As We See It

It’s time for Las Vegas to embrace the possibilities of the dreidel

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Hanukkah’s over. Already. So why not spend this week’s sundowns pondering the following question: Why hasn’t anybody turned dreidel into a Vegas table game yet? Think about it: Dreidel combines roulette’s spinning dynamism with Casino War’s simplicity and baccarat’s historic intrigue. It’s a perfect Vegas fit.

For all you goyim (non-Jewish people) not familiar with the Hanukkah dreidel’s history, it goes like this: Syrian King Antiochus forbade Jews to study Torah. So when a Syrian soldier would approach a group of scholarly Jews, the chosen ones would pull out a top, spin it and pretend that they were gambling.

Over the years, the dreidel evolved into a game that Jewish children play for gelt (chocolate coins). Each child antes up a single coin, and then one child spins the dreidel. If it lands on the side marked with the letter gimel, he gets the whole pot. If he rolls a hei, he takes half. If he rolls a nun, he does nothing. If he rolls a shin, he adds a coin to the kitty.

The game begs to be turned into a trendy, high-limit table game. The only thing the casinos need to make this happen is a house edge. (Suggestion: players round down on hei calculations, the house rounds up.)

And it couldn’t hurt the cause if a Bond-like character made dreidel his table game of choice. I’m looking at you, Danny Ocean.

Jump on the dreidel bandwagon, Vegas. New York’s MLD (Major League Dreidel) has been hosting dreidel-spinning tournaments for years. And ModernTribe.com No Limit Texas Dreidel and Stacabees games threaten to box out the rest of the market. Plus, the longer you wait, the more chance you give the cheats to make loaded dreidels.

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