Had a recent trip to the local Gala casino in Leeds for a cash session. My experience was, well, to be blunt, horrible. There’s a clear difference between how UK casinos see poker in comparison to the rest of the word and it simply leads me to ask the very simply question, why? My session was a winning one, yet I walked away feeling pretty angry, on tilt, and in fact went home at 4am and watched Rounders in HD to make me feel good about poker again..!
The night started off with a shambles of a waiting list. There was a piece of paper and a pen on an empty table, so my friend Dave and I wrote our names down (10th names downish) and decided to wait and see what would unfold. There was no floor manager walking around, and simply 2 £0.50/£1 tables (resembling $1/$2). On table 2 there was an empty seat… We decided to watch for a while, see what happens. 20 minutes later that seat was still empty, and in fact another one had opened up as well. There was no one stood around, no one claiming any of the empty seats, and the dealer not doing anything to signal it was reserved. Naturally, Dave and I decided to sit down.
Upon sitting down, 2 guys came up to us, and started complaining as they were a few names above us on the waiting list. I exclaimed that the seat I’d taken had been open up 20 minutes and no one had claimed it, to which the response was simply “it doesn’t matter, I was earlier than you on the list.” I ask Maddie, the dealer at the table, what her thoughts were as I’d imagine this decision is up to the people running the place to which she replied in quite a moody tone:
“It’s not up to me… Though he’s earlier so you should move”
I was a little stunned in all honesty. What she was saying in essence, was that empty seats are reserved indefinitely, and that players on the list have priority even after a seat has been taken…. To prevent alienating myself further, I gave up the seat and continued to wait.
Shortly after, a man with a stud earing who looked more like he was ready for a night out rather than running a casino floor walked past. He seemed to be some sort of boss as he mostly sat behind a desk next to the roulette tables… (If this is the poker desk, why is it in the roulette area..?). Anyway, I asked him about the waiting list and he explained higher people have priority. I explained the situation and how it was quite unfair, to which he replied “ok” and turned his back to me and walked off… To be fair, I was very friendly and trying to provide some constructive criticism, to which he was simply not interested.
Unfortunately the night got worse…
When sat at the table, 3 quite drunk men came and sat to the right. I’m used to drunks at a poker table from my time in Vegas, so this is nothing new. I knew I’d have to put up with some swearing, a bit of abuse, and a bit of blatant cheating… What I didn’t exepct was for these 3 things to happen almost every hand for 2 hours with no repercussions.
I’m going to repeat just a couple of phrases that were used without any response from one of the 2 dealers that dealt (one of them being our earlier Maddie):
1) “If you fucking call I’m going to fucking knock you out”
2) “This dealer is fucking shit. He’s not cut out for this fucking level” (due to one mistake talking about dealing a 0.50/1 game at a local casino in Leeds…. not the WSOP final table…)
3) “FUCK, I folded XX”
Now, I like to think I’m fair, and I can ignore the odd statement, but it was literally every hand, and for 2 or 3 hours not one dealer said anything… If a player complained, maybe something would be done about it, but why should I have to publicly complain and alienate myself to enforce that rules are in place?
Let’s compare this to a recent trip to Edgewater Casino in Vancouver, Canada.
I went into the place – There was an LCD screen with the waiting list on and all the tables for that cash game. I went to the clearly marked poker desk and added my name. I was given a buzzer and when a seat free’d up, it buzzed and I could take my seat.
When at the table, it was friendly and there were a few drunks. Every now and then the odd profanity slipped out. After 2 or 3 times, the friendly dealer explained we’re here for fun but try not to swear. The drunky apologised, had a laugh, we all had a good time and it was fun. What a huge difference……
Is the above just a pipe dream for what could be in England? Or will the casinos listen to the players and one day create a fun playing environment where we don’t walk away feeling like we’ve just played at the local police station holding area…. Hmmm
Disappointing, but at least it was a winning session right?
Anyway, that’s a wrap for this post. Folding time, see ya!
@my_casinos is the Gala twitter handle. After tweeting about my issues it appears Gala are going to follow this up and maybe take some action… Quite interesting, another reason why twitter is just brilliant. Anyway, I’ll update with any further details that may come out of this! And well done to Gala for embracing twitter but let’s hope it actually does cause action to be taken!
Tweet me @thejsug !