Every week freelance writer Paul Seaton takes a comedic look at some crazy scenarios in the world of poker, and this week he’s exploring the chaos that would ensue if there were no dealers!

Every poker tournament has them, every cash game relies on them too, yet they are ever changing and you don’t often see the same one twice. Dealers. An ever-present at tournaments such as the World Series of Poker, European Poker Tour and Super High Roller Bowl, poker dealers have become a staple of the poker industry. Without them, no games would run…or would they? What if…. there were no poker dealers?

For the sake of this thought experiment, let’s pretend like the final bad-beat filled rant pushed them all to the brink, and one day there will be nobody left to deal the games!

The Anti Bad Beat Association (A.B.B.A.) will lead to the formation of the Society Of Associated Poker & Entertainment Dealers (S.O.A.P.E.D.) and after a brief rendition of Dancing Queen followed by a wash, they’d demand danger money and a stalemate felt across the world would develop.

The poker authorities would propose better money, of course they would, but with dealers all turning to their own superhero, legendary dealer-turned-poker-player Shaun the Dealer, he’d evaluate the offer and tweet a single response out to the world.

‘No Deal.’

Deal With It!

Suddenly, from the Aria to the Bellagio, it would be players burning and turning for themselves.  At the lowest level, this happens already of course. From home games at the kitchen table to a $40 re-entry at your local bar, players still deal themselves their own bad beats. But at the World Series of Poker, the U.S. Poker Open or in Poker After Dark? How on Earth would that end well?

Week One would see a blow-up of epic proportions at the Poker After Dark felt when Phil Hellmuth takes a full sixty minutes withholding the reveal the river to fellow legend Daniel Negreanu unless he swears blind that basketball is a better game than ice hockey. With the Mexican stand-off only ending when Doyle Brunson nominates himself tournament director just to give the Poker Brat a one-round penalty, chaos would be king and poker viewers, though entertained, would have witnessed no hands an hour for the first time.

Week Two would begin with the greatest summer of World Series of Poker action in years delayed by negotiations as S.O.A.P.E.D. attempt to reach an agreement. With Shaun the Dealer and a consortium of poker players meeting around a table in the Rio, a deal to never speak about bad beats ever again is mooted. Sadly, it’s just been agreed when Brandon Cantu, waiting to play Level 1 of Day 1a, mutters that the deal with the dealers is the worst bad beat of all time.

With discussions shelved for Day 1a, players head to the tables and pandemonium ensues. Newbies are being sharked left, right and centre. Hollywood actor Matt Damon is the chip leader after the first two levels only for other players to complain to no-one in particular that the player in Seat 5, a hooded figure registered as E. Norton, appears to be dealing from the bottom of the deck.

With too many disputes to mention, the Series is postponed until an agreement can finally be reached. Talking long into the night, Shaun the Dealer outlast every other player for energy, and is heads-up with Brian Rast after 18 hours of negotiation. The two men agree on a practical deal that bars talk of any bad beats in perpetuity from poker players and also restricts dealers from telling players how they would have played the hand if they’d been sat behind the chips.

With dealers back in their chairs the next day, poker would return to normal, and a new United Players and Novice Dealers Do Only Want  Normality (U.P.A.N.D.D.O.W.N.) would become the guiding light in the poker world. The new union would go on strike against poker media the very next day after Shaun the Dealer, now playing the Main Event is asked by a live poker reporter what his favourite two cards are.

Guess what? PokerGO still has some of the best dealers in the world running the games and with more than 100 days of live poker every single year, you better sign up now to not miss another minute of action.


Daniel Negreanu, Brian Rast, Edward Norton, Matt Damon