Winning

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Blackjack Ballroom

Secret: Casinos Don't Like Tipping

A Let It Ride sign       One of the biggest house games in the casino is Let It Ride because it has bad odds for the player. I dealt that game for 5 years and I rarely saw people win. Players need a pair of 10’s or better to win any money; there are 3 spots in which you put your money down and only one of the spots is mandatory. The player gets 3 cards and then decides if he wants to keep his bet out there (let it ride) or he can pull his bet back and those chips will no longer be in play. After he decides, the dealer flips over 1 of her 2 cards and then the process is repeated until all 5 cards are showing. The player is trying to make the best 5 card poker hand.

      I was dealing Let It Ride and I had this young man with short brown hair sit down with $100. It was a $10 minimum game and that’s what he played, $10 on each spot. The very first hand he got was a pair of 10’s, which means he had an automatic winner. So he tucked his cards and I flipped over my first card and it was a 10. Now he had a 3 of a kind. Of course he stayed, so I flipped over my 2nd card and it was another 10. He got a four of a kind! That pays 50:1, so he got a total of $1,500 on his first hand. Now, since he won so much money, he started playing $50 per hand and he put a $50 tip out there for me as well (so if he wins I win). His next hand he got a pair of 5’s and a Q. He pulled back his bet so now he only had 2 bets out. I flipped over a Q and he got 2 pair. He tucked his cards and I flip over my last card and it is a 5. He got a full house and this was only his 2nd hand! A full house pays 11:1 so he got paid a total of $1,100 and I got a $550 tip! That is a huge tip! Unfortunately my supervisor thought so as well.

      My floorman, Ben came over and got upset that I was tipped so much money. Ben told me that there was a cap on how much I could get tipped. See the casino thinks that when a player wins $1,000 that money isn’t gone yet because he could play a different game tomorrow and lose it all back, but when the money is tipped to the dealer it’s not coming back and the casino considers it an automatic loss. So the casino put a cap on how much a dealer can be tipped, for example on a blackjack table the player can’t bet more money for the dealer then what he is playing. (So if a player bets $10 he can’t tip the dealer $20).

      Ben called the shift supervisor over and the $550 tip was definitely over the cap. Well this player yelled and screamed and argued because he wanted me to keep the entire amount. He even threatened to take his business elsewhere. The shift supervisor checked the player’s history and saw that he was a regular that always lost a lot of money. So they let it go and I got to keep my tip (but they gave me a huge scolding afterwards). Well this wonderful man who stood up for me got a straight, a flush and 2 two pairs after that. He won almost every single hand and finally walked away with $5,000. He tipped me $50 to $100 per hand. It was a great day.

      ∾ Heather 2007

  Date: June 13, 2010 @ 2:39pm PST
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Who Says You Can't Have A Lucky Number?

A hundred dollar chip on the number 18 on roulette       I was dealing roulette and I had only one player at my table for most of the day. It was this big black guy who always played 18. He played other numbers as well but he always put the most money on 18. After a while, he lost $300 and started to walk away. He stopped; waited for a minute like he was thinking about something and then said, “Aw, screw it” as he pulled a black chip out of his pocket. He put the entire black chip on number 18. “Are you sure you want to bet $100 on one number?” I asked. “Yea” he replied. (Now, the reason why I have to ask is because if the player is betting $25 chips or more on the inside of the roulette table the cameras are supposed to be called so they can watch.) So after my floorman called the eye-in-the-sky I spun the ball and astonishingly it hit 18. He won $3,500 on that one bet. He was so happy he screamed “Now I’m up $400!” “What?” I asked confused. “I had lost $3,100 just for today and now I’m ahead by $400. This is great!” He had a huge smile on his face.

