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Blackjack mistakes

18 November 2018

Nearly every blackjack player makes mistakes from time to time, no matter how good we are. To err is human, after all.

That doesn’t mean other players’ forgiveness is automatic, imperfect as they are themselves.

My old blackjack-playing friend Bob drew the ire of the crowd recently when he made what he described as “a real bonehead play. It was quite the rock.”

Quite the rock indeed. Bob hit a hard 14 against a dealer’s 6. Other players were irate, but more on that after a little background.

Bob has been solid on his basic strategy for decades, but this time he reckons fatigue had the better of him.

“My wife and I took a bus trip for something to do,” he explained. “It was a casino a little farther off than we usually go, but the park district had a deal where it was $10 for the trip and we got lunch buffets and $10 in free play.”

Bob said it was close to a two-hour trip, then they spent five hours in the casino before the two-hour trip home.

“I played blackjack almost the whole five hours while my wife was playing slots with some of the others and doing some shopping,” he said. “I knew I was getting a little tired. I probably should have taken a break and done something else for a while.

“But I didn’t. I’d won a little money, things were going well and I soldiered on.”

The hand that set off the fireworks came just half an hour before time to leave. Bob hit a little bit of a losing streak, but he was still up a couple of hundred dollars. He decided it was time for a fresh look at a different table.

His first few hands at the new table were uneventful. But then he was dealt an 8 and a 6, and the dealer had a 6 face up.

“I totally misread the hand,” Bob said. “I read it as an 8, as if the 6 wasn’t even there. I don’t know how I did it, but I was thinking 8 and signaled to hit.

“The dealer hesitated. He wasn’t expecting that. So I signaled to hit again. He gave me a 6, and now I saw that I’d messed up and was hitting 14, not 8. Still, I had a 20, so things didn’t look too bad.

“Of course the other players were muttering. The third baseman said something about 'idiot luck' to the player next to him, just loud enough for me to hear.”

It was a bad play, and Bob knew it. In a six-deck game in which the dealer hits soft 17, players average 12 cents in losses per dollar wagered if they stand on 8-6 vs. 6. Losses soar to 31 cents if you hit.

But sometimes bad players work out, and Bob had his 20. When the dealer’s down card turned out to be a 10 for 16, things were looking up. Then it happened. The dealer drew a 5 for 21. The whole table lost. No one after Bob had hit, so if he’d stood, the dealer would have busted with the 6.

Now Bob heard it forcefully from all sides. The third baseman shouted, “I can’t sit through this,” and stormed off.

“I know how they felt,” Bob said. “I make it a point to stay calm when others make mistakes. Other players’ mistakes help you as often as they hurt you. But when the loss is right now, it’s hard to hold it in, and they didn’t.”


Look for John Grochowski on Facebook (http://tinyurl.com/7lzdt44) and Twitter (@GrochowskiJ).
Recent Articles
Best of John Grochowski
John Grochowski

John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

> More Books By John Grochowski

John Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

> More Books By John Grochowski