Saturday Morning Gaming: Blackjack Theory


Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to

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14 Responses

  1. Pinky says:

    My approach to blackjack is “only buy as many chips as you’re willing to lose in less than three minutes”. I know basic strategy, I know not to go with my gut. I know that betting bigger to win back your money faster makes you lose your money faster. Anything over five minutes at the table is gravy. Lately I’ve been starting to get into roulette. It provides options for losing slowly or losing quickly. It’s more obviously fixed than blackjack, because you can see the 0 and 00 on the wheel, and you know there’s no mercy in it. “Do you hear that, Mr. Anderson? It is the sound of inevitability.”Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Pinky says:

      Well, the joys of Red Dead Redemption allow me to play 2 cent hands with a buy-in of 3 bucks.

      Since I’m running around with around two grand in my pocket, it turns Blackjack into something with no risk whatsoever. (Well, it costs *TIME*. Jeez, I played a lot of hands of 2 cent Blackjack.)Report

    • Michael Cain in reply to Pinky says:

      When the company used to send me to Las Vegas for trade shows I always visited the blackjack areas of the hotel/casino where they put me up. Not because I wanted to gamble — I know the odds and have never been lucky that way — but to watch all the things you read about the casinos in action. Nothing that gives away what time of day it is. Really hard to find the exit. Carpet patterns designed to hide wear. How promptly people who get ahead of the house are offered free booze by attractive young staff.Report

      • Pinky in reply to Michael Cain says:

        See, I outwit them by losing before the hostess ever spots me. That way, I’m not the one losing money because I’m drunk; I’m the one who already lost his money because nobody wins at blackjack. (I say that in jest, but I’m sure a lot of people lose more than they would have when early winnings lead to free drinks.)Report

  2. The best gambling session I ever had was in Prague. I was red-hot at blackjack: hits turned into 19s and 20s, and stays into dealer busts, and my luck continued at roulette. By the time I decided to quit while I was ahead, I was up over 2,000 koruna. Which, in the cold light of day, worked out to about sixty bucks.Report

  3. Fish says:

    My inner gambler is a moron. He yells things like, “I’M PLAYING CARDS YOU GUYS HOW DO I MAKE IT LOOK LIKE I KNOW WHAT I’M DOING WHAT’S A POKER FACE?”Report

  4. Kolohe says:

    Is RDR blackjack simulated to be single deck or multi deck?Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Kolohe says:

      Single deck. And the dealer doesn’t hit on soft 17.Report

      • Kolohe in reply to Jaybird says:

        That does make it notionally possible to count cards.
        (I just never have the attention span to be able to do it)Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Kolohe says:

          I have a friend who counted cards when he lived in Vegas (got banned from a number of casinos). When I asked him about it, he said that, for him, it was a ball in his head that shifted from green to red and spun faster/brighter the better (or worse) things were.

          He said that, for me, I should instead count 5s. “Just think of the 5 as the worst card in the deck. The more of them behind you, the better off you are. So when you see a 10, do a -1. When you see a 5, do a +1. The more positive number you have, the better off you are. Until she shuffles again.”

          I would have tried that, I suppose, but I had the worst day at the table ever.Report

  5. KenB says:

    My interest in blackjack started early — my parents had a copy of Beat the Dealer on the bookshelf and I think I wasn’t even a teenager yet when I picked it up and read it. It gave me dreams of making a killing, but I never did play for real money — too young at that point, then later I was like Hermann in The Queen of Spades,”The game interests me strongly, but I am not in a position to sacrifice the necessary in hopes of winning the superfluous.”Report

  6. Michael Cain says:

    For certain values of “playing”…

    I have said before that henceforth, my children’s families will be getting small robots for holiday gifts (or new software for old robots). I have also mentioned my son’s girlfriend’s problem with feral cats and the need to chase them off the grass in her backyard. The current plan for that is to have a small wheeled robot in a hamster ball, under control of a computer vision system mounted elsewhere, that chases the cats and then returns to its shelter to recharge. Not unlike certain small dogs I have known, only quieter and without the poop.

    Since I had to start somewhere, I bought a small kit with a processor that I had the tools to program rather than buying all the bits individually. I believe that the correct technical description for the software that came preinstalled — shown in obstacle avoidance mode here — is “brain damaged”.

    So I’m “playing” with the robot, figuring out all of the things that are wrong with it that have to be corrected in the next version.Report

  7. Patrick says:

    I can usually win $200 in few-to-several hours of playing blackjack.

    That’s operating off a potential loss amount of $200. I win more than I lose but when I lose that’s the floor.

    I’ve got card patterns down well enough but not enough to raise my loss window to thousands which is why I don’t win a lot.Report

  8. Jaybird says:

    One *MAJOR* disappointment in Red Dead Redemption 2: in the cutscene for one mission, the matriarch of an old family mentions that people should come back later and play cribbage.

    The game does not, in fact, allow you to play cribbage with the woman.

    (Seriously, if they put cribbage in the game, I’m not sure I’d ever leave.)Report