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Blues Play Their Cards Right

by Chris Pinkert / St. Louis Blues
Blues forward D.J. King works at the craps table at the first-ever Blues in Black Casino Evening on Jan. 30, 2008. (Photo by Mark Buckner).
Patrick King isn’t much of a gambler, but Wednesday night was a special occasion and lady luck was on his side.

The 33-year-old owner of a Wright City auto repair shop considered himself lucky to have a pair of tickets to the first-ever Blues in Black Casino Evening, held Wednesday at Scottrade Center.

The event, designed to raise money for the St. Louis Blues 14 Fund and Ranken Jordan Pediatric Specialty Hospital, featured Blues players, coaches and management as dealers at poker, blackjack and craps tables. But the night was much more than that. Dinner, drinks, dessert, music…you name it and it was part of the evening.

“It was fantastic,” said Clarie Samuel, King’s guest at the event. “I love the Blues. Being able to go behind the scenes and meet people, it was wonderful.”

Upon entering Scottrade Center, guests were greeted and given $5,000 in Blues Bucks to gamble over the course of the night. Minimum bids at each table were $100 and at the end of the night, players were able to cash in their winnings for raffle tickets to win prizes, such as a dinner and a one-night stay at the Westin Hotel, four plaza level Blues tickets, a visit to the KMOX radio booth, an autographed Andy McDonald jersey and more.

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To top it off, guests could mingle with players at the ZamBar, the first-ever bar at center ice that featured a zamboni as its centerpiece.

King, who has been a Blues fan for more than 20 years and has yet to miss an opening night since Scottrade Center opened its doors in 1994, said that he was so nervous and excited for the night that he was actually shaking when he walked inside.

“I’ve been to a couple hundred (games) here and I’ve never even been on the ice,” he said. “I was so happy.”

For him though, the best part of the night may have been when he took a stroll through the Blues locker room, which was open for Casino Evening guests to tour when they took a break from gambling.

“I stood next to (Blues forward D.J. King’s) locker,” King said, noting that as long as D.J. wears a Bluenote, his last name will be posted above a locker at Blues games.

D.J. enjoyed working the craps tables so much that he didn’t take a break to eat dinner.

Auction items alone raised more than $25,000 for the St. Louis Blues 14 Fund and the Ranken Jordan Pediatric Specialty Hospital. (Photo by Mark Buckner).
“Our table was rocking. I had a lot of fun,” he said. “It was a blast. It was well prepared, the set up was great. We had a really good time.”

The night also included a series of silent auctions that featured items donated by the Blues and other teams around the league. Items included autographed photos, sticks, and skates in addition to signed jerseys from Boston, Los Angeles, New York and Phoenix.

A live auction also featured an autographed framed photo of Gordie Howe and Wayne Gretzky and a Winter Classic replica jersey autographed by Sidney Crosby.

Throw all of these ingredients together and you’ve got a recipe for a special night.

So special, in fact, that Patrick bought a brand new suit for the occasion. How much did he pay for it?

“I don’t even want to talk about it,” he joked. “But I wanted to look good tonight. I had to look cool.”

“I justified (spending the money) by going into the locker room and saying hi to a few Blues players,” he added. “I don’t care, I just love the Blues. It was well worth it and it’s totally worth the money I’ve spent.”

Talk about hitting the jackpot.

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