Last night I was walking around the Borgata casino and resort in Atlantic City, watching hopeful gamblers trying to get rich playing blackjack. I usually try to watch the high energy tables or noisy ones and the first table that caught my attention was a $15 minimum bet table. All eyes at this table were on a grandfather who was playing $500 to $1000 per hand. His grandson was standing closely behind, watching in amazement as “Gramps” was doing quite well. People at the table mentioned that this jeans and baseball wearing gentleman (who was around 70 years old) had bought in for just $200, building his stack to a staggering $4000+. I watched him hit a blackjack for $1000, followed by an $800 double down, he was rolling, high fiving the other players and smiling from ear to ear.
He seemed to be showing his grandson that he was “the man” and was gonna break the bank. As “Gramps” put out a jaw dropping $1200 bet of 12 black chips on the felt, his cards were a 5 and a 6 equaling 11, while the dealer showed a 5. This is a blackjack players dream senerio, an automatic double down.The man confidently reached into his stack and lined up an additional $1200 doubling down and drawing 1 card (hoping for a 10, jack queen or king to make a 21). The entire time his grandson (who looked 19 or 20 years old) was jumping up and down with excitement in anticipation of the next card to be dealt. An 8 of clubs appeared from the deck giving the man a solid 19, a strong hand vs. the dealers 5. So as the dealer continued down the table, with everybody playing their hands accordingly, based on the dealers 5. When it got back to the dealer he casually flipped up his hidden card and it was an 8, giving the dealer a total of 13 (the dealer must take a hit on any hand under 17). The dealer pulled another card from the deck as he turned it up it was a 7 of hearts, ouch, giving the dealer a total of 20 and devastating the table of players and onlookers.
Grandpa had lost an incredible $2400 on one hand of blackjack. Probably more money than his grandson had ever seen at one time. A silence then came over the table, suddenly all of the celebrating and jubilation stopped instantly. Grandpa was stunned, but like a true over matched gambler trying to break the bank and not realizing he was still ahead over $2000, he quickly pushed out the remainder of his stack, roughly $2400-$2500 into the circle of felt and was ready for the next hand. A very pretty queen and a jack stared at gramps, a formitable 20 vs. the dealer showing a 10 of clubs. As the anticipation built up and the action got back to the dealer he exposed a 5 underneath giving him a total of 15. The dealer pulled a card from the deck and flipped it over, the 6 of diamonds, giving the dealer a 21 and shattering both gramps and his grandsons dreams, ruining the entire mood of the table. Devastated and staring aimlessly at the stack of chips being taken away by the dealer, grandpa was in shock. He then grabbed his jacket and sheepishly walked away from the table, flat broke, almost in tears, blackjack will do that to you. Another victim of the big casinos, another lost & shattered dream crushed by the establishment and the “house”. I felt horrible for the man, I was truly rooting for him. But in the end, I had been there, done that, I was that old mad, many times in the past, turning a couple hundred into a couple thousand, like it was easy. Catching cards, winning double downs, ect. … and in the end leaving the casino flat broke. Unsatisfied with the stack of chips on the table, being caught up in the excitement, the high 5′s, the free drinks, the big lights and sexy waitresses leads to greed, which had swallowed up another victim, this time it was grandpa. They say these casinos weren’t built on people beating the casinos, because the house always wins, you can’t brake the bank-they have too much money. Hopefully I can take my own advice next time I play blackjack, hitting and running for a deck or two, because that’s about all you can ask for, believe me.