Poker Dealer, Player Get Into a Brawl at Aria in Las Vegas

  • The details of what led to the physical altercation are unclear
  • Some say the poker player “berated” and threw beer on the dealer
  • The dealer, known as “Patches”, is very highly regarded in the poker community
  • A friend started a GoFundMe page to help Patches with his bills
  • Nearby, a man died by suicide at Aria, forcing the evacuation of several floors
Aria casino Las Vegas
A friend of a popular poker dealer at the Aria has started a GoFundMe page for the man after he got into a fight with a player at his table Wednesday night. [Image:]

GoFundMe campaign started for dealer

Poker players at the Aria Resort & Casino’s poker room were on hand for more excitement than they had expected when a fight broke out between a customer and a poker dealer. The actual physical dustup lasted less than a minute Wednesday night and fortunately, it appears that nobody suffered any serious injuries.

a rarity in the poker world

It is unclear exactly what led to the brawl, a rarity in the poker world. A few bystanders posted videos of the incident, one of which shows a moment before things got physical. The dealer, known by the nickname “Patches”, had already left his dealer’s box and walked around the table to confront the player. While someone who looks like a member of the poker room’s staff tried to hold Patches back, Patches can be heard in the video saying, “I will fuck you up” while the player repeatedly says, “Bust a move?”

Patches and the player then went at each other, while another player tried to break it up. The fight mostly involved grappling up against the poker table; few serious punches were thrown. After about 15 seconds, the other player was able to separate the two men, who kept jawing at each other. Patches did not let up, however, and chased his foe through the poker room. None of the videos continued any further.

It does seem that Patches was likely fired because of the incident, as a friend started a GoFundMe page to help raise money for “rent, food, & monthly bills.” As of this writing, 172 people have donated nearly $11,000, easily eclipsing the goal of $2,500.

Dealer well liked in Las Vegas

Initial reaction in the poker community was that of support for Patches, who by all accounts is an extremely popular poker dealer. Poker player Farah Galfond, who is also the wife of Phil Galfond, called him a “legend” and a “sweet man”, urging people via Twitter to contribute to the GoFundMe campaign. She relayed the only information known about what led to the fight, that Patches was “recently berated & attacked (beer thrown on him).”

Galfond added that it is possible that Patches will lose his license for doing “what we all would have done.”

Poker pro Matt Berkey relayed similar sentiments, saying: “He’s one of the sweetest, mild mannered guys I’ve encountered & imo has gracefully dealt w/his share of bullshit in the box.”

“mild-mannered”, “laid back”, and a “great guy”

Many others on poker message forums said that Patches is normally very “mild-mannered”, “laid back”, and a “great guy”.

Some commenters, while empathizing with Patches for having to take abuse from a player, put the blame for the incident on his shoulders. Leaving the dealer’s box, they said, escalated the problem and was immediate grounds for losing his job. Patches should have called for a floor manager to deal with the unruly customers, rather than taking matters into his own hands (he may have, but he obviously decided to do something about it himself).

Tragedy at Aria

Shortly after the Aria scuffle, another scary moment occurred further north on the Las Vegas Strip. At 12:30am Thursday, a security officer at the TI (Treasure Island) Hotel & Casino knocked on a hotel guest’s door. He then heard the sound of someone racking a gun, followed a few minutes later by a gunshot.

SWAT arrived to find a man inside the hotel room, dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

All they said is it’s someone with a gun.”

While police investigated the scene, guests on several floors were required to evacuate the hotel. One guest told the Las Vegas Review-Journal: “All they said is it’s someone with a gun. The police said ‘evacuate’ with their guns out.”

TI management did not allow guests back to their rooms for several hours; some had to catch flights in the early hours of the morning and only left with whatever belongings TI staff could bring them.

Donald Thompson told the Review-Journal that he and his girlfriend moved to a different room on a floor that had not been evacuated. At one point, however, after he went back downstairs briefly, management locked the elevators down, so he and his girlfriend remained separated for hours.

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