As you may have read in my last piece, being the Prince of Freerolls doesn't exactly pay the bills. You can't pay for dinner with tournaments tickets, you know?
But what does, sort of, pay the bills is working as a Poker Dealer at one of them live poker places. The ones where you someone has to count out the bet sizes every time, and the ones where you usually don't have the correct combinations and chips, and some poor sap has to give you change every time.
Yeah, well, for the last couple of months that poor sap has been me. And the amount of times I've had to give change to a player even though they had the exact amount they needed in their stack...it's enough to lead a man to be subtly patronising. ‘I believe you have the exact bet size in chips, right in front of you. Sir.'
Learning how to be a poker dealer isn't as hard as you think. All-in procedures when there's more than two players, split pots, dead buttons and big blind only hands. It only takes a couple of days to grasp everything that could happen in poker.
And actually being a poker dealer isn't all that hard either, really. It's just a lot of memorisation and hand-eye co-ordination. Can you shuffle whilst making sure the blinds are the right size? Can you break down a huge stack of chips into countable blocks whilst remembering who's to act next? Can you deal to ten people without exposing cards, all the time remembering not to deal to the guy who sat where the small blind should be?
It usually takes about a week on the practice tables before you're ready for the real stuff. Couple of weeks of that and you'll be one of the guys, one of the regulars. All it takes to be a decent poker dealer is practice and perseverance, but learning how to be a good poker dealer, that's harder.
There's an older guy who deals at my Casino. His name isn't Rob, but it's close to it. He doesn't shuffle as precise as some of the other dealers or tell the funniest jokes, and many of the regular players can count stacks quicker than him. But he's got those certain quality of a great poker dealer that I wish I had.
The ability to be composed no matter what, and the skills to control the pace of the game around him.
There is never a moment in which the game is not under his control, even if the players don't know it. For all they know they run the game with check-raises and their crafty river bets. For all they know the Rob's just there to provide cards.
Being a good poker dealer is a lot like being a good player. To lead from beneath, and let everyone else believe want they want from the information that you're giving them. Let them think what they want, let them think that they've got you figured out. Let their confidence work against them.
All great poker dealers do this, and I hope to be able to do someday. They can make the puppets dance, and hide the strings. They even let them think that that their dancing is their choice, too.
Being a good poker dealer is exactly like being a good player. In fact, the only difference is, Rob and I can't keep your chips. We just pass them onto the next guy. And let the game keep going.
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