      ∾ Heather 2007

  Date: June 8, 2010 @ 8:18am PST

You Haven't Lost Until You've Lost It All

A blackjack bet that has two dollars heeled on top of it       I was dealing on a 6 deck shoe and I had only 2 players on the table at the time. They were an old couple and they had been there for a couple hours before the wife finally lost all but $2. It was a $10 minimum table so she didn’t have enough money to keep going. She started to ask her husband for more money when I said, “Before you do that, why don’t you try to win your money back? You have $2, put that money on your husband’s bet and if he wins then you win.” She did that and they won the hand. She pressed her bet, playing $4 on his hand, and won that. She pressed one more time and won again; now she had enough to play her own spot. Amazingly, in an hour’s time, she had $200 in front of her and her husband was the one asking to borrow some money because he had lost all of his money.

      ∾ Heather 2006

  Date: June 7, 2010 @ 1:20am PST
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Strike it Lucky Casino

A Long Awaited Win

The Wheel of Fortune logo on the back of a chair       I was dealing at a small casino; standing at a dead table bored out of my mind with nothing to do. There was this 95 year-old Asian woman sitting at a “Wheel of Fortune” slot machine right in front of me; so I was watching her play to pass the time. Incredibly, she hit the $2 million progressive and you should have seen the way her eyes popped out of her head. She looked left, and then right, to see if anyone else saw what she saw. She must have thought she was hallucinating. A couple minutes later the slot attendant and a security guard walked up to her. They took her in a back room and the entire way there she looked as if she was in a dream with her mouth hanging open. I saw that same security guard later and he told me that she tipped everyone she met a $100 and then apologized because she didn’t have any more money to give them. (They never pay you such large winnings on the same day.) Apparently, she had been coming to this casino for 5 years, every Sunday, and she always played the same slot machine.

      ∾ Heather 2004

  Date: May 18, 2010 @ 7:05am PST
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Blackjack Ballroom Casino

The Casino Can Afford One Hand

A few cowboys playing roulette       Every December the rodeo comes into town, bringing with it a city full of cowboys. There would be so many cowboys that the dealer’s would have to stay in the pit during their breaks because we couldn’t get through the crowd to go to the break room. Well I had this cowboy on my table playing $1,000 per hand and he was completely wasted. He had a 16, hit the 16 and got a 10. He furiously picked up that 10, crumpled it up and ate the card, and then asked for another hit. My jaw hit the floor. I called over my floorman, Bill and said, “We need another 10 of hearts.” “What do you mean ‘we need another 10 of hearts’? What happened to the other one?” Bill asked confused. “Well this guy ate it.” “No he didn’t. Stop pulling my chain, can’t you see how busy I am?” Bill said as he started to walk away. “No, come back; check the camera’s if you don’t believe me.” I called after him. So Bill went to the phone and called the cameras and sure enough they verified my story. When Bill walked back to the table he looked stunned. “What should I do?” I asked him. “Well, if he wants a card so badly, give him another card.” I think everyone at the table was as surprised as I was. So I gave him another card and he got a 5, making 21, and ended up winning. I asked Bill later why he didn’t kick that guy out and he said, “Well, that guy has been here for 3 days and has lost $30,000 every day. So for $90,000 I think the casino can afford to give him one hand to make him happy.”

      ∾ Heather 2004

  Date: May 17, 2010 @ 8:28am PST
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Birthday Luck

A large stack of chips is on one number on roulette       I was dealing on a roulette table when this kid walked up, dragging his luggage behind him. I checked his I.D. and he just turned 22 years old the other day; he had come to Las Vegas as a birthday gift to himself. I wished him a happy birthday and he said to me, “I have to be at the airport in an hour. Since I have some time to spare I thought I would bet my last chip.” He pulled out a green chip and placed it on top of number 15, his birthday. “Are you sure you want to bet that much money on one number? I can give you smaller chips.” I said. “No, I’m good.” He replied. So I spun the ball and it hopped right into 15! I paid him a total of $875. I thought he would leave after that but instead he put a second green chip on top of the first. Now he had $50 on number 15. I spun the ball again and 15 hit for a second time in a row! I paid him $1,750 for a total of $2,625 in 5 minutes. Amazing. He thanked me, tipped me $100 and took the money. He told me, “I’m keeping my first green chip as a souvenir, it must be lucky!” He left with a huge smile on his face.

      ∾ Heather 2005

  Date: June 3, 2010 @ 9:18am PST
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blackjackballroom.eu

What is...

