CELEBRITY BLACKJACK

EPISODE 2

NOTES FROM THE AUTHOR

What follows is a televised-hand-by-televised-hand account.  Obviously, since it's only a one-hour show, most hands are not televised so you're going to see a lot of jumping of the dealer button.


So what do you get when you take celebrities away from the limelight, put $100,000 in chips in front of them and force them to play 21 hands of blackjack for charity?  Why, you get CELEBRITY BLACKJACK!

Much like World Series of Blackjack, Celebrity Blackjack will be contested in five-player single-table matches with the winners getting $25,000 and advancing to the Final Table for a crack at the $100,000 first prize, all for their charities.

For rules on how blackjack is played, see the small tutorial in the first recap of the series.  But know that this is a blackjack tournament, meaning every player starts with $100,000 in chips and must bet between $1000 and $25,000 on each hand to start.  After 21 hands, the one with the most money wins $25,000 and a seat at the $100,000 Final Table. There is a "Dealer Button" which goes around the table, but it signifies who BETS and PLAYS first, not who the dealer starts dealing cards to first.  This is significant, though, since betting is a HUGE part of tournament blackjack.

And for this special tournament, four JOKERS have been added to the six decks they play with.  A Joker can be substituted for any card on the table still in play.

Lets meet the five celebs competing tonight (and their charities):

Richard Belzer
(PAX)
Comedian; played Detective John Munch on Homicide: Life on the Street and, now, on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

Marissa Jaret Winokur
(Broadway Cares Equity Fights AIDS)
Broadway actress, currently starring as Tracy Turnblad in the musical "Hairspray"

Mark Steines
(Africa 2004)
He's been a correspondent on Entertainment Tonight since 1995

Chynna Phillips
(Tribe of Heart)
The blond singer of the group Wilson Phillips; also acted in Caddyshack II and Say Anything...

Andy Dick
(PETA)
Comic actor; played Matthew Brock on NewsRadio; currently playing Owen Kronsky on Less Than Perfect

We have you host Matt Vasgersian and Alex Boorstein calling the action. Our dealer tonight is the "bad boy of Blackjack", "Hollywood" Dave Stann...so let's get it on!  Richard will always be "first base", where the dealer starts dealing the cards.  But the order shown, left to right, will be the betting and playing order starting with the "button".

HAND 1
Andy
BANK: $100,000
Richard
BANK: $100,000
Marissa
BANK: $100,000
Mark
BANK: $100,000
Chynna
BANK: $100,000
Bet: $3000 Bet: $3000 Bet: $2000 Bet: $3000 Bet: $4000
A-6= 7/17 A-J = 11/21 A-8 = 9/19 4-6 = 10 6-5 = 11
Richard doesn't HAVE to take the Blackjack. He can call the Ace a 1-point card and double-down. However, taking the promised 3-to-2 is much better than chancing it for a 2-to-1.
DEALER: 7
HIT: Q = 17
STAND
BLACKJACK! STAND HIT: 7 = 17
STAND
HIT: Q = 21
AUTO STAND
Neither Chynna nor Mark seem to get the concept of double down. Shame; Chynna would've had a great chance at doubling her big bet.
DEALER: 7-10 = 17
MUST STAND
WIN WIN 3-to-2 WIN WIN WIN
BANK: $103,000 BANK: $103,000 BANK: $102,000 BANK: $103,000 BANK: $104,000

HAND 2
Richard
BANK: $103,000
Marissa
BANK: $102,000
Mark
BANK: $103,000
Chynna
BANK: $104,000
Andy
BANK: $103,000
Bet: $5000 Bet: $3000 Bet: $5000 Bet: $4000 Bet: $54000
3-JOKER= ? 7-A = 8/18 9-Q = 19 5-J = 10 7-J = 17
Marrisa's 7
3-7 = 10
New Card: A
A-A = 2/12 (SPLIT)
     
Basic strategy says you shouls ALWAYS split Aces! HOWEVER, if a 10-point card appears on split Aces, it is NOT considered a Blackjack...just a 21. PLUS, when you split Aces, you only get ONE CARD for each.
DEALER: Q
HIT: 4 = 14
HIT: Q = 24
BUST
SPLIT
$3000 apiece
STAND HIT: 7 = 22
BUST
STAND
A-A=12 (SP)
SPLIT
$3000 @
A-5=16

