How to Deal Poker – Part 1

Dealing in various casinos for over a decade I know about whipping cards across a felt. For a writing exercise, I reminisced about my poker days and provided step-by-step instructions on dealing. I didn’t include the entire piece here, but will add Part 2 at a later date.

As always, thanks for stopping by. Love, Jaclynn

You’ll need the proper uniform; button-down, long-sleeved collared shirt, black pants, and black shoes. Different establishments require different colored shirts, so expect to wear red, black, or white.

Show up to your job at least 10 minutes early. You will need to get an idea of which dealers are going home and coming on shift, as well discuss if you’re willing to stay late or go home early at the end of your shift.

The next step involves grabbing a tray and setting up your bank. The shift manager might have done this already (if they had some downtime early in the day); otherwise, you’ll need to make your own. How much the bank will be depends on the casino, but let’s pretend it’s $300. In this case, you’ll get two stacks of 20 in $1 chips, two stacks of 20 in $2 chips, four stacks of 20 in $3 chips, and one stack of 20 in $5 chips. Once you’ve filled your tray with these chips, make sure to grab a “cut card,” a few “big blind” and “small blind” buttons, and a couple of “out” buttons.

The manager on duty will have a diagram of what table you will go to and the order. At about one minute before the top of the hour, walk behind the dealer at the table and tap them on the left shoulder. When they finish the hand, they will thank the table and exit to the right, and as they do, you’ll enter and sit on the left.

After you sit, greet the table, and say hi to your favorites. You can use this time to raise or lower the chair to ensure you’re comfortable for the next 30 minutes.

Now you’re ready to deal!

Go ahead and pick up the cards that are halved and stacked in front of you, and with the same hand, press the green light on the shuffle machine. After inserting the cards into the empty slot on the right, you’ll take the shuffled deck from the left side of the device and set them in front of you.

For a poker dealer, there are many rules, some make sense and some don’t. Use one hand to cut the cards, leaving the other slightly upright. Why upright? Some say it’s to present to the table and to the cameras there’s nothing in your hand. Oh yeah, you’re on camera too!

With the cards cut, it’s time to deal. Pick up the cards and set them in your non-dominant hand. Poker dealing is challenging for lefties, so they’re often taught to deal right-handed. I know this was true for me!

Locate the “dealer button” and deal the first card to the person to the right of it. Continue dealing one card at a time until each person has two cards. Now it’s on the players to act – bet, fold, raise, or call – and you’ll be overseeing all of this, like an umpire watches plays, just in case you’re called to rule on a discrepancy.

If a player goes all-in for less than the bet, it will be your job to make their “pot right,” which is hands down the most complicated part of the job. If you’re trained correctly, it should go smoothly.

An example is if the bet is $8, but Player A only has $4, and Player B only has $5. Player A will only be eligible to win the smallest pot of money, or the “main pot.” Player B is eligible for the main pot and some of the following side pot. If Players C and D continue to bet against one another, they will create another side pot. It is your job to remember who is eligible for what pot and ensure the pot has the correct amount of money.

Mark my words; the players are watching!

To be continued….

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