house must draw on 16 hold on 17

"chatter"   "shush"
fingers that manipulate the cards are long and slender
"chatter"   "shush"
they subdivide the four decks with precision
"chatter"   "shush"
then stack them
—fully shuffled—
on the green felt
front and center

a joker is presented, wedged at random, half protruding
another hand removes it, then replaces it
—cut thus made—
the group ahead is placed behind
the pack is tapped and straightened
joker, deftly snatched, is 
reinserted at the rear

as bets are laid
the dealer sets aside his empty tip jar
shoot now fully loaded
all is ready
first card burned
next one counts
the game
is underway




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