On the edge of extinction

Prop Tales

By Bill Patty

For more than 10 years now I have worked to be the best poker player and poker prop that I can be. For the last three-plus years I have shared with you the challenges and experiences I have encountered while grinding out a modest living.

The odds are now further stacked against me.

We all know that the number of cash players has diminished. Of those left, some have just turned poker into another form of gambling instead of attempting to become better players at a game of skill. Raising in the dark, capping with any two cards, and playing entire hands of limit Hold’em without looking have become too common.

Many of the rest—the glory day survivors—are pretty good players. Others, with whom I often play in Vegas, have enough money that winning or losing is of no consequence.

All of this has made it harder for serious poker players to show a significant profit. We must pay extra attention to the type of player we are up against, and things like money management have become even more important.

If all of that isn’t enough, I now have to deal with reduced hours of work. Apparently there has been a shift in thinking when it comes to the value of poker props. When I started propping in 2009 there were somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 full-time props in our two local cardrooms. Today, there are six total props left and none of us work full time.

I get that fewer poker players means less profit for the cardrooms, but to me using props less is like canceling your health insurance after you get sick. But hey, I’m no genius of economics or business, consequently I don’t have all the answers.

Yes, I am frustrated. However, being a poker prop is what I prefer to do and maybe after further consideration our hours and/or positions will be reinstated. I know I speak for Hero, Judy, Zack, Victor and Ricky when I say that we all appreciate and enjoy our jobs. We have all done a lot to benefit our cardrooms over the years. We are all-in!

People and Places

Unfortunately, poker props are not the only ones on the poker endangered species list. The good people of the Tachi Palace Poker Room in Lemoore have been given notice that their room will close in March. Do you remember going to Tachi in the early 2000s when they had the poker tent? I loved it! Thank you to all the current and former cardroom employees who made Tachi a quality poker option. I hope the poker world survives the current negative swing and we all avoid extinction.

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