Voting now open for Ante Up’s Most Popular Dealer contest 2016

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Dealers from all over the United States were nominated to be Ante Up’s MPD (Most Popular Dealer) this year, and here are the nominees chosen to compete. Some nominated themselves. Others were nominated by players, colleagues or supervisors. And now it’s your turn to tell us who should be our Most Popular Dealer. Cast your vote at AnteUpMagazine.Com/mpd through Aug. 15. To vote, you’ll need a Facebook, Twitter or Google+ account. The winning dealer gets an Ante Up Poker Cruise package for two for our Nov. 14 sailing out of Tampa, Fla.,, while the four runners-up will get a pair of Blue Shark Optics.

Here are this year’s nominees:

Chris Alchenberger, Harrah’s Philadelphia
Gary, a player, says:
I came to know Chris about six years ago when I first started playing at my local casino. From my first night there, he has always greeted me by my name and made me feel special when I walked into the room. He shakes hands and fist pumps like he’s running for office when he comes in the room. He has always dealt on graveyard shift and is one of the reasons I enjoy playing there at night because I know that I will always have a good time, no matter what the poker outcome might be. I started taking notice to Chris’ actions with his fellow co-workers and seeing that he was always trying to help out others. He had been talking about some charity event that he helps host and that I should attend one and come have fun. I was surprised to see all my favorite dealers were there and that they had volunteered to help out with the event. I did a little digging around and found out that he has been doing it since 2009 and has raised more than $500,000 in these events to help fight Philadelphia homelessness. When the cardroom suffered a loss with the passing away of one of their dealers, Chris was one of the dealers heading up a fundraiser for the dealer’s widow and daughter and helped raise more than $5,000 to help with the school expense for his daughter. Not only a good contender for best dealer in the room, when he is dealing he does his best to make sure you feel like you’re having the best time possible. He’s friendly, he knows his game, and he runs a fun table and makes the 30 minutes he is at your table one of the memorable downs of the night. His passion for the game is unsurpassed. I think he’s one of the good guys who makes playing poker fun.

Genelyn Anderson, Midnight Rose Casino Hotel
Jeff, a supervisor, says:
Genelyn comes to work with a smile on her face everyday. She has a hard-core work ethic and does everything around the poker room.

Jon Beasley, Nevada Poker League
Jil, a player, says:
Because he is very knowledgable about the game and does not make mistakes.

David Burns, Ho-Chunk Gaming Wisconsin Dells
Samantha, a supervisor, says:
David consistently goes above and beyond when it comes to his normal job duties. He goes out of his way to make everyone feel welcomed on his game. He keeps his cool in difficult situations and uses his excellent customer service skills to diffuse the situation. We are a smaller poker room and when we have larger events I can always count on David to come in to help. I appreciate the fact that he is always willing to help out and can honestly say I don’t think I’ve ever seen him have a bad day!

Mario Deif, Seminole Coconut Creek
Sandra, a player, says:
Everyone loves him! He remembers every player by name, he is always happy, with a big smile, and clearly loves his job. Any night that he is dealing, you will see that almost everyone – young, old, men and women – goes to say hi to him, or he comes to say hi to you. He is also focused in the game and I have seen first-hand how well he manages the mood of the table. He is really awesome, super respectful and super nice. With him, you don’t care if you are winning or losing. The table will be always in a good mood.

Natalia Coada, Harrah’s Cherokee
Erica, a supervisor, says:
As one of her supervisors, I have seen Natalia make the angriest, crankier player smile from ear to ear. He warm smile and Russian accent wins over everyone. She is truly a kind and caring person and you can tell she is sincere the second she sits at the table. She had excellent repertoire with regulars, and newbies instantly love her. Her table is always happy and having fun. Many players will play an additional five or six hours just so she can deal to them one more time. She is a gem and deserves to be nominated.

Joseph DiPietro, Seminole Coconut Creek
Joseph says:
Being nominated for a second consecutive year for Ante Up’s Most Popular Dealer is an absolute honor and solidifies the fact that I am doing my job right. The amount of pride I take in dealing and taking care of all my players is paying off. I fall in love with every single player I deal to and feel an emotional attachment to all of them. I feel I should be Ante Up’s Most Popular Dealer because not only was I nominated for a second year, I run a smooth, fast-paced game without rushing the players. I am virtually mistake-free and always keep the integrity of the game. I am always thankful for every tip I receive and enjoy dealing as I have done it since 2004. I love to entertain my players with jokes and magic tricks between hands without slowing down the game.

Scotty Du Pont, Mohegan Sun
Scotty says:
Friendly, funny, knowledgeable. I have worked in two poker rooms in Atlantic City, and I also play poker and am pretty well known.

Michael Gragg, Aria
Michael says:
I consider myself what a dealer should be in this industry – a fast, friendly, courteous and very knowledgeable dealer of the game. No matter how good or bad my day is, I’ll have a smile on my face, and you’ll have one on yours, too, by the time I leave the table. Playing with me, no matter winning or losing, my personality will give you a winning time, wanting to come back and sit with me again! Game? What game. This dealer is great!

Dan McFate, Jumer’s Casino & Hotel
Dan says:
Knowledge of all games, keeps it real in the box, cracks the occasional, appropriate joke, runs a very smooth game.

