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Best of Fred Renzey

Gaming Guru

 

Blackjack Players Can't Put Aside Their Superstitions

8 August 2008

Blackjack players harbor an entire closet full of superstitious phobias. Following are just a few I've repeatedly encountered at the table. Whatever you may believe about them, I assure you, they have absolutely no credence.

The Bad Player Curse: It was the first hand off the top of the shoe and I was dealt 12 against the dealer's 4. Two other players had 20 and the man on my right stayed pat with 14. With the cards that were out, it became correct to hit my 12, a very close hand – so I did.

The man with 14 threw both hands up and objected, "What are you doing? She's gotta' draw a card! He was so vehemently opposed to anybody hitting their "stiff" (12 through 16) against a "bust card" (small up-card) that he didn't notice the seven I caught to make 19. The dealer then turned over his hole card, a 9, and promptly pulled a 10 to break – that time.

Now, I've been berated so many times for making unpopular plays with my hands that I've given up trying to convince my tablemates it doesn't change their own odds. My play is, in fact, just as likely to help them as hurt them. So this time, I decided to point out to the fella that had I not hit, the dealer would've made 20 with my 7.

Not a peep did he utter, but remained silent and stone-faced. On the very next hand, the dealer dealt herself a blackjack. "If you wouldn'a' hit that 12", he erupted, "She never woulda' got blackjack!" I filed that one right into the "You just can't please'em" category.

Don't take my card: The player in center field was a rookie and incorrectly hit 14 against a 3. He caught a 10 and busted. Next up was third base with 11. He had already put up a second $25 chip to double down with before centerfield took his hit. So upset was third base over centerfield making a bad play that took "his" 10, that he now pulled back his second chip and just hit his 11.

He caught a deuce and proceeded to ridicule centerfield all the way up to the point where the dealer played out her hand and busted. At that point, third base breathed a sigh of relief and said, "I mean -- you almost cost me the hand, man!" In reality, third base cost himself $25 by not following through with the correct play – doubling down.

The Sacred Flow: I was at a table with just one other woman who was playing two hands for $50 apiece. Soon, another man came along, at which point the woman pulled back to playing just one hand.

The man began betting several black ($100) chips at a time, and about halfway through the shoe, the woman decided to go back to playing two $50 hands.

"Lady, don't do that!" objected the man in a stern, loud voice. "You'll mess up my cards!" The woman explained that she'd been playing two hands before he came. Still, the man urged her to not change the rotation of the cards during the shoe. She stood her ground and left the two bets out there, saying she was there first and he was free to change tables if he wanted to.

Finally in total frustration, the man tossed two green ($25) chips over to the woman saying, "Here – get that blankety-blank 50 dollars outa' there!" She collected his $50 bribe, pulled her second bet back and everybody was happy.

Casinos love you for your superstitions. They're what keep you distracted from learning and paying attention to things that can actually help you win. Don't be one of these players.

Fred Renzey
Fred Renzey is a high-stakes, expert poker player. On a daily basis he faces--and beats--some of the best players in the country in fierce poker room competition. Now for the first time, Renzey offers his perceptive insights on how to play winning poker. For Fred's 13-page blackjack booklet "Ace/10 Front Count", send $9 to Fred Renzey, P.O. Box 598, Elk Grove Village, IL, 60009

Books by Fred Renzey:

Blackjack Bluebook II

> More Books By Fred Renzey

Fred Renzey
Fred Renzey is a high-stakes, expert poker player. On a daily basis he faces--and beats--some of the best players in the country in fierce poker room competition. Now for the first time, Renzey offers his perceptive insights on how to play winning poker. For Fred's 13-page blackjack booklet "Ace/10 Front Count", send $9 to Fred Renzey, P.O. Box 598, Elk Grove Village, IL, 60009

Books by Fred Renzey:

> More Books By Fred Renzey