it is how a lot of us make a living. It is common knowledge that dealing 1/2NL and 2/5NL is so much better than dealing 10/20NL because the recreational players are there having a good time, tipping reds (sometimes greens, although I have yet to get one). The same goes for small tournaments. We get recreational players who come and tip a lot sometimes, the good tippers will always counter the shitty ones.

I feel it is up to the players to discuss it amongst themselves (because don't forget recreational players play 10K events too) and come up with something they feel is reasonable. Keep it to yourselves, not everyone needs to squeeze out every dollar to improve their ROI. As a dealer we are obviously going to take as much as we can get. So I disagree that a standard should be taken out of the prize pool, you just won't get the service you are used to if this is the case.

No matter what the players are going to supplement our income. If they want a standard, they are going to pay it out of the prize pool. Same goes for cash games, the rake is going to go way up if the casino has to pay a higher hourly to us. In the end, tipping is voluntary tip what you want. From 0-infinity, I don't care as long as you had a good time and are comfortable with what you tipped. Just expect to get what you are paying for. It is how the world works. You think a bartender is going to stop what he is doing to serve a guy that isn't tipping? No way, do you think a dealer is going to put in his best effort if he knows his toke rate is going to be $3/hour (typical Showboat tournament rate) you are crazy! I won't sit here and complain because I make good money and I love my job. I give 100% no matter how much you tip me or not because a little part of me thinks my attitude might make a difference, but not everyone is like me. You will not get good service or hard workers unless you pay them, and face it players you are paying our salaries no matter what.

I don't agree with it, but the casino isn't going to change. They are going to do what is best for them. As a 2+2er said, they are running the best scam ever created. They pay us under min-wage and have the people who gamble at their establishment pay our salary for each week. It's sick to think about it that way isn't it? I wanted to write this blog to try and come up with an answer to the problem, but when you try and please both sides the casino management is what gets in the way. I think the player should do what he feels is right and the dealers will just take their bumps as they come. Everyone knows dealing cash is where it is at, so here is my solution: get good deal cash, let the new dealers deal tournaments and make a little less. That is as win/win as I can picture it.

From the Dealer's Box: Auditions

Long Time No See

I wanted to post a few blogs over the past week or so, but I got really really sick. I know how I got sick which is the worst part. It is from working in a casino with all those nasty people that don't bathe. I forgot to wash my hands approximately two times before I went on break to eat. I am 99% sure this is how I got sick and I will never go without washing my hands again. Obviously, I had to work the entire time I was sick so I never gave my body a chance to get better. I am feeling slightly better now so I figured I would give you guys some updates on how things are going.

Asshole Players

I want to start this section off by saying I have the best job in the world. For me, right now, I can't be doing anything better. There are just times where I want to jump out of a window because players are so whiny and annoying. By the time I reached this table I was so sick I have no voice and I had enough. We are at the 200/400 level of our daily $65 tournaments and I am washing the cards for the next hand. The tournament director proceeds to say we are now at 300/600. I tell the blinds to add the 100 and 200 in chips and a guy on the button says, "No you were shuffling so we already started the hand!" I say, "No I was washing, so we are at 3/6." He tells me I don't know the rules and starts yelling at me. I call the floor over and politely explain the situation she obviously rules in my favor and explains to him the rules.

He keeps going after she leaves. I say nothing, but inside I was raging. I wanted to kill this guy. I went on break and just ranted about this guy for 5 minutes and was fine after, but he just got to me. It wasn't just this guy in particular, it's all players. I come and sit down and deal three hands and they start whining because they aren't getting any hands from me. Seriously, go play blackjack if you want to whine, everyone knows you have to be patient to win in poker. OK, now I feel better.


I don't know why, but I offered to come in 3 hours before my shift on the two days that I felt sicker than any other to help out with auditions. My teacher for my last week of dealer's school (whom I basically owe any successes I have had in this field to) was auditioning for a job. He hadn't dealt in a while and just wanted to work a few times I week just to have something to do.

It was such a good time. I got to help out some of the newbies and laugh at how nervous they were. I was in the same spot not to long ago so I was awesome to be able to just watch how bad they are. Auditions are weird because everyone puts their worst performance up. Unlike an interview where everyone typically shows their best side or bullshits, which makes it difficult to hire hardworking people. In dealing auditions, you need to be able to pick out the people who show the most potential out of their crappy nervous performance. So obviously the pitch is the key factor as well as a bit of a personality.

A few days later I am dealing and a few of the newbies were asked to come in and I guess watch us to learn. I go on break and talk to a guy who has dealt before, but wanted a job at Showboat. He has a cocky ass attitude about how good he is and stuff, that isn't going to cut it. My boss asks him to watch me to learn because while I may be the newest I am the least likely to have developed bad habits. He watches one hand and starts talking to another dealer, my boss was not happy. I am pretty sure he won't get a job just because of that attitude.