Barbara Jones, Aria
Dutch, a player, says:
Barbara is the consummate professional. She is fast and efficient, has great table control and she always makes sure that all the players enjoy the game. When she comes into the box, there is genuine excitement amongst the players, and regardless whether she’s dealing $2-$4 limit or the big- stakes no-limit, she will treat each player with grace and genuine warmth.

Natalie (Webb) Leach, Golden Nugget Las Vegas and MGM Grand Las Vegas Hotel & Casino
Tammy, a player, says:
Natalie is always pleasant, personable, friendly and very efficient. She always has a positive attitude and players enjoy her genuine Southern charm.

Matthew Melendez, Thunder Valley
Matthew says:
Every poker player is unique. A great dealer has the innate ability to instantly connect with any player who sits down. This charismatic dealer provides a fun poker experience regardless of player skill level. Time is money, and players appreciate speedy dealers. And above all, the Most Popular Dealer must be patient and flexible, which is necessary for the swings and craziness of the poker world.

Jaydon Ogden, Aria
Evelyn, a player, says:
He really connects with his players while he’s dealing. He’s funny and entertaining. He deals with accuracy and speed. When he’s working he will promote those playing in cash games to jump into the tournaments if the registration is low and people will register. He talks to top players like they are his friends, not just another buck or tip. He’s always got a smile and enjoys what he does. He volunteers to work on his days off if they are short, stay late if it’s busy and he’s needed. He’s very easy to work with. He is proud of the company he works for and represents them often, always telling individuals where they can play some great games and what great incentives his room has. He is, by every definition, the best dealer out there!

George (Dusty) Ohlman, Traveling Dealer
George says:
Most people look at dealing as a part-time job. This is my profession. If a person finds something that they love to do for a profession, going to work everyday is like going on vacation.

Sergio Perez, Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood
Isis, a player, says:
From steady, quick hands, to a keen eye, this dealer is not only swift but knowledgeable. He controls his tables with ease. He is able to make sure every player is taken care of at all times and takes control without being overbearing when he senses those obnoxious, drunk players. The staff loves working with him, and the players never, ever have a complaint about the man. From the smallest games to literally the biggest event we all know, he knows and handles every game the same with such ease. He makes players smile and keeps it nice a simple to those who demand that complete and utter silence. It’s all a walk in the park.

Chef Rivero, Boulder Station
Steve, a supervisor says:
This dealer is one of the top dealers we have in the room. She is always professional, knowledgeable and very personable in the box. As a locals’ room, we like to make the guests feel like family and they always do. What really takes her over the top is what she does out of the box. In our room, we have brushes in the lineup and this is where she shines. She always makes sure all the tables are filled, makes coffee and cleans. She is the only dealer who will actively find decks that need to be set up and even sweep! She makes no extra money and receives no extra tips. She only does it because she cares and it’s the right thing to do. As a supervisor, these are the types of employees who shine because they work for everyone and not just care about themselves.

Ma rollet Rueda, Boulder Station
Steve, a supervisor says:
This dealer is one of the top dealers we have in the room. She is always professional, knowledgeable and very personable in the box. As a locals’ room, we like to make the guests feel like family and they always do. What really takes her over the top is what she does out of the box. In our room, we have brushes in the lineup and this is where she shines. She always makes sure all the tables are filled, makes coffee and cleans. She is the only dealer who will actively find decks that need to be set up and even sweep! She makes no extra money and receives no extra tips. She only does it because she cares and it’s the right thing to do. As a supervisor, these are the types of employees who shine because they work for everyone and not just care about themselves.

Brian Schweikert , The Rivers Casino
Brian says:
I am a very skilled and entertaining dealer that I believe most players are happy to see tapping into their table!

Mike Sexton, Seminole Coconut Creek
Mike says:
Over the past 20 years, I have been widely considered one of the best dealers in South Florida. I have dealt every game, from limits of 25-cent/50-cent $10 capped pots all the way to $800/$1,600 Super Stud. Not only am I known for my vast knowledge and dealing skills, I am pretty well known for being a player as well as a magician, but most of all, a fair and good guy. I have dealt to the likes of Cory Zeidman, Jason Mercier, Brian Hastings, Mike and Rob Mizrachi, Fred Goldberg and Jamie Gold to name a few, and am mostly on a first-name basis with all of those except Jamie and Jason. I have taken a lot of pride in my work over the 20-year span, with highs and lows just like everyone else. But I am one of the most recognized and respected dealers in the industry. I have floored and ran World Series of Poker events.

Sally Vernon, Midnight Rose
Amy, a colleague says:
Sally is one of the smoothest, funniest, fastest and most accurate dealers I have seen. She is engaging and entertaining and poker players are always happy to see her enter the box. Sally is also very helpful in the poker room when she is on break, and goes that extra mile for customers and co-workers alike.

Ryan Weatherman, Seminole Hard Rock Tampa
Ryan says:
Dealing poker isn’t my job; it’s my life and, people, life is good. I dance, I sing, I quip jokes and I run one of the most efficient games around when I’m in the box. Smiles go for miles and everybody has fun. I’m so blessed to do what I love everyday and I show that appreciation by turning up the sunshine wherever I go. My regulars are like family and the new faces that tourism brings are new friends-in-waiting. I don’t need to be the most popular dealer, but I do need to be the happiest and I, for one, think I am. It helps that our room has the best and most action of any room in the state, and it makes me a better dealer that we have some of the best dealers and supervisors in the world that I get to call friends and colleagues. They lift me up to heights in this profession I could only dream of. Thanks for reading! Have fun and good luck!