My First Gambling Influence Was My Mom

I have heard many stories of how podcasters and their guests started gambling. Some remember times when family members led them to card games, sports betting, and other forms of gambling. In many examples, parents and grandparents bonded with future gamblers through these games. As for me, one influence was my mom and the many card games, such as pitch and hearts, that we would play with my many uncles. But my fondest card games came from a round, plastic board game called Michigan Rummy.

It was a pretty simple game, and we used pennies – yes pennies, which made it sort if serious, like kiddie gambling. The pennies that we used were kept in a “Chock Full of Nuts” coffee can. There was no need to bring your own bankroll when you twelve years old.

My mom loved Michigan Rummy because it was more of a family game than gambling. But she loved a little slot play and especially looked for that low ante bingo game, whether at a church or sometimes even at Foxwoods.

Michigan Rummy is a cool game. The many names of this card game — Chicago, Saratoga, Newmarket, Stops, Boodle, and others — show its far-reaching appeal. Though played with cards and chips, (or pennies) Michigan doesn’t involve betting. Each player, as many as eight in a game, starts with the same amount of chips or pennies. By sequencing through each suit, eventually players get to take the amount in each corresponding ante they get, such as the 10 of hearts, or 8,9,10 in the same suit. The dealer ante is 2X, but an extra hand is available for the dealer if his is not to his liking.

I thank and credit my Mom for my interest in board games, greyhound racing, slots, video poker and all of the other games I play…..including Monopoly and Parcheesi. I love playing games.

My Mom passed away a month ago, and I am giving the eulogy next week at our family’s service. I can only imagine she’s organizing a Michigan Rummy game as you read this, or starting a bingo game since she had her own bingo set. I’m sure she’s the life of the party, it’s all good.

Now, where are those pennies…….

Love you, Mom