cartoon of a Vegas sign, poker chips, and playing cards

Puzzle 7 Las Vegas Strip 

repeating pattern of small keyholes with a larger keyhole in the center

“Hit me,” you say, face impassive. Your demeanor screams cool, confident player, the kind of person who does this all the time.

“Boss,” Teddy whispers. “You don’t say ‘hit me’ in poker.”

Beside you, Clarissa scoffs. “Typical,” she sneers in a low voice in your direction. Then she turns to the others in the game with a triumphant smile, showing her hand approximately eight steps too soon.

“Uno,” she declares in triumph.

You’re in this high-stakes card game because a coded message lightly traced on the envelope of the last puzzle strongly suggested that the next one would be hidden in Vegas, in a card game, at this very latitude and longitude. Sure enough, when you arrived, a familiar silver envelope was sitting in the center of the table, waiting to go home with someone as a prize.

You’d thought a familiarity with the classic card game “52 Card Pick-Up” would give you an edge here, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that both you and Clarissa are, for lack of a better word, terrible at this. It’s not my fault, you want to scream. I devoted my whole life to the kinds of puzzles that win you the satisfaction of a job well done, not money.

The frustration almost has you seeing double. You’re wrapping your head around what seems to be the only remaining option—grabbing the envelope and kicking your way through the window—when Teddy sets down his cards in front of the table and a chorus of groans goes up.

“The pot is yours,” grunts the gruff, eye-patch-wearing host at your partner.

“How’d you get so good at that game?” you ask Teddy on the way out, Clarissa stalking sulkily behind you two.

Teddy almost seems to blush.

“I’m passable,” he says. “But not anything to brag about. To be honest, my whole family thinks I’m a bit of a wastrel.”

“I was impressed,” you say lightly, sliding open the silver envelope.

a scattered pile of playing cards, with numbered cards of all suits and face cards of all suits visible, including the queen of spades, jack of spades, king of diamonds, queen of clubs, king of clubs, jack of diamonds, king of diamonds, queen of hearts, jack of clubs, king of spades, queen of diamonds, king of hearts, and jack of hearts
decorative golden divider false

What's not quite right in this pile of cards?

Need a Hint?

Puzzle hunts like this are meant to be challenging and solved with a group of puzzlers. Before you take a hint below, we encourage you to reach out to friends. See if the extra brain power can help unlock some of the mysteries.

But if you simply can’t take it anymore, no judgment. Hint away!