Manami dealt the cards.

The man on her right had won back everything he had lost. Neither the winning or the losing had changed his pleased attitude. The man sitting next to him had made a small profit. That wasn’t enough for him, he obviously wanted to make more. The woman in the center just joined, but Manami was certain she had come from another table, another game. She hadn’t fared well there and wanted another shot. The man next to her was also new. He’d just bought his chips, fresh in his night. The woman all the way on the left was on a roll. She’d declared this to be her last hand, win or lose. She was also smart enough not to want to throw the maximum in on this last one, win or lose.

The numbers made their way up fast and slow. Three, ten, eighteen. Five, fifteen, bust. Five, seven, ten, nineteen. Ten, twenty. Eight, seventeen, bust.

Eleven, twelve, sixteen. Manami didn’t hesitate. Twenty one.

She knew the chances, generally, though when it favored her there was a part of her mind that was still surprised. The varied reactions of the table assaulted her eyes and ears. However, she took in the dealer’s win and wished some of this would be her paycheck. The only one to bow out was the woman on the left.

“Hey, Kawamoto. Joe coming in.”

Manami introduced the new dealer, wished them all luck, leaving at the same time as the woman.

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