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Jack Reno

Jack slapped his wallet on the table,
But Joe the Joker called his bluff.
Jack built his house with three old queens,
But was busted by Joe’s royal flush.

Jack’s boots were worn and dusty,
And he’d sometimes get the shakes,
But he’d always raise the ante,
And play for bigger stakes.

You always saw him sipping Turkey
And playing dollar Keno
In the first joint over Stateline.
They called him old Jack Reno.

Smiling, laughing Jack
Who always bought a round.
Jazzing, crazy Jack
who was every loser’s friend.

He had a nasty girl in Vegas,
A sweet wife in Marin,
But his first love was the table
Where Fortune took a spin.

When he first blew into town
Fresh from gambler’s school,
Jack knew all the odds by heart;
Jack was no man’s fool.

He thought that he owned all the cards.
He knew his way around.
But it only took one joker
To bring Jack Reno down.

You could stake him to a chip
And watch him take a hit
From a brand new deck
that never ran his way,

Or try to double down,
Or fill a California split
To build a little stack
To get him through the day.

You always saw him sipping Turkey
And playing dollar Keno
In the first joint over Stateline
Where they all knew old Jack Reno.

One night at a table
Where dealers named the game,
A man in black said,
“Stakes are fates.”

“I’m in,” said Jack.
“I’ll take five cards.”
He drew a Deuce,
A pair of Aces, pair of Eights.

“I’ll call your bluff,”
Said smiling Jack.
The stranger showed
Three Jacks and took the pot.

“I’ll be damned, ”
Said cleaned out Jack.
“Your call,” the stranger said
And shot him on the spot.

They laid Jack out with his lucky charms,
And passed the hat for a box of pine,
And sent Jack to sit in with the worms
Down where no one loses all the time.

Now his ghost looks worn and dusty
As it moans and shakes its chains,
When it’s haunting the casinos
And can’t get in the games.

You can still see it after midnight
Trying to place a bet on Keno,
In the first joint over Stateline ,
Just a chip off old Jack Reno.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Kevin Dickson March 1, 2018, 4:35 AM

    Great poem….really enjoyed that.

  • Casey Klahn March 1, 2018, 8:11 AM

    Live by the sword…

  • Phil in Englewood March 2, 2018, 6:11 AM

    I like the Garcia/Hunter interpretation as well…


    If I had a gun for every ace that I had drawn
    I could arm a town the size of Abilene
    Don’t you push me baby, ’cause I’m moaning low
    And you know I’m only in it for the gold

    All that I am asking for is ten gold dollars (note 1)
    And I could pay you back with one good hand
    You can look around at the wide world over
    But you’ll never find another honest man

    Last fair deal in the country, sweet Susie
    Last fair deal in the town
    Put your gold money where your love is baby
    Before you let my deal go down

    Don’t you push me baby, ’cause I’m moaning low
    Well I know a little something you won’t ever know
    Don’t you touch hard liquor, just a cup of cold coffee
    Gonna get up in the morning and go

    Everybody’s bragging and drinking that wine
    I can tell the Queen of Diamonds by the way she shines
    Come to daddy on an inside straight
    Well I got no chance of losing this time
    Well I got no chance of losing this time