Blackjack. A short story.

No matter how good of a mood Zane was in it never failed that some goddamn moron would sit down thinking he could turn his ten bucks into a hundred. Damn, this isn’t brain surgery, man. It’s a goddamn soft thirteen. Just hit it or don’t. He thought but “Three or thirteen sir” was what came out. There hadn’t been any players until this guy had sat down. Nothing peeved Zane more than some guy making him deal for a lousy ten dollars. Inevitably the guy would throw his money on the table and make the comment that Zane “looked like he was bored” and that he thought he’d just come on over and “give you something to do.” And every time he thought the same thing. Fuck off asshole. It wouldn’t be so bad, but more often than not, the guy would give Zane “something to do” for about five minutes, lose his money, and give up. Then about five minutes after that, just as Zane was getting back into whatever he was doing (sometimes crosswords, but more often a book) the guy would come back and throw the five he had found at the bottom of his pocket down. “I gotta make some money for beer” was another of Zane’s favorites. You must be some kinda alcoholic, cause that twenty would keep me drinking for most of the night. And then the guy would lose his money and come back five minutes later with a fresh beer and another twenty. And then there was the ever popular “Make me a winner and I’ll tip you good.” Every time he heard that, Zane wanted to strangle the person that had said it. Almost every player that tipped worth a damn would never mention the word. There were a few that would, and most of the time, it annoyed Zane just enough so that he still wanted to beat the player.

“I think I can count buddy. Hit the thirteen.”

“Twenty. Good hit sir.” Great. Now he’ll be here all night.

The next hand didn’t go much better for Zane. He was on a bit of a cold streak. He hadn’t been his normal self lately. He’d actually had a losing month last month. That was only the third or fourth time he’d done that in the two years he’d been dealing.


“I’ll stay. What kinda dumbass would hit a seventeen?”

I don’t know, but I’m sure if I looked it up you’d fit the description.

“You’d be surprised. Some people will hit anything.”

“Well, I don’t hit seventeens.”

“Dealer has twenty.”

“Goddamn rotten ass shit. Don’t know why I play this game. Used to be I could sit down with five bucks and play all night. Dealer’s tip cup’d be full when I left too.

Obviously, the other players at the table must have been good tippers ‘cause you haven’t tipped a dime and you’re up twenty bucks.

“Sometimes the cards just aren’t in your favor.”

“They’ve never been so consistently bad like they are now tho’.”


“Split ‘em.”

“Your gonna split your tens?”

“Yeah, always works.”

“Good thing there aren’t any other players on the table tonight then.”

“Why’s that?”

Cause if there were, they’d probably beat the shit outta you for splitting tens.

“Most people don’t like it when you split tens.”

“Yeah, well, I play my hands and they play theirs. If they don’t like it they can take it and shove it.”

The guy splits his tens and gets a six on the first one for sixteen and an eight on the second one for eighteen. Zane pulls a five card twenty-one and takes his money.

“Damn. Rotten luck, that always used to work for me.”

Yeah and I would have broke if you had left it you dumbass.

Zane dealt with this guy’s kind everyday. And people would constantly ask him why he never seemed like he was happy with his job. If you dealt with drunken dumbass assholes all day, everyday, you wouldn’t smile much either. And then they would follow it up with “Well let’s see if we can’t find a winner. Give me a big one and I’ll tip you good, but only if I get a smile.” Only way your gonna catch a smile gracing this face is if you lose all your damn money and then trip and fall on your face on the way back to your table. He found it harder and harder to not be cynical at work. Most nights, he was lucky to pull in a lousy forty-dollar night. He didn’t pay his bills with his checks alone.

There is nothing worse than karaoke night either. It’s bad enough having to deal with stupid drunks, but to have to listen to them try and sing was just cruel and unusual punishment. That was an amazing rendition of ‘Love Shack’; every dog in a mile radius wants to mate with you now.

Within every cloud there’s a silver lining though. There were good nights. Every once in a while he would have a three or four hundred dollar night and that would make it worthwhile for a few days.

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About Shane Ede

Shane Ede is an IT guy by day and a Entrepreneurial Blogger by night. You can follow him here on Thatedeguy or over on Twitter and Google+.


  1. Hrmm, based on a true story? I’ve seen enough people playing to guess that you used to see that type back in the day. Every job has its crappy part and with customer service its always the customers in my experience. Occasionally its the boss or co-workers though…

  2. I tended bar in a dowtown tavern (in a previous life), and dealing with what crawled out of the shallow end of the gene pool was always…frightening. I often found myself wondering what their parents thought of them…but that, typically, was easy to find out. I could walk to the other end of the bar and ask them.

  3. You could say its based on truth… it is what most nights of dealing blackjack was like. I just thank god I didn’t have to deal with the singing quite as often. Man that sucked the few times I worked on a night like that… the pain… the desire to drink while working just to dull the ear shattering noise…

    lol – but then again every now and again you would have a night of dealing that made up for it. Usually with someone at your table who didn’t start with something along the lines of “deal nice and I will tip ya.” The mental response usually being “Go away and I won’t take all of your money and smack you to boot.”