lady luck not tonight

Lady Luck Not Tonight

Eddie Newell was a blackjack dealer who worked at the four queens in Las Vegas back in the mid-70s. Eddie was an experienced casino dealer with more than ten years of experience. He knew how to deal blackjack, craps, and roulette.

Many people might not know, but most of these dealers made minimum wage, which was about $1.85 per hour back then. Certainly not enough to pay rent, food, and other bills. You might be asking, why does this job pay so low? Because casino dealers also make tips. In fact, that is where the majority of their income comes from.

In Eddie’s case, he usually made about $40 per day in tips, which was pretty good money in 1975. So here is how it works: players who play and win will often make a side bet for the dealers, so when the player wins, the dealer also wins.

For example, if a player bets a $5 casino chip and wins the bet, the dealer receives a $10 tip.

The dealers then put their tips in a box in the gaming pit. All tips are combined, then divided out at the end of the shift.

So let’s assume there are 100 dealers on a particular shift, and the total tips add up to $3850; each dealer would receive $1.85 per hour plus $38.50 in tips. 

Another interesting perk, many casinos will give each dealer a drink at the end of their shift.  This is why you might see many people at the bar at 7:00 AM drinking beer and wine.  These are probably dealers who just finished their shifts. To them, it’s not 7:00 AM; it’s more like 7:00 PM. These people will probably go home and sleep at about 10:00 AM, wake up at 6 PM, then go to work at 11:00 PM for the graveyard shift.

Eddie grew up in Las Vegas

Eddie’s father passed away in 1972. He was also a casino dealer known to gamble most of his tips away each night. This caused many problems, and Eddie’s parents divorced in 1969. Eddie’s father is the person who taught Eddie how to deal cards and helped him get his first casino job at the Golden Gate casino in Las Vegas. At the time, Eddie was only 21 years old, barely old enough to become a casino dealer.

Eddie lived with his sister and rented a room in her house. Eddie, unlike his father, rarely gambled. A lot of pain was caused by his father’s gambling habit when Eddie was growing up.

Eddie said, “if you work for the casino, you are always on the winning side.” Eddie was very frugal with his money. Since working for the casinos, he saved about $12,000. He planned to marry his girlfriend Debbie and buy a home in Las Vegas.

July 27, 1978 Eddie's Birthday

It was Thursday at 7:00 AM. Eddie had just finished a graveyard shift at the Four Queens casino in downtown Las Vegas.  The casino gave Eddie a free drink. He met several of his coworkers for a beer at the bar. Eddie mentioned that it was his birthday. One of his friends, Danny, who also worked at the Four Queens, said, “I had no idea it was your birthday”  Let’s walk over to the Horseshoe and get something to eat; it’s my treat.”

Danny’s wife worked at the Horseshoe and was scheduled to get off at 8 AM; Danny and Eddie walked over and waited for her to finish her shift, and the three went downstairs and had a big breakfast.

At the Horseshoe, you could get steak and eggs for $2 anytime. During their breakfast, a keno girl walked by, and Danny filled out a keno ticket and bet $1 on an eight-spot ticket. A few minutes later, Danny noticed he got 5 out of eight numbers on the keno game and won $3.  Danny said, Wow, look, I just got breakfast for free.”

Danny said, “OK, Lynn (Danny’s wife), now it’s your turn.” When the keno girl came over, Lynn bet $2 on a six-spot, and sure enough, she hit 4 out of 6 and won $12.

Lenn laughed and said, “I just won breakfast for the entire week!”

Lynn said, OK, Eddie, let’s see if you can beat that!  Eddie said, “I don’t gamble.”

Danny said, “Ow come on, man, it’s your birthday; live a little!”

Eddie had just picked up his tips and made $46, so he thought, “oh, why not.”  Eddie gave the keno girl a dollar for a quick-pick four spot.  Five minutes later, the keno game drew all four of his numbers. Eddie had just won $97.

Danny said, “Well, happy birthday; this must be your lucky day!”

After breakfast, Danny and Lynn said goodbye and left. Eddie was walking out the front of the Horseshoe casino, and he passed a craps table. He thought, “maybe this is my lucky day; I should play for a few minutes.”

Then he thought, “no, I have to work tomorrow, and I need to get home and go to bed.”

Eddie went back and forth and finally decided he would play since he had just won $97 playing keno, besides it was my birthday.  “I’ll just play for 10 minutes, then leave.”

An incredible run on the craps table

If you have ever played casino craps, you know that luck runs in spurts. You can win or even lose ten times in a row. This goes back and forth, and many fortunes have been won and lost on the craps table.

This happened to be Eddie’s lucky run at the craps table.  He decided to use just $20 of his newfound money.  He told himself that if he lost $20, he would quit and go home, still $77 ahead.

Here is where the problem exists. Eddie had a plan for losing but didn’t have a plan for winning. He only thought about losing his $20, then leaving. He never really considered what he would do if he won.

That is precisely what happened. Eddie turned his $20 into $100 in five minutes. Since he didn’t plan to win, he just kept playing.

Eddie had more than $700 of casino chips in his rack thirty minutes later. It seemed like every bet he made was a winner.  He started thinking, “This is how my father must have felt about gambling.”  “Now I can understand his way of thinking”  “Money won is twice as sweet as money earned.”

