That Time I Gambled At An Illegal, Yakuza-Run Casino In Roppongi

I heard there were casinos in Roppongi, I wanted to check it out. Being a foreigner, finding one would require a Japanese friend.

It took about 15 minutes to find a place. It was up a flight of stairs into what looked like a studio apartment. We were the only ones there except the staff running the games. I sat at the only blackjack table and got a hundred in chips.

The shoe was tilted at an odd angle and you could actually see the space underneath. Playing in Vegas so many years, I was suspicious. My first hand I get an 11 and the dealer gets a six. What are the odds? Gotta double down. Dealer flips his card and has a five, hits and gets 21. My card was a 2. Down $50.

I’m totally getting scammed, but it’s so damn fascinating I can’t help myself. Another $25, another perfect hand. I don’t double down and the dealer gets kind of pissed. Same exact outcome, my 13 against the dealer’s 21.

I do it again, and again the same scene plays out. I get another hundred in chips. How the fuck is this guy doing this with my face almost inches from his hands. I have to know. I keep refusing the double down and this sets off some chain of events that leads me to getting escorted from the casino. I still have chips on the table. I start to say something and my friend tells me to let it go.

It’s good to have friends in Japan.

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