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Vera Sanchez
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Mexican Food and the Martingale

27 October 2012

Some Mexican restaurants are known for their zesty chile verdes, moist tamales with pork meat and sweet corn mix, chocolate flavored mole and family recipes that have been passed on through generations. Freshly chopped cilantro, smoked jalapenos, and perfectly diced onions are a few of the ingredients that complete the taste. Wash it down with a chilled salted rim strawberry margarita garnished with a lime wedge, and that defines world-class eatery.

I was invited out to eat by my boyfriend, Jason, and his family. Jason’s grandpa, Bernard, was heading back to the resort city of Puerto Vallarta. He decided, for his good-bye dinner, to dine at a raunchy Mexican joint. The establishment was decorated with flamboyant zarapes used as curtains; Corona shape lamp shades contributed to the dimness of the lighting; and a gumball machine squeezed the remaining change from customers. A solo musician traveled around the room, strumming the chords of his acoustic guitar, belching out the same stale, prolonged Mexican melodies I unconsciously listened to as an adolescent: “Tanto tiempo disfrutamos de este amor. Nuestras almas se acercaron tanto a así. Que yo guardo tu sabor, pero tú llevas también. Sabor a mí.”

As I sat down to a seat that was gladly given up, I was instantly addressed by Gloria, Grandpa Bernard’s third wife, “Who are you?” she questioned. A piece of tortilla chip stuck to her chin. We’ve met during every holiday of the year I thought to myself. “Hola Eva,” Gloria retorted, “this is Jason’s grandpa.” She tugged at his arm. Grandpa Bernard’s tired eyes, calm manner, coffee skin, wrinkled body, beams at a distance and ignores the Mexican mosca that pesters next to him. “It is pronounced with a V,” I repeated my name, emphasizing by sucking my teeth. In return, the fly stared a blank smile.

I ordered in my third generation Spanish. The plain menudo was alarmingly chewable; the meat, rough and underdone, stuck to my molars. The tortillas broke apart as I dipped it in my soup. My drink was a mix of bland tea and watered-down coke. Not exactly the mouthwatering home cooking I had in mind.

As I engaged in dinner talk with folks around the table (it was better than feasting on the cuisine), I mentioned my plans for the summer traveling to Laughlin, Monterey, San Francisco, and the ever so favorite Las Vegas.

The withering bug continued to interrupt dialogue by babbling, “Eva, did you know Berney used to live in Las Vegas?” Grandpa Bernard’s attention turns away from the television, which was mounted to the wall. He speaks for the first time that evening, “I use to live in Vegas because I won so much money playing video poker, Pai Gow, and craps.”

Not wanting to go in depth about machines and the Chinese gambling methods, I asked how he encountered wealth in craps. “Well, I have a fool proof craps system that can’t be beaten,” Grandpa B gradually lectures, “I have gone to the craps table 88 times, and won all 88 times. I am very successful at this game.” I am dying to know the “magic” to the victorious 88 trips to the table.
“I look to see who has the most chips on the rail, and I bet what they are betting because they have the most money.”

I let the elder continue, “I bet one dollar. If I lose, I bet two dollars. If I lose that, I bet three dollars. I bet until I win. I win what I lose. It’s a sure thing.” I shake my head and laugh at the Martingale strategy. “There is a special way to handle the dice,” he includes, “ I pick up all the dice before I roll, bounce them on the table. Whichever bounce the highest are the dice I pick.” I didn’t even bother to ask why.

If someone gives their advice on craps, whether they are related to you or not, do not listen. For one, they might be senile, showing a loss of mental faculties. Second, most gamblers do not take the necessary time to properly research the game of craps. They go to the tables prepared to lose their money. If they happen to win by the stroke of luck, they believe that is the true method of overcoming the game of craps. Unfortunately, they are wrong and delusional, despite their imaginative myths.
Vera Sanchez

Vera Sanchez is a member of Golden Touch Craps and belongs to a distinctive group in the largely male world of craps – a female dice controller and advantage player. She was born and raised in San Diego. She graduated from San Diego State University with her bachelor’s degree in English and later with a master’s degree in Education. She is currently a high school English and Literature teacher in the San Diego area as well as a basketball coach.
Vera Sanchez
Vera Sanchez is a member of Golden Touch Craps and belongs to a distinctive group in the largely male world of craps – a female dice controller and advantage player. She was born and raised in San Diego. She graduated from San Diego State University with her bachelor’s degree in English and later with a master’s degree in Education. She is currently a high school English and Literature teacher in the San Diego area as well as a basketball coach.