March 06, 2005
Fair readers, I bring
Fair readers, I bring news. I know that many of you may find what you're about to read disquieting. Some will be angered. Others will be saddened. Some of the more melodramatic among you, heaven forbid, may even be moved to write bad poetry. Know that I am only relaying this information as a warning. I am not endorsing any particular course of action
Last weekend, as I enjoyed a well-earned vacation in Las Vegas, I happened upon a profound new evil. A terrible plot so base, so devious that my good friend Bert was struck dumb by the mere sight of it. Our traveling companion, the good Dr. Tim, was so shaken that he nearly spilled his frosty malt beverage all over his comfortable linen shirt. Later, during a private moment, he confided in me that what he saw troubled him so much that he toyed with the notion of violating his Hypocratic Oath and doing some harm right on the spot.
The terrible sight that confronted us was 6-5 blackjack, being dealt to actual customers in an actual Las Vegas gaming establishment. In case you have yet to fully appreciate the gravity of the situation, allow me to emphasize the two most relevant points:
- A real, live Las Vegas casino was dealing a game of twenty-one where a winning blackjack only paid six-to-five, rather than the customary three-to-two. This was not one of those gimmicky, downtown Vegas variations where you could double down on your third card or go over twenty-one without breaking. This was the standard way this casino was dealing its five dollar tables.
- Real, live casino patrons were putting up with this nonsense. In sufficient numbers, no less, that there was not an empty seat to be had at the table.
As you can well imagine, we got the hell out of that place with all due haste. Unfortunately, we observed this abomination at more than one establishment as the weekend ran its course. Which leaves one to once again ponder the age-old question, "what is this world coming to?" Not to sound like your gin-addled grandfather at a family outing, but I can remember when it went without saying that you would be allowed surrender at any blackjack table with DEALER MUST HIT SOFT 17 printed on its felt. The rights to double down after a split and to re-split Aces were also sacrosanct.
To blame the casinos for this sad state of affairs would be simplistic. I've certainly not heard of any instances of a blackjack dealer being pulled aside by the pit boss and told, "Ooo-dong, from Laos, we have to let you go. Try as we might, we just can't make any money at this game any more." No, the reason that 6-5 blackjack is popping up in casinos is that stupid people are willing to play 6-5 blackjack in casinos.
Posted by Dan at March 6, 2005 07:28 PM
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