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How Not To Play Blackjack

By Chuckmonster on Monday, 21st June 2010 6:49am
  » filed under Las Vegas  comments: 4


Iron Maiden San Manuel

On Saturday night, I had the pleasure to go see one of my all time favorite bands play - Iron Maiden. I've been a Maiden fan since I first heard Side 2 of Number of the Beast on headphones at a sleepover party in late-1982. They were the soundtrack to my youth and after a period away from metal as a whole have become the soundtrack to my youth at heart.

No, this isn't a review of the gig... you can read a pretty accurate account of the show here. So why mention it Chuck? Well of course it ties in with gambling and Vegas... sorta.

The show took place at the San Manuel Ampitheater in Devore, CA, which most LA based VegasTrippers know as the spot where traffic comes to a complete stop on the hill up towards Victorville. I noticed a bunch of Nevada license plates in the parking lot as this is the closest Maiden has come to playing Vegas in about 15 years. The venue, most famously known as the "Glen Helen Blockbuster Pavilion" sold its naming rights to the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, the folks who own and operate the San Manuel Casino and Bingo Hall in Redlands, CA. The venue was filled with signs and subtle reminders that the San Manuel Casino is only 20 minutes away!

During the set break between opening act Dream Theatre's set and the return of the beast, Miss Mo and I couldn't help but eaves drop on a conversation taking place in the row behind us. What started out with a simple "dude, I want to go to the casino after the show!" turned into a 20 minute tale of battle at the blackjack tables. One guy tried to explain basic strategy to his friends (reasonably well) then went on to discuss counting cards which was certainly impressive even if he had most of his facts wrong. His friends sounded transfixed, asking questions about his exploits and whether or not he had won any money. In my world, "for a little while, not much" means he won four hands then lost that and the other $100 he put down on the table.

What really got me was a story he told about one of his friends, who he believed to be a blackjack master. Mr. Blackjack Master and he were doing $10 per hand battle on the felt when Mr. Master was dealt a natural 21... which, if memory serves me, pays standard 3:2 at San Manuel. As the dealer motioned to pay out the Master's $15, he pushed out an extra $10, doubled down on his natural 21, baffling the dealer. "Sir, you don't want to do that, this is a natural blackjack." "No, it's an 11, and I want to double down." The dealer hit the card with another ten and paid the guy $20 on his $20 bet.

Insane or inane? Both... take twice the risk for half the reward? No wonder the dealer let this idiot double on his natural 21. I'm sure the pit bosses, after dislodging their brains gone cockeye immediately got that guy a players card, stat!

Tagged: blackjack   


Comments & Discussion:

That is one for the ages. Like the people who say that double-zero roulette is better than single-zero, because you have "another chance to win."

And wouldn't it be awesome if Luxor dropped Criss Angel and put in a Powerslave-themed Cirque show?

Calvera said it best: "If God hadn't meant for them to be sheared, he wouldn't have made them sheep." ....

In June of 1982, I went to the Knoxville Colosseum to see .38 Special. The opening act was Maiden, touring in support of "Number of the Beast." From the moment we heard "Woe to you, oh Earth and sky..." kick off the title track, my friends and I were hooked. The lights came up and Steve Harris ran up to the monitor, propped his foot on top and started shagging his mane. In addition to the Eddie on stilts, these crazy little dudes in demon outfits were running around with handheld spotlights. It was great. By the time "Hallowed Be Thy Name" wound down, .38 Special didn't even matter anymore. Truth is, they never did.

^^ brilliant... all three of ya.

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