It’s a fact that women are underrepresented in poker. Whether at the tables or on the casino floor, seeing a woman is still the exception rather than the rule, so when I see a woman in a card room, I am always curious about her journey. This is Carolyn Uzeta’s story.
Carolyn ended up in a card room the same way many other women do: her boyfriend was a poker player. As she says, she was that woman who sat behind her beau listening to bad beat stories and offering support.
At the time, she was in college working as a cocktail waitress. She figured she may as well work at the card room where her boyfriend played, and that’s how she ended up at Hawaiian Gardens casino in 2000 when it was still just a tent, not the showplace it is today.
She worked in various positions in the casino until she ended up at a corporation banker. It was in that job that Carolyn realized she wanted to be a dealer, and knowing how difficult it was to get a dealer position in those days, she practiced until she finally auditioned for a dealer position.
She became a dealer, and now she is the Training and Development Manager at the newly-named Gardens Casino. She has two assistants and a team of trainers who ensure the Gardens Casino has some of the best dealers in the business.
There is an extensive training and continuing education process the dealers are put through from learning about customer service to training them to deal in such a way that a player should never notice any difference from dealer to dealer.
As Carolyn puts it, if a customer has a bad time, not only does the casino lose one player, but that player may tell 20 other people who may never step through the door because of that one negative experience.
And she is right. The poker scene in Los Angeles is a tight community, poker players talk, and word spreads like wildfire.
But dealers talk, too, and it is imperative that poker is a positive experience for all. Dealer abuse should never be tolerated.
Carolyn works hard to ensure her dealers are well-trained; we as players should always show appreciation for a job well done or call the floor if we need a ruling.
In poker as in life, everyone makes mistakes, and everyone deserves respect.
Patricia Chavira is a freelance writer and social media consultant specializing in poker. She writes a column called the “Poker Scene” for Gaming Today. Follow her on Twitter @pinkchippoker.