Hot dealer, cold shoe, live blackjack blues

Dealer Madara

Steely nerved blackjack professionals will tell you that this is a game of mathematics. Play rock solid basic strategy and bet to the count and in the long run, you’ll do well. Deviate from the plan and you fall into trouble.

That’s all well and good, but there are  a couple of problems with this theory for most recreational players.

Perfect playing  strategy is no match for bad luck

Let’s say you do play perfect basic strategy and bet correctly to the count.  Does a positive count guarantee that you’ll beat the dealer for the remainder of a given shoe?

Unfortunately not.

What it does tell you is that this shoe, played perfectly an infinite amount of times, would have you beating the dealer. Played perfectly just the once and all the maths wisdom in the world ain’t gonna be a match for a streak of bad luck.

The shorter the blackjack session the greater the chance that actual outcomes can deviate from statistically likely outcomes. Bad players can have big wins, good players can have bad losses. And since most recreational players don’t spend the kind of time needed at the table to ensure returns approach statistically likely outcomes we’re playing in the realm of the luck gods rather than the mathematics gods.

And sometimes the luck gods can be a real bitch.

You know those times? You’re getting your fair share of pictures and 20’s but the dealer is regularly beating you by hitting 5 and 6 card 21’s.  Every time you double-down your 10 or 11 you hit a 2-5. She’s busting on occasion, but only when you bust first.

The dealer just can’t lose…to the point where they seem genuinely sorry for how regularly you’re (all) losing.

Call it what you want…a hot dealer, a cold shoe, voodoo blackjack. It just ain’t that much fun when it happens.

Perfect playing strategy often not so perfect

If you can get your arse handed to you on a platter armed with the ability to count cards and in a situation where there is a great running count, imagine how ugly it can get when you don’t have these weapons in your arsenal?

Remember that playing live blackjack you aren’t able to bet effectively to the count  owing to the casinos’ mid shoe shuffle policies.  So there’s one of your weapons gone right there.

And as for basic strategy…as easy as it is to play, it’s pretty obvious sitting at the table that most players are employing their own very loose BS interpretations…including me, particularly when distracted for one reason or another.

Where am I going with all this

Just venting really, after getting absolutely spanked (metaphorically unfortunately) by Madara during a recent game at William Hill. Despite her considerable charms she managed to clear a table that was full in 20 minutes or so until I was the last glutton for punishment left.

Oh well, some days you win…

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