for the rabbit.”

Superstition is a strange thing. It seems gamblers are more inclined to be superstitious than most people. I have known poker players who wouldn’t change their clothes, even their underwear, when on a winning streak.

I try to sit upwind from them when they are doing that. Black cats, spilling salt, walking under ladders, etc. are supposed to be unlucky. I don’t think that I believe in that stuff, but I do observe some of them simply because it doesn’t cost anything.

There are two Caspers in my family. The first Casper is my toy poodle who has bitten almost forty people in his ten years. He is very territorial and protects his turf, which are our house and our back yard. He couldn’t whip a good old Texas Jackrabbit but if you try to jerk away when he bites, he will break the skin and bring blood.

He has bitten everyone from the mailman to Jack Binion. He doesn’t play favorites. We have started locking him up in my office when we have guests. On the plus side, he is really a personable, sweet dog to his family and he is a great watch dog. He hears everything and needless to say, he is ready to attack.

The other, more famous, Casper is a card protector with a picture of Casper the Friendly Ghost. It is a small piece of black rock with the words Texas Dolly on it. Someone gave it to me over twenty years ago. I used it to protect my cards and as a joke, I started talking to Casper and asking him to bring me luck.

Strangely, it seems as though the things I asked for happened a lot. So, I started renting Casper to the other players. I would charge them $500 every thirty minutes which seems ridiculous but when you are playing very high stakes poker, was considered to be reasonable.

It went on and on and finally Casper was rented for $5,000 for an hour to a poker player from Greece. That was the pinnacle for Casper and as his luck began to change, the demand to rent him became less and less. I figure I rented him out for over $15,000 in a one year period! Not bad for a $5 piece of black rock!

However, Casper’s reputation had been established and Howard Lederer wanted to buy him. After negotiations, we settled on a price of $3,500 and I got to keep Casper until I died. I had to go to my lawyer and write an addendum to my will stating that Casper would belong to Howard at my death. Some magazines got a hold of the story and wrote articles about it. Then ESPN televised the story and showed pictures of Casper at the poker table protecting my cards.

After that exposure, Casper became a celebrity in his own right. Many, many times people have asked me how Casper was doing when they wanted an autograph or a picture with me. Then my daughter Pam borrowed Casper before the WPT Ladies Tournament at the Bicycle Club last year. She won the tournament. After that she kept Casper and outlasted both Todd and I for five straight tournaments. The media had a field day with Pam and Casper as she would announce….”I’m the last Brunson standing!”

Pam is very sentimental and would plead on national television for Howard to let her keep Casper forever. Casper became more and more famous. Now comes the really sick part. The next time I saw Howard, after much begging, I gave him $7,500 to release my obligation to give Casper to him. I would like to point out, however, that it wasn’t superstition but sentimentality that brought Casper back into the Brunson family.