The dealer is putting chips in the toke box       I was dealing blackjack in the high-limit area of the casino and I had 4 guys at my table playing the minimum of $25 per hand. Well this gentleman sits down at the table and starts to play $500 per hand. Out of nowhere he says, “I’ll give the first person who can answer me $100 if they can tell me the band that's playing now.” The guys at the table just sort of looked at him for a second and then one of them answered, “Beatles!” That guy got $100. It was so much fun! For a couple hours we were answering trivia and getting paid for our answers. I got one question right and got $500 (of course I had to put that in the toke box). We were all having a blast and luckily the cards were paying well too.

      ∾ Heather 2007

  Date: May 14, 2010 @ 9:36am PST
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Golden Tiger Casino

Embarrassing Win

A 3 card straight flush       I was dealing 3 Card Poker when a kid who looked no more than 16 comes up to the table wanting to play. I ask for his I.D. and he just turned 21 the day before. He sits down and acts like he knows how to play the game. Well he starts folding hand after hand after hand. Folding happens in 3 Card Poker but never that much folding. So the next hand he folded I asked him if I could look at it. “Yea, sure, it’s crap. No pair.” I flip over the cards and it’s a straight flush, the highest hand you can get. I am so startled. “Why are you throwing away a straight flush?” I asked. He looks unsure, “Well it’s not a pair. I need a pair to win on Pairs Plus.” Luckily I hadn’t taken the money yet, so I gave him back his cards and made him play it. He won $400 and left immediately after that hand. He was bright red when he left.

      ∾ Heather 2004

  Date: May 8, 2010 @ 9:11am PST
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It Won't Happen Again

The player has a blackjack       I was dealing blackjack and I had an old 80 year old woman playing on my 6-deck-shoe on 3rd base. She was betting $5 per hand when she got a blackjack. The payout is $7.50. Then she got a 2nd, and then a 3rd blackjack. The people at the table were telling her to raise her bet and she replied, “No, it won’t happen again.” Then she got a 4th blackjack. Then a 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th blackjack. 8 blackjacks in a row, the most I have ever seen, and she played $5 for each hand.

      ∾ Heather 2004

  Date: May 7, 2010 @ 7:52am PST
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Lucky Drunk

The player split their hand at a thousand dollars for each bet       I was dealing blackjack and this drunk guy walks in and sits down at my table with $20. He does everything wrong. He splits 10's, he stayed on a 5 when the dealer had a 10 up card, and he hit when he had a 17 (and he got a 4). It was amazing because he was winning almost every hand. He stayed at the table for 8 hours and finally left with $17,000. He was drunk the entire time.

      Everybody thought he was cheating. He had 2 floormen, 1 casino manager, a security guard and all of the camera's watching him, but they couldn't find him cheating. So the floormen did everything they could to break up the winning streak; they let him continue drinking (even though, by law, they were suppose to cut him off because he was so drunk he could barely sit up.) The floormen thought that if he was wasted then that would cause him to make mistakes and lose. When that didn't work they switched the cards in the shoe. Now, a casino will never switch a six-deck shoe in the middle of the shift unless someone spills a drink on the cards. The reason why is because 1) there is only one person touching the cards so the cards will have less chance of getting marked and 2) it takes too long to switch 6 decks on a live game, it costs the casino money. So after they switched the cards, he was still getting win after win. The floormen were desperate so they tried switching dealers, putting their hot dealers on the table. Nothing worked, this guy was so lucky. His table was full of angry people who were trying to get him to play the correct way; they would tell him to do one thing and he would think about it and then do the opposite and win. The rest of the table played by the book and lost, so everyone was pissed at this guy.

