An Open Letter to the WSOP: Launch a Respect Our Dealers Campaign at the 47th Annual WSOP


Lee Davy urges the World Series of Poker to consider a ‘Respect our Dealers’ campaign, and many other dealer directed changes, at the 47th Annual WSOP.

Dear WSOP,

Thanks for your hospitality during the 46th Annual World Series of Poker (WSOP). You saw a lot of shit hit your fan – mostly from the asses of bulls. I’m talking about the complaints you received regarding the live updates. I found it hilarious that the masses were complaining about the lack of media coverage, and yet your decision to bring the axe down hard onto the neck of PokerNews meant the average punter received more media output than ever before.

An Open Letter to the WSOP: Launch a Respect Our Dealers Campaign at the 47th Annual WSOP The other complaint that made me giggle like a little schoolgirl applying mascara onto her brother’s Eagle Eye Action Man was the one about the cards. I’m not a professional poker player, but they looked fine when they glided under my fingernails.

So when I return for the 47th Annual WSOP I couldn’t give two shits if PokerNews are there, or if your playing cards are still coming from Italy. What I care about are your dealers: the masters of patience who sit on invisible cushions of air waiting for the pins to come out.

It’s no secret that I worked in the rail industry for 19-years. When I left the core was as rotten as a piece of apple that had fallen behind the toaster in a kitchen that only gets cleaned once a year. The people who were paid to clean didn’t give a fuck about the people working in the kitchen. It’s not that they didn’t care for people; the machine was too big. Nobody had a name. They were all just silhouettes.

Culture is critical in any organization. But where does it come from? It’s not created. Start-ups don’t have a culture when the jaws of the tills yawn for the very first time. Behavior creates culture. If you treat your customers like the Belle of the ball then that becomes your culture. If you treat your employees like a ham and mustard sandwich then that becomes your culture.

Everyone is capable of piss poor, average, and illuminating work. Trying to bring them all up to par in a command and control way will not work. Instead, you have to introduce the right environment. Stick wild animals in a nature reserve and watch them flourish, stick them in a cage and watch them slowly walk around in a circle as madness invades their brain like crickets in some biblical tale.

The environment that I witnessed was one of fear, intimidation and crude crap comedy. The people who said hello were few. The same people said goodbye. But in between the coming and the going there were too many people prepared to passively-aggressively abuse the person in the middle. That’s an environment that will lead to a shitty job. A shitty job leads to a shitty culture.

I would like to see you support your dealers in the run up to the 47th Annual WSOP. I am sure you will receive the support of the many. The few can go and fuck themselves. There was a time when racist chants were rife in soccer. To improve the situation the organization policy makers created campaigns to push racism out of the game. Players and fans alike came together to attack the problem. Posters, t-shirts, and banners all making it very clear that this problem would not be tolerated.

I would like this to happen in 2016. I want to see a campaign designed to show more respect to our dealers. It will be worth every penny.

When I look at your dealers, some are happy, some are sad, and then there are the ones who look like people caught by accident in the background of a black and white Polaroid picture. I think the most apt word is soulless. Their hands are busy, but their eyes are gone-like a drunk staring into the tits of a woman working the pole.

People are waiting to do great work. Let them. There is far too much red tape. Hire a hundred hummingbirds and let their wings cut them to shreds. Trust your dealers: give them autonomy and responsibility. Don’t treat them like children. They are pallid lifeless effigies. They are waiting for the Wizard of Oz’s giant helium filled balloon to drift by so they can catch hold of the rope and the get the fuck out of dodge.

People who are treated like children return work that is made by children. I don’t want to see another dealer put his hand up. They are seemingly incapable of making a decision, and when they try, they have the words FLOOR shoved down their throat like a tube heading down the windpipe of the kid who thought Viagra were blue M&Ms. You are creating a culture of non thinkers. They are the robots before the robots, only these are flesh and bone. Allow each dealer to rule his own roost. If you don’t they will find another nest. Attrition is a virus you don’t want to have.

Before we let a thousand dealers loose on the world they need to be trained. Give them the tools to do their job. There needs to be improvements made in their training. Let’s create more world-class dealers. You already have them, but make sure your training churns out more.

Working longer hours allows you to get away with poor execution. I know the logistics of manning the Colossus was difficult, but having dealers fall asleep whilst doing their job is not the answer. You need them to work better hours, not more hours.

It’s also a little worrying when I hear each dealer repeatedly telling me that they have worked 12hrs+. I get this when I am in a taxi sometimes. I don’t want to hear it. I get out of the taxi; I can’t leave your table. Don’t work them too hard, because all you will get are a lot of complaints from your customers.

These words are not my own although they came to me when I was alone. But I am confident that many of your customers feel the same way. I am always glad to see how innovative you are with your series. There have been many successes this year – too many to count. Next year I would like to see you take your experiential eyes and cast them on the people who are the heart of the WSOP.

I am talking about Elvis, John, Paul, Angie and the guy who looks like Donald Sutherland: the dealers of the WSOP – the heart of your organization.

Yours sincerely,

Your Biggest Fan
Lee Davy


views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of