Most blackjack strategy books advise that a card-counter should remain relatively quiet at the table. Obvious card-counting or strange behaviors can make the dealer and pit boss suspicious. My philosophy is quite the opposite—I try to draw as much attention as possible each and every time I visit the blackjack table. My goal is to amuse or annoy the other players, plus the dealer, pit boss, wait staff, and any unsuspecting spectators. I’m trying to give them an amazing story that they’ll repeat over Sunday dinners. The stranger the story, the better. Here are thirteen ways to get extra attention at the table:
1. Carry a basic strategy card, but only pull it out of your pocket on obvious plays, “Hmmm, I have a 2-3 and the dealer is showing a king.” [extra long pause] “Hit me!”
2. Instead of a red $5 chip, place a red unrolled condom on the betting circle. For extra emphasis, stack one red condom on top of a green condom to simulate a $30 bet, then place a white rolled condom in front for a dealer toke.
3. Buy in for $100 using quarters…unrolled quarters.
4. Most casinos have live prize drawings for player’s club members. When they draw an unusual, foreign-sounding name, try to claim the prize. [Intercom: The winner of our nine o’clock drawing is Thiruvanamthapuram Patsurashasham.] Stand up screaming, “Yee haw—that’s me.” Note: this gag only works if you are not the same race or nationality of the actual winner.
5. Have you ever seen a $10,000-a-hand baccarat player who rips the cards on each play? Try doing the same thing on a $5 bet at blackjack. You will be talked about for a loooooong time.
6. When faced with a tough decision on a hand, pull out the basic strategy card again. This time, ask aloud while looking at it, “What would Jesus do?”
7. Excuse yourself to the bathroom. When you return, announce with a straight face, “The sink was broken. Pardon me if I get some urine on the cards and chips this next shoe.”
8. When a waiter or waitress stops by, order drinks for everyone at the table. However, order the exact opposite of what you think the players would want: “The big biker will have a virgin Shirley Temple, this lovely octogenarian to my left will have a triple Red Bull, and Sister Mary Agnes over there will have a Sex on the Beach. Also, bring me a Long Island iced tea—no rum, no vodka, no tequilla, no gin, extra ice, and a splash of prune juice.”
9. Bring a life-sized, stuffed ostrich into the casino and place it on the seat to your right at the table. When the dealer, pit boss, or other players ask you questions about the stuffed bird, pretend that don’t speak English. If you’ve made it this far without being kicked out of the casino for good, take it further by playing a second hand in front of the bird. When the decision comes for the bird to take a hit, just squawk continuously.
10. In a shoe game where you use a single finger to signal for a hit, use your middle finger.
11. If you lose all your chips, get up from the table with a remorseful expression, “My wife’s gonna kill me—that was her colostomy bag money.” Note: this gag is only effective and humorous if your wife does NOT actually need colostomy bags.
12. Some fun dealer’s announce, “Winner, winner—chicken dinner” after you get a blackjack. Turn the tides on them. When the dealer gets a blackjack, yell “Loser plucker—chicken fucker!” For some reason, this joke only works once for me before I get a visit from the Casino Manager.
13. This one is my favorite. Before sitting at the table, visit the casino snack bar and place four ketchup packets in your mouth. Keep ‘em there secretly while you play blackjack. Wait a long time—play all night if necessary—until someone gets dealt three sixes in a row. Then, crush the ketchup packages with your jaw and spit the bloody mess all over the table screaming, “THE DEVIL, THE DEVIL!!!” If you really want a story that will be told forever, scream in Spanish, “DIOS MIO, EL DIABLO!!!”