Learning When to Walk Away From the Blackjack Table

I had a quick trip to Horseshoe in Iowa this week.  Was in town for work and had a free night so I expected to spend 5-6 hours playing blackjack.  From my last trip I knew to stay away from Harrahs ad headed straight from the airport to Horseshoe.  As it turned out my night was much shorter than expected.

I arrived at around 6p and by 7 I knew it was my night, and that I’d have to leave sooner than expected.  I sat by myself at the $25 table in the high-roller room and the first shoe instantly doubled my buy-in.  I thought about leaving immediately, but I don’t have that kind of discipline and I wanted to keep playing.

I put my winnings in my pocket and pressed forward to an uneventful shoe 2, but shoe 3 was a monster tripling my buy-in – the highlight was a $200 bet split aces to make it $400 on the table against a 3.  My hands were soft 14 and soft 16 – dealer turned a 6, 6, 8 for a huge win.

I played out shoe 3 to see how hot my streak was going to be, and by the end I had given back some of the winnings and a couple other people came in the room so I pulled up stakes and had dinner.  As much as I hated it, I knew it was time to hit the road.  I love to play, but when you go up 4X in your first hour and there are only 3 $25+ tables open in the whole casino there was no way to keep up that pace.

I’m torn – on one hand I’m getting better as a player because I was smart enough to not give back my winnings – on the other hand I only get to play on rare occasions so when I do get to play a one hour session feels like a little bit of a let down.

I’m going to focus on the positive and the win, but if I’m being honest I’d like my wins to come after a few hours of play.


Growing My Circle in the Blackjack Community

This week I met Chris from the podcast driven blog Faces and Aces Las Vegas.  He was putting together his most recent podcast as he planned a segment on the increasing prevalence of 6:5 blackjack tables.  As luck would have it I’ve been railing on this for months and Chris was tipped off by Vegas Fanboy.

I was happy with my segment at the end of the podcast, but honestly the conversation with Dr. Timothy Fong, co-director of the UCLA gambling studies program was the highlight of the hour.

My segment was roughly 10 minutes, but the real fun was the 45 minutes talking blackjack after we finished the segment.  All of my friends are sick of hearing me talk Vegas and blackjack so finding someone who shared my passion for both was refreshing.

I know there is a strong blackjack, gaming and Vegas community out there and over the past couple of years I’ve been fortunate enough to make a few good connections along the way.  Even though I play a fairly solitary style I do appreciate the camaraderie that comes with a group of people who share the same interests.  I think it makes me a better player and it makes my hobby more enjoyable to be able to compare notes and share stories.

As I’ve said over the years I’m proud to be a blackjack player and I’m excited to continue as an active part of this community for years to come.