      At one point, he was up to $25,000 when he started losing; he probably would have lost it all if the next event didn't happen. By this time he had tipped the dealers about $5,000 total; so he is losing and he calls over the floorman, Patrick, and tells him that the $5,000 he gave the dealers is his money and he would like it back. Patrick said, "It doesn't work like that, once you give the dealer a tip you can't get it back." The drunk was so angry that he fought with Patrick for 20 minutes over the tip. Finally Patrick yelled, "You started with $20, you now have $20,000 and you are arguing with me about getting the dealer's tip back! You're a greedy bastard." The drunk played 2 more hands, lost and then took his $17,000 and left, all the while bitching and making threats to the people around him. The dealers talked about this for weeks afterwards. We were all laughing because we said that 'this guy was so drunk that when he woke up the next morning and found all of that cash he probably thought he robbed a bank.

      ∾ Heather 2004

  Date: May 5, 2010 @ 8:19am PST
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Phoenician Casino

Mr. Loud Mouth

A poker table       I was playing in a 3/6 no limit poker game at a strip casino. (3/6 means the table had a $3 small blind and a $6 big blind.) I don't play a lot of poker, I find it too slow for my tastes and it takes more skill and patience than I have to be successful. On that particular game I was on a winning streak and ran my stack up over $1,300. After winning another pot from this one specific player, he jumped up and pulled a book out of a white paper bag. Pointing the book at me he said very loudly, "There's a whole chapter written in here about you. You're a textbook player". I said nothing, not knowing what a textbook player was. Was it a good thing, was it a bad thing, I didn't know. By the way, I've never read a book on poker. The player to my right was knowledgeable; he was a poker dealer at another casino. I whispered to him, "I'm not sure if I like being called a textbook player. "Just take solace in that pile of chips in front of you," the poker dealer told me. I played a couple more hands before I decided to leave. As soon as I got up and started heading for the door, Mr. Loud Mouth ran over and took my seat.

      ∾ Stoney

  Date: August 5, 2010 @ 10:30am PST
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Make A Decision & Stick To It

A large stack of chips is on one number on roulette       I was dealing roulette and I had a really nice drunk guy and his girlfriend at my table. They had been playing for about 2 hours and it was just the guy playing while she watched. He would bet $5 on one spin and then sit out the next 5 spins, he played very sporadically. He had been losing and was down to 23 chips ($23) when he took his entire stack and put it straight up on 11. So I spun the ball and waited… and waited… and then I waved off the table saying, “No more bets”. Right when I did that he freaked out and yelled, “Wait! Stop! I changed my mind!” and he started to grab his chips. The chips he didn’t manage to grab were knocked off the table. “No, you can’t do that! The ball has already dropped.” I yelled.

      He dropped the chips that were in his hand and they splashed in front of him. He started to panic and said frantically, “You didn’t wave it off; I can still change my bet. You didn’t wave it off.” I looked over and saw that the ball had hit 11. He had won the bet, so I turned to him and told him that he won and his expression changed from that of anxiety to disbelief. “You waved it off! You waved it off!” he screamed with his eyes open wide. I called over the floorman, Jeff and told him what happened and he ran to the phone and called the eye-in-the-sky. We waited 5 minutes while they reviewed the tapes and then Jeff came back and without a word straightened up the chips. The chips the man took off were not counted and the chips that were still on number 11 were counted. He ended up getting paid for 16 chips straight up which is $560. If he had left up his original bet he would have made $805. This guy was so happy that we paid him that afterwards he tipped me $50. He immediately left with the money and a huge grin on his face.

      ∾ Heather 2008

  Date: June 18, 2010 @ 7:28am PST
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Lucky Ladies

A pair of queens       The general consensus on all table side bets is that they are sucker bets. I really like the blackjack side bet called Lucky Ladies. It's played on a double deck or 6 deck shoes. You win anytime you have a natural 20. The payoff increases exponentially with suited 20's, matching suited 20's etc. all the way up to having a pair of Queen of hearts, (Lucky Ladies), which pays 200:1 odds (not all Lucky Ladies have this payoff, but the ones I search out do). If the dealer has a blackjack and you have the Lucky Ladies it pays 1,000:1.

