Wednesday, 22nd March 2023 05:52
Home / PSPC / Elite dealer Jerome on the other side of the table

In his high-octane introduction to the PokerStars Players No Limit Hold’em Championship (PSPC) this afternoon, Bruce Buffer pitched the tournament as “the Platinum Pass winners versus the pros”.

That’s certainly one of the ways to frame the narrative. There are literally no other poker tournaments in the world game in which the buy-in is set at the elite level ($25,000), but in which so many amateur enthusiasts also have a seat.

But how do you tell them apart in the very earliest level, before, perhaps, they have played any significant pots, or had the chance to show their relative skill level?

One way might be just to look at how they handle the cards and chips. If you do this all the time, you’ve got your squeezing, your stacking and your riffling down pat. If you’re new, however, or you play mostly online, neighbours had better take cover. Those chips don’t stack themselves, and it can be a surprisingly fiddly business.

That might be one way to determine the pros from the amateurs. But in the case of the player sitting in Seat 1 on Table 118, it would give you a very misleading impression.

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE TABLE

That seat is currently occupied by the most confident chip-handler in the business. A player who is also occasionally helping the dealer flick in blinds, assemble antes and give change.

That’s because old habits die hard — and J茅r么me Moreau, the player in question, is probably best known in the poker world as a dealer himself. He’s dealt at PokerStars’ poker tournaments for more than 10 years, and also pops up across many other operators’ events.

Jerome in action at the PSPC

However, J茅r么me won a Platinum Pass to the PSPC in the Platinum Madness promotion on PokerStars. And he is now delighted to be taking a seat on the other side of the table.

“It’s crazy,” J茅r么me says. “It’s really crazy.”

AN EXHAUSTING LIFE ON THE ROAD

Like most professional dealers, J茅r么me spends close to half the year on the road. The life of the dealer requires following the various poker tours across the planet and working exhausting hours.

Dealing is one of those roles where not being noticed means you’re doing a good job. If you become the story, something has gone wrong, so J茅r么me is pretty happy to be out of the limelight most of the time. However, he’s enjoying his time in the sun this time around.

He is wearing a shirt signed by all of his fellow dealers, making it look as though he is a kid on his last day of high school. And although they actually signed it when J茅r么me fell ill during EPT London last year, it certainly fits the bill as a good luck charm as he represents the close-knit crew at the PSPC.

“I cannot explain the feeling, I feel the energy from them,” J茅r么me says, referring to all the good luck messages he has received from his friends and colleagues.

When he’s not travelling, J茅r么me is currently based in Malta, although he has also called London, Prague, Marrakech and Ibiza home over the past decade. He’s originally from Valence, in France, and he learned poker in 2011 in a friend’s poker association club — “Just having fun, free-rolling, playing poker,” he says.

At the time, J茅r么me was an optical fibre technician and wanted to open his own company, but instead took a croupier course and started working in the gaming industry. His own poker game is usually just low-limit online tournaments and sometimes cash games, but he’s an elite-level dealer.

COPY/PASTING FROM THE PROS

That means he has dealt to many of the top pros he may end up playing against for the first time, and adds that he’s really looking forward to doing battle with them. And he has maybe learned a little from them.

“When you’re a dealer you have to look at everything, but you get some reflexes after 10 years,” J茅r么me says. “I can see some tricks, some details, that a normal player wouldn’t figure out. I spot it and maybe it could help.”

He adds: “At specific times in the tournament, for example if it was the bubble, or if it was getting to the final table, I can feel the dynamic of the table. I can then copy/paste that on to my game.”

J茅r么me hadn’t ever really intended to play in the PSPC. He would have been working here, had a little box not popped up on his PokerStars screen when he was playing his usual Monday session of 鈧10 and 鈧20 tournaments.

Jerome Moreau's good luck shirt

J茅r么me’s good luck shirt

The box said he had qualified for a freeroll having played 10 Spin & Gos over the previous week. (J茅r么me says they were for 25 cents apiece, just killing time with a low balance.)

He was playing anyway, so he entered the tournament. “I thought, ‘OK, it’s a freeroll. I’ll play tight and we’ll see.’ And at the end I figured out that it was a Platinum Pass,” J茅r么me says.

STAYING ALIVE IN SUPPORT

This freeroll took place in 2020, back when the PSPC was still scheduled for Barcelona. But everything changed as the Covid pandemic swept the world. And this was a particularly tough time to be a poker dealer.

The live game shut down entirely, and things were difficult with dealers only ever employed as freelancers. PokerStars, however, stepped in and offered jobs to many out of work dealers, J茅r么me among them. He worked in customer support for a year, alongside many of his other dealer colleagues.

“Without them, I think I wouldn’t have been a dealer any more,” J茅r么me says.

J茅r么me has no plans to quit as a dealer, even though he says this experience has given him the appetite to play more. Of course, he may change that opinion if things go exceptionally well this week in the Bahamas.

“We’ll see,” he adds.

A WORD FROM POKERSTARS ABOUT THE SUPPORT PROGRAM

Rebecca McAdam-Willetts, Director of Partnerships, PR and Consumer Engagement, explained the thought process behind PokerStars’ decision to recruit some people from the live events operation during the pandemic.

“We wanted to find ways to involve those in our community who work with us mostly on our live events,” McAdam-Willets says.

“We were also trying to do things differently so that in the void of live poker we enhanced our online activities and made them as entertaining as possible. One of the things we did there was involve the live event family in creating additional coverage and media reporting, much like we would for our live events.

“When thinking further, we knew our customer support team was now in more demand than ever and, looking ahead, we knew we didn鈥檛 want to return to the live felt until people felt more comfortable and the situation was safe. So who better to help us in those moments than an amazing group of individuals who already know how we approach the game and our players?

We invited very many dealers to come on board with us and the response was wonderful. We helped each other though really.”

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