Blackjack gamers tell tales of winning, almost winning and just having fun

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Any table game, especially blackjack, is a both play and a social gathering, a great place to share gaming “war stories” ... about the wins and losses, the good and bad plays, and of course, the people. | DAN COMANICIU ~ FOTOLIA

Amid the cheers and high fives of the craps players when the shooter’s on a roll, and the music, TV/movie dialog and sound effects of the slot machines, blackjack players live a quieter casino life. Not everyone wins together, so the craps-like cheers are rare.

But there is time for a little discussion and storytelling. Here are a few tales gathered during time taken for a little table talk.

Ben, dealt a 10 and a 2, while the dealer had a 3 face up: “None of you mind if I hit that, do you?” he asked, chuckling a little. When no one objected he continued, “It wouldn’t really matter if you did mind, I’d hit it anyway. That’s just what I do.”

“Somebody really got steamed at me last night, though. I was sitting at third base [the position all the way to the players’ left, and the last to hit or stand before the dealer plays]. I hit my 12, and this guy yelled across the table, ‘Hey! Don’t take the dealer’s bust card’.”

That’s all he said until the dealer finished the hand. Ben wound up with an 18, but lost to the dealer’s 19. He continued as the next hand was dealt.

“I have no way of knowing whether the next card will make the dealer bust. I just said, ‘Easy, friend,’ and he said, ‘If you play like that, I’m not your friend. At third base, you have to play for the team.’ I said, ‘That’s how I play.’ He said, ‘Thanks for telling me,’ but nasty like, and he picked up his chips and left. Can’t say I missed him.”

Maria, during a shuffle: “I guess my husband and I have a little role reversal. I like blackjack. He always plays the slots. It’s because when I was really young, we used to have a big family party at my great-grandfather’s house every year. I was lucky enough to have great-grandpa until I was 19.”

“I had several second cousins, and they’d learned to play blackjack. They taught me and my brother at the party. I’ve been playing ever since. It wasn’t for money. Just for fun. I didn’t have any money at that age anyway, but I had a good time and I taught friends at home to play.”

“My husband didn’t have any card-playing background. He’d done a little betting on sports. He likes the NCAA pools and he has fantasy baseball and football teams ... you know those things. But there’s no sports in the casinos here, so he gravitated to the slots, and a little video poker.”

Jackson, same table, next shuffle: “Talk about playing outside the casinos, I used to be in a poker game where one guy liked to deal blackjack. They were dealer’s choice games. When it was your turn to deal, you got to choose. We finally limited him to calling blackjack once a night, two times through a single deck.”

“I didn’t know much about blackjack then. I’d never been to a casino. All I knew is I lost money pretty much every time he called it. If we had known then what I know now, that he was dealing a game that didn’t give us an even chance with him, we probably would have thrown him out.”

Raul, different table, different night, during a shuffle: “You guys ever play any craps? I was at a table early this morning where it was just me and two other guys, and the one guy had his girlfriend watching. The guy was telling his girlfriend that the way to win was to play don’t pass, betting the shooter won’t make his point.”

“He was taunting us about it, getting all in our faces. ‘You know why these casinos make so much money,’ he told his girlfriend. ‘It’s losers like that. All those losers bet with the shooter. Not me. I’m gonna take their money, just like the house’.”

“It was the other guy’s turn to shoot, and he just kept knocking down point after point. He and I were both on pass and come, and we both kept winning. The trash talker kept going to his wallet for more money. I don’t know how much he lost, but you could tell his girlfriend was getting madder and madder. She finally dragged him away, and you know what he said? He said, ‘Keep shooting, losers. I’ll be back for your money later’.”

Mike, same table, during a deal: I’m no craps player. When I’m not playing blackjack, I’m playing video poker. I was playing this morning, and I drew a royal flush. I held a Queen and 10 of clubs, and up popped the Ace, King and Jack.”

“Apropos of nothing, I suppose, but it made me feel good!”

And that’s what the talk of the table is all about.