Wednesday, June 13, 2012

This Dealer Life P1 - St. Louis Failure, Prop Bet Loss, A Drunk Squatter and More.

I have been a terrible blogger lately. I can't help it, I've been busy trying to find a balance between this Dealer life and my other life. I refer to the two as if they're separate entities: Casino World and Real World. In Casino World, it's a non-stop poker vortex of work, sleep, go out, repeat. In Real World, I'm either somewhere beautiful taking in the view or home with family.. and I don't want to think about Casino World.

But I am back now, and I will do a better job of keeping you updated in the future.

To make it up to you, I'm going to write a short series of posts over the next couple of weeks called "This Dealer Life" that includes funny stories from the road, and little glimpses into what this life on the road, event to event is actually like. The good, the bad, the ugly.

When this is "normal" dealer behavior, just wait till I share the WEIRD stories.

This Dealer Life: Part 1

The St. Louis Debacle, Can't Find The Sears Tower, A Lost Spongebob Prop Bet and The Drunk-Homeless-Squatting-Poker-Pro

The St. Louis Debacle

Maxcel, a Los Angeles native turned Brit (moved to London and lived most of his life over there), decided to accompany me from Chicago back home to Memphis for a couple weeks.  We stopped off to play the Heartland Poker Tour in St. Louis on the way back.

We came to St. Louis in search of Fish.
...And Fish we found...

Our first night (and as it would turn out, our ONLY night) in St. Louis we went out with a friend and fellow dealer, Jason Menendez.  We got stupid drunk. Stupid, stupid, stupid need-a-cab, drunk. At one point I was passed out in Jason's Mustang in a truck stop slash bar slash strip club and part time pool hall, shivering and turning blue from the cold but absolutely unable to walk. I did manage to throw up occasionally in the parking lot. It was horrendous. I haven't been THAT drunk in years and years and years and haven't since. (And hopefully never will again). I'm still not sure Jason lived through that night.. I haven't talked to him since. (If you're out there, you should shoot me a text, pal. We left your coat at that casino with the weird name with security).

THIS is how drunk we were. The guy in the sparkly coat? Yeah. We don't know him either.

Sometime around 7 am, after we'd sobered up a bit and made it back to the hotel, Maxcel realized he'd lost his wallet.  It contained his entire life-roll here in America. A decent amount of cash.  We searched EVERYWHERE for it. We drove back and traced our every step (that we could remember at least) from the night before, even seeking our cab driver out and essentially suggesting he'd taken it. Only to find the wallet, eventually, in a place we'd already searched.. clear as day. This is why alcohol is BAD for you. Brain cells. We need 'em.

This caused us to get to sleep around 9 am, and wake up slightly past check out time at our classy Motel 6 abode. After some debate, we ultimately decided to stay one more night. I sent Maxx down to pay the bill, around 45 minutes after check out time. I'll let him tell the story in the below video. It's pretty hysterical, and 100% true.  Be warned though, the language is NOT family friendly. I apologize in advance. Again, I repeat.. not family friendly or work safe language.

Dear Motel 6 St. Louis,

You suck.



And that pretty much sums up St. Louis. If I don't see those arches again for a long time, it'll be okay by me.

The Sears Tower
The event was the Chicago Poker Classic. I arrived early into The Windy City, to spend time with an ex-boyfriend who I remembered fondly.. despite having not seen him in 7 years. My first night in the city we hung out and had a good time, just catching up. The second night, my traveling companions and friends Suzy and Amy met up with us and we decided to go sight seeing in Chicago.
CatCat hadn't seen him in 7 years either, but he clearly hadn't forgotten him.

Just a few miles into our excursion, we decided to go see the Sears Tower, although.. as I've been informed, it is no longer actually called The Sears Tower. Pulling off the interstate, we were immediately ambushed by not 1, not 2, but half a dozen of Chicago's finest police officers. Spotlights glaring they advanced on our vehicle with SWAT team precision. Apparently, there are real criminals in Chicago.. and the cops are used to dealing with more than just out-of-state dealers acting like tourists.
Chris, the ex-boyfriend & driver, was 100% certain we were getting a ticket or going to jail for SOMETHING. The first officer approached the vehicle and asked exactly what we were doing driving the wrong way down a one way street in downtown Chicago on a Friday night. (Oh shit!). Without thinking, I blurted out.. "We're tourist. I'm from Memphis." He responded "You don't have one way streets in Memphis?". When we explained we were looking for the Sears Tower, the officer pointed at the sky to the very obvious structure that loomed over the rest of the city by leagues, it's presence unable to miss.."You couldn't find it?" All of the officers (who had now surrounded our car) laughed in unison. The look he gave us was one of pure pity. I think he felt sorry for Chris, the Chicago resident, having to cart around these poor dumb southern women. They let us go, without a ticket with just a reminder to not drive the wrong way on one-way streets.

Fairly easily overlooked, if you ask me.

We never did find The Sears Tower, but sometimes being a dumb blonde can get you out of trouble.
Chicago was a great event. It was a fantastic crew, and one of my favorite events in the country. I can't explain it.. but it had a good "feel" to it. Massive crowds, huge prize pools, lots of hours for the dealers. I loved it. It's like WSOP-lite.. the only event that comes close to it, in the country, is the Series.

The Lost Spongebob Prop Bet

Dealers bet on everything. We wouldn't work in Casino World if we didn't have a bit of a gambling streak.  One particular night in Pendleton, Oregon we had a 5 way prop bet between dealers to see who could make the most in live tokes. I knew I was a lock to win... I averaged 6 to 1 on their tokes for the entire event, so I had no doubts about participating in these shenanigans.

