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Blackjack Up Card

Dear Mark,
I hope you don't mind me asking what could very well be a stupid question, but what do you mean by an "up card" when you have answered a few different blackjack questions in the past? By the way, I don't play the game. - Jack L.

How's that old saying go, Jack, "the only stupid question, is the one not asked." Gambling questions of any kind are no exception, at least here, that is. Anyhow, an up card is the face-up card the dealer deals himself at the opening of a hand of blackjack.

Dealers deal their own opening hands with one card face-up and one card face-down. The card dealt face-up is the dealer's "up" card, and the card that is dealt face-down is said to be the dealer's "hole card."

Dear Mark,
Yes or no, would video poker on a machine be considered a true "draw" poker game? - Larry L.

Elitists of table poker would say, NO WAY. But look at it this way, Larry: video poker is one player against a machine that displays the player's cards as graphic images on a screen; the player still has to place a stake, is dealt five cards from a standard 52-card deck, and has an opportunity to discard any number of unwanted cards, and to "draw" an equal number of replacement cards from the deck.

Many I have debated in the past have dissected the word "draw" to suit their argument, yet in both table draw poker and video draw poker, there is a second round of cards during the hand where you are allowed to discard some of your cards, and draw more cards with the hope of improving your hand.

As for me, a connoisseur of any kind of poker, I swallow yes, demi-glace with the finest Traverse City dried cherries, red wine and shallots. If it looks, walks and quacks like duck, it must be a duck, even if your opponent is a cybernetic one-armed bandit and not a big mouth mortal who happens to have bad breath.

Dear Mark,
I was approached by a casino security guard and asked to leave the casino (in Nevada) because he though I was walking through the casino looking for coins left unattended in the trays of slot machines. Is that illegal to do? - Ralph G.

Even though Nevada is called the "Silver State," Ralph, you're not allowed to Sunday-walk the joint silver mining. The practice of treasure hunting for orphan coins, credits on a slot machine, or even coins on the floor is illegal.

Gamblers who forget (there's a lesson here) their stored credits or loose coins in the tray are effectively donating them to the casino. Such goodies are not considered coinage for those with keen eyes circumnavigating the casino floor to rescue someone else's poor left-behind moolah.

Gambling Quotes

  • "Life is a gamble, like crossing the road. One day chicken, next day feathers."- Unknown

  • "Having an ATM in a casino is like having a lap-dancer at a Hell's Angels Convention. - McAvoy Layne

  • "Gambling has held human beings in thrall for millennia. It has been engaged in everywhere, from the dregs of society to the most respectable circles."- Peter L. Bernstein

  • Besides lovemaking and singing in the shower, there aren't many human activities where there is a greater difference between a person's self-delusional ability and actual ability than in poker.- Steve Badget

  • "Betting is the only moral thing you can do. It is an intellectual pursuit, as good as The Times crossword. For millions, it is the only uninfluenced democratic decision they take."- Lord Wyatt

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