Eddie knew that his girlfriend must be wondering what had happened to him. He should have been more than an hour ago.  He stopped gambling and cashed in his chips. He went to a pay phone and called Debby, his girlfriend, and explained that he went to have breakfast with a few coworkers.  He was reluctant to mention winning money because of his personal rule concerning gambling.

Debby said, “OK, so when will you be here?”

Eddie said, “in a few minutes.” 

Eddie had every intention of leaving the casino

After talking to Debby, Eddie finally walked out of the casino and went home.  He stopped off at a slot machine on the way out and played a few quarters in his pocket.

BAM JACKPOT!  His three-quarters went into a slot machine, and he hit three sevens and won $250  Wait, What?  What?” Eddie could not believe his luck. He thought, “this isn’t real.”  He had more than a thousand dollars in his pocket with his tip money, his keno winnings, and his craps winnings.

He went back to the payphones and called Debby again. Debby asked, “where are you?” Eddie said, “I’m still at the horseshoe.”  Debby asked, “Why?”

Eddie finally spilled the truth, he explained how he won money playing keno at breakfast, then at the craps table, and now at the slot machine.

Debby said, “Holy cow, I thought you didn’t like gambling?”  Eddie said it’s not like me to play, but I have more than $1000 now.  I think I’ll continue for another hour; why don’t you come here so I can give you some of my winnings so I can’t lose them.”

Debby walked into the Horseshoe casino an hour later and located Eddie at a blackjack table.  By the time she got there, Eddie was still winning, and he had more than $3000

Debby said you need to cash out and come home, it’s past 11 AM, and you need to get to bed; you have to work tonight.”

Eddie said, “yes, you are right. Take these chips and cash them in, and I’ll see you back at the house.”

Debby took $2500 in chips, cashed them in, and took the money home.  Eddie kept $500 and said,” I should be home in about 30 minutes.”

Thirty minutes came and went, and no sign of Eddie. Eddie never made it out of the casino. He turned his last $500 in chips into $5000. He lost complete track of time.

Eddie called his sister

Eddie knew his girlfriend would probably be asleep, so he called his sister and explained how he started gambling and winning. Can you come down here and take some of my winnings so I can’t lose them all?  She agreed and went to the casino and took $4000 of Eddie’s money back home.

Now Eddie still $1000 in chips, and he was still gambling. It’s was now about 2:00 PM and he was getting tired, but he pressed on, and he kept winning.

At this point Eddie started believing that he couldn’t lose. He started make outrageous bets.  $100, the $250, than $500 at a time, and yes, he kept winning.

By 4:30 PM, Eddie was up $27,000, By 6:30 PM Eddie was us $72,000 and by 8:30 PM, Eddie was up $154,000

Eddie’s girlfriend, Debby woke and learned that Eddie never came home. She got mad and went back to the casino and found Eddie, who now had more than $200,000 

She went from being mad to being very happy!  “Oh my god, we are rich.”  Eddie said, I know, it seems like everything I play, I win.”

Debby reminded Eddie that he had to go back to work in two hours.  Eddie said, “I know, and I am so tired, but now we have all of this money.”

Debbie stayed at the casino and watched Eddie play, and he continued to win. Now he was making $5000 bets at the Baccarat table.  Debby said, I have to go to work, you should quit now, cash in and go to work.

Eddie agreed, and Debby left for work.

Eddie never made it to work

Eddie just couldn’t quit. He continued to play through the night. He had won more than $537,000 by 4:30 AM.

Debby finished her shift and returned home at 8:AM, but there was no Eddie.  Eddy called her at about 8:30 AM and explained that he had never left the casino and now had more than half a million dollars.

Eddie called his work and explained that he was sick and needed the day off, but by then, they already knew that Eddie was gambling across the street, so they fired him.

Eddie now didn’t have a job, but he didn’t care because now he is rich. Eddie continued to win, and by 11:00 AM, he had won $1,113,600. Eddie would never have to work another day in his life.


The tide turns

It was now a day after Eddie’s birthday, and something strange had happened. Eddie was back on the craps table, made a $5000 bet on the line, and lost.

Now believing he can’t lose, Eddie made another $5000 and lost again. Wait, this can be right, so he did it again and again and again.

Within a few hours, Eddie had managed to lose all of his chips back to the casino.

He called Debbie and asked her to bring back the money she took home, and of course, she said “NO.”

Debby and Eddy got into a big fight over the phone, so Debby took the money back to Eddy, who was still in the casino, and she broke up with him.

Within about 20 minutes Eddle lost all of the money his girlfriend had, so he called his sister.

He asked his sister to bring back the money she had taken, and they fought. She returned to the casino and gave Eddie his money, and he quickly lost it.

Eddie finally left the casino, but he didn’t go home. He went to his bank and withdrew his $12,000 savings which took him ten years to accumulate.

He returned to the casino and lost it in a matter of minutes. 

It was 4:20 PM and Eddie was broke

After losing almost everything, Eddie was comped a free steak dinner. He went back downstairs and ate his steak.

This is where it all began, the day before.

Just 33 hours ago, Eddie was happy with a beautiful girlfriend, $12K in the bank, and a good job.

He had won and lost over a million dollars. His girlfriend left him, his sister was mad at him, and he lost his job.

With his last $35, Eddie took a cab to hoover dam and jumped to his death.

Some people might say this is just a story; this never happened. I say to these non-believers, “You want to bet?”

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