Judy Kay-Wolff

It Takes All Kinds …

I am certain every game, sport or hobby can cite a type of individual who won’t win any popularity contests — not because of his or her prowess — but due to their irritating persona.  In bridge, there are the high-fivers, the gloaters, the know-it-alls, the double-dummy experts, the pointers and the person known as the proverbial ‘hand-hog.’   Luckily for me, since my bridge activity has been confined to the local scene in the last couple of years (with no regrets), I sit regularly facing someone who declares the hands a large percentage of the time — with amazing results.  But, who am I to complain or question?  In any event, I am not filing a grievance report — just making the observation that hand-hogging is not all bad for a partnership (as long as the right person assumes the role of the hog).    But, then again, most individuals who are of that ilk don’t have the credentials mine has.  We seem to get luckier results playing from his side of the table.

Today at the local casino I was reminded of a special kind of individual (reminiscent of the hand hog) who is convinced he can direct the destiny of the blackjack table by sitting on the far left (the 6th chair/in front of the dealer), playing what is commonly referred to as Third Base.  Being the last person to play before the dealer very often (unless the dealer has a ‘pat hand’) can affect the fate of the entire table by ‘standing’ or ‘hitting’ — though it actually is totally random (which most individuals will not or cannot accept). If he or she should hit (and the dealer stands), it obviously affects the rotation of the next series of cards unless it is the end of the shoe and dealer must reshuffle.

This evening before dinner, Bobby and I sat down for half an hour at our favorite gaming table — Super Fun Twenty One/Double Deck.   It is pretty hard to beat any casino (and counters are thrown out before they can get themselves comfortable), but this format of the game offers you many more options (six additional gimmicks) than a regular 21 shoe.  It is fun and affords you tons of action, but you must be in control and not check your brains — especially living here all year round.   Incidentally, this particular form of BJ is only offered by four casinos here, of which we are aware.   Luckily for the casino chain, most players (unless experienced) do not have a clue about all the nuances of this special adaptation of Twenty-One and park their carcasses at the table thinking it is standard BJ.  Far from it!

As we approached the game tonight, my immediate vibes proved right on target.   I spotted an older, serious, prune-faced male who was obviously all-business, seated at Third Base (and from his demeanor — it was not by accident).  He was the stereotype ‘Control Freak.’  In my mind, he is a close confederate to the Hand Hog.  He earnestly believes he is in command of the fate of the entire table by sitting where he was.  He was a reasonable player (far from expert), and there we were — the three of us — battling against a dealer who got blackjack after blackjack.   I was able to tolerate pompous Mr. Third Base only up to a point.  He had never uttered a word until the dealer gave me an extra chip and as I was about to tell her she had overpaid me, he preempted me by piping up ….  “you gave her too much” …  like it was HIS business.  As they say, “Another country heard from!”  It was time to depart for dinner anyway — and I was a happy camper with a hearty appetite (despite the fact I had little remaining from my small original outlay).  Why?   As I arose from the table, I happened to catch a glimpse of my LHO’s stack of $400 — which had dwindled to three five dollar chips!  So much for playing Third Base!


markJuly 5th, 2010 at 1:25 pm

next time, make his day … pass him the extra chip.

Judy Kay-WolffJuly 5th, 2010 at 7:14 pm

Right on, Mark! Why didn’t I think of that?

You can’t believe what goes on at some of the tables, but right now the casinos are suffering from the economy — and have been for a long time. Nowadays you can shoot a cannon down the aisle and not hit a thing!

I remember not too long ago when you had to wait your turn to play. Sad state of affairs!

Michael O' ConnorJuly 5th, 2010 at 9:40 pm

Hi Judy,

I left a message for you under your piece of April 14th ” A Welcome Change of Pace” but you may not have seen it. Please refer and confirm I have your consent to include the poem in my article, crediting you as the author.

Many thanks

Judy Kay-WolffJuly 6th, 2010 at 5:40 pm


I apologize for not seeing your comment earlier. I usually don’t go back to the older ones as there is so much current chitchat to keep me busy.

Of course, you may use my poem. It was a long, long time ago, but I remember it as if were yesterday. I’d love to see a copy of your rendering when published.



Michael O' ConnorJuly 7th, 2010 at 3:05 pm

Thanks Judy.

If you would send me you e mail address I will foward a copy of the article.

My e mail is michael@iol.ie