A blackjack beatdown could have been avoided

That's not KT Kashman playing blackjack in this 1991 file photo, but it would be funny if it were.

I took a little field trip to Parx Casino over the weekend. During most of my visits to Parx, I usually play No-Limit Hold ‘Em cash games. They are beatable and consume time if you feel like playing for a while.

This trip, though, I decided to try my hand at blackjack. This turned out to be a big mistake.

I should have known that this trip was going to be a disaster the minute I pulled into the parking lot. I hit a pot hole the size of a small swimming pool. I’m pretty sure I damaged something on my car but haven’t seen any evidence yet. Fingers crossed.

As I walked into the casino, I noticed that it was much more crowded than usual. I am not a fan of crowds, particularly in a casino where cigarette smoking is allowed. It almost seemed like they were pumping it in through the ventilation system. At that, I should have turned around and gone to the poker room. Stupidly, I didn’t.

After hunting for about 20 minutes, I was pleasantly surprised to find an anchor seat open at a blackjack table. I quickly sat down and cashed in. To my right was seated an older woman who apparently spoke no English, evidently had a problem with basic math and blackjack strategy (more on that in a second), and had no shortage of money on hand.

My first hand dealt was K-Q. 20! Great start right? WRONG! The dealer, who I called Mr. Wizard because of his penchant for unbelievably impossible wins, dealt himself a six-card 21! This was another omen which I stupidly ignored.

For the next hour or so I floated, up and down, which is fine. There’s nothing I hate more than getting wiped out within a half hour of sitting at the table and having to get back in the car before the engine has even cooled.

Anyway, at this point, the lady to my right decided to “loosen up” her play a little, as if that was even possible. What precipitated this, I have no idea but this is where things took a turn for the absolute worst.

She got dealt 10-10 and decided to split them against a dealer 10! My mouth hit the floor and I turned to her and asked if she was aware that breaking up the second best hand in the game was not a very sound strategy. I would have been better off talking to the garbage can. She grunted and pointed at something off in the distance.

I should have got up at this point and gone home.

I didn’t.

I just sat there and donated.

Within a half hour, the moron to my right proceeded to double on 3-4 against a dealer 3, not double 5-6 against a dealer 8, and refuse to hit 9-7 against a dealer K. Between her antics, the lung cancer I was developing from the cigarette smoke in the air, and the small fortune I had lost, I couldn’t take any more.

I excused myself from the table, turned to walk toward the exit, and tripped over a vacuum cleaner cord, falling flat on my face. Embarrassed as I was, I hurried to the car and got out of there. I’m surprised I didn’t get a speeding ticket on the ride home. It wouldn’t have surprised me.


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