      The wife and I were playing together at a casino that had the max payout for Lucky Ladies. We were playing $5 on the side bet and my wife gets the Lucky Ladies. She's literally bouncing up and down like a jack-in-the-box, uttering animal like sounds. The dealer, a kindly elderly gentleman, had a sly smile and twinkle in his eye as he takes his finger and points to the Ace for his up card. "Insurance", he asks. My wife had not grasped that if the dealer had a natural blackjack she would win $5,000. Dealer turns over his hole card and shows a nine. She was still elated at winning a $1,000 and tipped the dealer handsomely.

      ∾ Stoney

  Date: July 15, 2010 @ 11:58am PST
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Maybe I Shouldn't Be So Sour About This

The Let It Ride sign       I was dealing Let It Ride to a full table and I had a Chinese husband and wife sitting right in front of me. The wife was dressed up in a nice dinner dress and she was very pretty, probably in her late 30’s. The husband was dressed in slacks and a nice collared shirt, he had a mustache that was neatly trimmed and you could tell they weren’t from America but their English was very good. I gave him his hand and he stayed right away so I proceeded to deal the game. I flipped over my first card and it was a Jack of spades, he stayed again so I flipped over my second card and it was an Ace of spades. There was silence for a minute before the wife started jumping up and down in high heel shoes screaming and grabbing her husband. The husband looked stunned. I flipped over his cards and he had a royal flush.

      The floorman came over, checked the cards and then called the cameras. The hand checked out, it was a legit win. All of the bosses had to be called and it took 45 minutes before anything was done. The floorman had to put the cards back in order to make sure they were all there and then I had to spread the cards for the cameras to show that they weren’t marked. The payout was 1000 to 1, it was a $10 minimum bet and he had all 3 of his bets out there so 30 x $1,000 is $30,000. Plus he had his $1 bonus which has a payout of $20,000 for a grand total of $50,000! He tried to tip me $40 which was the rest of his money but I said, “Oh, its ok… Wait until you get paid then you can tip me.” He got paid in $1,000 chips; they took out $12,000 for taxes and gave him $38,000. He gave me a $200 tip and then he gave every player at the table $100. My tip was 0.40% of his winnings. I was really hoping for 5% which would have been $2,500. Because we have to split our tips with all the other dealers that meant my share of the $200 was $0.66.

      ∾ Heather 2009

  Date: July 22, 2010 @ 11:26am PST

Always Play The Bonus

Pai Gow Poker a 7 card straight flush       I've been dealing for some time and have managed to learn many table games. My absolute favorite game to deal was Pai-gow. The biggest hand I have ever dealt on a Pai-gow table was a 7 card straight flush which pays 1,000 to 1. The winner had a $5 bonus bet so he took $5,000 on the bonus plus there was an envy bet. That means that any person playing $5 or more on the bonus gets paid an envy bonus. At that time the table was completely full and everyone was playing $5 on the bonus. It was great; I was able to pay $500 to every player at the table for this one guy’s hand.

      ∾ Heather 2007

  Date: July 2, 2010 @ 12:04am PST
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Crap At The Craps Table

      I was still working as a boxman on the craps tables. We had this high roller who was a small 60 year old Asian man that was dressed in a nice pair of slacks and a polo shirt. He was considered a high roller because he played $5,000 per roll of the dice. He had been at the table for a couple hours and was winning a good deal of money (he had $250,000 in front of him) when, out of the blue, he stopped playing and walked over to the nearest slot machine. He stood there for a minute, then shook his leg a bit and came back. When he came back he brought this really putrid smell with him.

I didn’t want to embarrass the high roller so I called over a hostess and she pulled the high roller aside, they talked quietly to each other and then the two of them left. About 20 minutes later the high roller came back wearing a brand new jumpsuit; he didn’t say anything, he just went back to playing. The hostess told me later that the high roller was winning so much money that he didn’t want to take the time to walk to the bathroom. Instead he took a crap in his pants and shook the piece of shit out of his pant leg and right next to the slot machines. The casino wanted him to stay so badly that instead of kicking him out they comped him a free jogging suit and let him finish playing. What they say is true; if you’re a high roller the casino will let you do almost anything.

