What Blackjack Players and Voters Have in Common

Blackjack

Image by Bob Owen on Flickr

As I was trying to come up with what my goal should be for my next trip to the casino, I started realizing just how similar Blackjack players are to voters. All Blackjack players can be put into one of three categories: A players, B players, and C players. The same can be done with voters.

In Blackjack, just like in the real world that we all live in, there are facts. In the real world we have economic science. In Blackjack we have Basic Strategy. Basic Strategy is a statistically-proven list of plays, that if consistently followed, is guaranteed to give the player the absolute best odds to win against the dealer, in the long term.

For example, a player that has been dealt a 16 should always hit (request another card), and risk busting (going over 21, and losing the hand), if the dealer has a 7 or higher. This is because we should always assume that if the dealer has a 7, he will end up with 17, thus beating the 16 (there are more 10s than any other card in a Blackjack deck). The C players many times are too afraid to request another card in this scenario, and would rather wait and see if the dealer himself will bust. More often than not, the coward player will lose that hand, which is why he is better off taking the risk of requesting another card.

The C Players/Voters

The C players are clueless and emotional. Although Basic Strategy is freely available, they are either not aware of its existence, or don’t care enough to educate themselves before playing, which is why they lose most of the time by making the wrong decisions. They are inconsistent and rely on feeling to decide what their next play should be.

The C voters? You guessed it. They are also clueless. They couldn’t care less about economics, don’t really think it’s important for them to educate themselves before voting, and they also rely on feeling to make their decisions. They vote for the guy that says the right things, the guy that looks the part, or the guy that the media has told them everyone else is voting for. Many of these C voters even leave their house on primary day without even knowing who they will vote for. Cluelessness is not an obstacle for them.

The B Players/Voters

The B players know the basics. They were once taught by someone that you should hit on 16 in the situation I previously mentioned, and that you don’t ask for another card if you have, for example, a 12 and the dealer is showing a 4. (In this case, it is likely that the dealer will bust, so you don’t want to take the risk of busting yourself).

But the B players don’t really understand 100% of the Basic Strategy. They never did their own research to look at the entire list of plays to see what they should do in each scenario. Instead, they have relied on what others have taught them. They don’t understand that if you have a 12, and the dealer is showing a 2 or a 3, you actually should hit (ask for another card). The B player will stay and wait for the dealer to bust in this case–the wrong thing to do–since with a 12, only a 10 would cause the player to bust, a chance he should be willing to take, considering the dealer’s card.

The most misplayed hand in Blackjack besides what I just mentioned, is the Soft 18 (made up of an Ace and a 7). This hand could either be an 8 or an 18, which is why they call it Soft. The B player never asks for another card when he has a soft 18. He thinks he is doing great, and stays. Basic Strategy though, says that a soft 18 is actually a losing hand against a dealer’s 9, 10 or Ace. Not hitting in this scenario is a mistake, yet 98% of Blackjack players will choose to stay.

Here’s the really annoying thing about the B players. They love to voice their uneducated opinion. When they see an A player on the table hitting a soft 18 against the dealer’s 10, or hitting a 12 against the dealer’s 2, they assume the A player doesn’t know what he is doing and will either say something aloud, or whisper to their friends or girlfriends about how “you never hit if you have an 18.” Frustrating right? You could be an A player at a Blackjack table, and be looked at by most of the players like you are the one that is wrong. Sound familiar?

Just like the B players, the B voters know the basics, because they were taught by others and get most of their information from the media. They listen to the pundits when they say we need a small federal government and we need the government out of the way so the free market can work. They understand that it is bad for the government to interfere with market prices. They know it would be an awful idea for the government to dictate what the price of milk should be, for example. But because they never do their own research and don’t spend much time really educating themselves, they don’t realize that the government is involved in price-fixing everyday, when it allows the Federal Reserve to interfere with the price of money (interest rates), and when it dictates what the minimum price should be for labor (minimum wage).

And just like the B players, the B voters love to voice their uneducated opinion. They look at the A voters like they are crazy for suggesting that the 17th amendment should be repealed, that we need to have a currency that is backed by something, that the manipulation of interest rates is what causes the boom-bust cycles, that Lincoln was a tyrant, that the civil war was unnecessary, and that we don’t need to have troops deployed in 150 countries in order to keep America safe.

The A Players/Voters

The cheap Blackjack tables (where C and B players like to play) can be frustrating for the A players. They’ll always be the minority there, and they know the rest of the people on the table are just too ignorant to understand why they hit with a soft 18. They have to put up with the ignorant big-mouths. A players often wonder why the C players even bother to play. “Why not do a little bit of research before sitting down at a Blackjack table?” they think to themselves. “The information is out there. It’s not that hard.”

The A players are unemotional. They know exactly what they have to do and they do it, because they have studied what works. They couldn’t care less how many ignorants open their mouths at the table. They will do what is right, every time, and they find comfort in knowing that they are right and the rest of the players are wrong.

The A voters are the same way. They can’t figure out why those who refuse to take the time to educate themselves, even bother to go out and vote. They often have to put up with people voicing their uneducated opinions, and they understand that many voters are just too ignorant to see why both political parties are actually the same, and that most of what they were taught about history and economics is actually wrong.

The A voters will do what is right regardless of whether or not it is popular, and they know that although there is so much information freely available for anyone that cares to study it, they will always be the minority. They will always be looked at like they are wrong for doing what is right. But as Ghandi once said, “even if you are a minority of one, the truth is still the truth.”

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  • Unfortunately, the odds do not favor the A-voters as they do the A-players of blackjack. The ignorance of the B and C voters often triumphs in the voting booth.

    • So true, Jim. I guess the analogy would be when the A player loses a big hand because of a C player’s dumb decision before him.