.An excerpt from my novel 'Cruise Quarters'

An excerpt from my novel 'Cruise Quarters'

When people sat down at Sarah Seldon’s blackjack game, they always wanted to talk about The Book. “Should I double down? Should I hit? Dealer, I know you’re a gambler; you could let me win if you wanted to. What does the book say?” She had never read this book, this mythical Bible for gamblers. The truth is there are 2256 books, each teaching its own foolproof winning system. But Sarah had been in the casino business long enough to think with a gambler’s mind. Gamblers knew they could follow all the rules of basic strategy, utilize money management and still lose if they weren’t dealt the right cards. The allure and curse of gambling was that there were no sure things. In the end it all came down to luck; gamblers prayed that Lady Luck would show up and that she would stick around for awhile.

Friday, December 9, 2011


The last time I was in Vegas was to visit the gaming show. The gaming show is the trade show for casinos, imagine visiting a vast hall filled with the newest, greatest slot machines and table games. Now imagine that you can play anything you want - for free! Because maybe if you play that game and like it you will put it in your casino.Well I don't own a casino but I wrote about them in my novel Cruise Quarters - A Novel About Casinos and Cruise Ships.
Since I'm a dealer, a table games kind of girl, it was easy for me to walk past those machines. I prefer blackjack to Wheel of Fortune. But this year was all about poker. Poker is everywhere. You can play it at your house, you can watch it on television or you can trust your money to some operator out of the Cayman Islands and play online from the comfort of your desk. Vegas has huge poker rooms filled with dreamers, who have all heard about the World Series of Poker and fantasize about winning the million dollar pot.
All this could be yours!

I'm not talking about that kind of poker. I started out dealing in Tahoe where friends of mine were married to people that played poker in the casino every night because that was their job. Poker rooms are also filled with crafty retirees who play every day and as the saying goes if you practice for 10,000 hours you will get good. Those people scare me and they should scare you. I lost my hard earned tips to those guys too many times. But there is a way to play poker and not be intimidated.

The hottest thing at the gaming show was the carnival games. The ones I am going to focus on are variations of poker that you play at a table that looks a lot like a blackjack table. It isn't you against the other players at the table, no ringers here. It is everyone against the house. The most popular of these games are three card, four card and ultimate Texas hold-em.

Three card poker is just what it sounds like, your three cards against the dealers. It is exactly like regular poker only in three card a straight is higher that a flush. I don't know why that is, but someone smarter than me has figured out the odds. All these games are carefully vetted by the Nevada Gaming Commission before they ever hit the casino floor. But if you want to know the odds on any casino game just google The Wizards of Odds.

Four card has a twist, you get five cards but you only use four. But this is straight poker with a bonus, if you bet it you get paid extra on any hand trips or better. Trips is a quick way to say three of a kind. And in this game trips are a better hand than either a straight or a flush.

Probably the most popular is Ultimate Texas Hold-Em. I don't have time to explain Texas Hold-Em but if you know how to play you know that it all turns on the river. But at a table game all the players can win, there is no pot to split. You also don't have to wait for a game, you only need one player and a dealer and the game is on.

But straight poker isn't enough there are more bells and whistles. With a dollar you can enter a progressive that pays out thousands for a royal flush. This is called a side bet. A few weeks ago someone won $69,000 at my casino, not bad for a buck. And sometimes they combine games; at one table you can play three card and five card poker at the same time. All of these games go by different names and have different rules that vary from casino to casino so you need to visit some websites and study the odds. I know it all sounds complicated, but with the dealer ready to help you, in a few minutes you can be playing poker in the casino and have a lot of fun!

Click to find Cruise Quarters at Barnes and Noble

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