Whether it’s poker or a casino game, players wouldn’t have the experience they have without one important person: the dealer. Although they are tasked with throwing cards and facilitating games, they are also a silent observer of human nature.
PokerNews previously asked various dealers to share their craziest stories of working in the industry. No names or locations are reported to respect the privacy of those who shared. Although we cannot 100% confirm all of the stories below, the dealers claim to speak from their own personal experience.
Please note that some stories contain actions and behaviors that some may find offensive.
Editor’s Note: Some submissions have been edited for length and/or/clarity.
Poker Hall of Famer vs. IRS
Back in the days of the WSOP at Binion’s Horseshoe, I was dealing with a man named Sergeant Ferris. Sarge was a bookie from New York. They were playing with money on the table at that time. One night while dealing with Sarge, a group of men in suits – not bosses – surrounded my table, approached Sarge and identified themselves as IRS.
They bent down and took all of Sarge’s money from the table and told him he would get a receipt in the mail. We all thought Sarge would be upset, but he started laughing, reached under the table, and pulled out a suitcase. When he opened it, it was full of money and he said, “They forgot some!” The whole table burst out laughing. At that time, gamblers still owed the IRS, especially if you were a bookie!
Teaching the Eskimo a Lesson
While waiting for a distribution mission at the WSOP, I was in the satellite zone when Eskimo Clark asked me who you need to know to get a bottle of water around here.
I said, “Well Eskimo, let me show you how it’s done.”
I took a dollar out of my pocket, called the girl and asked for water. She gave it to me and I gave her a dollar.
I said, “There Eskimo, that’s how it works. If you tip someone once in a while, they’ll take care of you.
I continued to drink water and left.
Hang a Loogie
My first experience with Bob Stupack at the 1987-ish Golden Nugget. In the $100/$200 Razz, he takes seat 1 with two overflowing and burning ashtrays. He backs up about a foot and hawks a really big, disgusting loogie inches from my foot. He looked at the disgust on my face and said, “What’s the matter, never seen a little phlegm before?”
I said with a straight face, “Yes, I have. Just never on the mat inside, but thanks for missing my foot, sir.”
He threw a green bird at me when my 20 minutes were up. Classy guy. NOT!
Mr. Poopy Pants
At the WSOP Europe in 2018 I had a guy who pooped his pants and kept playing so he didn’t miss any hands and he was in seat 1 next to me. You don’t want to know the smell.
In 2018, it was day 2 of the WSOP Europe Main Event, and an hour before departure we were preparing the bags. I was writing the table and seat number on the bag and a colleague decided to be funny and drew with a marker a fluffy penis on my hand halfway up my elbow. I thought I’d finish packing and go to the bathroom and clean up, but of course I forgot! I did the Main Event for three hours with this “Masterpiece” on the back of my hand before I had a break and a floorman noticed it. No player said anything or even looked at me funny, otherwise I would have something wrong.
At a private home game, a guy always complained that he only had rags for three hours, so he took the cards and rubbed them in his underwear to change his luck, and yes, I must have touched them afterwards because he went to bed.
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Where is the bathroom?
In 2013, I had just learned craps and was on an almost dead game. There was only one player on the other side of the table who was shooting straight with just a pass line, when security and the IGB (Illinois Gaming Board) who are state troopers, him tapped him on the shoulder and stopped him. Turns out he had pissed in the rail while he was playing and rolling the dice.
In the poker room where I worked, we had a regular player. An older man who walked on crutches literally one crutch at a time so it took him a while to get around. He always wore shorts. One night he left the table to go to the bathroom just outside the bedroom. About 15 minutes later, the other players at the table complained of a smell. He had defecated on the floor under his chair. He left his chips and never came back that night. We had to move all the players to another table, tape the area down and EVS in hazmat suits had to come and clean it up.
don’t do drugs
I was on a break waiting at the dealerships/floors reception to see if I could get out early when a young man walks up and asks me if we have cameras set up nearby. I tell him, “Sure, we’re a mega-casino on the Vegas Strip, cameras are everywhere man!” He said, “Well, so it happened a few meters from here, do you mind if I tell you more?” as he pulls me about 20 feet away. He goes on to tell me about his problem.
“I bought a coke ball of eight from a guy right here at this place and I have to tell you mate it was an absolute sleeper. I got ripped off with fake coke. I want to report it and I want to make sure they have his face on videotape.”
I look around to see if I am trapped by undercover agents associated with my resort/casino. Convinced this guy is real, I tell him, “Yeah, you could probably ask security on the podium downstairs about it, but I’m not sure they’ll care much if you get ripped off with a coke. OK.”
We had a ten minute or so conversation along those lines with him insisting he wanted to go to security/police about a bad cocaine deal while I kept asking him if he thought really it would be a good idea to talk about it. I mean he had an accent so he was British or Australian and all I can think of is how his local casino/card room handles drug deals gone bad for patrons? Weirdest discussion I’ve ever had, that’s for sure.
American editor, co-host of the PokerNews podcast and winner of the 2013 WSOP bracelet.