Blackjack Vultures Please Fly Away

I’ve written before about the types of people you don’t want to be and you don’t want sitting near you at the blackjack tables.  My most recent addition to this list is the vulture.  I recently encountered this annoying character at my last trip to the casino.

My day wasn’t going very well and I was sitting solo at the $100 table.  The two women at the table next to me had just been knocked sideways by their dealer and both left at the same time, but instead of moving on they decided to swoop over to my table.

The first woman hovered over my left shoulder and the second sat at first base.  Neither of them made any move to buy in or ever said a word, they simply sat there and stared.  I could feel both of them begging for me to lose so they would a) feel better about their losses and b) get me off this table so they could jump in.

After several minutes I knew that I should get up and walk away, but I was so annoyed that I couldn’t give them the satisfaction of leaving the table.  Of course this was counter-productive since the momentum wasn’t going my way and I was now distracted by the vultures.

I played out the shoe, tipped the dealer (who gave me a knowing eye roll), picked up my remaining chips and walked off without looking at the vultures.  Please don’t be a vulture the next time you visit the casino – feel free to watch and cheer on other players, but know that if you are waiting to pick the bones off another players carcass it isn’t a welcome addition to any table.


Say Less, Play More Please


Even though I prefer to play blackjack by myself, I’m a fairly nice guy to play with if you happen to sit at my table.  I generally keep a low profile, give a fist bump for a big win, cheer for you to get a 10 on an Ace, and have friendly conversation with the dealers.  The one thing that will turn me against you is if you try to tell me how I should play my cards.

On the list of my personal blackjack etiquette faux pas this is near the top of the irritaion charts.  I will give you my opinion if you ask me directly, if you ask the dealer and they are the wishy-washy type who won’t commit to an answer, or you read this blog – otherwise you play your cards however you’d like and let me do the same.  And if you don’t like how I play a hand, pick up your chips and move to another table, that’s exactly what I will do when you play a way that bothers me or you try to give me advice.

At low-limit tables I can give it a pass in many cases people are being friendly and assume you aren’t a regular player.  At the higher limit tables the advice givers tend to think they know better than everyone else and want to control the game.

To be fair I had a short stretch when I thought I was the only one who had figured out a decent system and gave advice to a few unlucky folks who sat down.  Luckily I caught myself when another advice giver started spouting off and I could see my reflection in his annoying behavior.

I look forward to sitting next to you at my table as long as you let me play my way and you play yours – enough said.

Don’t Go Wasting Your Emotions

I pounded the table, a chip was lodged under the rail which made the rail bounce back and rattle more than it should have as my stack of chips tumbled over.  This was at Ballys Las Vegas and the music was off so everyone within three tables around me including the pit boss all turned and stared.  I kept my head down, embarrased, stacked my chips back and quickly placed my next bet.

I wish I could say this was years ago when I was young and impetuous, but this was early 2014 and I should have known better.  Yes the errant chip under the rail made it worse than it really was, but I’ve played enough hands to know that even when it looks like you have a big hand won anything can (and usually does) happen.

In this case I had a $75 bet, split 8s to make it $150 against a 5 – split hands were 17 & 18 vs a 5 + K, next card was a 5 which was one of the three cards that could beat me.  Yes it was a bad beat, but no excuse for showing emotion.  

Inexperienced players always lament the bad beat, but it so often happens that the dealer hits the one card that can beat you.  The best way to handle a big loss is the same way you should handle a big win – a small under your breath curse on the loss and a mini table knock on the win.

In a nutshell – act like you’ve been there before.