Bonus #2: Gertie and Bridget hit up the casino
Note: This is a bonus story, titled by a reader. It takes place long after the events of the stories that are otherwise on this website. It is considered canon until another actually-canon story contradicts it. You can see the suggestions for story titles by readers here. Enjoy!
“Come on,” Bridget said, grabbing her sister’s hand and literally dragging her out of the hotel room.
“What?” Gertie protested but still followed her sister.
“If you stay in there all night, you’re going to worry yourself sick and be exhausted for tomorrow.”
Gertie wished she could say that she was fine, and that she was not worried, and that she knew everything was going to go off without a hitch. Instead, she admitted, “I just know things are going to go wrong, because things always go wrong, and I want it to be small things and not big things, you know?”
Bridget nodded and turned a corner, still dragging her sister by the arm. Gertie looked around and realized where she was being taken. “Bridget...What are you doing? The bachelorette party was last week!”
“This isn’t a bachelorette party,” Bridget said as they entered the hotel’s casino.
The night was still young and there were plenty of guests betting on the outcome of roulette wheels, trying their luck at blackjack, and sucking down the free drinks.
“Then what are we doing here?” Gertie asked as Bridget sat down at a poker table.
“Distracting you.” The younger sister took her sunglasses off her head and put them on to cover any tell her eyes might have. That, and it would hide the white of her enchanted left eye. She placed a twenty on the table to exchange for chips.
The dealer looked up at Gertie, who hovered over her sister’s shoulder, as he placed Bridget’s stack of chips in front of her. “I’m just going to watch,” Gertie said. The dealer nodded and started tossing out the cards to the players.
Bridget stared at her cards. To most people, she might look like she was very deep in thought about the two cards in her hand. But Gertie knew the truth: she was looking into the future.
In most casinos, any form of magic was banned. Guests who wanted to enter would have to walk through scanners that would beep when enchanted goods were found, or have paperwork explaining magical powers they had and proof that they were blocking them with some magical object. But in this casino, one of the best in Skyline, guests were able to do anything they wanted.
The house could too, however, and often there were enchantments placed on cards to keep them from being scried in a mirror or allow players to see their competitions’ hands.
But the powers of Bridget’s enchanted eye worked differently, and could often see through the house’s spells so she had a leg up. That and, of course, she was an excellent poker player to begin with.
The first player added another chip to his stack in order to total the ante and the next player followed suit, not being aggressive just yet.
“Twenty,” Bridget bet, adding four chips to total the blind plus her raise.
Gertie’s eyes went wide at such a large sum so soon out of the gate and she turned to a waitress walking past. “Can I have a gin and tonic please?” She pulled her ID declaring that she was twenty-six out of her wallet and flashed it at the waitress, who nodded and went to the bar.
The player to Bridget’s right called her raise and the dealer scooped all the chips into a pile. Bridget’s lip twitched. It was already a decently sized pot.
The waitress returned with Gertie’s drink and she sipped on it nervously.
Another vision flashed before Bridget’s eyes and she grimaced.
“That’s your only drink tonight,” she told Gertie.
“If you don’t want to be hungover tomorrow, you’ll do what I say,” Bridget insisted.
Gertie sighed and waited a long while before taking another sip.
Bridget took the pot on the first hand with a heart flush. She smiled to her competitors as she pulled the chips towards her.
As the dealer moved the dealer chip and requested antes, Bridget noticed a wave of telekinesis. Her eye could see various enchantments and spells, and at this point she knew what objects looked like when someone was trying to move them around.
The cards in the deck next to the dealer started to lift, flipping back as if someone was looking through them. It slowed as it neared the top of the deck, broadcasting the suit and rank of the cards the players would soon be dealt. It was a decent method to cheat. If someone knew everyone else’s hands, they would know their own odds of winning.
Bridget glanced around the rest of the table. Everyone had caught on to what was happening. The man sitting closest to the deck was concentrating, working up a sweat with his manipulation of the cards.
With a bemused smirk, the dealer picked up the cards and switched them for a new deck. It was the house’s job to try to keep the game fair, not to police the players from trying to use magic.
Bridget folded on the next hand despite having the small blind, so one of her chips went to a player constantly staring into a compact mirror that she held beneath the table.
Glancing at the enchantment on the glass, Bridget realized that the other woman was looking into the future just as much as she was. And based on the pile of chips in front of her, she was doing well too.
