# I Raise; Will She Call

“Go through the cards that you might receive and tell me how you bet it.

“Let’s say the first card you get is an ace. Would you bet it?”

Traci answered, “Well I probably would bet it since I can’t lose; it is higher than a ten or a two. I might check to you hoping that you would bet and I could raise you, but that isn’t too smart. I would bet.”

I replied, “I agree; betting is the thing to do. Now what do you do if you had a two?”

Traci thought for a minute and then said, “Either I fold or I would bet hoping to bluff you that I had the ace and you had the ten.”

I answered, “I agree. If you had a scared or tight player, you might be able to bluff him out of some winning hands, but folding isn’t that bad either. So now what do you do when you have a ten?”

Traci said quickly, “I could bet hoping that he had a two.”

I said nothing. Traci looked at me confused. I said, “Work out the logic Traci; most average poker players miss this. Explain your reasoning out loud to me.”

Traci was quiet for a few minutes and said, “I have a ten and I bet it. If he has a two, he knows he is a loser and he folds. If he has an ace, he knows he has a winner and he raises me. There is no way I can win; all that happens is that I lose a bet whenever he has an ace. I am making a bet that I can’t win.”

I said, “So let’s go back to poker. You have a good hand but people are calling you because there is a flush draw on the board or a straight draw—if the right card comes up they could beat you. Well the one card comes up. Maybe there were two spades showing and the last card up makes it three spades. If they have the flush, you lose; if they don’t have a flush, you win. But yesterday, you were betting into them…”

Traci interrupted, “And it was a dumb bet, because if they made the flush they would raise me and if they missed the flush, they would fold.”

I felt great and said, “Not only do I have a girlfriend who is absolutely beautiful, I have one who can understand how to play poker.”

Traci’s grin was wonderful to see. She was getting to me big time and we had yet to have our first date.

I said, “I think it is time to hit the 6-12 came. But before we do, I think we should practice.”

I answered, “Well, if you are my girlfriend and we are going to go into the poker room holding hands, I think the last thing we would do before you sat down is that I would give you a little good luck kiss. We probably should practice that.”

Traci looked at me and then laughed, “You are terrible…you do know that?”

We stood up and she gave me my practice kiss.

We walked into the card room together and Traci signed up for 6-12. We sat at an empty table killing time talking to each other until Traci’s name came up. I think I could have talked for hours watching her face, her eyes lighting up when something funny was said, and maybe a peek or two at her breasts. She was a beautiful poker player, and for now, she was my ‘girlfriend.’

She told me that her poker playing had cost her two boyfriends in the last three years. The first didn’t play poker and couldn’t understand her fascination with the game; he only lasted eight months. The second boyfriend made it for a year and a half; he was a poker player also, but his ego finally caused the split—she was a better player than him.

Traci’s name was called and she sat down to play. I sat behind her. At the end of three hours of play, Traci was winning about one hundred dollars. That was the good news. The bad news was that I hadn’t seen anything at the table that was unusual.

A 20-40 game started and I went to claim my seat. Thirty minutes later I sensed some motion behind me. It was Traci. She had pulled up a chair and sat behind me; she grinned at me and leaned over with her hand on my shoulder and gave me a good luck kiss on my cheek and said, “Now I can watch a professional play.”

And so the pattern was set. Traci and I met in the early afternoon where I would go over her poker playing the previous day. Then I would sit behind her as she played three or four hours of 6-12. Finally, she would sit behind me as I played 20-40 or 40-80.

Two weeks went by and the card room now knew that Traci and I were together. The locals were starting to talk to her, and her game was significantly better. It was assumed that we were living together since we always came into the card room at the same time and always left together. We encouraged that idea whenever possible. One night I turned to Traci and asked, “Do you want to go home now or watch me another thirty minutes?”

After a couple of days I suggested to Traci that I probably should pick her up at her apartment and drop her off when we were through. It would not look right if people saw us driving two cars to and from the card room every day.

The only problem was that I hadn’t seen anything suspicious at the 6-12 table. Either the information that the casino had received was wrong, or I was missing something, or the players had moved to another casino.

