The Gambler

Posted in General at 12 pm

Jun 15 Tue (12 AM)

It was a quick trip back home. I got a lot of time to be with my family and just a few hours for friends. Most of which was with Bob, Jan and Bo, http://www.valleysoft.net going over Mac OS X and lots of goodies. Bo, thanks again for the CD. The people at work loved it.

On the way down to GP, Ryan and I stopped at a casino. (The Native American tribes in the area are allowed to have them.) I was a patient observer on the way down, but we stopped again on the way back up to Portland the next day.

I had been watching the various games: roulette, video poker, video slots, craps, etc.

I wanted to try one, for the experience if nothing else. The video games held no interest for me. I’m quite familiar with random number generators in computers. Hell, I programmed versions of both craps and blackjack for the TI-81 that I had in high school.

Blackjack. Now there was a game. Get to 21 but don’t go over. 2 or 4 cards or so and that’s about all. Oh sure there are variations, but the main trust of game is there.

On Sunday, with a green Jackson firm in my sweaty hand, eyes burning from the smoke in the air, I watched a couple of BJ tables. One had just a few people at it and I looked on till I got a feel for the rhythm of the dealer, the cards, the bets, the signals. Two fingers placed on the felt, just in front of your cards and then drawn back towards you: hit. An open hand, palm down over your cards: hold.

I think I’ve got it.

I waited till the deck of cards were being re-shuffled. I took the chair to the dealer’s left, the first position and placed my $20 on the table. The dealer handed me back 2 red $5 chips and two stacks of white $1 chips. I placed 3 whites in the little painted circle in front of me.

Mind you, I had never gambled at a casino before. The last time I was in Nevada, I was 19 or so. I’d never been interested in throwing away money before, at least not to some machine. But here was a dealer. A person paid to lay out these cards, collect and hand out these chips. There was a trill. I figured that trill was worth the $20.

My first hand: a queen and a 7. 17 points, the same number that the house (the dealer) holds at. I figured that was a good place for me as well. The house ended up with 23. Therefore I ended up with another three chips. A good start.

I jump into the pulse. My cards are foremost in my mind. I need to quickly add the cards’ points, (though the dealer quietly states the number as well) and then decide whether to hit or hold. The other people at the table are a range. Across from me is a small hill of a man, taking up quite a bit of the chair next to him as well. It looks like he’s here quite a bit, judging by the slightly glazed look in his eye.

Next to him, standing, is a cowboy. Older, maybe late 60’s, but still has a quick, sharp smile and a dusty leather vest, and I’m sure he had cowboy boots on.

Next to him is a woman in her 50’s, who is joined off and on by her husband. She’s new to this like me, though while I keep reasonably quiet, she’s a bit more exuberant with each new hand.

As I catch a look at each of the participants, the game play is continuing. It’s not till Ryan sits down next to me and notes my pile of chips that I realize, hey, I’m still playing.

As a matter of fact, I’m not just playing, I’ve collected a few more of those red chips. I take 4 of them and slide ’em a little closer to me. A bit later I slide another 2.

20 minutes later, the end of the deck comes up and I look down. There’s a whole bunch of white chips and quite a number of red ones. A little voice says: “Take the money and ru.. err, walk.”

So I do. I walk away with $66 dollars. I didn’t play a lot of money, but for the first time out, I figure I came out on top well enough. I swear I heard Kenny Rogers playing in the background on my way out the glittering doors.

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