Monday, May 21, 2012

Why are young Blackjack players going "ALL IN"? They're Toshing in the towel, I think. @danieltosh


In March, I was at Firekeepers Casino, east of Battle Creek, Michigan,
when I saw this phenomenon for the first time. A fellow was having a
nice game of Blackjack, playing at a five dollar minimum table. The
ten dollar minimum and twenty-five dollar minimum tables dealt cards
from a real shoe. One could actually cut the cards and maybe even
count them. That's what I call a sporting chance, and gambling is all
about sporting chances. The five dollar tables had a perpetual
shuffling machine, so each hand dealt was statistically the first hand
of a shoe that had been reshuffled and cut. Sitting and playing at
that table placed the young man at a lower chance of winning. He might
as well been playing on a Blackjack machine or at a parish fundraiser
where ties always go to the House. At his left shoulder, an attractive
young woman was standing and enjoying his choppy run on the baize. He
was winning one and losing one, then winning one and losing two in a
row. So his chip count was declining. He stacked up his four columns
of five chips each into a hundred dollar column of twenty red five
dollar chips and pushed his column into the round circle. "All In", he
declared. Why did the young man think he was playing Texas Hold'em? He
might not have known the game of Blackjack well enough to know if he
had a 11, an eight and a three, against a dealer with a six visible,
he would want to double down, adding a second column of twenty chips.
A suicide bet of fifty dollars would have prepared him for a stiff
hand on the dealer side and a hand requiring a ten card for twenty-one
on his side.

Maybe he was trying to impress the woman who spazzed. She couldn't
bear to look and she performed a bit of a dance, maybe for luck. The
dealer dealt the young man a ten and a three, a stiff hand. The dealer
dealt himself an ace up, with nobody home. The young man signaled for
a hit, took a Jack and busted. The dealer hauled his twenty chip
column to the bank. The young man pulled out two twenties and bought
another round of chips.

Perhaps I'll find a YouTube video of Tosh's skit. Tosh and his
production staff sold a ton of production souvenirs and raised
$24,000. Tosh flew to Vegas and put that 24 grand into the circle and
took a hit on a stiff card. He left with a grin as the dealer
collected his stack of chips, Tosh none the worst for wear. It reminds
me of the guy who sold all of his earthly belongings and put the sum
raised on red for roulette. Fortunately, red comes up almost fifty
percent of the time in roulette, so he doubled his money when red won.
There's a line quipped by a John LeCarre novel, not said so much as
thought, "Put it all on Red". I'll have to look that one up.

I though nothing of it again until playing Blackjack at Little River
Casino in Manistee, Michigan, where I had a good run at the five
dollar minimum table, I ultimately left the table fifty dollars up.
The dealer had a pleasant affability and he dealt from a real shoe of
six to eight decks. Before I played on, I saw the shoe was
three-quarters full, so I promised to wait for the next shoe. A woman
pushed in all her chips into the circle, about fifty dollars, and
declared, "All In". She hit a fourteen against a dealer's sixteen and
busted. She walked away with her head hung down a bit. A second fellow
pushed his chips into the ring, about forty dollars. He stood at
sixteen and the dealer pulled a five on a six and ten, making a
perfect twenty-one. He slouched away, facing a week on Mac and Cheese
after payday at the casino. Then one guy remained to finish the shoe.
He actually followed basic strategy and make about twenty dollars by
the time dealer threw the red cut card onto the green baize.

It is usually considered bad manners to interrupt a gambler while he's
making his bet and telling him or her what to do. If you want to try a
risky strategy when down, try playing two hands. Even riskier, but
theoretically workable, try a martingale. In other words, if one hand
loses one five dollar chip, bet two five dollar chips. If you win the
ten dollar bet, you're even. If you lose the ten dollar bet, bet
twenty. If you win, you're even. If you lose, bet forty. Keep
following this sequence until a win restores your chip balance or the
table limit is reached. On a five dollar table, this is usually 500
dollars. One would have to lose many times before that table limit was
hit. That's so much better than an "All In" suicide strategy, possibly
made popular by Daniel Tosh's "All In" with a bet of twenty four
thousand dollars.

Lose 5
Lose 10
Lose 20
Lose 40
Lose 80
Lose 160
Lose 320
Lose 640 ---- which wouldn't be allowed by the table limit, locking in the loss.

Personally, I wouldn't mind if people who were to play table games
were required to take a course and a test before being allowed on the
table. Yes, it's a free country, but it's bad sportsmanship to let
calfs go unwittingly to slaughter on a blackjack table. Of course, I
laugh at Tosh's stunt. However, I wish I didn't see so many young
bucks and dames following it towards disastrous results.

A day's wages lost at the Tosh of the cards?

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