Traci and I had gone out to dinner a couple of times during the first two weeks, and one time a dealer I knew and his wife suggested the four of us go to see a new show on the Strip. Steve was the dealer and I had known him for years. His wife was named Sheila and she had been a dancer on the Strip until an injury, and now worked in show production management. We had a fun night together.

I pulled up to Traci’s apartment after we had said good night to Steve and Sheila. We walked to Traci’s front door. Each night I had kissed her good night. The kisses were lasting a little longer by the end of the second week. She looked at me and smiled as she said, “I had a fun time tonight. Thank you for helping me with my job and for being so nice to me.”

I smiled at her without talking and put my arms around her. We kissed. My tongue teased her lips for the first time. After a moment, her mouth opened and her tongue probed my tongue. My hands had been on her back pulling her gently into me, but our kiss had created a new urge in me. My hands left her back and I pulled back from Traci just enough so that my hands could slide up her side and then lightly cover each breast.

I could feel Traci hesitate as she felt me holding her breasts, but then the kiss continued. Three minutes later we came up for air.

She smiled at me and said, “You’re a little quick for me, but just a little.” With a grin and another kiss I expected to hear those magic words ‘Come in.’ Instead Traci said those less than magic words, “Good night.”

The third week started. Traci was playing better poker and had stopped doing the dumb stuff. Now it was a matter of time and experience, and her poker playing ability would turn her into an excellent player.

That Thursday she was playing and I was in my usual spot behind her when for the first time I felt that something wasn’t right at the table. It bugged me. The game seemed normal; no one looked suspicious, but there was something. When Traci finally quit the game the only thing I could come up with was that the pots were a little bigger than normal—or it seemed that way to me.

Steve and Sheila had invited Traci and me to their mountain cabin the following day for some hiking and an early dinner. They were going to stay for the weekend while Traci and I would leave after dinner. Steve had arranged to have Friday and Saturday off and Sheila was going to take a vacation day.

Steve had given me directions and an hour after picking Traci up we pulled into a parking spot in front of a modest cabin built into the side of the mountain. We were at about 2,000 feet and the mountain itself continued up another 4,000 feet. It was a fantastic location for a weekend retreat.

Steve and Sheila had heard my car and came out the front door to greet us. The tour of the cabin followed—good size living room, small kitchen, and two bedrooms each with a queen-size bed. What made the cabin was the back porch. It was a large, wooden deck that extended the full length of the cabin. Built into the deck was a hot tub spa that would hold four people. The spa was level with the deck, so you would step down into it. It was completely private.

With the tour over, Steve suggested we get going so that they could show us the area. Traci and I were dressed for hiking and the four of us headed to a nearby trail. It was spectacular—waterfalls, tall pines surrounded by wild vegetation and finally a small mountain lake created by the winter snow melt. The beauty and the stillness of the surroundings were impressive.

We returned to the cabin in late afternoon. Steve and I had a beer and Traci and Shelia opened a bottle of white wine to sip. We talked. At one point Sheila was talking about her dancing career. She was a very straightforward woman—one of the reasons why I liked her—and her stories were always interesting. She told us about the first time that she was going to dance and the decision she had to make was to be topless or covered. Topless made more money, so she chose topless. Her first day she was putting on her costume and was standing in the dressing room naked other than a small bottom and the janitor came in to change the light bulbs. She described how she dove for cover. Seven days later after showing her breasts to 1,500 people each night, the idea of being shy with her boobs out didn’t seem that serious any more.

She talked about the hits that some of the other female dancers made on her; something that Las Vegas doesn’t talk about much. She laughed about the first time she was invited to a swinger’s party. Sheila said, “I told them that I got so much good sex from Steve that their party couldn’t compare.”

Shelia had us all laughing when she told us the stories of things that go wrong in a production number--The tear away clothes used for quick changes, but the time they forgot to have the next costume ready for the star; the curtain went up exposing the star in just a minuscule bottom.

When Traci went to the bathroom, Sheila looked at me and said, “She is a winner Roy; don’t screw it up like you did with your past girlfriends.”

I grinned and said, “Thank you for the advice mom.”

