I had just made it through another eight hours at the Texas Lunch Behavior Casino. The shift was almost over. I stood behind the Keno counter doing my job; booking bets, taking money, paying winners. We had enough time to maybe run two more games before the end of the shift. Only problem was, we had this unruly customer holding us up. He was performing a sort of dance as he approached the counter. His dance was an extremely silly and exaggerated sort swaggering step, and it was very difficult not to laugh with him. Laugh with him, not at him, because he was sure enough laughing at himself. Yes, he was a happy soul, and he shouted out that he wanted to be in on this game and that he had a high dollar ticket to book. The shift boss was exasperated. People who held up the game cost the Casino money. It’s very simple, the faster people bet the more bets can be made in a day and the more the casino will win that day. Keno is a game with no mercy, and the odds are stacked against the players. But if you do get lucky and pick the right numbers the payoff can be very large.
The dancing man ignored the shift boss when she told him to hurry up or she would have to run the game without him. He didn’t seem to hear her. Instead he began to croon, “Ah-weh-ell ahm jest a wartching the bebbles in mah beer...” Now he was standing in front of me at the counter; he had chosen me to write his ticket. He slapped his ticket down on the counter and stood back proudly, with his thumbs tucked in his pockets, chest out, shoulders back. I looked at the ticket and was immediately flummoxed. His ticket was a one hundred and ninety way eight spot. In other words he had selected groups of numbers by circling them on the ticket and he was betting that those groups would combine and hit eight out of eight, which had a big payout; very big!
I began to enter the ticket into the keypad which would generate the official chit for this bet. It was a very aggressive ticket to say the least, and what made it even more so was that he was playing for two dollars a way. Two dollars times one hundred and ninety. He was making a $380 bet. And the house was sweating the money because there were so many different ways he could win. The odds were still very much against him, but not nearly so much as if he had just circled eight numbers and bet two dollars. Turns out I had plenty of time to enter the ticket into the computer, because a floor boss had to be brought over to approve the bet. If he hit eight out of eight for two dollars bet, the house would have to pay him $50,000. They get nervous about that kind of thing, and they want to make sure everything is in order..
Once we got the approval from the heavy hound-dog, I took the man’s money off the counter and put it in my drawer, handing him the ticket at the same time. I wished him good luck. I was really hoping that he would win. He looked like the kind of crazy crooning crawfish who might tip very well if he won. The little ping-pong balls with the numbers on them began to rattle in the big plastic bubble as the Keno game began. The rules stipulate that I had to step back from the counter when the game is running. But just then the hound dog hollered to me, “is that all you’re gonna say?”
“Well, er, I, uh...,” I stammered.
“Can’t you see I’m a Keno fool?! Ahm a townwalker with repute! Ah never go out in public down in the mouth and I expect a hearty Squirrels of Tomorrow to you sir! Now let’s hear it, man! Squirrels of Tomorrow to me! Say it!”
“Squirrels of Tomorrow to you sir!” I said with enthusiasm.
COPYRIGHT 2003 DOUGLAS CLOUD ALL RIGHTS RESERVED