The other night, I went to sign up for the tournament. I paid my $330,
which was the buy in for that particular tournament. I gave my name,
which was written on the receipt, and then the very nice young lady
said, “Pick a card for you seat number.”
Now I don’t know how many hundred of times, I have gone through this
ritual. I do know every time I go through it, I am faced with the same
dilemma. Which one of those cards do I pick? Which one is the lucky
seat? Sometimes I go to the bottom of the pile and other times I just
close my eyes and grab one. If it happens to be one of the rare
occasions that my wife is with me, I let her pick the card. The truth of
the matter is, I really don’t think it makes a tinkers damn which one I
choose. So why am I always hesitating, sometimes changing from one
to the other? When I say I change from one to another, I mean the
cards are face down. so I don’t know which seats they are.
After a few seconds, I got what I hoped was the lucky card, gave the
number to the young lady, and continued through the line. All of sudden
I wondered if I was the only one that reacted like a superstitious, charm
carrying, fool. I decided to watch, paying close attention to everyone
else, and see how the other players chose their cards.
Let me tell you, I have no problem compared to some players! I saw
several people take a couple of minutes to pick a card. I have never
seen a dealer scramble the deck as good when asked, as some of the
people scrambling those seat cards. I saw people pick one up, lay it
down and then pick up another and then another. I felt like shouting,
“For heaven sake! Pick a card! Do you know something, that I don’t
Some players asked the sign in girl to pick a card for them. The girls
aren’t dumb and they always oblige the player. Who knows what might
happen if the guy they helped pick his seat, wins the tournament.
Hopefully, the above is a little humorous. What wasn’t funny was when I
saw a few players that tried to pick a certain seat, for some reason they
determined was better than the others. My educated guess is that they
were trying to pick one of the tables, that would be the last to break.
Most good players, that I talk to, will agree that you’re better off being
at one of the tables, that doesn’t break until the end. You can get a line
on the players that you are unfamiliar with, without having the table
break, and then going through the same process again and again.
Sometimes tournaments have an event called a “hold-em shootout”. This
is where nine players start at a table, and when the last man is left
standing, or in this case sitting, he has won his table, and then he
proceeds to play against all the other table winners. This is the prime
case where seat selection can be very important. This is where some
one who wants to break the rules, can really benefit. Let’s face it, you
pick a card. It says table 8, seat 4. You quickly look at the sign-in log.
You find table 8. Then you see--seat 5, David Chiu, seat 6, John Bonetti
seat 7, T.J. Cloutier. Forget about it, that seating card goes back into the
There are other cases where unscrupulous people might take advantage
of the system. Let’s say two guys want to team up and collude. They
just accidentally get at the same table, which is one of the last tables to
break. They can do all sorts of things, especially if it is a multiply rebuy
Now obviously it would be easy to blame the whole thing on the sign-in
girls. But in truth, they are usually busy trying to collect the money, write
the players name on the receipt, pass out the food coupons, and/or
sometimes a free gift. They probably have been instructed not to let
anyone pick and choose a seat; but as I said, they are busy, and
besides who wants to be the bad guy for such a seemingly insignificant
Some of the tournaments have computerized seating. This is obviously
one answer to the problem. You pay your money, they type your name
into the computer, and then out pops your seat number. No worrying
about which is the lucky card. No scrambling the cards. No earth
shattering decisions to make. It’s in the hands of fate. Another method
would be to use a blackjack shoe. The seating cards are randomly
placed in the shoe, and the sign in person just slides a card out of the
shoe, and that’s your seat.
The best part about eliminating the ability to pick and choose our seats
is that some people won’t keep getting just a “little the best of it”, by
being at the last table to break, or at a table with a “friend, “or with
some of the players that are thought to be weaker.
For what it's worth ...
Pick a Card, Any Card
By Vince Burgio