My Most Memorable Brush With Fame
Posted: May 14, 2010
I have had the pleasure to shake hands with some of my favorite athletes over the years, including Michael Jordan, Walter Payton and Ernie Banks. I have also had personal conversations with some famous musicians, entertainers and television announcers. But, my most memorable "brush with fame" was when I played cards with a country music star.
In 1996, I was in Las Vegas,NV, when I played black jack with George Strait. Mr. Strait was in town for the annual rodeo convention, which I did not attend. But his entourage was fairly impressive. He and his four friends alll wore the same black attire and were fairly popular in the casinos.
I watched Mr. Strait make his way to the table that I was playing at and learned that the minimum table bet was going to increase to $25 dollars per hand. As a young and fairly naive player wearing a Wisconsin Badgers sweatshirt and blue jeans , the minimum wager was a bit beyond my means. But I stuck around to play the card game with one of the nation's famous music stars.
Upon his arrival at the black jack table, I was sitting in what is often called "third base". In other words, I was the last player to make the decision about whether to take another card or not. In fact, it was just Mr. Strait and I at the table, along with his three friends who were responsible for providing security from the young ladies, handing him his $500 pink chips and serving him his drink of choice.
After about 15 minutes, I was on the winning end of the black jack game, as was Mr. Strait. However, the country music star was playing three hands to my one and he was wagering $1,000 per hand. I was playing for the minimum $25, which was about all I could afford.
By about the 10th hand, I was dealt a 12, which included a two and a 10. The dealer had a two facing up, which made me think that he also had a 12 hand. There are two schools of thought: I could sit on the 12 and hope that the dealer busts or I could take a card and hope to improve my hand. As I squirmed about what to do, Mr. Strait said "Dan from Wisconsin, go ahead and take another card ". So I obliged and was dealt a nine to go with my 12 to make a 21. Mr. Strait had three winning hands in front of him already and the dealer gave himself a face card to give him 22.
Upon leaving the table, the country music star handed me one of his $500 chips. My losing weekend turned out to be profitable - all because I listened to the country music star's advice. I never got an autograph, but I still have the pink $500 chip.