Section 1: Dealing Mechanics –
Lesson 3: SIZING CHEQUES –
Sizing is a dealing mechanic you should work on alongside Cutting.
Similar to Cutting Cheques in the last lesson, proper Sizing technique is essential to both game speed and game protection. All the same points about hands per hour in the last lesson are also relevant here, as all of the cheque techniques are used in combination while dealing a live game.
Lesson Objective: Learn the proper cheque cutting technique.
Sizing refers to running out a stack into equal piles to make counting large amounts of chips easier. Remember, cutting is the initial measurement and sizing is running out the rest of the chips. Just like cutting, make sure you’re practicing running out stacks of 20 cheques at a time. Again, the reason this is important is because casinos measure out full stacks of cheques in 20s.
You want every action you take to be as clear as possible, so that if the surveillance cameras need to run back footage on the game due to a problem, they can see that you are following proper dealing procedures and running a proper poker game. Proper sizing technique is very important in this regard.
This technique is tricky to explain on paper, so please refer to our YouTube channel. Follow along with the Lesson #3 as a visual aid.
The grip and finger placement is very important in order to keep cheques from spilling anywhere, so follow these steps when you’re practicing cutting.
1) Cut out a small pile of cheques from your 20 stack.
This is your initial cut that you are going to use to run out the rest of your stack. I would practice in cuts of 3s, 4s, and 5s. These are going to be your most common measurements when you initially cut while running a poker game. Extra practice with these three amounts is beneficial for new dealers.
2.) Keep your pinky, ring finger, and middle finger on the side of the stack.
You do not cut with any of these fingers; they are there simply to help push and guide the chips along the table and keep the 20-stack from tipping over when you’re moving it around the table. The way to hold the stack is in a spider web grip, where your fingers are spread out so you can hold the whole stack without it spilling everywhere.
3.) Keep your thumb in the back and at the very bottom of the stack as a lever.
This is very important. Your thumb is going to be your lever. When you go to cut with your pointer finger, this lever will separate the stack from the chips that you cut out on the table. Remember, you are going to make an initial cut, then sizing refers to matching equal piles to that initial cut. By keeping your thumb in the back, it ensures that your stack will separate properly and not spill.
4.) Push your stack on the table so that it is next to your initial cut.
Place your 20-stack next to your initial cut.
5.) Use your pointer finger to prove the cut as you follow through into your cheque stack.
Proving the stack refers to running your pointer finger across the top of your initial cut, and following through into your 20-stack. This is very important for game protection, because it ensures to the camera and any bosses watching the game, that you are indeed equally matching the piles with the initial cut.
This is a huge problem when new dealers are learning to cut cheques, since a lot of new dealers try to guess or pull back the stack to separate the cheques, instead of proving them. This is poor game protection, and a big no-no for professional dealers.
6.) Follow Through with proving the cut into your stack.
If you carry on through to your stack after proving the cut, then your thumb should stop the stack from sliding back on the table, separating out an amount equal to the cut.
This is the tricky part, and again I encourage you to watch the YouTube video so you have a visual aid to make sure you get your technique down right. I compare proper cutting with it looking like a Pac Man mouth.
7.) Once you separate the stack, lift up and pull back.
Again, if your thumb is in the proper spot and you’re following through after proving the stack, then the cheques should separate into a pile equal to your initial cut. Once this happens, lift up the extra cheques and pull back. If done properly, there should now be two equal piles.
8.) Repeat until the full 20-stack runs out.
After this, rinse and repeat for the rest of the 20-stack. When you’re done, there should be several piles of cheques all in equal measurements to each other.
STEPS TO SIZING CHEQUES
Here’s a quick recap for your reference:
- Cut out a small amount of cheques.
- Slide the rest of your stack next to the cut pile.
- Prove the stack – thumb in the back.
- Follow through – this should separate out the chips if it is done properly.
- Lift up and pull back.
Lesson 4: CUTTING AND SIZING DRILL
Your main goal right now is table time. Practice, Practice, Practice, your basics! Break-in dealers often have poor cutting and sizing mechanics, so making sure you stand out in this area will go a long way in getting you noticed and hired during your audition.
THE IMPORTANCE OF SIZING CHEQUES
Especially in poker, sizing is incredibly important. When people bet, you’re going to be constantly checking their amounts and making sure they’re putting enough money in the middle. Quick and efficient sizing also helps when players make large bets or All-in bets, as it allows you to quickly count and verify large amounts of money.
The #1 thing that slows down my poker students the most is All-in bets. They are usually so focused on running the game, learning the hands, etc, that they neglect their basic sizing and cutting techniques. You don’t want game slow downs, as it’s going to directly affect how much money the house is making because you’re dealing less hands per hour. More importantly, game slow downs also affect your opportunities for tips from players.
Take it slow at first, try not to get frustrated, and focus on Solid Technique.
Speed will come with time. Your attention to the basics will pay off. Just know that it’s incredibly hard to break any bad habits you learn early on in your career if you teach yourself the wrong techniques.
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