[Excerpt from 1536 Free Waters and Other Blackjack Endeavors--Finding Profit and Humor in Card-Counting, by Glen Wiggy, published by iUniverse, 2012.]

 

~ The Genius ~

 

     ...during a drive from Omaha to Oklahoma City to visit my parents, I stopped at a roadside casino in some no-name Kansas town.  I wanted to play a few hands to break the monotony of driving.  I sat at a blackjack table which had no posted rules.  Since the dealer had been in the middle of a chip exchange with the pit boss and security staff, I asked the only player at the table a couple questions.  The man was diminutive, probably weighing less than 100 pounds, and wore thick, black-framed glasses.

     What are the double-down rules?  Do they offer surrender? 

     Without looking in my direction, the wee man said, Some dogs are named Talmadge.

     I responded inquisitively, Pardon.

     The man repeated with a ton of attitude, SOME DOGS ARE NAMED TALMADGE!

     I stood up and slowly walked from the table saying, Oooookay then.  The guy might have been mentally challenged.  Some dogs are named Talmadge?  Or maybe he was intoxicated or under the influence of something stronger than alcohol.  Either way, I had determined he should remain in solitude.  I found another table where I played head's up with the dealer.  A half hour later, a loud, obnoxious woman approached the game.  She started blabbering even before taking a seat, and did not stop talking when the cards were dealt.

     We have been on the road all day in that blasted sun--Cousin Mary is driving me crazy in the RV--If we don't get to Yellowstone soon, I'm gonna bust--Where is the potty in this place?  She wouldn't stop yammering.  Eventually, she turned my way.  Hi, my name's Shelly, I'm from Rolla, Missouri--What's your name?

     I had looked straight ahead, thought a moment, and responded, Some dogs are named Talmadge.

     Dogs are whaaaaat?  Shelly responded with a puzzled look on her face.

     SOME DOGS ARE NAMED TALMADGE!

     The woman quit talking for the first time and gently pulled herself away from the table, all the while giving me a strange look.  The dealer, pit boss and security staff gave me puzzled looks as well, but continued their business.  At that moment, I had realized that the little guy with the thick, black-framed glasses was a genius.