Cosby deals cards for charity
Under bright television camera lights and surrounded by huge crowds, I beat comedian Bill Cosby at blackjack Friday.
The entertainer, who performed three shows at Harveys Resort Casino last weekend, played guest 21 dealer at Harveys to three media representatives: Tim Racer of RSN, Mike TeSelle of Sacramento’s KCRA-TV and this reporter.
Cosby gave each of us $2,500 in playing chips to start the round. The object of the 30-minute game was to raise money for Glide Memorial United Methodist Church, Boys & Girls Club of Lake Tahoe, Mustard Seed and Calvin Brown’s Alcohol and Drug-Free Living Centers.
Sporting a regulation dealer apron, Harveys’ brocade dealer’s vest and a microphone, the entertainer regaled the crowds with quips, friendly threats and encouragement.
When TeSelle bet too much and lost a hand, Cosby bellowed: “You go home on the bus!”
Bantering with us three players and throngs of onlookers, Cosby made up some of his own blackjack rules and even cheated to help me win an extra hand. He knew instinctively that I am not a gambler. He instructed me when to double down and when to split, whatever those mean.
“Good going, sis,” he said when I won more hands than anyone at the table.
At a presentation ceremony following our “set-up” round of blackjack, “giant checks” were presented to leaders of the four charities who received a total of $50,000, money that was actually made on Cosby concert ticket sales.
When giving Rev. Cecil Williams a check for $30,000, Cosby said with reverence: “You have no idea how far out (Glide Memorial) reaches to help people.”
When the Boys & Girls Club of Lake Tahoe was given a large cardboard check for $5,000, he quipped “When they get bigger, they’ll get more money. Then they’ll be the mens and womens club.”
The actual donation to the Boys & Girls Club of Lake Tahoe was $7,500, not $5,000 that was written on the giant check.
Mustard Seed, emergency school for homeless children in Sacramento, received $7,500, and Calvin Brown’s Alcohol and Drug-Free Living Centers, located in New York City, received $5,000.
While Cosby posed for pictures with each of the groups, Willie Stephens, Harvey’s general manager, handed out the real checks to the smiling crowd.
Friendly banter, casino chips and the glaring lights of TV cameras aside, the real winners of Cosby blackjack escapades were four deserving charities that are dear to his heart.
But I still beat Bill Cosby at cards and that was also a charitable thing for him to do.
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SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The Boys and Girls Club of Lake Tahoe is making a final push to complete its new building and is seeking the public’s help in providing the finishing touches.