John Edmond was 21 years old when he first saw a game of baccarat. There was something about the high-class style, he said, that drew him in.

After attending the Las Vegas School of Dealers, he knew what table he wanted to be at. It was just a matter of convincing the casino manager that he could do the job. 

It wasn't until after 1970 that African Americans were even allowed to work in front of the house positions inside the casino. So when he approached the man in charge of the Stardust Casino about the baccarat dealer job - he got a strange reaction. But the guy in charge - who happened to be a man named Frank 'Lefty' Rosenthal - saw something in Edmond, and hired him on the baccarat team. 

Edmond was the first black baccarat dealer in Las Vegas. Million-dollar games, rubbing shoulders with celebrities and making money was par for the course. Edmond made a goal to save some of that money - as he had other aspirations. 

He is now the owner of Nucleus Investments, and the Edmond Town Center, buying properties in the historic Westside to help the struggling district. 

In a series of interviews in honor of Black History Month, Edmond joins KNPR to talk about his life and his work. 

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Dec 15, 2010