Blackjack Action – Chapter 3
Jimmy Rute stood outside the main entrance of the Horseshoe Casino in downtown Las Vegas staring up at the thousands of brilliant flashing red and white lights that spelled out the casino’s name. Jimmy was feeling a little self conscious. He felt as if he were lit up as brightly as that sign. “Well, my turn to shine,” he thought.
When Jimmy signed on with the blackjack team he hadn’t considered that he might be called upon to play the part of the high roller. He definitely was not comfortable with his new assignment. He was now going to be the center of attention and the success of the team and this whole endeavor now depended upon how well he played his part. Only 7 short years ago when he was in high school, Jimmy had craved the attention of his peers. He had even learned to play guitar and joined a rock’n’roll group just to get his share of the notice and Slot Online recognition that performing in a rock band usually brought. And he especially relished the attention he gained from the fairer sex.
As Jimmy strolled through the lobby entrance of the casino, he passed by a mirror and noted his reflection. “You do look like a poor little rich kid,” he thought to himself. The reflection staring back at Jimmy was that of a dark haired young man with boyish good looks and charm. His face was clean shaven and still only needed contact with a razor every 2 or 3 days to remain that way. But it was also the face of a charmer with a quick wit.
Virtually everyone Jimmy met liked him instantly and the list of people who considered themselves among Jimmy’s friends was a long one. But the ironic part was that there was no one, with the possible exception of his mother, that Jimmy considered himself close to. Jimmy really had no other person to whom he could confide his deepest desires, disappointments, and emotions, so he kept them concealed behind a thick veneer of wit and charm.
Upon entering the casino, Jimmy immediately saw Steve seated in the first base slot of the second table in the first blackjack pit. He was almost directly facing Jimmy and the moment Jimmy saw him he had to resist the urge to laugh out loud. Steve was wearing a plain white T-shirt and a Chicago Cubs baseball cap pulled down low on his forehead (more difficult for the eye in the sky to see his face) and he was also now sporting a mustache. Jimmy had burst out laughing yesterday when Steve modeled his new look for the rest of the team. His mustache fell off just as he beamed, “How do I look?” and everyone caved with laughter. Jimmy hoped Steve had used a lot more glue this time.
Jimmy continued to scan the pit and spotted Mack Varner who had died his hair and was now wearing a professorial and rather distinguished looking beard. Jimmy thought it made him look 15 years younger at least, and in truth, he didn’t believe he would have even recognized Mack if he hadn’t just seen him a half hour earlier.
As Jimmy sauntered down the isle trying to look confident and wealthy he spotted Lisa. She was giggling and flirting with a guy sitting next to her (an art she had down to a science). Lisa had also changed her look somewhat and was now wearing a fairly short cut frosted brown wig. Jimmy was almost awestruck as he looked at her. She had to be one of the prettiest women he had ever seen, an opinion which seemed to be shared by most every man with whom she came into contact. Even though Lisa’s official racial designation was black, the way her frosted brown hair brought out a hint of freckles on her light brown skin, Jimmy thought that in the right light she could be mistaken for Caucasian.
Even though Lisa was much closer to Steve’s age than Jimmy’s, and in spite of the fact that she had two teenage children back in Tennessee, Jimmy had immediately developed a severe crush on her and he took great pleasure in every moment he was able to spend in her company. Unfortunately, she seemed to be one of the few females that seemed totally immune to Jimmy’s charming ways.
Jimmy now glanced back and saw Steve casually take hold of the bill of his cap. Each team member was now using their own unique signal, and that was Steve’s. Walking toward Steve’s table, Jimmy tried to appear as nonchalant as his current state of excitement would allow. Jimmy seated himself and asked the dealer for a marker for $30,000 and presented his ID. The dealer turned and called in a loud voice to the Pit Boss letting him know that a marker was needed. The Pit Boss seemed to take his own sweet time getting to the table and both Jimmy and Steve were annoyed that the dealer didn’t halt play. The Pit Boss took Jimmy’s ID and checked his computer and after another 2 hands had been played he OK’d the transaction. Jimmy hoped that the count was still high since he had now missed 3 or 4 hands since Steve signaled him. Steve continued to flat bet $10 and never looked up from his cards, so Jimmy knew that there still should be some time to make some money at this table.
