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The Cap and Dagger Casino
Some partake in foolish games of chance, such as the amusing but often fatal ‘Pin the Nightshade on the Dragon”, while others prefer the often ‘classier’ games of risk, indulged in by the more discriminating lords and ladies of Britannia. The Cap & Dagger Casino of Great Lakes, our spotlight for this week, hosts a wealth of fine entertainment for all Britannians, but most certainly for those who find excitement in a quick roll of the dice… and the lure of wager or two.

 “The Cap & Dagger Casino’s roots stretch back to mid 1998, when some guildmates and I would play ‘Roll-Em’ for the magic items in the loot of hunting trips. Roll-Em was as simple as it gets, whoever rolled the highest won whatever item was in question. We ended up playing Roll-Em with the gold after a while, wagering a few hundred gold per round.
“Soon I was playing a more interesting game, One Two Three, on the streets of Minoc and Vesper. I found myself attempting to convince people that it wasn’t a scam, and I’d actually pay them if they won. In order for anyone to bet, they either had to trust me with their gold, or I had to trust them - that they wouldn’t stiff me when they lost. I chose the latter, and had a few cheaters, but was surprised to find many people to be honest folks. Several of those players still drop by the casino from time to time.

“After a while I couldn’t go to Minoc without having people running up and shouting “500 gold on three!” even when I wasn’t dealing but merely trying to sell some armor and weapons. It was clear we needed a home. And a name. Up to this point, we weren’t the “Cap & Dagger Casino,” but merely “Smythe and that game he plays.” A lot of thinking about the problems of cheaters, thieves, weight restrictions, and murderers gave birth to the idea of a token system, where you purchase GM-crafted items that represent your wager, and cashing them in later for real gold. I called on my guild’s Grandmaster Smith Peleus to make the first bucklers and daggers, and asked friend and Grandmaster Tailor Betsy Ross to make me some caps, and the Cap & Dagger was born.

“We started on February 21st, 1999 in the guild commerce center (rented with a promise of 10% of the profits) with one game, and one vendor. We had a parade through Vesper, with guildmates and casino staff encouraging players to don a blue or purple robe and join the parade. The staff was on horseback, several people had fireworks wands, and I think everyone had a musical instrument. The noise was incredible, and we picked up 40-50 people on our way through town!

“We all arrived at the casino and swarmed the dealers. I learned a lot that night - mostly that it’s important to tell people how things work before you arrive at the casino. Things went well for the most part, and a tradition was begun.

“Over time we’ve added new games and switched the playing night to Wednesdays. I’m proud of our consistency, we’ve been open almost every scheduled night since we started. Things were a bit spotty for a few months in July when I broke my arm in real life, though Phyrex stepped up and held quite a few casino nights in my absence.

“All of the dealers are guildmates because of the large amounts of cash I must entrust them with. Promoters are often of other guilds, and all the staff shares the profits (if any) equally.

“Our byline is ’Providing unique entertainment to the land of Britannia!’ and I think if we are anything it is ‘unique’. As far as I know, Cap & Dagger is the first casino of its kind, and I think our events have been some of the most unusual. The BWF (Britannian Wrestling Federation) was run by Antioch, and featured fierce personalities such as Nick “The Mangler” Scarlotti, and Anna the Monk facing off and trading insults before the wrestling began.

“And I’ll never forget the quote from Satch, the winner of the May 6th, 1999 Chump-A-Thon, where the victor was the first to DIE in a one-on-one match. When asked how he did it, he said, ‘Well, I was drunk, cursed, and naked except for a cowboy hat’.

“And then there was the time that Cok Fizzle de Vo broke the bank. He was wagering the maximum of two daggers (2k) on ‘Over, Under On’. In this game, if you wager on 7 and win, you receive four times your wager. I watched in fear as he proceeded to hit it four times in a row! I knew that we were reaching the point (at that time) where the casino couldn’t cover our losses, so I had to close early, cash everyone out, and pay Mr. Vo his bonanza of over 30,000gp. While this sum would hardly break the bank today, it still remains our biggest win. I suspect it will be broken soon though, as the maximum wager has since gone up to six daggers on the other games.

“Right now we’re continuing the Cap & Dagger Game Show Series, we’ve had ‘Lets Make A Deal’ and ‘The Price Is Right’, I would imagine we’re about due for another one in the next week or two.

“One of the things that I’m proudest of is that anyone (with lots of time, imagination, hard work, and good help from many people) could do what we’ve done. We’ve managed to build a working casino with unique games, using tools available to anyone. That’s not to say we’d turn down help, of course, but its nice to know that we don’t need it to survive.

“Nothing would be possible without our staff, though. We’re picky on who we select, but we’ve been lucky to have good folks available in The Nobility. The current staff of dealers includes Wren, Sabin, Boromir, Mr J, Zofo Draziw, Light, Amethyst, GrandFatherFunk, myself, and occasionally other guildmates. Special thanks to Wren and Sabin, they’re working with Boromir to keep the casino open during my preparations for my real-life wedding, as well as working on extending the casino hours beyond just Wednesday nights.

“One of the key positions is also that of promoter. These are the people that go to the towns and establishments and tell new people about the casino and gate them to the building. Of these, GrandFather and Poppy are far and away the best. When they’re on duty, we’re quite often packed with customers, and often they get the call to come and deal for some of these folks they’ve drawn in.

“For the larger events, guildmates, friends of the casino, and often the patrons themselves are pressed into the roles of question-answerer, token gopher, etc. I’m always pleasantly surprised by the amount of help, especially for big events like the game shows, etc.

“We celebrated our first year anniversary in February and I’m really looking forward to the future. We’re planning to get a new house, the large marble one, and considering a move to Trammel. We’ve got some new games and of course an event or two in the planning, so keep an eye on us, it should be interesting.”

Smythe Skepfen
Founder, Cap & Dagger Casino

The Cap & Dagger Casino is located on Great Lakes shard, just east and north of Minoc at sexatant coordinates 116o 32'N, 94o 55'E and opens at 8:30PM Central time on Wednesday evenings. For more information on the casino, games, and directions, visit their website at http://www.zipwow.net/CapNDagger/.

It is with pleasure that we present these tales of your communities and adventures in Ultima Online. Please join again next week as we share another of the many stories of Britannia that you have created. Join us next week as we continue our spotlight on tales of your adventures and accomplishments. Please keep an eye on FYI for new spotlight topics!

Published: October 2000
Please Note: Some dates are estimates as exact dates were unavailable.
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