The winner had to suffer no consequence, and was able to benefit from watching the losers suffer.  The last place finisher had to sing the Sponge Bob Square Pants theme song, on the microphone, during the main event of the poker tournament, from the box (dealer chair). It was a floor supervisor who actually came up with this penalty, so we had pre-approval.

Anyone who finished between "winner" and "loser" has to attend the survivor party in costume. Some sort of humiliating costume. The survivor party is the last blow out for all dealers and staff, if they managed to make it through the entire event without getting fired.  The survivor party is somewhat of a tradition, and it's a big deal. Not just for bonding among dealers, and saying our goodbyes.. but it's a celebration of a job well done.

Survivor Party 2012. I heart these people so much.

I felt pretty sure I was a lock to win, but to make sure.. I decided to minimize my losses by paying off a floor guy to make sure I got more time in live than at least one of the other participants in the bet.  Normally, this would never fly.. and is down right corrupt.. but seeing as how public humiliation was on the line, one bottle of liquor got me a guarantee out of last place.  Poor Zack, was immediately cut from his spot in live.. and sent back to tournament, finishing the day out with a whopping $59 in live toke. Max did only slightly better. Kreig asked to be sent home once he'd made $150, certain that he'd win with such an impressive number. At 13 hours into my shift, I asked to leave, knowing full well that I had a win on lock down. The only other competitor, Amy, hadn't gotten as many downs as me and is notoriously a bit of a slacker (At least, compared to me). I was sure she'd take off the minute she saw me leave, and at this point.. with $272, I had her by miles.

Damn it if that woman didn't manage to muster up work ethic no one thought she possessed, and stay another 3 or 4 hours in the box. She cashed out $332, making her the grand champion for the evening.  Maxx attended the survivor party in full drag. Kreig went as a sparkly vampire from Twilight. I dressed like a hooker, complete with catholic school girl costume.  Poor, sweet, Zack.. who took an extra bad beat (the survivor party occurred on his 25th birthday) had to attend in a Tinkerbell costume. I'm STILL untagging myself from photos.

Below is the video of Zack performing the Spongebob Theme Song during a short break at the Main Event of the Pendleton Wildhorse Spring Round Up 2012.

In case we haven't embarassed Zack enough, here he is in full Tinkerbell costume.
A pity you can't see his tiny, glittery wings strapped to his back.

The Drunk Homeless Squatting Poker Pro

In Vegas, for the WSOP, dealers room together to save money.  My group REALLY wanted to save money, and somehow that translated to 38 roommates in a three bedroom condo. (Okay, really, there are only 7 of us, but sometimes it feels like 38).  Everyone works multiple jobs, and is gone at different hours.. but someone is almost always home.  We have a third story condo in a very secure complex, with guards and regular patrols to keep an eye on things.  Most of the time, our door isn't locked.

A few nights ago, I came home and found someone passed out on the living room floor at 2:30 in the morning.  This someone was asleep on the air mattress, had managed to make himself a sandwich, partially disrobe, and had the distinct vibe of someone who was piss drunk and had subsequently passed out.  I assumed, naturally, that this was an intoxicated friend of a roommate and went to bed. 

After getting to bed and realizing my level of annoyance that my roommates would have a stray over to sleep on the floor without clearing it with everyone, I decided to do what any logical smart ass would do, and I went out and snapped a few pictures of him.. and made a witty post on Facebook.

Oh come on. It's funny.

A couple hours later, the boys came home and assumed this squatter was a friend of mine, and with similar annoyance.. went to bed.

A few hours after that, the girls came home with the same sentiments. As people would run into each other in the hallway, between the kitchen and bathrooms, they managed to piece together that this house guest did not belong to any of them, at around 6 am.. they came crashing into my room en mass to question me. I very quickly informed them that I didn't know him, and that we might actually have a problem on our hands.

Five of us, plus CatCat, crowded into the living room to prod our strange guest into waking up.  Freshly awake, he looked at us quizzically and said "Who are YOU people?". To which we responded, "Who are YOU?!".  He started gathering up possessions (None of which were his, but he politely put them down when we told him as much) and in a still, clearly, drunken haze exited the building. Obviously he was unsure of what had just happened, and we were just as mystified.

After a good laugh, I put the video of his eviction up on Facebook and went to sleep.  Hours later I woke to dozens of missed calls, and even more texts.  Apparently, our house guest is a Team Bustout Pro, very good friends with some excellent friends of mine, and a fairly prolific player with a nice win record (I Hendon Mobbed/Card Playered him straight away, and it wasn't too shabby - this is no rookie). The player himself, who I won't name.. though everyone on Facebook managed to put it together when the pictures and videos went semi-viral, sent me an email professing extreme embarrassment. Apparently he lives in the same condo, same complex.. just a different actual BUILDING than ours.  He'd had a battle with Tequila the night before, and Tequila won. He was very grateful we didn't involve the police, and that nothing had come from the incident aside from a few laughs.

I assured him that we've all been there, and aside from being a bit freaked out at first... we knew he didn't pose any imminent danger. Unfortunately for him, he wandered into a house that's pretty well connected to the poker community, and the story spread like wild fire.  The poor guy can't hardly get through a tournament at the Rio without a dealer sharing the tale. 

We've since struck up a bit of a friendship.  He's a super nice southern boy, who by all accounts is very normal and not prone to wandering into other people's homes, and passing out on their floor. The best part is.. he managed to stay here, without anyone piecing it together, for the better part of 4 hours.

 I won't post the video here, because well.. it's a bit embarrassing, and now that I know the guy and realize how many mutual friends we have.. I wish nothing but good things for him. The laugh we got out of it certainly overrides any creep factor.

Besides..When you already have 38 roommates, what difference does one more body make?

This is all for now.  I'll be back in a few days with more sordid tales from the tournament trail.  Thanks, as always for your emails and for reposting. <3