Jimmy placed a $5,000 bet and the dealer began distributing cards from the 6 deck shoe. There were 4 players at the table including Jimmy and Steve, and they were all dealt face cards for their first card. “Looking Good!” Jimmy exclaimed using a character accent made famous by Billy Crystal. The dealer’s up card was a 6. “Looking very good,” Jimmy thought. Steve’s next card was another 10 giving him 20. The gentleman just to the right of Jimmy received a 4 and Jimmy got a 6 to go with his face card. “Damn,” Jimmy thought. “I would have to draw a stiff. But the dealer should be stiff also since the third baseman drew another 10 just before the dealer got his hole card. Jimmy thought that if the deck was clumping in a normal fashion, and since he knew the 10 and ace count was high, there was a very good chance the dealer had a 16 and hopefully he would draw a high card and bust it. All 4 players at the table stood pat not taking any hits. Jimmy held his breath as the dealer turned over his hole card to reveal a 5! “OH NO!” Jimmy thought. He sure didn’t like the looks of this. The dealer now had 11, the deck was rich in high cards since the count was high. The dealer confidently pulled the next card from the shoe and it was almost as if the outcome had been decided before he drew. The dealer hardly even looked at the king he pulled and just immediately began collecting everyone’s bet.
Jimmy grimaced and placed 10 more purple $500 chips into the horseshoe logo that substituted for the betting circle on this table. The cards were dealt. This time Jimmy smiled when he saw the 10 of Diamonds and the Jack of Clubs lying face up in front of him. “I should win this one,” he thought, but then he noticed the dealer also had a 10 up. “Well, at least I should get a push,” Jimmy mumbled. But no sooner had the words left his lips than the dealer placed his hole card over the automatic reader and the red light came on indicating that he had an ace in the hole and a blackjack. Once again the dealer collected all bets.
Now Jimmy felt beads of perspiration popping out on his forehead and he knew without looking in a mirror that his cheeks were flushed and red. “Well, nothing I could have done about those 2 plays, he thought. Maybe I’ll win this one.” But Jimmy knew that the count was falling fast since the last 2 hands dealt had been comprised of more 10’s than low cards. Jimmy placed another bet and waited. This time Jimmy had been dealt a face card and a 6 but the dealer once again had a 10 as his up card.
Now this was a situation that required some skill and experience. Basic Blackjack Strategy calls for the player to always hit the 16 against a dealer’s up card of 10. However, Steve had always preached that you had to take into account all the factors. First, what was the count? “The count is still a little high,” Jimmy thought, “which means that I’m much more likely to get a high card which will bust my hand than I am to pull a 5 or less.” Of course anytime you have a 16 you are more likely to bust it, but over the long haul, all situations considered, you will make slightly more money by hitting the 16 than by standing against a 10 up. But another factor to consider is how the shoe has been playing out. Has clumping been a factor? Jimmy tried to remember now if the 10’s and high cards had been coming out together more often or alternating or was the pattern completely random? He decided that they were clumping more often than not. He also noted that the third baseman, the last man to get a card before the dealer, had been dealt a 3. “Maybe, just maybe”, Jimmy thought, the dealer might have also gotten a small card that would make him more likely to bust. Jimmy decided that to take a card with the count high was pretty much suicide anyhow, and with the possibility that the dealer might be stiff and consequently very likely to bust…….
Jimmy waved his hand over his cards indicating he did not want a hit. Good thing too. The third baseman did take a hit and pulled an 8. “Great for him, but it would have busted me,” Jimmy thought. Now it was the dealer’s turn. He flipped his hole card over and Jimmy couldn’t conceal the smile that spread across his face when he saw that he had guessed correctly. The dealer’s hole card was a 5. “Now,” Jimmy thought, “if he’ll just hit it with a high card!” The dealer reached for the shoe and pulled out the next card and slid it across the table and aligned it with his other two cards before turning it over. The suspense was causing Jimmy’s heart to beat at a phenomenal rate. Finally the next card was revealed. A 10!!! Jimmy was relieved an ecstatic at the same time. He had won his first hand as the team’s anchor man.
Now out of the corner of his eye, Jimmy saw Steve staring right at him. This was the signal for him to pack it in for this table because the count had now fallen to a level where they had no definite advantage. Jimmy was disappointed, but knew what he had to do. He shoved his remaining chips over to the dealer and in his affable way said, “I’d better get off your table before you kick my butt real good.”
As soon as the dealer stacked and counted Jimmy’s chips, a very attractive brunette in her early 20’s walked past the table. Jimmy stared at her longingly and said in a voice loud enough for all at the table to hear, “Mmm, Mmm, Mmm! Would you look at that! I’ve got to go make her acquaintance.” With that, Jimmy scooped up and pocketed his chips and scurried off behind the charmer who had supposedly caught his eye.
Steve hoped it was all part of his act. “It was a smooth exit anyhow,” Steve thought. All in all, in Steve’s opinion, Jimmy had done pretty well playing his first table, even though he lost $5,000, there was nothing he could have done about those plays. Just the fortunes of the game. Jimmy had made a good decision and it paid off. There was nothing really to worry about at this point, but Steve hoped the remainder of the session would go better. However, had Steve known what was in store for himself and his cohorts over the next few days, he would have been tempted to throw in the towel.