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The Headless Chicken

16 Aug 2022

By Frank Scoblete
Yes, I have seen a chicken, my wonderful Flo, with its head suddenly cut off by my grandma (Nana)Rose in 1950 in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Where the entrance to the Verrazano Bridge is at 92nd street was where my grandmother’s house used to be. She was an immigrant with strong Italian ways, one of which was the occasional killing of chickens.

The Verrazano Bridge wasn’t even a thought in those days. Our area of Brooklyn was the be-all and end-all of my life back then.

Those days? They were the days of the ice-man and the last remaining trolly cars in New York City. My Nana would have the whole family over on Sundays; the aunts, uncles, my little cousins and friends and some obscure relatives who didn’t speak much English but they sure did speak a lot!

Many of the men smoked those awful dark cigars. My grandfather’s teeth had turned brown from them. He also smelled like them.

Nana Rose made homemade wine in the basement which is where these Sunday meals were held. It was an Italian feast we did for decades before the bridge went up and many Brooklynites fled to Staten Island.

We ate every food I could imagine! On this particular Sunday a part of the meal would be my chicken, Flo. Yes, I was three-years old at that time but old enough to miss my chicken.

My Nana didn’t know I had stepped into the backyard just as she slivered Flo’s head.

Did Flo run around the yard like a chicken with its head cut off? Yes, a little. Not much of a run. Flo would not be challenging a future Usain Bolt in the 100-yard dash, but she did give some effort and then collapsed.

I must have let out a gasp because my grandmother came towards me. Was she going to cut my head off too?

No, no, she was still the loving grandma and by late afternoon I ate Flo with the rest of the family.

I have seen many other headless chickens in my over three decades of playing casino games. But these headless ones are somewhat different than my Flo because they cut off their own heads.

I am sure with some quick reflections you might have seen the headless ones as well. Could you have been one in the past? There were times when I was sans cranium at early moments of my casino-playing career.

“What is a headless player?” you might ask. He or she is a player who has lost control of the amount wagered and/or the games being played and/or the many games being played and/or the length of time these games are being played.

In short, the headless player seems to be running from game to game and bet to bet with no thinking seemingly involved. There is no inkling of caring about how much is being played or what games the money is flowing towards. Seemingly ceaseless play is all such a player cares about. It is almost as if the player is screaming to the universe at large, “My money be damned!”

I sometimes wonder how many headless players have wound up like Flo?

My advice: Keep your head firmly on your shoulders.

All the best in and out of the casinos!

Frank Scoblete’s web site is His books are available from, Barnes and Noble, Kindle, e-books, libraries and bookstores.

This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at

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