Players used mirrors during poker to search the future and learn if someone was bluffing. Even if they couldn’t see the cards - due to the house’s magic - they could see other players’ reactions to certain moves. And if they looked into a future where they called another player’s raise, they could see if the player was upset or not.
But they couldn’t get that knowledge for free. It took time to look into their mirrors, cast their spells, and search for the right moment in the future. It took energy, and before long most players didn’t have enough left to play.
Luckily, with Bridget’s training, she could play all night if she needed to.
Bridget looked up at Gertie, who had abandoned alcohol for water and now watched the game with focused intensity, trying to figure out who had what hands as much as she would if she were playing. The possibilities of ‘what if’ that had been keeping her up all night were whittled down to ‘what if that player who raised has a full house,’ which distracted her from the next morning. Bridget thought maybe only another hour would be necessary, otherwise Gertie wouldn’t get any sleep at all.
On the next hand, Bridget had pocket kings and the overwhelming urge to smile. Then she realized something strange. Her real eye saw the two kings, but her left saw an ace and a two.
Bridget looked up, her eyes covered by her sunglasses to hide the fact that she was scanning the faces of the other players. Someone at this table was casting a very good illusion, likely as a test before joining a proper tournament.
Most people didn’t think about illusions during a non-professional card game, even though they were as legal as anything else at this casino. They took far too much power and skill. But it was a good strategy. In most cases, though Bridget didn’t have time to calculate the odds, a pair of kings would be a better hand than the player actually had, and they would bet aggressively based on the belief they had that hand.
Bridget was lucky her enchanted eye could see through the best illusions.
As everyone had on their best poker face, Bridget wondered idly if the illusion was cast for everyone, or just her.
Then, for the first time, everyone stayed in past the flop, an unassuming three and four of hearts with a jack. And Bridget knew that everyone was thinking that even if someone paired with the jack, their illusionary kings were better.
Except Bridget, of course.
And then, all the more luck to the illusionist, a king was flipped over on the turn.
Half the other players couldn’t hide their excitement. The mirror lady wasn’t one of them though. She kept frowning into the mirror. Because of the spell by the house that guarded the cards against scrying, she couldn’t see the suits or ranks and know the cards she saw weren’t the cards she had, but she could see she wasn’t winning the hand.
“Fold,” she finally said when her turn came. She threw down her cards and walked away from the table, staring at her mirror as if she was going to run a diagnostic.
“Call,” Bridget said, tossing a few more chips into the growing pile. Everyone was betting, and the pot was the biggest it had been since she sat down.
The final card was a five of spades. Bridget’s mouth twitched.
The first player bet and everyone called. With such low cards on the board, Bridget figured most felt safe despite the possibility of an open ended straight.
Then it was time for the first player, the amateur telekinesis practitioner, to reveal his hand.
“Pair of- what?” The man’s mouth fell open as the cards he placed down was a pair of sixes. He stammered, but the dealer ignored him and moved on.
The player sitting next to him frowned, but put down her cards. “Pair-no!”
Her hand was a seven and a queen. Garbage, given the cards on the table.
The next player grinned. “Three Kings,” he gloated, placing the real two cards down. He looked up at Bridget, smug in the victory of his illusion.
“Straight,” Bridget said evenly, placing her cards on the table. The man frowned and stared at her, no doubt wondering what had gone wrong with his plan.
The other players who realized they had been tricked started demanding intervention, that the round be dismissed, but the dealer held up his hands. “You know the rules, any magic goes.”
None of the other hands, real or illusionary, could beat hers, and Bridget pulled the chips towards her and announced her intention to leave the table.
“That was incredible!” Gertie said as Bridget stacked her chips and prepared to leave. “What exactly happened?”
Bridget explained the trick with the illusion.
“Wow,” Gertie said and yawned. Bridget took her chips to the exchange and got several large bills back. She grinned and pocketed them.
“Ready to go to sleep?” Bridget asked, checking the time on her phone.
Gertie nodded and allowed herself to be led back to her hotel room.
“You’ll wake me up tomorrow? At, ugh, 5?” Gertie asked. “And help me get ready?”
“Of course,” Bridget said. “Don’t worry, everything is going to be fine.”
Gertie yawned. “I hate this not seeing each other thing. Forget tradition, I can’t sleep alone anymore.”
“I know,” Bridget said, patting her on the back.
Gertie blinked sleepily in realization. “You’ll be able to see and prevent anything going wrong, won’t you?”
Bridget hugged her sister close and said, “I’m your maid of honor. That’s my job.”