Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Protect yourself

Dealing is not an easy job, and a good dealer is a valuable asset to any cardroom. Unfortunately an inexperienced or bad dealer often requires players to take up the slack.

There have been a number of threads at 2+2 alluding to pay structure changes by Harrah's for dealers in this year's WSOP. Simply put, there is effectively a substantial pay cut for dealers.

This almost certainly means that, on average, dealers will be less experienced and more error prone than in the past. Some trip reports from 2005's WSOP were not particularly flattering with regards to dealer standards, and this year will likely be worse.

It is perfectly conceivable that you may be seated at a table with 9 opponents who have virtually no live B&M experience. Don't let any of their lack of experience hurt you. When their lack of experience helps you, that is a different matter entirely....

The absolutely most important steps that you, as a player, should take are:
- DO NOT release your winning hand until the dealer pushes you the pot
- DO NOT muck your hand at showdown until you are certain that your opponent's hand is the winner. Visually verify your opponent's hand; don't rely on what your opponent declares his/her hand to be or even what the dealer says

The above two points are simple but HUGE.

Other relatively import points are:
- Follow the action to ensure you know which other players are still in the hand to avoid "acting out of turn" situations. Many players will have the hole cards hidden and the dealer may frequently miss this.
- At the end of an all in showdown (win or lose), pay attention to make sure the dealer counts the stacks correctly. It may be hard to bring yourself to do this if you just lost a monster pot, but you need to have the discipline to do this. (I'll be the first to admit that in a number substantially big $ live tournament showdown situations, I was too upset or disgusted at the time to audit the dealer. On other occasions, the number of times I have observed a dealer miscount scares me.)

A few other, but in comparison very minor, things to watch out for that inexperienced/tired/or bad dealers will miss:
- Ensure the dealer is not sloppy in exposing cards while dealing
- Ensure your opponents are not shorting the pot with their blinds/antes or when making bets/calls etc
- Ensure the button and the blinds are in the correct positions

Additionally, there will be numerous situations where players can make minor actions that can help speed the game up; e.g. making change in advance, not disturbing the dealer or active players in the middle of a hand, making it very clear if you are still in the hand by keeping your hole cards in plain view or not putting your hands in front of your chips when you have already mucked (perhaps confusing active players into believing you may still be in the hand), etc.

Can anyone think of other things to keep in mind?

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