I grew up in the twenties, in a magical time when Al Capone was all the rage in Chicago, when Cole Porter was the up and coming songwriter of the time, and the casino was first making its debut. At the time, blackjack was all but unknown. My father was the one who saw the potential almost immediately. All his friends were surprised when he appeared on the street corner one day and announced that that was the way he would strike it rich.
Of course, at the time, gambling wasn't what it is today. The Prohibition saw to it that when people did not drink, they simply did not gamble. The great casinos that we have nowadays were a fairy tale in those days. But my father opened the first blackjack table there on that street corner. At first, it didn't catch on, and people were skeptical as they always were of street vendors and many thought that they were being swindled.
However, my father perservered and soon he had just enough money to move his little casino into a small store, where it became even more popular. For us the childeren, the casino was our funhouse and playground all in one. With the renovations, more games other than blackjack were added. Keno, baccarat, poker and the finally craps. However, blackjack remained the cornerstone of the entire establishemnt.
Then, on my thirteenth birthday, my father came to me and told me that as I was the oldest, the casino would very likely be inherited by me. That very day, I would be inducted into the sectets of the casino. I felt as though I was entering a secret brotherhood. He taught me everything. I learnt how to riffle, bet, wager, which strategy to use and when, and when I thought that I had finished my apprenticeship, he showed me the ultimate secret of all. He taught me how to play Blackjack.
Now, looking back, I have to smile. This was the best time I had with my father and in time I did indeed inherit the casino. And now, everytime I walk around the tables and see people play Poker, Craps, Keno, Slots and Bacarrat I remember all the wonderful times I had with my father in the casino. And when I come to the Blackjack table, I remember that even though he is no longer with us, my greatest thanks is that he taught me how to play Blackjack.