I’ve heard, witnessed and viewed a great number of poker stories over the years. As a sometime poker dealer, I especially perk up when the stories involve idiot poker players and hard-working poker dealing.
I’ve seen players lose a hand, intentionally bend cards in half, and then claim they didn’t do it. I personally witnessed a former World Poker Tour (WPT) Champion bite his player’s loyalty card and then tear it in half and throw it on the floor. There’s a great video of one of the craziest hands of poker ever dealt at Aria. There is this ass throwing a card at a dealer at Bellagio (see the video at the 31-second mark). Even my friend Duane, one of the nicest people I know, once threw his last $2 chip down on the table so hard one night at Commerce Casino in LA that it bounced up and hit the dealer below her eye.
But nothing I have ever heard at a poker table has topped the story I heard tonight.
A dealer I will call L.L. is someone I have gotten to know well over the past two years. Friendly, and a hard worker, he’s a man of few words as English is his second language. But he has dealt in Las Vegas casinos for a long time. He is an honest guy who has never embellished a tale to me. Here is his story:
Back in 1989, The Mirage was built as Las Vegas’ first-ever mega resort. After The Mirage opened, with it’s 31-table poker room, all the big poker games from downtown Vegas migrated to this new Strip property with the volcano
outside. The Mirage became the center of the poker universe. The games were teeming with the best poker professionals and the big whales who wanted to play with them.
L.L. was dealing a seven-card stud with $2,000-$4,000 limits and a $500 ante. In a game like this pots could would easily clear $20,000 or more in every hand. After one big pot a player lost the player was so upset that he took a lighter out of his pocket and set his two pocket cards on fire right at the table.
Not to be finished with just destroying a game device (a no-no in Nevada) and setting a fire inside a building (a no-no pretty much anywhere), the player held the two cards as they were burning down to the nub. Just as the cards were burning out he pulled open the rake drop box, dropped the two smoldering cards in the box, which then snapsped shut. L.L. tells me that smoke was coming out of the rake box as he called the floor supervisor.
To show how far poker has changed in the past 25 years or so, the player was not reprimanded in any way. In today’s poker world the player’s would have been barred from the casino.
I got a good, long laugh out of hearing this story from L.L. today. I am so glad he shared it with me.