John Grochowski

John Grochowski John Grochowski John Grochowski John Grochowski

Every veteran blackjack player has seen odd things happen at the tables. Other players’ quirks, our own mistakes and interactions with players, dealers, pit supervisors and others lodge in our memories.

Let’s take a look at a few of those experiences readers have shared in the last couple of months.

Marty: I play at one of those places that used to be a riverboat. Now it’s a barge, so it’s still out over the water, but it doesn’t go anywhere. You can’t really even tell it’s not on land.

I was at a $25 blackjack table. That’s big time for me. I usually stick to the $10 tables, but I’d won $1,000 at video poker and thought I’d play a little bigger while making sure I still kept half of it in my wallet.

This other guy came up, and he wanted to play bigger than me. He put a $100 bill on his betting spot. Yvonne, the dealer, took the bill, turned it upside down and flattened it out and started reaching for chips.

That wasn’t what the guy wanted. He said, “No, that’s my bet.” Yvonne did a little double take, then said, “So you want me to give you a black chip?” And he said, “You don’t have to do that. Money plays.”

By this point, the pit supervisor was getting interested. She asked where the guy was from, and he said Henderson. He was a Nevada player visiting friends, and it was his first time on a boat. The pit supervisor told him, “Money doesn’t play here. It’s against the regs. You have to buy chips.”

So Yvonne said, “$100 in, black out,” which I guess she’d normally call out. She didn’t really have to, the supervisor was right there. Then when he put the $100 black chip on the spot, Yvonne said, “Black plays.”

The player seemed a combination of amused and irritated by it all. He kept grumbling about dumb rules and how he didn’t have to go through this rigmarole at home, and the supervisor told him, “You’re not at home, and that’s the law here.”

He kept playing, though, and he kept buying one chip at a time. Every time we heard, “$100 in, black out,” the whole table laughed.

Cyndi: I made the most terrible mistake. I had 10 and a 7. I misread the 7 as a 4, and the whole table could see me hit this hard 17. The dealer hesitated before giving me a card, but I insisted. His hesitation should have told me I was doing something weird, but I never gave the cards a second glance.

I didn’t even notice that everyone else was pretty mad at me until I drew a 3 to give me 20. One man said, “I don’t care how lucky you were, that was really stupid.” I said I was sorry, that I’d misread my cards. He said, “There were only two cards, how the eff could you misread them?” After the hand, he stormed off. I was so embarrassed.

Harry: One time I was at a table and one of the other players pulled out a book to show the dealer. It was one of those books about counting cards. He said, “Can you tell me if this book is any good?”

The dealer called out to the supervisor, “Hey Fred, this guy wants to know if his book is any good.”

Fred took a look and burst out laughing. He said, “Officially, I have to tell you that book is the devil’s work and if we catch you counting cards, we’ll run you out of here. Unofficially, yeah, I’ve read that one myself. It’s pretty good.”

Look for John Grochowski on Facebook ( and Twitter (@GrochowskiJ).

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