I have been going to the casino between 7 pm and 10 pm each night, but last night I didn't get out until 12:30 am, so I decided to go to the neighborhood casino, Boulder Station, instead of the Bellagio, where I usually go. No real logic to this decision, but I did want to check the place out and see what my neighbors are like.
It turns out that about 75% of my neighbors are insane. Okay, that's not really a fair assessment; I shouldn't assume that people who decide to play low-limit half-kill Omaha at around 3 am on a weekday morning are representative of my average neighbor. More representative would probably be the people leaving home when I am returning at 6 am. Anyway, the Boulder Station poker room is complete chaos. Lee, the pit boss, is a nervous wreck who consistently makes poor decisions while bending over backwards trying to fulfill the many requests for table changes and chip rebuys from the players in the room. He becomes impatient with players, dealers, and (most often) himself if anything takes more than two seconds to be settled. This is in stark contrast to the pit bosses at the Bellagio, who spend most of their time chatting with the players, but still manage to fulfill all their pit bossing duties. Also at the center of the insanity at my table is a guy who I think is named Anthony, but who was also responding to "J.R." Anthony, a somewhat large black man, is talking continuously ("raise? Really? Why would you want to go and do something like that?"..."put a king out there dealer!"..."oh no! Hector the Connector is in!") and is trying to collect $25 chips whenever possible, which necessitates brief but frequent pauses in play when he asks the dealer for green chips, and also when the dealer has to make change for him whenever he bets. The dealers clearly know him and try in vain to employ any strategy to get him to shut up. A dealer named Mike tries telling Anthony he's changed his name and will not respond to "Mike" anymore, but this doesn't really help much. At the room's chaotic peak, Lee, who has just ended a confrontation with an Asian woman who was yelling something at him about table changes, tells Anthony that a seat at another table is open and he could take it. Anthony says "okay, right after this hand," and inexplicably Lee proceeds to walk around to my side of the table to tell the Asian guy sitting next to me that he can have the seat at the other table. The Asian guy gets up and moves (Anthony doesn't notice this). When Anthony realizes his seat at the other table is taken, he complains to Lee and Lee makes the Asian guy return to his seat next to me, but now Anthony can't decide which table he wants and plays a few hands at each table over the next five or ten minutes, making the Asian guy switch tables at least twice. The hispanic guy to my right is getting upset about the table switching and starts swearing and throwing his bets and cards. At one point he hits another player with a chip when he bets, and another time he throws the cards clear off the table while folding. Meanwhile, there is so much betting and raising in each hand that the dealers have almost given up bothering to try to make sure that the players are contributing the correct amont to each pot. When finally I get up to cash out, Lee is apologetic with his slowness in counting my chips despite his rather frenetic pace, and I have to tell him to take his time.
Despite the insanity, the poker room was pretty nice. They sell food at reasonable prices, they have a coffee maker and water cooler in the corner so I don't have to wait for the waitresses or give them tips, and they have above-average comps, including a $250,000 freeroll tournament that I qualify for if I play there for 50 hours this month (supposedly there could be 1000 players though...the tourney starts Sept 10). Still, I'm not sure if I can stand the chaos for another 45 hours. The only thing that will bring me back is the fact that the casino is less than five minutes away.