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  #1  
Old 10-30-2007, 03:36 PM
RThomas RThomas is offline
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Default First time dealing for a casual tournament

I wasn't sure whether to post this in B&M or Home Poker; if it clearly belongs in the other, please move it accordingly.

Today, I was asked to be a dealer for a weekly Texas Hold'em tournament played at the Enlisted Club (i live/work on an Air Force Base). I've dealt before for some home games, but never in a "more serious" environment; from playing in this tournament before, the players are for the most part decidedly casual, but still prefer things to be done right.

Like I said, I have a bit of experience in terms of home games. I don't have a problem counting bet amounts, reading the board, and physically shuffling/dealing, but I'm a bit nervous that there might be a confrontation that I haven't encountered before. If anyone has gone through something like this before; if you've got any tips for avoiding common errors or confrontations between players, something I should be more nervous about than others.

I'm not really a "people person" and haven't been exposed to many new people over the past several months. I think I'm just nervous about accidentally screwing up and having a player berate me for it. If anyone has any advice for dealing in your first semi-serious setting, I would really appreciate it.
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  #2  
Old 10-30-2007, 03:59 PM
psandman psandman is offline
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Default Re: First time dealing for a casual tournament

You will make a mistake, maybe not this time, but eventually you will, I just keep in mind that this is just a game. Its not brain surgery, nobody dies when I screw up (even if some people act that way).
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  #3  
Old 10-30-2007, 04:39 PM
budblown budblown is offline
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Default Re: First time dealing for a casual tournament

If anyone starts complaining about mistakes just start singing "It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine"
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  #4  
Old 10-30-2007, 04:59 PM
Mr Rick Mr Rick is offline
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Default Re: First time dealing for a casual tournament

[ QUOTE ]
... I think I'm just nervous about accidentally screwing up and having a player berate me for it. If anyone has any advice for dealing in your first semi-serious setting, I would really appreciate it.

[/ QUOTE ]
It is natural to be nervous but I would suggest not getting obsessed about it. As psandman said, you will eventually make a mistake. Everybody does. And yes, there are some players who will get very upset and blame you personally for depriving them of money. These people are not worth losing sleep over.

The key thing, in any setting, when you make a mistake is how you handle it. Prior to dealing in this setting I would ask if they have written rules or guidelines. If they do, familiarize yourself with them.

Once a mistake is made, if you know what the proper procedure is to rectify the situation, then state it so everybody at the table knows what is going to happen, and then proceed from there. It gives the players a chance to object and call for a "Floor" decision if they believe you are wrong. Normally, the players will accept what you say (assuming it is right).

If you don't know what to do (even after the players have chimed in - which they will do), ask for help from your Floor supervisor (or Tournament Director). The alternative of trying to make up a solution could make the situation alot worse.

In either case, if a "Floor" decision is necessary make sure to preserve the situation, as best you can.

I always appreciate it when a dealer apologizes when he/she makes a mistake. It makes the situation more human and less adversarial, IMO.

Good luck. I hope you can enjoy the experience.
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  #5  
Old 10-30-2007, 05:03 PM
SellingtheDrama SellingtheDrama is offline
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Default Re: First time dealing for a casual tournament

Only advice is to be assertive and confident without being arrogant. If your body language tells them you are in charge, they will be more likely to accept your authority. If not, they'll try to run over you.
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  #6  
Old 10-30-2007, 05:38 PM
pfapfap pfapfap is offline
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Default Re: First time dealing for a casual tournament

Read as many of the "What's the decision?" posts on here (and in Home Poker) as you can. Also read up on the appropriate sections of Robert's Rules of Poker. I guarantee you'll run into something you haven't before.

For general dealing, try to be consistent and clean. Run the table. Here's a good order of procedure:

* Bring in antes (if any) only after EVERYONE has posted them.
* Deal.
* Bring in all pre-flop bets.
* Deal the flop.
* LEAVE the flop bets out and be very clear about rapping before burning and turning, while also announcing number of players. Once you deal the turn, bring in the flop bets.
* Repeat for river.
* Read EVERY TABLED HAND.
* Kill all face-down mucked hands before awarding any pot. DO NOT muck the board or the winner before pushing the pot, but you can push them aside to make chip-moving easier.
* Move the button.
* Shuffle and ask for antes and blinds.

This is the general procedure I use, and I think it's fairly standard. Having a routine helps you focus less on what you're doing and more on what's going on around the table. Leaving the flop/turn bets out while dealing the next card helps everybody see how many are left and it makes it very clear that the pot is right.

Outside of that, run your table. Indicate whose turn it is. (I don't like pointing, preferring to gesture or rest my hand in the direction of action... if you all know each other, use names.) Announce all action: "Calls 50, pass, pass, raise to 200, pass, call, raise to 500..." Also do this at the start of every street or if things are lagging: "Action's here." If people are acting out of turn, very forcibly say "TIME!" or "STOP!" and then again, "action is here".

A handy trick that works well for me is to count the players as I deal. Aside from just helping make sure everyone's dealt in, it helps establish a rhythm for each hand, so if I have eight players I know there are eight main beats around the table. It seems to put my brain in a bit of a mode where I don't have to remember everything, since I have an instinct of "okay, eight started, three passes, do a glance for five complete bets, move onto the next card". In other words, it helps prevent burning/turning too soon, and helps get onto the next card that much sooner.

