Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a dealer on the circuit grind? Have a question about behavior, etiquette, or anything else related to running a poker game? Do you want to know what dealers really think about while they’re pitching cards? What it takes to become a dealer? How you should treat dealers? Are dealers people, too?
Send your questions for The Dealer Chick (TDC) to firstname.lastname@example.org, and read on for more advice, adventures, and real talk about life on the road for a traveling poker dealer.
Dealing, Dating and Road Hook-Ups
Hi Dealer Chick,
It seems like a lot of the same dealers show up at every event. It also seems like the group is fairly tight-knit and hangs out away from the job. As a regular circuit player, I can’t help but wonder if the group is a giant petri dish of shared sexual experiences and DNA by now? Am I right?
Not Minding My Own Business (Sorry, Not Sorry)
Dear Sorry, Not Sorry,
The Dealer Chick
Oh, hell, that won’t make my word count. I’m supposed to offer up the “What happens on the road, stays on the road,” line of baloney, but what fun is that? What happens on the road happens in every workplace. The difference is, our workplace is everywhere. I’m not banging Bob in accounting and talking about it over the office water cooler, but word on the road still travels fast, and the dynamic is way more interesting.
When you work the road, traveling from gig to gig and rooming with poker family, you do what you must to make ends meet. Sometimes you bunk four to a room to save money. Sometimes you share a room with one other person. When a male dealer and female dealer room together to cut costs, it doesn’t automatically mean they’re sleeping together. Often, we choose our roommates because we trust them to pay their half of the bill on time, be a clean roommate and not steal our stuff while we’re at work. Those qualities are harder to come by on the road than a no-strings-attached piece of ass.
It’s funny that you limited your question to only the dealers who frequent every stop, as if the players and the supervisors don’t get in on this action, too. Let’s assume we’re talking about people (on either side of the felt) who are single. Not because the married folks don’t partake, but the marriage question brings up a whole other discussion regarding personal ethics that isn’t the point of this article. As far as what I will discuss, let it be clear that I’m not judging anyone for two reasons: it’s not my place, and I’d be as guilty as anybody (bow-chica-wow-wow).
It’s common practice for two dealers to hook-up during an event (often anywhere from 12 to 21 days long) and then part ways once they have their envelopes. They may both attend their next event together, but the deal is that once the gig is done, they’ll be in the clear for new experiences with different people. What that means is this: they’ll hang out at the next event as friends or in groups, but sexually they might both be involved with someone else and it’s okay. Nobody’s going all fatal attraction. But almost as often, people who get together on the road stay together and eventually travel together, and some even marry.
For those who find a connection on the road, it’s priceless. This life isn’t easy. Usually, when I meet a guy at home and I tell him what I do for a living, he has a negative reaction. Either he swears that when I leave, he’ll be okay with it and then isn’t, or he just decides it’s not worth the hassle. I can’t speak to the experience of the men who travel, but as a woman, it’s hard. Finding a potential mate who is accepting of their significant other working in an industry that is dominated by lonely males with empty hotel rooms isn’t easy. If you tell them you can’t call them every night because you’re grinding a 12-hour shift and you’ll be in the box all day, they don’t buy it. Instead, they blow up your phone and send you nasty texts accusing you of screwing half the circuit. Okay… that could’ve just a guy I used to see, but the point is still valid.
Naturally, it’s easier for all involved to turn to someone who understands and condones your life style. That means your pool of love interests includes dealers, supervisors and poker players. I had a friend tell me that casino life is like military life. Those who are in it move around a lot, they occupy a different world than other people and it’s a world very few outsiders understand.
When you sit across from a guy as you sip your glass of wine on that first date and he asks you what you do and you say traveling poker dealer, he’s enamored. He wants to hear all the stories about big hands and final tables and famous people. But he doesn’t want to date you. Because if he’s looking for something serious, he wants a girl who’s going to be around. And if he’s not, and you both happen to be agreeable to hooking-up when you’re in town, guess what? Your schedules will never align. You know whose schedules align with yours? People in your industry.
I went to Kansas City and met a player that I ended up having sex with at various gigs across the country. We weren’t dating, but when the sex is good, it beats trying to find a new partner. Besides, he owed me money, what better way to collect? He was exceptional in bed, don’t judge me. I have a player that I might hook-up with when I get to Vegas. Only in Vegas, only during the series. I can’t say I have one in every port, but I long ago realized there’s no martyrdom in masturbation.
So, yeah, we live, travel, work, play and sleep together. Not everyone, not with everyone, maybe not even with most. But our lives are no different than the lives of those who work 9-5 in the same place every day. I like to think of event excursions as mini-relationships that, like Michael Jordan, know how to end on a high note. I once gave another dealer a ride from Las Vegas to another gig.
In between, we stopped in Austin, where I live. We had a ten-day break. During that time, we enjoyed hanging out together, cooking for each other, shopping together, sleeping together. We basically played house. When we got to the next stop, he went his way and I went mine. It culminated in more than a week of intimacy – sexual and emotional – that was not bound by expectation. Not a bad way to spend ten days.