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Best of Fred Renzey

Gaming Guru

 

Why Do Blackjack Players Blame Others When They Lose?

13 January 2005

We went to out dinner with another couple and ended up talking about casino gambling. My friend's wife likes the casinos, but limits her gaming to the slot machines. She says she'd love to play blackjack, but feels too skittish about making a mistake and being openly criticized by the other players. She's seen enough of that when she watches her husband play.

Her motto is, "A game like blackjack should be left to people who know what they're doing." That's when I gave her the big news. "Janet", I revealed, "Most of the people at the blackjack tables don't know what they're doing! Furthermore, the most insulting and condescending players are often among the biggest losers of all!"

Janet gave me an unsure look and said, "I don't always know the right thing to do. If I take a card when I'm not supposed to and everyone loses, I'll feel like crawling under the table if somebody says something to me about it."

"That right there," I told Janet "would be a perfect example of a player who doesn't understand what makes blackjack tick."

You see, blackjack is a very egotistical game. Most veterans of blackjack think they know the game inside and out. Most also think that a bad decision by another player hurts their own chances to win. That's why they become upset, or even berate the offender for making a bad play. Many will be the times that the 3rd baseman will mistakenly stand on 16 against a high dealer's up-card and the next card out of the shoe turns out to be perfect for the dealer. When this happens, the vocal wrath of the other players can be merciless.

But what happens if the card that 3rd base should've taken but didn't ends up breaking the dealer? That's different! In those cases the other players feel they won because of their own skill –- after all, they're experts, right? They won't remember for a second that it was 3rd base's mistake that steered the breaking card to the dealer.

So what we have here is a plethora of pseudo-experts who steadfastly believe that either they won because of their superior skill -- or that they lost because of another player's mistakes. It's human nature!

Still, misplaying your hand isn't the only way you can get blamed for other players losing their money. Any time you join a shoe in progress and the remainder of that shoe goes worse than the beginning, you're likely to take heat for "messing up the cards". Of course, if everyone does well after you come, nobody will remember why.

And how will you be judged if you decide to play a second hand part way through the shoe. Again, it depends upon how the other players make out. If they win, you won't even be noticed. But if they lose, you're the reason why.

So you can see that my friend's wife, and lots of other potential blackjack players, can be skittish about getting involved. Yet, there really should be nothing to be skittish about.

That's because the fact of the matter is, another person's misplayed hand can change your outcome from a winner to a loser or from loser to winner –- but it can never change your chances. That's the point. This has been thoroughly illustrated in many past articles right here and in other blackjack literature.

Jumping into the middle of a shoe may cause the players to do better, worse or the same –- but it doesn't alter their chances. And playing a second hand may improve the table's results, worsen them or have no effect at all -– but it can never affect their chances.

As a result, every one of these things will just wash out over time, and truly good players know this. That's why blackjack professionals have absolutely no qualms about sitting down with rank newbies.

So if you've been chastised by another player for misplaying your hand or for messing up the flow of the cards, don't be intimidated. Just realize that this loser, like most, doesn't know the score.

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:

Blackjack Bluebook II

> More Books By Fred Renzey