I would have settled for an 8.

Last Friday, I needed to burn off some energy. So I went to Rivers Casino in Schenectady for a little while.

Now there’s a few things to remember when you go into any gambling establishment, whether it’s the horse track or the casino. Bet within your limits. Know when to stop. Know when to leave. Don’t chase losses. Don’t think you’re playing with house money. Failure to do these things will cause you to leave the venue and curse yourself out all the way home. And that’s not good.

So I started in one slot machine. Money in. Finished with a small sum, was up $25.

Walked over to another machine. Money in. Finished now up $50.

Third machine. Got productive with some cherries. Now I’m up $100.

Okay. One more game and then I’m done. I left the slot machines and walked over to a card game called Let It Ride. Game is played as such. You get three cards, and there are two community cards that the table shares. You can win with what’s in your hand, you can win with what’s on the table and in your hand.

I decided to limit my spending to the $100 I already won in the slots. I don’t win, I go home and I’ve broken even.

Played a few hands, lost about $40.

New dealer arrives. Cards are dealt. The rule is cards to the players, two cards for the community, one card burned. She forgot to burn the card. Hand had to be tossed. Ugh.

A few more hands. I’m hitting nothing but 2-7 off-suits. A couple of more hands and I’ll be done. This table is colder than a pawnbroker’s heart.

Dealer gives each player three cards.

I look at mine. Yeah, probably another 2-7-10 or something like that.

Nope. A♦, A♣, A♠. I’m holding three Aces. Sweet. One more ace and I could have a harmony quartet.

So here’s the thing. In Let It Ride, you can win with the three cards in your hand, and three of a kind is a guaranteed 30-1 bet. So I’m already $150 to the good on this very hand. And those three aces can also be part of your five-card hand (two community cards and your three). So I’ve already got three of a kind, which has a nice payout.

Dealer flips the first of two cards. An 8. I’m good with this. Another 8, and I get a full house and that’s a nice payday.

Dealer flips the final card.


Wait, that’s two pair. A pair of aces … and another pair of aces. Four of a kind.

Now at the time, I had not only played money on the three-card hand as well as the five-card combined hand, I had also put a chip on the “progressive” spot. And four of a kind generates a minor progressive jackpot.

The dealer double-checked the cards. Then the pit boss came over and double-checked the cards. He asked me for my player’s card and my driver’s license and my Social Security card.

A few minutes later, he handed me a form and told me to sign it.

Meanwhile, the two other players at the table are congratulating me. The dealer is congratulating me. The pit boss is congratulating me.

Then a security guard has me sign some more forms.

Meanwhile, the dealer is paying me off for my chip wins. Over $900 on my bet. So far.

Because after that, the security guard walked me over to the cash cage, where I filled out some more forms … and the cashier handed me nearly $2,000 for winning the minor jackpot.

Almost $3,000 in winnings.

At that moment, I had three choices. I could either:

  • (A) take all my winnings over to the roulette wheel and bet it all on RED.
  • (B) take all my winnings over to the roulette wheel and bet it all on BLACK.
  • (C) take all my winnings over to the roulette wheel and bet it all on 00.

And in the end, I chose Option D.

Option D meant that I took my stack of cash and high-tailed it out of Rivers like I was Peter Rabbit and Mr. McGregor was chasing me. Jumped in the car and drove home. Oh yeah, I pit-stopped on the way home and dropped my money off at the self-deposit ATM.

So where’s this new money earmarked for?

Some for bills, some put away for a rainy day.

That being said, it probably wouldn’t be a bad thing if I happened to, oh, I don’t know, spot a nice new camera lens for the Nikon Df

You know, just thinking out loud is all…

But yeah. I would have been quite happy with another 8. Heck, even if it had been any other card, I still would have walked away with money.

But, yeah. This is some big-ass money. And I’ve already socked it away so that I’m not tempted to blow it all.

Well, maybe just one little camera lens. Maybe just one. Only one.

Oh, love … is a many-splendored thing…