Sheila and Traci eventually announced that they were getting hungry, so if the men would cook the steaks, the women would get the other stuff together.

The dinner was great and the wine consumption went up. We finally finished and cleaned up the mess. Sheila asked, “Before you guys go, why don’t you join us in the spa for a while? You hiked all day and you’re going to feel it tomorrow. It will relax you.”

I saw the look on Traci’s face and said, “We didn’t bring any suits with us.”

Sheila in her normal blunt way replied, “Suits…who wears clothes in the spa; the bubbles hide everything. And besides, you’re living together so please don’t tell me you haven’t seen everything there is to see.”

Steve said, “Sheila, maybe they are embarrassed to be naked in front of us. They haven’t danced in front of thousands of people like you.”

Sheila finished her argument, “You two undress on the porch and get in the spa. Steve and I will be out in a few minutes. I’ll bring towels and robes for you.”

I didn’t look at Traci, but just walked out the door to the porch. A few seconds later I heard the door open and then Traci said, “We got trapped. What do we do now?”

I grinned and said, “I’m getting in the spa before they come out. If you want to strip in front of them, just wait a few minutes.”

I quickly took off my clothes and stepped into the spa. I wasn’t looking at Traci take her clothes off, but when she stepped into the spa she had to face me. Her breasts really were beautiful; in the instant before it disappeared from view beneath the bubbles I saw a neatly trimmed, blond bush.

I looked at her and said, “You really are beautiful Traci.” The blush that had started when she stepped into the spa deepened.

Steve and Sheila came out and stepped into the spa. Shelia still had a dancer’s body. We sat facing each other; Traci and I on one side of the spa and Steve and Sheila on the other. My legs interlaced with Traci’s legs; the size of the tub meant that our legs were constantly rubbing against each other. It was a very erotic, and I was glad the bubbles hid everything.

Steve had turned on some background music and opened another two bottles of wine. We sipped and soaked. I saw Traci’s eyes close as she relaxed.

An hour later we were all prunes; the two bottles of wine were gone. Steve looked at me and said, “It’s silly for you two to drive home tonight. The mountain road can be tricky, and we hit the booze pretty hard. If you get stopped, they will nail you for DUI for sure. Stay in the spare bedroom and we will feed you a good breakfast and kick you out tomorrow.”

I looked at Traci and asked, “What do you think Traci?”

She looked at me and didn’t speak for a moment. Finally she answered, “I think driving after all the liquor and exercise today is pretty risky. I vote to stay.”

Steve and Shelia got out of the spa and went inside. I stepped out and put a robe on. Traci stepped out and I quickly wrapped her in her robe. We picked up our clothes and went to the spare bedroom. On the way to the bedroom Steve yelled, “We’re history you two; see you in the morning.”

Inside the bedroom Traci looked at me. I came to her and we kissed. My hands felt her breasts beneath her robe as I gently rubbed them. My finger traced the point of her nipples. Finally my hand went to the knot of her robe, but she grabbed my wrist. She looked at me and said, “I know I’m silly but it’s too soon; when I make love to you I want it to be perfect for both of us and not in a spare bedroom. Can you understand that?”

I was aroused and disappointed, but I didn’t want to upset Traci. I answered, “Whatever you want, I want.”

She dropped her robe and slid naked under the sheets of the bed. I followed her. We lay side by side in the small queen-size bed our legs touching. I thought, “My erection is enormous; this is going to be a long night for me.”

And then I heard the unmistakable sound of love making. It was Steve and Sheila. We could hear the quiet early moans of arousal; later replaced with many minutes of whimpers of lust and sex. I lay there staring at the ceiling wondering how I had trapped myself in this jail of sexual torture. Finally, the physical sexual rhythm of two bodies making love started.

I felt Traci’s hand grab mine. She pulled my hand to her vulva—her pubic hair was wet--and whispered, “Can you just make me come, I can’t take this any more.”

I turned on my side and looked at her. She looked into my eyes and said, “Not all the way, but I can’t stand it.”

