Rant: Give Poker Dealers More Rope and We Won't Need Shot Clock

Dealer of the Year Tim Louie

Do you think poker dealers should be given more responsibility? I do.

I believe that people thrive with more responsibility. It’s what makes a mundane job seem mildly bearable.

It creates a challenge and pushes people’s buttons in the right way. It gives them a modicum of control in a world that often looks like Rocky chasing a chicken.

Yes I Can. I'm the Dealer

Take this incident that happened in the recent Welsh Poker Series that I played in at the Grosvenor Casino in Swansea, Wales (a country that is not in England).

The card room was expecting a big turn out and had hired a few new dealers. They were all young girls and they were largely left to their own devices with a supervisor watching from afar.

A hand played out and a player was in the tank. I think he must have contemplated his decision for around three minutes before the dealer said, “Come on. You’ve had enough time. Make your decision.”

Kate The Dealer
Yes I can.

It’s not often that you see nine faces tearing themselves away from their iPhones, at a poker table, but that’s what happened.

“You can’t say that,” said one of the players.

“Yes I can. I’m the dealer.”

The supervisor came over and whispered in her ear. She apologized to the table, the man in the tank folded and the game moved on.

The girl didn’t bat an eyelid. She didn’t look embarrassed or fazed. She just got on with her job.

I admired her and if I was a card room manager I would have hired her on the spot.

Let Dealers Manage the Flow

This got me thinking about the recent focus on the World Poker Tour’s decision to implement a shot clock at some point in the future.

The intent is to speed up the play and make it more enjoyable to those playing and those watching from home.

Whilst I endorse the idea, and think it’s great for our game, I do believe the implementation of it is going to be wrought with technical difficulties and frustrations.

So I have an idea inspired by that young girl from Swansea. Why don’t we just give the dealers more responsibility and allow them to manage the flow on their own table?

The Tournament Director’s Association (TDA) already has a set of uniform rules. All I want to see is the dealer managing the flow of the game.

During a recent interview with David Vamplew about the merits of the shot clock he quite rightly pointed out that it’s not the big tanks that are the problem.

It’s the tedious amounts of time players take to make even the most basic decision. Snail-like acts that will not fall under the watchful eye of the shot clock. But a dealer will see them.

Give dealers more rope (and more pay) and watch them soar.

They Won't All Hang Themselves

If you take the case in point, our young dealer gave the player what she perceived to be enough time and then she politely asked him to make a decision.

Why are we leaving it to a player to call the clock and for a member of the floor to be called to manage the countdown? Doesn’t that just take time?

Why can’t the dealer make the call? What's the difference between a third player not in the hand making the call and the dealer?

Will there be some slight differences between tables? Of course there will. But is this really any different from the way that individual referees act when they are in control of sporting events?

They follow the rules and regulations but also have their own way of managing game flow. This is widely accepted around the world.

Give our dealers more responsibility, pay them more and turn them into referees so you won’t need your shot clock.

Give them more rope. I’m sure they won’t all hang themselves. The newbie from Swansea didn’t.

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andrew 2014-10-21 00:21:55

As a poker dealer/croupier in the UK. Nobody in the uk gaming industry/poker work for tips. Tips everywhere get shared out amongst the staff. We work for a set wage so we honestly have no problems with upsetting players, we're paid to deal the game and keep it flowing though that doesn't mean we purposely wish to offend because at the end of the day we want to have fun at work but something like this would be AMAZING, nothing worse than having someone who tanks every damn decision and watching the whole table let out a sigh every time action is on said person.

There's a regular at our casino that does just that and if he sits at my cash table, my hands per hour drops dramatically, although it means nothing to me really. it's just boring sitting there staring at this guy...waiting for him to check...

peterock 2014-04-30 05:55:09

@Steve good point but i'd tip more if they got the game moving faster and cut out all the asshats tanking forever on simple decisions

Steve 2014-04-29 14:40:18

Bad idea, dealers work for tips, not fair to them, will upset players more than a floor supervisor doing it, then it affects their money, how about a ban on lazy supervisors leaving dealers on their own and working from 'afar.'

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