And regarding counting in general, remember that humans are pretty good at instantly recognizing five or fewer, but have to stop to count six or more. So when you're bringing in antes or just keeping a mental log of how many people are left in the hand to make sure the pot is right or whatever, don't count them, just glance left and right. You'll never have more than five on either side, so it's a quick "3 + 4" type of thing you don't even have to think about. It sounds sort of silly, but it really works and shaves a few seconds off every time you have to count something.

Oh! Side-pots! This is where the most problems will likely occur. Here's how I do it: "This player is all-in for 750. There are one, two, three, four, five other players in for 1000, which is 250 more than the all-in. Five times 250 is 1250 in the side-pot, everything else in the main." Yes, I count it out while I talk. It may be overkill, but trust me you don't want anybody saying it wasn't done right. And be very clear on all streets what is the live pot. This gives everybody at the table the most opportunity possible to raise objection or correct a mistake. And if the all-in is less than half of the full bet, do it the other way (ie, "...six players match the all-in of 250 for 1500, the rest on the side"). If you have more than one all-in on a hand or it's too complicated to multiply (7 x 645, quick!), pull in the smallest bet from every stack first (NEVER take bets from one stack to another) and repeat as necessary. For multiple all-ins, it's handy to either stack the chips near the person or make an arrow out of them pointing or stack them up and slide a chip facing the direction of the person. When awarding, be very clear about "okay, you two are in for this pot, you show down first," and then moving on to the other side-pots.

If you get a heads-up all-in and call, DON'T bother to have players match the bet before showdown. It only wastes time, as very often one person will just win all the chips anyway. And if the shorter stack wins, don't bother counting if it's too big, just match stacks. Make sure the main pot is put very clearly aside, and bring the LOSER'S chips to the WINNER'S stacks, then putting matched stacks aside or in the pot.

And never EVER let players make change from other bets on the table until ALL ACTION is complete. And still don't let them do it. Players tend to get itchy about not having the right chips, but change is almost always able to be made from the main pot once action is done. If it's not, then you as the dealer take the oversized chip to someone NOT IN THE HAND and get change while being very obvious about what you're doing. For some other reason, players always seem to either ask for change while it's their action or ask for change from someone whose action it is.

So, er, yeah, that should get you started. Didn't mean to ramble on so much. Good luck! [img]/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]
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  #7  
Old 10-30-2007, 05:41 PM
pfapfap pfapfap is offline
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Default Re: First time dealing for a casual tournament

Okay, reading that over and the OP, that's probably all looks like overkill. I didn't mean to overwhelm you, but really having a clean and consistent procedure helps prevent errors and helps you relax and enjoy the game.

And the others are right... confidence without arrogance. The players give you more respect than you may think. Work it. And don't forget to smile and be helpful.
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  #8  
Old 10-30-2007, 05:58 PM
RThomas RThomas is offline
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Default Re: First time dealing for a casual tournament

This was great advice, not overkill at all. I will try to keep (most of) this in mind as I deal tonight. Thanks!
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  #9  
Old 10-30-2007, 06:02 PM
RR RR is offline
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Default Re: First time dealing for a casual tournament

[ QUOTE ]
LEAVE the flop bets out and be very clear about rapping before burning and turning, while also announcing number of players. Once you deal the turn, bring in the flop bets.

[/ QUOTE ]

I see this becoming more and more common and I hate it. I am a firm believer in bring the bets in before dealing. The little bit of time that is saved by the shortcut of leaving them out is all gone the first time something goes wrong (you can deal before the action is complete, someone can try to snag their bet, you can miss some of the action on the next card because you are pulling in bets, a player can become confused). Also this is the best time to verify that the number of chips is correct, once it is established it is a call i have moved on to the next player mentally but now when the action is complete I need to pull the chips in and make sure that stack of 6 chips doesn't have 5 or 7 in it.
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  #10  
Old 10-30-2007, 06:41 PM
pfapfap pfapfap is offline
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Default Re: First time dealing for a casual tournament

Hmm, interesting. I was trained to do it that way, and I like it. I see validity in all of your points, tho'. Every now and again I'll turn a card too quickly, and I do have to be careful not to miss action. We have mostly regulars, tho', so nobody really gets confused, and there have only been a few times I've ever thought the potential was there. Keep in mind I only deal LHE, though, so for a NL tourney, yeah, bringing them all in makes sense. That's probably what I do in my home games, now that I think about it. And there are times in LHE I'll bring them in early, like if two players are heads-up with overs and betting like nuts. There I'll take the time to show everyone plus cameras that bets are equal and that we care about protecting the players.

I'm curious about how much time it saves, though. In my thinking, a lot, easily a hand or two a down, which adds up to quite a bit over a week. If I think of it, I'll try testing it out next time I work, do some downs with pulling them in before dealing, see if I can discern any sort of pattern in the admittedly poor sample group.


So, er, yeah, nix the part about leaving out bets. I agree for a NL game/tourney, bad idea. But make sure to count them before dumping them in the pot.
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