Teach Your Children

Posted on Feb 29 2012 by Stick in Backgammon, Parlor Games, Poker, Uncategorized


Inadvertently, my parents hooked me on card games for life. I was young, maybe around 6 years old, and they were playing a card game called Euchre. I asked how it was played and was basically waived off and told it was too complicated. At that point I remember watching and figuring it out for myself and one day proclaiming I was ready to play. Everyone was in shock since none of them had explained it to me but I had sat and watched and eventually figured it out for myself. If you want to hook your kid on something, try the ‘you won’t understand it tactic’!

Many of you reading this may not even know what it is, it’s a very midwest game. Most dismiss it as a skillless card game to play while drinking. It’s not. While most people play it as such, it was the first card game where I spent any significant amount of time trying to understand it. I would continue this through my life playing a lot of poker hands with myself when my dad wasn’t around to play. After high school when I no longer had a local poker game to keep me occupied I drifted towards another
gambling game
, blackjack.

Even though I hadn’t really been to Vegas yet because I was too young I was still fascinated that a game existed and was offered where if approached correctly I could guarantee myself winning in the long run. I devoured all there was out at the time on blackjack starting with Edward O’Thorpe and his Beat the Dealer to Revere’s count systems through Wong and his halves and settling on Bryce Carleson’s level II system. To this day I still pick up the occasional new blackjack release but not much has changed.

Unfortunately modern Vegas is more or less a bust to your blackjack counter. Not saying you can’t beat the game but the amount of work you have to put in nowadays makes this too much like a job for my pleasure. Still, from time to time I come across a blackjack game where I can sit down and not worry about a pit boss or an eye in the sky. These games pop up at festivals that also sometimes have other parlour games. Also from time to time at my home games when we get bored of all the crazy poker variations we’ve been playing someone will suggest blackjack. Yes, 1 deck blackjack. I either deal or am dealt to, either way I get a real kick out of using what I know.

To say the ~6 months I spent on blackjack in the beginning was a waste of time would be quite unfair. It helps me even today. For example, when I started keeping a running pip count in the game of backgammon it was very easy for me. It wasn’t an absolute count I was keeping, but a plus/minus system very similar to what one does when counting cards in blackjack. Knowing the pip count at all times is critical in backgammon. All of this stems from telling a kid he wouldn’t understand something…the best reverse psychology move my parents could have made, whether they meant to do it or not, thank you.

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