Sometimes I dread staring down the barrel of a workweek (however short), but the days off feel so good.
One Year Ago Today
At work this was the day that one of the $500 max regulars got kicked out for a year. When I was dealing to him he took a big beat, but he didn’t react at the time. Then later he flipped out and kicked a chair across the room which got him banned. People said that he did that out of the blue, so I think he was still upset about the beat I saw. He ended up moving out of state, never to return again. Also on this day I got my Nintendo 3DS XL which has been great.
I woke up at 5pm and was ready to get to the end of this work weekend. I know I only work three days a week, but after two rough days I was really dreading another abusive night. But as bad as the feeling is when I have to get through a week or even a day of work, it feels so good to then have four days off. Sometimes even looking at one more full shift can be daunting when I remember how mean players were the last two nights. But I always tell myself that I just have to put in my 8 hours and I can go back home and go to sleep. I do that even though I know I could be asked to do overtime or work another shift, but more on that in the next post.
I went to work and before starting my shift I talked with a player and his girlfriend whom I’ve seen the last few days. They asked if I like working here, and that they were thinking of applying to deal the big tournament series. Then he asked if I seriously like working there, and I’m sort of faced with that question a lot. I try to see the positive side of everything, and that sometimes keeps me from conveying my day-to-day feelings about things. Like after the last two nights of work, how can I actually say that it’s a good place to be when the players jumped down my throat all night? It isn’t always like that but some days it can be a rough place to work, but in the end dealing poker is an easy gig and certainly better than many service industry or menial labor jobs.
Sort of on that same note, when I was waiting to go to my first table another employee in a different department asked why I was smiling. He was saying how a young, happy guy like me shouldn’t be working there. He said I should get my realtor’s license or something and how I could do well elsewhere. I didn’t see this as bashing my job, but more like he felt I could do more. I’ve gotten that a few times since I started, and I feel like it’s not just because I’m young but partly because I’m white. This is tricky to say, but if you look around that casino you’ll see that white people are very rare, and the ones you see are in higher positions. It sort of makes me believe that I could rise up fairly easily in that place or in this city in general. I’m young and unfettered, and if I had a more ambitious drive and a certain amount of higher education I could really get somewhere. It makes me think of why I feel I’m a great dealer. I know I make mistakes, but the areas I shine are really important. I’m constantly working on my mechanics and knowledge, and I’m unflinchingly fair. I also keep my cool in rough situations (not lash out when players yell at me), and I always try to make sure players are listened to and feel heard. These skills are directly transferrable to a management position, so I’m optimistic that I can do better in the future if I apply myself.
So at work I talked with several co-workers about California and moving from New York. That happens every once in a while when someone asks, but this time many different people asked and from several different departments. I talked with a few other dealers, a food service member, bosses, and players. It was nice talking with so many people, and I’m feeling more accepted among all the other employees. Some dealers ask me what time I start and it’s nice commiserating about bad tables and everything. I also feel a bit of a kinship with the other new hires I met at orientation, and whenever we pass each other we say hi which is really nice.
On to the tables themselves. This was a much better shift, and there were only a few minor issues that aren’t even worth mentioning. I had three breaks today which was too many, and I was worried because I had some really bad downs ($5 or less). But since most tables were nice or at least quiet I didn’t really care. I did have two good tables. The first was a $2-$4 limit and the players were mostly friendly, and we talked about basketball and my moving from New York to California. Then I went on break and came back for one last down, and boy was it worth it. It was $40 no-limit which I dealt earlier, and one great tipper was still there. There were a few good tippers, and I cleaned up during that down. It was by far my best down at this casino, and it definitely made my night.
That good tipper even said he was glad to see me again and wanted to follow me to my next table, and it was so nice to hear positive things when I’m so used to negative. Also during that down the players talked about how players foolishly blame the dealer for losing, like the dealer deliberately cut the deck (the only way we affect the order of the cards) like we’re out to get certain players. They acknowledged that if we could control what cards came out then we’d deal the jackpot all the time. It was nice to talk to players who actually thought about this.
There were two mistakes I made today that I felt really bad about. The first was at Mexican Poker, and I accidentally flipped up a down card during the first round which results in a misdeal. I felt bad because he had an Ace and he would have had a second Ace which is a monster start, and I apologized profusely. He didn’t get mad and yell or even react, and thankfully he won the next hand anyway. Then at another table there were three players to the river but I thought they were down to the last two, so I said my usual line of, “Okay, what do we have guys?” One woman instantly flipped over her cards and then the table told me there was a player left to act, and I felt horrible. It’s the first time I’ve ever done that, and I made sure to let them all know that it was my fault and not the woman’s for showing her hand and not the guy for not acting “quickly enough.”
In both of these instances I wondered if I should pay the faulted player for some of the money I cost them, which I think I could do without getting in trouble. And since they were my fault (albeit honest mistakes) it wouldn’t be ridiculous to think that I should make it up to them. Both they both still won so it’s not like I cost them the hands. I always wonder though in instances where I make a mistake like that if there’s anything the casino can do, whereas in problems like when a dealer accidentally mucks an unprotected hand it’s actually the player’s fault.
So I finished with a great down and that table broke just after I left it, and I felt bad for the next dealer who missed out. I was out and hoped to make just over $100 so I’d have a $400 weekend, and with that last down that was no problem. So this was my best weekend money-wise but maybe my worst mean player-wise, although tonight was so much better than the last two days. I had time to kill again of course but this time I just got the buffet at work for $3. I had some breakfast there and got an iced coffee since I still had about 4 hours before I could get to sleep, and I was pretty tired.
Then I went to Human Resources to get my badge fixed finally, and I got there at 8am sharp when they opened. That was quick and then I went to Wal Mart to get my weekly groceries. I like this system of shopping because that’s dead time anyway, and this way I don’t have to feel like I have to go out one day just for groceries. I spent $70 which feels like a lot when I consider I get that much each week, but I got about 12 meals plus a lot of other things, and no one meal cost more than $5. I got on the freeway at 9:30am and it wasn’t too bad, and I got home in pretty good time. I completely know how to get to and from work now so that’s exciting. I watched The Price is Right while I got ready for bed, which finally came at 11am. So thanks for reading, and “Come on down!”
—Eric Del Medico