Gut Rumbles
 

November 19, 2007

Win some, lose some

Originally published July 23, 2004

I won 212,000 colones playing blackjack in a casino last night.

Alia and I went out to eat, then strolled down to the beach to watch the sunset. It was beautiful. She asked me if I liked to gamble, I said yes, and she took me down the street to a casino. She likes slot machines. I don't. I prefer cards.

I broke a US $100 bill at the cashier's cage and gave Alia 5,000 colones to piss away on the one-armed bandits. She converted that money to coins and went off with a bucket full in her hand to get raped by the machines. I took 30,000 colones and sat down at the blackjack table. By the time Alia went broke, I had more than doubled my money.

She whined for some more fodder for the machines, but I said "NO!" and told her to sit down and watch. I was on a roll and I don't like anyone fucking with my luck when the cards are coming my way. They were at the time, and I was taking advantage of it.

A big, burly guy named Dave, from Indiana, was sitting to my right, betting 1,000 colones per hand and losing steadily. I usually bet 4,000 per hand, but I was so far ahead at the time that I was up to 12,000 a pop. "Dave, don't leave this table," I told him. "If you go broke, I'll GIVE you 1,000 colones per hand just to stay where you are."

"Hell, man," he replied. "I'll PAY 1,000 colones per hand just to watch what you're doing."

I kept winning. The chips were piling up like smokestacks in front of me. People stopped playing at other tables and came over to watch. The house switched dealers three times. The pit boss started lurking around to see if I was cheating. Still, I continued to win. I hit a "rummy," (three, four, five of spades) which pays three-for-one, and I had 12,000 bet at the time. I took 24,000 off the table, left 24,000 out there and drew a pair of sevens off the deal on the next hand. Three sevens pays four-to-one. I took a hit and drew another seven. KA-CHING!!!!!

I was really on a roll. Dave put a hand on my shoulder and said, "I see God sitting on your shoulder." I don't believe in God, but Lady Luck sure was with me. I never count my money at the table, but I knew that I was really in the black at the time.

Then, something happened that I've never seen before in all my years of card playing. I was back to my standard 4,000 bet and I was dealt a pair of aces. The dealer had a seven. I split the aces and doubled. I drew another ace. I split that one, too, and put 4,000 more on the table. I drew another ace. I split THAT one and put 4,000 more on the table. And I'll be damned if I didn't get a FIFTH ACE on the next card. I split it and put 4,000 more on the table.

What are the odds of drawing FIVE STRAIGHT ACES in a game of blackjack played with five decks of cards that have been run through an automatic shuffler? I don't know, but the odds have to be really remote. I hit each of the aces and drew king, ten, nine, eight, nine. That's 21, 21, 20, 19 and 20. I thought, "Sweet Bejus! I just may break the bank tonight."

The dealer hit his seven and drew and four. The next card was a king. He had 21. So, for my FIVE FUCKING ACES, I ended up with push, push, lose, lose, lose. I couldn't believe it. I looked at Dave and said, "I just heard God speak to me. He told me to QUIT, right now." I cashed my chips.

I had a total of 242,000 colones. That's not really a lot of money (about $500), but it sure looked impressive when the cashier paid me off. I had a wad of bills thick enough to choke a horse. For the first time since I've been in Costa Rica, I felt nervous walking home. Alia was pissed at me because I wouldn't let her go dump any of it in the slot machines.

Alia has to work today, so I'm off on the town to spend some of my money.

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