I notice that some of you were a bit surprised to learn from a recent post of my interest in blackjack. You are only partially forgiven. Your only acceptable excuse is that perhaps you are new to this site or maybe you were not reading it in 2012. Or, maybe your memory is beginning to dull a bit.
I have written about this pleasure of mine before, however, and if you ignored it, missed it, or have forgotten about the post linked to just below, check it out. It will answer some of the questions that some of you raised, either in the Comment section or in direct emails to me (e.g., How did I come by this ‘interest’ ?)
While that post, a favorite of mine, gives you some insights, it does not respond to one question that some of you asked: What is the attraction of gambling for me?
It is not the desire to make a lot of money.
Nor is it an addiction that must be continuously fed.
I think one of the reasons I enjoy blackjack so much has to do with the immediacy of its result, which is different from most aspects of what I’ve done, so far, with my life.
And blackjack is simple.
1. The player is trying to get as close to 21 (the total addition of your cards) without going over 21.
2. The player is trying to beat the total count of the dealer. If you do, you win.
3. If the player breaks (goes over 21), you lose immediately.
4. If player stays with hand, and it is higher than the dealer’s total, you win.
5. If player has the same total count as the dealer, it’s a tie and no money is won or lost.
6. If the dealer “breaks,” i.e., goes over 21, and you did not already “break,” you win.
While there are other rules, those are the primary ones.
In blackjack, you make a bet, in my case a modest one. Then the dealer deals two cards, face up, to up to seven players around the table and two to him/herself; one of his cards is face up and one face down. Everyone is playing only against the dealer. Then a short period of decision-making takes place. Do I want to ask for another card or two or three, double my bet, or do I want to stay with my two cards? Once I decide, the dealer reveals his hidden card and will ‘stay’ if he has 17 or higher or must draw if his total is below 17.
Then it’s over. Either you’ve won (doubling your money), tied (no money changes hands), or lost (he collects your bet).
That’s what I like. I know immediately the result of my hand and any decisions I’ve made.
And then I get to do it again.
There’s definitely luck involved, and some skill — the strategy of knowing when to call for more cards, when to double your bet or split cards, and when to stay with what has been dealt. While the odds are slightly in the casino’s favor, it’s probably the best odds you get on any of the various types of games offered in any casino.
If you are able to manage your money well, if you understand the basic strategy of how to play, and if you have limits on how much you are willing to comfortably lose, then you can ‘stay in the action’ and have hours of entertainment, and perhaps even walk away with more than you came.
While I’m sure an insightful psychologist (oxymoron or redundancy?) would say there is much more to it than what I’ve said here, I’ve been playing blackjack in casinos for almost 60 years, and I continue to find it exciting and rewarding.
And, I repeat, if you have not read my post from 2012, go to: Like Father, Like Son, Like Daughter.