I pulled the sheet down and she lay before me naked. Her legs were slightly spread and her eyes continued to watch me. I leaned over and kissed each nipple and then lowered my mouth to pelvis. I licked and kissed her inner thighs and let my fingers play with her outer lips—her moisture clung to her hair. Finally, my fingers spread her lips and my tongue teased her inner wet walls, and then darted into her vagina. She whimpered quietly as I teased, and then moaned louder. Her head was tossing back and forth and she was starting to push herself harder against my tongue. I went to her clit and in moments she erupted in violent spasms of lust thrusting into my face. My tongue never left her insides until her motion had stopped.

I lay back next to her and took her hand and squeezed. She said, “I haven’t had anything that intense in a very long time.”

She took her hand from mine and reached for my erection which had become even more painful as I gave release to Traci’s body. Her fingers felt the wetness at my tip, and then her fingers gently closed on me and started moving up and down. I knew it would not take long for me to erupt—I had been teased by her body, her looks, all day.

Her hand stopped its motion. She said out loud to herself, “If you are going to do it, do it right.” She got on her knees and held me steady as her tongue licked my sides. Her mouth captured me and her head went lower as she took all of me into her mouth. A few moments later I came; when she knew I was about to come she lifted her eyes to mine—it was the most erotic look I have ever seen.

We slept. I woke first and went to the kitchen in search of some coffee. Shelia was already up and poured me a cup. She looked at me and said, “Traci might be the most important thing that will ever happen to you Roy. You know that, don’t you?”

I nodded my head once, but it was enough. We both understood and agreed.

Two hours later we climbed into my car and started back to town. Traci had said little when she finally got up and joined us in the kitchen. She moved to the center of the seat and laid her hand on my thigh. She squeezed it once and left it there. Few words were spoken until we reached her apartment. I stopped the car and she opened the door. She looked at me and said, “You’re starting to be a big part of my life Roy. Do you understand?”

Once again I nodded my head once. Once again an understanding was reached.

Six hours later I picked up Traci for the ride to the casino. A 6-12 seat was open and she started to play. I took my normal position behind her. After an hour or so my mind replayed a hand that had just taken place. It was a big pot won by the player in the three seat. Traci had got caught in the middle of some bets and raises. Her straight lost to the full house.

I thought, “That’s it. That’s what those bastards are doing. I’ve got one now. Has he got one partner or more than one?”

It was about the usual time that Traci quit the game to watch me play 20-40. This time I leaned over and suggested she keep playing. She looked at me, and then nodded.

Two hours later, I had them all. Three players were cheating at the table, and I had all three. Finally I told Traci to quit. She went to cash in her chips and then joined me in our quiet little bar. She spoke first, “You saw something?”

I answered, “We got them all Traci. Call your boss and set up a meeting. I’ll explain everything at the same time. What the casino does about it is up to them.”

I picked up Traci in the late afternoon the next day and we drove to the casino. As we walked through the lobby area she took my hand and pulled me to an unmarked door that was guarded by a uniformed security person. He nodded to Traci and opened the door for us. We walked down a hallway and then to door marked ‘Security Conference Room.’ We walked in and found Traci’s boss, Bill Ryan, waiting for us. Gus, the relatively new manager of the card room who I knew slightly, was also there.

Bill spoke first, “Traci said you have something.”

I answered, “It was so simple that you kick yourself, but the simple things always work best if you aren’t greedy. It’s just simple collusion with signals being passed around the table. When one of the three had a good hand, either one or both of them stayed in the hand and increased the number of raises to make the pot bigger. In the hand that I first caught on to what they were doing, Traci and a tourist were caught between two raisers. One of the cheaters had a very good hand and the other probably had nothing. On the lay down, the good hand showed and his partner just threw away his cards—we never saw what he had.

“What made it a little tough is that each of the three had a different signal, so it just didn’t jump out at you. The man in the three seat always put his down cards parallel to the table except when he had a good hand; then he put them perpendicular to the table’s edge. The guy in the seven seat covered his cards with a gold coin; the coin was always on the center of his cards unless he had a good hand, and then it was on the right edge of the cards. The player in the five seat had a lighter that he kept playing with. It usually lay on its side; when he had a good hand, it stood upright.

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