Generally speaking, dealers are the unsung heroes of the poker world.
Dealers have the high-pressure job of dealing hand-after-hand without a mistake. They have to calculate rake on the fly and ensure players follow the rules and observe etiquette. The stakes are high for them too. And their basic pay is low enough that tips are vital to make up their weekly paycheck to something livable. They even do it in a pandemic, when being a dealer must feel like being a frontline worker.
Yet they do all this so we can play the game we love. And a lot of us are real tools.
So it’s a surprise when one of them acts out. As in the case of the Aria dealer who got in a fight and ended up chasing a customer around the table. Several people posted footage of the altercation to YouTube over the weekend and the dealer has been subsequently fired.
Aria regulars knew the dealer in question as “Patches”. The local poker community loved him and knew him as an even tempered fella. “madlex” on 2+2 describes him as a “laidback guy.”
It appears from the video (below) that a customer attacked him in his dealer box, pushing him back onto the table against the plexiglass dividers. There are also allegations in the comments that the customer was delaying the game, threw beer on Patches, and used the n-word.
Unfortunately, Patches appears to have lost his cool and chased the customer around the tables (see the video below which appears to occur after the video above).
For this, Patches has understandably lost his job.
Safety in the workplace
Less understandably, sources on the 2+2 forum are claiming the Aria is suing Patches. This is to cover the costs of the customer suing the Aria. Additional 2+2 commenters even suggest the police had arrested Patches on assault charges.
What is striking for the full length of both the videos there is no sign of the Aria’s security. It appears from the video that the customer broke the fight up, not security.
This is worrisome. A large part of a casino’s draw is that security is famously tight. You don’t want to get your wad out if no-one’s watching for pickpockets. The Aria’s security team should have been at that table the minute the customer got in the dealer’s face.
That security didn’t notice a 6 ft+ dealer getting into a fight, seems positively Clouseau-esque.
It seems possible that the Aria is operating on a lower level of staff for the duration of coronavirus. But whatever the reason, it seems clear that they failed to protect either dealer, customer, or both in this scenario.
The poker community responds
Many commenters on the 2+2 forums take the view that there is no excuse for violence, even the violence of others. To them, Patches was justifiably fired when he went after the player after the fight was split up. It is hard to argue with that.
However, Patches’ popularity with Aria regs means that on the whole, the meta-media narrative comes down on his side.
Players like Fara Galfond have come out in support of Patches. Tweeting, “If you’ve played poker at Aria, you’ve had the total pleasure of being dealt by the legend that is “Patches”. This sweet man was recently berated & attacked (beer thrown on him) & he did what we all would have done. He snapped. His license will be lost.”
Marle Cordiero came on the side of Patches too. Tweeting that even though she barely plays the Aria, “Patches left an impression on [her] as he does most people. He’s a great guy.”
In fact, Patches’ popularity with the poker community has resulted in a huge charity effort to help with his living expenses and defense fund. A gofundme page for Patches, has already surpassed its goal of $2,500 by over $23,000.
Click here if you want to donate to it. It is an excellent time of year to tip your dealer.
Featured image source: Twitter