They’re in every tournament, participate in every hand and make every final table.
The poker mavens I speak of are none other than the World Series of Poker dealers.
Every year, hundreds of dealers descend upon the Rio to deal the fate of every poker player hoping to win a bracelet.
They don’t use any fancy algorithms or random number generators to deal you bad beats, they just use their hands and a stone-cold demeanor.
While many players only notice the dealers when they make a mistake, there are some people taking note when they do everything right.
The Rio runs a Dealer of the Year contest during every WSOP to reward those dealers who go above and beyond the call of poker.
Every day tournament staff give out cards to dealers who’ve excelled that day.
The card then gets deposited into a box and, once a week, tournament staff randomly draw three cards to win the weekly Dealer of the Year prize, two passes to the Carnival World Buffet.
Cards are also cumulative, so the more good deeds a dealer does, the more likely they are to win.
But what are these good deeds? According to tournament staff, it’s all about the small things.
“Good mechanics are essential,” said satellite supervisor Zack Lamste. “I also look for dealers who are good with players and do small things, like help pick up during their breaks.”
Another key thing Lamste looks for is something no random number generator can do - control poker players.
“A good dealer also has to control the game,” said Lamste. “Because lots of times players will want to control the game but we can’t let that happen."
Lamste tries to give out at least one card a day, but on June 30th he’ll cast his vote for the dealer of the year.
Last year’s winner was Ashley McCoach and she got the dealer of the year prize package: A framed photo of the dealer in action, the opportunity to announce “shuffle up and deal” during the main event, a $250 certificate to VooDoo and a custom watch designed by ON TILT.