Playing Poker

I finally got myself a subscription as well as winning a free month at from being nominated by my peers on 2p2, thanks again guys! I really wanted to play a lot of hands this month, but I have had a hard time managing my time and I like to sleep a lot now. I was just about to start putting in a ton of volume and I got sick. Poker was the last thing on my mind. Now that I am feeling better I been watching a lot of vids and I railed a sick sick session the foulky played, I am really loving poker again and wanting to work on my game and play a lot. Hopefully I will have a few good updates as far as poker goes.

Good luck at the tables guys, its two nyquill for me and a good nights sleep!

From the Dealer's Box: Reflecting

Look How Far I Have Come!

It has been a crazy ride. One year ago I was in college cramming my ass off because I got off to a slow start and wanted to graduate on time. It is a long story, but I think I can sum it up in a few sentences. I was immature, I was not ready for college, therefore I almost failed out freshman year. I learned a lot of lessons in college, most of them not about academics. A majority of the lessons I learned was how to learn from my mistakes, take responsibility for my actions, and simply be a man. It took until about this time last year for me to really figure out who I was.

In March of 2007 I was coming off of my 22nd birthday, I was living with a bunch of people whom I disliked (including myself) because of their morals, personalties and just the way they lived their lives. I was trying to deal with a full class schedule as well as working tons of hours every Friday-Sunday, just to get by I was getting pretty down. I looked at who I was hanging around and who I was becoming and I was not happy with the direction I was going. I decided to make a few changes, I stopped drinking almost all together, I never missed a class, and I started playing poker again. I also had to think of what I was going to do after college.

I found and randomly made a post in the Brick and Mortar forum about what it takes to deal in A.C. The responses scared me a bit because it didn't seem easy, but I had made up my mind I was going to be a dealer. This week I finally feel like I am almost there.

No More Average!

I am going on my third week at the Showboat and I am getting pretty comfortable. Where I am at isn't good enough though, good isn't enough I want greatness for once. My whole life I have always been average (if I was ever above average it was because my competition was so far below average it made me look good). I was an All-State baseball player in high school. I hit .467 and was on base 67% of my at bats, (those are basically like running at 12ptBB/100 through 100k hands for you guys who don't know much about baseball) but I played in a league where the competition was weak. When I got to college I was average. I was also a good hockey goalie (that is me in my avatar) but the competition I played against was tough and I just couldn't stand out really so I moved to playing forward and then defense for my last three years in college and played basically average. I am sick of being average.

When I started playing poker I was the first (besides foulky) of the group of people that we played with during the poker boom that really wanted to improve my game and get better. I read books and thought about my game all the time. I did get better and I started winning a lot. Then I found twoplustwo and I and I started getting even better, but the more I play the more I realize that I am just another average poker play that can probably win a little but will never amount to much. Poker is a little different than the sports (I am small, therefore I have a certain ceiling I can reach before people catch up) because I really do feel like I have some serious potential, but I am just sick of putting all this work in and I have had two losing months in a row. There is one thing that I feel I can be better than average at though...dealing poker.

I see the best dealers in A.C. and I don't see them having that much of a leg up on me. I constantly have my supervisors telling me how good I am and that I am first on the list to move up to part time, (benefits me!!!!) I am always getting pointers because I know they know I want to learn and I want to be the best. I am sick of being average but this time I think I found my calling (for now). Dealing is clearly not something I want to do forever, but for now I think it is something I need to do to prove to myself I can do whatever it is I want to in life.

All Potential, No Real Drive

My entire life has been essentially a disappointment. I stopped after the last sentence and thought about all the times my teachers, professors, coaches, so many people in my life have said these same words, "He has so much potential, if he just put his mind to it..." Well I am putting my mind to something, lets hope it makes me a lot of money. Lets get one thing straight though, I have NO regrets. What has happened in my life is what has made me who I am now. I am proud of who I have become, but that doesn't mean I can't want myself to be better. I don't just want to be better, I want to be the best at whatever I do and I plan to work to get to that point.

Missed Opportunities

On a lighter note, I am an idiot! I thought that we were not allowed to work at two Harrah's owned properties at a time. I was mistaken, we are allowed to work temp jobs at other Harrah's properties (like the first tournament job I had). Basically, I missed out on 10 straight days of work with a majority of those days working at both Harrah's and the Caesars WSOP Circuit event. I am missing out on a lot of money.

