I went to a casino for the first time yesterday… I wasn’t especially tempted by it, but I needed something to do to kill time and they had a poker room.
While I waited on the list for the Big Game (it wasn’t really big, but it was a small poker room, $10/$20 omaha split which played like a $20/$40 because we were very frequently triggering the kill, but it was roped off and fancy. I felt special :p) I decided to kill time by playing $5 blackjack.
It probably wasn’t more than 5 minutes before I was berated by the first Dumb Assed Gambler. I don’t remember basic strategy for blackjack and I was just throwing money around and playing at a whim to kill time, so I made a marginally bad play. I can’t remember what it was precisely, but I stayed when I should’ve hit. The dealer ended up getting a good card after me (at this casino, the dealers only dealt the second card to themselves after they’d dealt to everyone else - I thought the standard was dealing to themselves face down before hitting the players). Anyway, if I would’ve hit, I would’ve been okay, and the dealer might not have got a good card, so the guy starts saying “oh my god, he fucks everything up for $5” (he was betting $30-$50).
Yeah, because I knew exactly what card was coming.
Blackjack idiots seem to have the impression (and this was more than one person that did this) that if someone makes a sub-optimal play, it somehow damages the chances of everyone else at the table. If you fuck up, the dealer is going to get a better card, they seem to think).
It’s complete nonsense. The next card to be dealt is effectively random. It’s not like there are magic blackjack fairies who stack the deck so that if everyone makes the correct move then the dealer would get screwed. But that’s what half of those idiots (or more?) seem to think.
They don’t realize that it works both ways. In a later situation, I hit when I shouldn’t have, and I ate a face card that would’ve otherwise gone to the dealer to make them a hand that beat everyone, I think. In that case, my bad move saved all of them. But did I get thanked? Of course not, they didn’t notice it, and they probably wouldn’t even understand what happened if I explained it to them, because they’re dumb. Not that there was anything to thank me for, rationally - my move had no effect in the theoretical sense on their chances of winning, but if they’re going to blame me when a bad move incidentally helps the dealer, they should be thankful when a bad move incidentally helps them.
Later, I had a guy look over the table before he’d make a move… “I don’t want to fuck us up guys, so… let’s see… you have a 17, you have a 19… uh… stay”. Like he was reading the magic juju of the cards. He wasn’t card counting or anything. Even though the cards dealt to everyone were effectively random events, and what other people have has no bearing on what he’ll get (effectively, in his mind, as he’s not card counting), he seemed to want to survey the juju to figure out what action to take. He’d apologize and look really dissapointed with himself if the dealer ended up beating everyone.
I had a conversation with a guy once who tried to convince me how much more money you could make at blackjack playing at a table alone. Not because it was faster, or anything like that, but because “uh… well… there are more possible card combinations you can get each shuffle that way… or something.”
I know a guy who is absolutely convinced he’s good at roulette. I mean… good at picking random numbers. He tried to explain to me, as a contrast, that there’s a guy who just bets money on number 7 (or something) all night, and that he’s clearly a good roulette player because his more conservative (less variance) strategy of betting odd/even, red/black, whatever was better.
I explained to him what variance and expected value was, and that while his strategy had a lower variance, it had the exact same expected value, so he’d lose the exact same amount of money as the other guy over a lot of trials, I even wrote out the math to show exactly why they had the same expectation. Explained it thoroughly.
“So you think the guy who bets on 7 all night will make [lose, really] as much money as me?”
“Yes. It’s easy to prove.”
“You’re a fucking moron.”
It’s remarkable how dumb people are when it comes to stuff like this. It’s just common sense. No high understanding of math is required, just a little thought.