A while back, I wrote about playing blackjack at a table that included a man who stood on all 16s, including soft hands.
That drew reactions from readers such as, “That hurts just to read,” and “How could you stand staying at that table?”
Answer: I long ago learned not to let the bad plays of others bother me. They’re as likely to help me as hurt me.
Readers also sent their own tales of cringe-inducing play, mostly focusing on soft totals where Aces are being counted as 1. Let’s share a few.
MIRI: I swear, half the players I see have no idea what to do with a soft hand. They might not be as extreme as your Mr. Stand-on-soft-16, but we’ve all seen players who hesitate, think about it, and then make the bad play.
Last week, there was a player at my table who had soft 17 against a 6. He asked the dealer, “What should I do with that?” The dealer said, “I don’t know. Honey, I just deal the cards. Ask them.”
So he crowd-sourced it and asked everyone. I said to double down, someone else seconded the motion, two others said hit and one said, “Are you kidding me? He has 17. Why wouldn’t he stand?”
All advice considered, he decided to hit. Better than standing, anyway. Then he drew a 4 and had 21.
I couldn’t help myself. I said to him, “I bet you wish you’d doubled.” He said, no, he’d have been too nervous doubling on a hand he half-thought he should stand on.
It’s his hand, but I still shuddered a little.
LEMOND: This dude had the whole table and the dealer trying to help him, and he would not listen.
He had a soft 16, Ace-5, like your guy. The dealer had a 7, and he player signaled to stand.
The dealer hesitated and said, “Are you sure?” Everybody else tried to help and told him he should hit. A couple of people tried to explain that he couldn’t hurt the hand by hitting. He had a hand that couldn’t win if the dealer didn’t bust, and if the draw didn’t help him, he wouldn’t bust and he still had a hand that could win only if the dealer went bust.
He looked at the people who told him that for a few seconds, then he shook his head. Nothing anyone could say was going to change his mind.
The player at third base was next to draw, and he got a 3, and a couple of people made sure the other one knew that would have improved him to 19.
I was in good shape with 20, but I was almost hoping the dealer had a 10 down so those who made legit standing hands would win, but the bad player could see the error of his ways.
Didn’t happen. The dealer had a 9 down for 16 and drew an 8 to bust. Everybody got paid, and the soft 16 guy probably still thinks he made a great play.
THOM: My favorite was a young man, probably mid-20s, who loved his soft doubling. If he had a soft hand and the dealer had a 6 or under, he was going to double.
That even included a pair of Aces. He put his money out for a second bet, and the dealer went to split the Aces, and the player said, “No, double.”
The dealer did a double-take, then looked over at the supervisor and called out, “Doubling down on 2!’
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