I also missed out on a lot of money at work this past week. In the morning, to be fair, we draw cards for the seating assignments. I draw table 19 which is a great draw because its in the string that our 5/5 NL game is in (our biggest and best tipping game). I was asked by my supervisor to help another dealer set up all the chips for the 11am tournament. I go over and set up like 50 stacks. I then go to my table (at this point I think I pulled table 20). I sit at table 20 and totally screw up my supervisors system, (she thinks she's missing a dealer) not only that I put myself at the farthest table from where the 5/5 game is going to be. I never make it there. Then yesterday, I draw the worst card cause I am far from the 5/5 game. I am about to hit it and my table breaks. I get moved to the farthest spot from it again. I am about to hit it, my table breaks and I get moved far from it again. I never hit it this weekend. That is a guaranteed $40-$50 an hour at that table and I missed out on it two days in a row. Nothing I can do really, I made a silly mistake and just got unlucky seems to be the trend in my life lately.

This blog was a little off topic from my normal theme, but I have just had a lot of things on my mind. I have been thinking a lot about how unfair life really is, but the only way to have it go in your favor is to put the work in. I am going to, lets hope life gives back a little bit.

From the Dealer's Box: My First Week!!!

Part of the Showboat Family
One of the things I was most afraid of when starting this new job was to not really fit in right away. At all the temporary tournament dealing jobs it took a long time to get accustomed to how they do things because they basically didn't care about us. Now I have a real job, but will the results be the same? The answer is a clear NO! Everyone made it a point to say hello and introduce themselves and welcome me to the team. Most even sat with me on breaks and asked me questions about myself. There are already a few dealers that I feel like I am going to become pretty good friends with. The supervisor who found and hired me is a little tougher as most of our conversations involve her telling me what I am doing wrong because I think she feels like she needs to mentor me. I love this. She is very knowledgeable and wants to mold me into a really good dealer and I am all ears. The other supervisors seem really nice and are a little more patient with me. They just ask me how I am doing and really don't point out much of what I am doing wrong.

Low Man
While I may feel like part of the team in regards to how everyone has treated and accepted me, I am clearly the newbie of the group. In Atlantic City during Winter, if you are not Borgata you are not a busy poker room. When I walk in during the week (I work at 11am which is called day shift) there are usually no or 1 2/4 LHE game running with retired people who tip when they remember to. It is obvious dealers want to deal cash games, people don't tip for shit in tournaments and they tip even worse in the Showboat daily ones. The toke rate this week was ~$3. I walked by a game where two guys chopped 6k up and I saw $40 on the table. Anyway, because of the lack of games running the dealers that have been there the longest obviously get to stay the longest thus make the most money. I being the low man on the totem pole gets forced out everyday. I worked 6 days and pulled in about 650ish in tokes, I have yet to get my paycheck I hope that is decent too.

I am in a great situation though. I was part of a mass group of applicants where a number of us were told we were going to be hired. There is a hiring freeze of sorts that seems to be on right now and randomly made it through. So I will have at least a month or two under my belt when these people come in and they will be getting forced out while I am working a full 8 hours (I hope, thats what a supervisor excitingly explained to me).

Game Off!
So I started thinking a lot about how I was playing and it was like garbage. I was playing probably a few too many tables too fast and started to play off from the the winning ways I had developed over the last year. I essentially put myself in the same spot I was when I started playing this game a year ago, and that is grinding 10NL just on the brink of moving up a few levels to where I can earn some serious money and FPPs/FTPs. I am taking a good long break going through a lot of my HH's and really putting in some work off the table. Hopefully I can develop a good base work ethic for when I come back to playing again, for now I want to focus on getting really solid at dealing. I seem to make one or two tiny mistakes each down. I don't like that.

First Big Purchase
I assume you guys would like to know what the first thing I bought with my tokes is? I finally ditched the 13" TV and got my ass a 37" flat panel LCD HDTV. It was partly a B-Day present from my rents (I am 23 on Thursday the 28th) but I am excited to have made the purchase. I dont have HD programing so the regular cable channels look eh, but I got a sweet DVD player which ups the DVD picture quality to 1080i so they look great. Also the xbox360 games look sick.

Awful Posting/Replying
I thought the split in the Full Ring Forum at 2+2 was going to be great for the forum as a whole and to a certain extent I think it far exceeded anyones expectations. Tons of new posters game out of the woodworks on the high and micro ends of the spectrum. The issue I have with it is the good/veteran uFR posters get hung out to dry. We have only ourselves to get good replies from nobody from higher limits are really coming down and giving good advice (I expected this). The worst part is that we get a ton of the most retarded posts like can I fold KK pf, can I fold this come on?! I expected these as well. The thing that bothers me the most is that when a good player posts a hand that he really is having trouble with he gets about 7 replies that have 0 thought put into them or they are from new posters who just agree with the guy who has the most posts. Guys please, spend some time thinking about what you are going to reply with its not a poker game you don't have a limited time to think about the right action to take. I am in the process of making a post the explains how a good replier replies to posts.

Alright guys, time for bed it's up early in the morning for another day at the office.
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