      ∾ John 2003

  Date: June 21, 2010 @ 8:28am PST
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If It Worked Before, It Should Work Again

      I was dealing single deck blackjack when a woman sat down and changed $100. After playing for 5 minutes it was obvious to me that she was new to blackjack and had no idea what she was doing. I tried to be nice and tell her how to play but she insisted on playing her way, which was fine with me. My gambling motto has always been “It’s your money; you earned it, so you can spend it however you please.” The woman at the table told me, “I started playing yesterday morning; before that I had never played blackjack before. My husband received a blackjack tournament invitation and he didn’t want to play so he gave his ticket to me. I played my way yesterday in the tournament and won 1st place, so I want to keep playing my way. It worked in the tournament so it will work here.” I didn’t argue with that and she left an hour later with $125.

      ∾ Heather 2006

  Date: July 10, 2010 @ 12:47am PST
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Always Play The Max

Megabucks sign       I work as a floorman at a strip casino on graveyard. It is usually incredibly boring on the graveyard shift because everyone goes to sleep around 5 A.M. and doesn't wake up until the afternoon which spans the graveyard hours. I was watching an elderly man and wife playing the Megabucks slot machine for a while one night. After some time the man stands up, talks to his wife and then walks to the bathroom. The wife sits in his chair and starts playing the Megabucks. After a couple minutes I see the husband walk out of the bathroom and towards the machine. While he is walking back I hear a scream. I look over and the wife is screaming because she'd hit the Megabucks. The jackpot was at $11,000,000. The husband runs over to her and stares at the machine, she had only been playing $1 not the $3 needed to take home the 11 million. This 90 year old man turned around and tried to beat his wife with his fists but he was so old and frail he wasn’t doing any damage and not for lack of trying. I had to call security to break up the fight. The security guard that rushed in to break the couple up later said that the wife "didn't want to waste money, so she only played a dollar per spin." They ended up winning $1,000 and nobody was seriously hurt.

      ∾ John 1994

  Date: June 25, 2010 @ 12:47am PST
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Sports Book Loophole

The horse races are on tv in the Sportsbook       This happened in the early 90’s; I went to a sports book area to bet on a football game and when I was standing in line I noticed this old 96 year old in the back with a pad of paper watching the screens intently. After I placed my bet I walked over and sat down next to him. I watched him play and he was winning every horse race. “How are you doing that?” I asked. He pointed at the television set and said, “They play the horse races on a loop. I’ve written down who has won what race and then when the loop starts over I bet on who is going to win. It takes many hours but it’s worth it.”

      So we sat there for an hour or two and he would tell me what horses to bet on. We made a good deal of money. Unfortunately the casino got wise and sent down 2 security guards to 86 the man for cheating. Luckily they left me alone because they thought I was just an innocent bystander. The casinos change that policy shortly afterwards so that the horse races and everything else is live and nothing is on a loop.

      ∾ Anonymous 1991

  Date: June 17, 2010 @ 11:13am PST
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I've Got To Do This Blind Thing More Often!

The player has three aces       I was dealing 3 Card Poker to a table full of people. Everyone there was playing the minimum $5 bet except the guy on 3rd base. He was playing $100 per space, per hand (which is $300 per hand). They had been playing together for a while when one person decided to play blind. He ended up winning with a straight. Two more players decided to play blind; one of them won with a flush and the other one won with a pair. The player that first went in blind now thinks that going in blind is good luck so we must make the whole table go in blind. All of the $5 players agree, thinking it’s a good idea but the man playing $300 per hand didn’t want to do it. “Do you see how much I’m playing? I’m not going to play blind.” The table argued with him and finally convinced him to try one hand. So they all go in blind and I flip over my hand and I have a Queen, 10 and a 2. This is a wonderful hand for the dealer because I qualify but I qualify with a low hand. I start to flip over everyone’s cards and only one person lost. Then I get to the man playing $300. I flip over the first card and it is an Ace, the second is an Ace so now he has a pair, and the third was also an Ace. He got a 3 of a kind! He won $4,000 and he was so happy he said, “This is great! I’ve got to do this blind thing more often!”

      ∾ Heather 2006

  Date: June 30, 2010 @ 12:23am PST