Preserved for Posterity:

Last week, a bunch of friends were discussing past misadventures.  I related the story of my friend Squee's first time at the casino... which resulted in many laughs.  And Squee swearing "that's not how it happened" - presumably because he's blocking the traumatic experience.  Because he obviously doesn't want the world to know of his foolishness, I've decided to post it on the internet.

I'm a good friend that way. 

Squee and the Blackjack Table

It was sometime around 2002 or 2003, and Squee (one of my best friends) and I were bored.  We were driving around Sooke at around nine p.m., with absolutely nothing to do in the small logging town.  At nineteen or twenty years old, we were old enough to buy booze, but were just old enough to realize that maybe blowing money on alcohol isn't always the most fun way to pass the time.

Unable to think of anything else, I came up with those five words that every young man will say at some point in his lifetime and eventually regret:  "Let's go to the Casino!"

These are bad words.  Never learn these words.  As the Animals famously sang, it's been the ruin of many a poor boy.  Saying those five words are almost as bad as "yeah, you do look fat!" or "Sorry officer, I'm really high." 

"I've never been to the casino," Squee said, as we barrelled down an old logging road at Mach-2.  The sonic boom of his sports car was knocking over trees and scaring the hell out of deer. 

"Really?  Well then, you have to go!"

He seemed nonplussed.  "Slot machines seem kind of.... lame."

"Well, yeah.  Slot machines are lame.  That's why you play blackjack!"

"I've never played blackjack."  He said.  My jaw dropped. 

"Seriously?  You've never played blackjack!?"


"Okay.  Turn around.  We're going to the casino.  Right now."

As we hurtled into town at one tenth the speed of light, I explained to Squee the rules of blackjack.  How the goal is to beat the dealer's hand without going over twenty-one.  I explained the customs for betting, how to use hand communication to relay information to the dealer, and how split pots work.

Finally, we got to the casino, make our way inside, and each got about forty bucks worth of blackjack chips.  We sat down at the table, and played a few quick hands.  I lost a few, Squee won a few - just enough that he began to think he was some sort of natural at the game.  At one point, he actually decided to give me advice on the game.  Naturally, he stopped playing for the minimum bet, and put around fifteen bucks down.

"Are you sure that's a good idea?" I asked.

"Dude, I've been doubling up every time.  Let's make more money."

"Um, okay..."

He gets dealt an ace and a nine.  The dealer had an 18.  I'm shaking my head - dumb fucking beginner's luck.   

And then:  "Hit me."

I couldn't have been more surprised.  Literally, were he to take off his belt and slap the dealer with it, it would have been less surprising than those two words.  And it's not just me.  Everyone at the table is shocked.  I try to stop his hand movement, but I'm too late - the dealer drops another card down, shaking his head ruefully.  A five. 

"hit me again," he says, wincing.  And is busted.

"What the hell!?" I shout, absolutely shocked.  "Why would you take a hit on a twenty!?"

"Twenty?  Dude, I had an ace and a nine.  That's ten."  He says it like he's explaining basic math to a five year old. 

"Aces are worth one or eleven!  You had twenty!"

A pause.  "You never told me that."
I looked at him blankly, knowing I had mentioned it, albeit in a possibly roundabout fashion.  And then:

"You know, this 'blackjack' game  plays almost exactly like that game '21'....."

I sighed.  "They're the same game."

"...oh," he looked confused.  "You never told me that."

"Squee, maybe slots are more your speed."

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