From the Changing Vegas Blog

SuperDealer Poker Course: Lessons 5 and 6 – Class Notes

Section 1: Dealing Mechanics

Lesson 5: CHEQUE BREAKDOWNS

Cheque Breakdowns refer to HOW you cut the cheques, how many piles there are, how many cheques are in each pile, etc.

Breakdowns are very important because one of the most difficult challenges for new dealers is counting large bets with a lot of cheques. By using proper breakdowns, it lets the security cameras and your supervisors quickly glance at a broken-down bet to verify if the bet is being correctly counted, or not.

See our YouTube video on Cheque Breakdowns for a visual reference.

By using proper breakdowns every time you size down a bet, it also lets your players be able to double check bets that other players are making. This is useful because astute players will know how to read the breakdowns, and it will help you quickly communicate to your players what the action is. This will help with game speed, as you won’t have to report back 2-3 times what the bet is. They can check for themselves while they’re thinking about the move they’re going to make.

Lesson Objectives:

1.) Learn about stack sizes, and how much money is in each stack of cheques.

2.) Learn how to break down large “all-in” bets quickly using proper sizing.

3.) Learn proper sizing for small bets.

Standard Cheque Colors and Full-stack Values

Here are the standard values assigned to each color of cheque:

White or Blue – $1

Red – $5

Green – $25

Black – $100

Purple – $500

Note: This is the Las Vegas standard, if you work out of state or your casino decides to customize the colors of their cheques, then adjust accordingly.

When you fill your game or have a lot of cheques in your chip rack, break them apart into stacks of 20 cheques each (more on this in a later lesson). This is important for game protection. Your bosses and Surveillance can clearly and quickly count how much money is on the game. 

For full stacks of cheques (20 count) the values are as follows. These breakdowns are important for dealers and supervisors to memorize, since they are used across most table games:

White or Blue – $20

Red – $100

Green – $500

Black – $2000

Purple – $10,000

Proper Sizing for Breaking Down Full Stacks of Cheques

These rundowns are for counting piles of cheques that are 10 or more. The general rule is that you want to break down your short stacks into piles of 5. There are a few exceptions, but we’ll get to those in a minute. 

See our YouTube video on Cheque Breakdowns for a visual reference.

Here are some examples:

EXAMPLE: Rundown: 17 white and 11 red:

Red – 5-5-1 = $55

White – 5-5-5-2 = $17

Total – $72

EXAMPLE: Rundown: 12 black and 14 red:

Black – 5-5-2 = $1,200

Red – 5-5-4 – $70

Total – $1,270

The only exception to this rule is when you’re cutting down green cheques ($25) and purple cheques ($500). When sizing out these cheques, you run them out in piles of 4. For these colors, break it down into 4’s instead of 5’s when you have 8 or more cheques to verify. The reason for this is that it’s a lot easier to count piles of $100 and $2,000 than piles of $125 and $2,500. 

Here are some more examples using green and purple

EXAMPLE: Rundown: 10 purple and 13 green:

Purple – 4-4-2 – $5000

Green – 4-4-4-1 – $325

Total – $5325

EXAMPLE: Rundown: 12 purple, 9 green, 15 red, and 12 white:

Purple – 4-4-4 – $6000

Green – 4-4-1 – $225

Red – 5-5-5 – $75

White – 5-5-2 – $12

Total – $6,312

So, the short version is: When you are breaking down cheques that are over 8 for purple and green, run them down in piles of 4. For every other color of cheque, if you have over 10 that you have to count, run them down in piles of 5.

Counting Large Bets Using Breakdowns

Now that we have learned our breakdowns, let’s combine that technique with our

knowledge of Full Stack Amounts to quickly count all-in bets.

See our YouTube video on Cheque Breakdowns for a visual reference.

Game Scenario: 

Let’s say a player throws in all of his red chips and yells “ALL IN!”

You can visually see it’s over 40 cheques, and the player who is next to act asks you… “How much?”

Now, it’s time to count the bet so you can report the action to the next player.

New dealers would sit there and cut out every cheque. It would be correct, but it would also really slow down the game. Since we know how much is in a full stack, we can shortcut the calculations. 

In this situation, here’s what you would do:

1.) Start grabbing cheques with your free hand (about 20, but it doesn’t have to be exact).

2.) Run down one stack of 20 cheques, then stack them.

Here’s the trick! You can use the stack to prove itself. You don’t have to run down any more cheques until you can’t make full stacks anymore. To do this, grab a bunch more cheques, and size into the stack of 20 you already made. If you’re careful not to knock over the cheques, you can even use other colors to size into the 20. You’re basically just using the first 20 stack as a measurement for the rest of the cheques. Then, when you can’t make full stacks anymore, run down the change.

This makes it very easy to count large bets, and should be practiced by new dealers.

BREAKDOWN DRILL VIDEO

Here is our YouTube training video on some Cheque Breakdown DRILLS that will help you with this technique.

Running Down Small Bets

When running down smaller stacks (less than 8 for green and purple; less than 10 for the rest), you are going to bridge the bet. 

What is Bridging?

“Bridging” refers to cutting the cheques into two equal piles, and placing the extra chip on top of the two stacks – if there is an odd number of cheques. By breaking it in half, both the players and the supervisors can clearly see how much the bet is. Do not bridge bets that are over 10 cheques.

Whew! That was a long one!

Breaking down bets properly is the key to counting large bets quickly. It also shows strong game protection, which bosses will be looking for when hiring dealers. Make sure you practice your cutting, sizing, and breakdowns as they are all essential cheque handling skills you will need to deal a poker game like a pro.

To buy the complete “From Zero to WSOP Ready!” Poker Dealer Course, visit: https://superdealer.teachable.com/p/superdealer-poker-course

 For $299, you can train to start a whole new career in gaming. The course includes weekly private, student-only Zoom calls with Dave, and ongoing encouragement and tips.

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