Connecting and Disconnecting

By Bill Patty

I have had several jobs I loved in my lifetime. During all of those jobs (emergency medical technician, teacher, parent, chef), the one thing I always did in my spare time was play poker. I love poker! Now, my job as a poker prop allows me to make a living playing poker. What a life!


Recently, when the idea for this column was still rolling around in my head, my friend Larry Mathers came to the 500 Club Casino to bring me some of the new Clovis Rodeo posters. As I was talking to him, the idea became complete.

Loving to play poker has some great benefits. One of them is connecting with good people like Larry, who happens to be an excellent tournament player. He lets me know all the happenings of the Clovis Rodeo every year, and when he has a question about the makeup of a no-limit game or a tournament question, I give him my opinion.

All of this led me to think about the personal and professional connections I have made since working in the casino business. If I need electrical work or general home repair, I call my friend Richard. If I have a real estate question, I ask Vickie. If I know Chan is cooking, tepanyaki for dinner it is! If I need professional painting done, Ali is the man. Would I like a good table at a local Mexican restaurant? My air conditioner fixed? A lawyer? Mechanical work? I’ve made all these connections from playing the game we all love.

I am most thankful for the personal friends I have made playing poker. Ben Wong and I just had dinner together this evening. Mike and Kellen and I will be gearing up for Fresno State football again before you know it. Go Dogs! Randy and I may start a new business together soon. To name all the people I enjoy seeing at the casino would be impossible, but you know who you are. Thank you all for making an often crazy job a great personal experience.


As we all know, taking time to relax is important. Although playing poker in my spare time is very relaxing, working as a prop has many pitfalls. I have taken very little time off since I began working in casinos in 2009. That is my mistake.

As this column goes to press, however, I will be soaking up the desert sun and hiking the trails of Saguaro National Park. For me, that is total relaxation!

With Laughlin the halfway point between here and there, I am pretty sure playing Omaha as I look out at the Colorado River from the Riverside Casino is in the cards. (Sorry. I couldn’t help it!) A poker vacation in the middle of another vacation? Does disconnecting get any better? I think not!

People and Places

I would like to acknowledge Ted and his staff at Casino Real in Manteca. From the minute I walked in the door last month, I was a happy customer. Ted is the kind of person that puts customer service first, and nobody appreciates that more than I. The casino itself is no frills, but the promotions and the skilled and efficient staff more than make up for it. I also found the game selection more than adequate. I am definitely keeping Casino Real on my list of enjoyable places to play poker in the Central Valley.

I would also like to say a special “thank you” to Mary Clark, who edits and types this column for me.

Until next time, enjoy your game and call me when I bet the river.