February 8, 2016: Push, Part I
The saying “as luck would have it,” could infer that chance has intention. Hoo-nōs
It had been a long night at the blackjack table and the man was even. He was restless and didn’t want to be even as there just seemed nothing dynamic about it. He elected to play $1,000, 10 times the maximum bet he would occasionally play—and a clear overreach considering his available cash.
The man’s hole card was a 7—not a great start, not a horrible one. However, his next card was a 6 for a total of 13. That was a mess, especially considering the dealer’s up card was a 9. As nearly 31% of a deck are worth 10 points—even if the table was using two decks to ding the card counters, and they were—and considering even a 9 would bust him, the probability of outright losing was about 38%. As there were many other ways to lose, the man was not in a good position.
Damn probabilities, the man thought when it was his turn and no other player before him had taken a card. He motioned for another card: A 3, for a total of 16. C’mon the man groused to himself. Damn probabilities he reaffirmed and called for another card: A 5 for a total of 21. You could see the wow-look in his grin. He had beaten the odds!
The dealer flipped his hole card for all to see: A 6 to go with the 9—a total of 15, which required the dealer to take another card. The man’s grin was still unabated as he looked around, thoroughly enjoying himself and his luck. The dealer’s next card was a 6.
The other players turned over their hole cards revealing they had less than the dealer’s 21. The dealer collected the bets, but tapped the table when he got to the man’s hand, indicating a push—as in they were even.
The man picked up his bet and got up from the table. It was just too weird a night. He stood there for a moment and another player, with quite a stack, took his place, also betting a $1,000. The cards were dealt and the new player triumphantly turned over a blackjack—21 out of the gate, worth 150% of his bet. One play and $1,500 in winnings.
Insult to injury, the man thought, along with the thought that’s just how luck would have it.