This blackjack dealer has a lot to lose

By John O'Brien | Jul 12, 2013


In the film Catch Me If You Can, based on a true story, Leonardo DiCaprio played scam artist Frank Abagnale, who as a teenager managed to pass himself off as a pilot, a doctor, and a lawyer even though he’d had no training for those professions and simply imitated the demeanor of the men he’d seen in such positions, supplementing his personal observations with close study of TV shows like General Hospital and Perry Mason.

Compared to what Abagnale pulled off, impersonating a blackjack dealer would seem to be a cinch. All you’d have to do is wear a tuxedo shirt, bow tie, apron, and black pants and do what all the other dealers do.

This was too much for Andrew O., however. Not because he couldn’t deal cards and collect chips, but because he couldn’t find a shirt to wear.

There was a fat pot at the table every time Andrew dealt a hand. The fat pot was Andrew.

For two months in 2010, Andrew worked -- or sorta worked -- as a blackjack dealer at the Mardi Gras Casino in Cross Lanes. At 540 pounds, he may have been the fattest jackpot dealer in the world.

Not surprisingly, Andrew had trouble finding a tuxedo shirt large enough to accommodate his humongous carcass. The casino did its best to help him with his wardrobe, but, time and again, Andrew would show up with his cuffs rolled up and his shirt tail sticking out, expecting to be treated differently from other employees because of his girth.

Eventually, accommodating Andrew became too much of a burden and the casino decided to let him go, at which point the big dealer filed suit, claiming he’d been the victim of disability discrimination.

The Circuit Court of Kanawha County concluded that Andrew was not disabled but just plain fat, and the state Supreme Court agreed.

Andrew lost twice in court. Maybe he should try losing in the kitchen as well.

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