A-5 =16

A-9=
20

DEALER: Q-10 = 20
MUST STAND
LOSS LOSS $6000 LOSS LOSS LOSS
BANK: $98,000 BANK: $96,000 BANK: $95,000 BANK: $100,000 BANK: $95,000
Marissa lost on two of her three hands...but the third was a push. So she lost $6000 instead of $9000

HAND 3
Marissa
BANK: $96,000
Mark
BANK: $95,000
Chynna
BANK: $100,000
Andy
BANK: $95,000
Richard
BANK: $98,000
Bet: $5000 Bet: $4000 Bet: $5000 Bet: $5000 Bet: $10,000
9-5 = 14 3-10 = 13 Q-J = 20 (SPLIT) Q-J = 20 (SPLIT) Q-3 = 13
Chynna and Andy CAN split their hands (each card is of the same VALUE, though not rank)...but it's not advisable.
DEALER: A
When a dealer gets an Ace, he asks the player if they want "insurance" against a dealer Blackjack for an extra half of their original bet. If they take it and the dealer DOES have Blackjack, they get twice the insurance back. If they don't and the dealer has Blackjack, they lose. If they take it and the dealer does NOT have Blackjack, their insurance bets are lost and the hand continues.
No Insurance No Insurance No Insurance No Insurance No Insurance
Most pros no that insurance is a sucker bet in cash games. The celebs know it, too. The dealer then checks the down card for a 10-point card. If he doesn't have it, the hand continues.
DEALER: A-K = 21
BLACKJACK!
But, if the dealer DOES have Blackjack, the hand ends and EVERYBODY loses!
LOSS LOSS LOSS LOSS LOSS
BANK: $91,000 BANK: $91,000 BANK: $95,000 BANK: $90,000 BANK: $88,000

HAND 6
Andy
BANK: $83,000
Richard
BANK: $78,000
Marissa
BANK: $90,000
Mark
BANK: $79,000
Chynna
BANK: $81,000
Bet: $25,000 Bet: $20,000 Bet: $5000 Bet: $3000 Bet: $8000
5-10 = 15 10-4 = 14 10-8 = 18 JOKER-J = 10 6-A = 7/17
DEALER: 9
      Chynna's A
A-J = 11/21
New Card: 9
6-9 = 15
HIT: 3 = 18
STAND
STAND STAND BLACKJACK! HIT: 5= 20
STAND
DEALER: 9-Q = 19
MUST STAND
LOSS LOSS LOSS WIN 3-to-2 WIN
BANK: $58,000 BANK: $58,000 BANK: $85,000 BANK: $83,500 BANK: $89,000

HAND 7
Richard
BANK: $58,000
Marissa
BANK: $85,000
Mark
BANK: $83,500
Chynna
BANK: $89,000
Andy
BANK: $58,000
Bet: $25,000 Bet: $3000 Bet: $7000 Bet: $3000 Bet: $3000
6-K = 16 J-K = 20 (SPLIT) K-4 = 14 A-Q = 11/21 2-3 = 5
DEALER: 2

More basic blackjack streategy: if the dealer shows a low card (2 through 6), stand on everything 13 and over since there is a good chance the dealer may bust.

STAND STAND STAND BLACKJACK! HIT: 10 = 15
STAND
DEALER: 2-2 = 4
HIT: K = 14
HIT: 8 = 22
BUST
Dealers cannot split, cannot double-down, cannot surrender. They must hit until they get over 17, whether they go over or not.
WIN WIN WIN WIN 3-to-2 WIN
BANK: $83,000 BANK: $88,000 BANK: $90,500 BANK: $93,500 BANK: $61,000

HAND 8
Marissa
BANK: $88,000
Mark
BANK: $90,500
Chynna
BANK: $93,500
Andy
BANK: $61,000
Richard
BANK: $83,000
Bet: $5000 Bet: $5000 Bet: $10,000 Bet: $6000 Bet: $25,000
7-9 = 16 8-7 = 15 8-3 = 11 9-K = 19 8-10 = 18
Even more basic blackjack streategy: ALWAYS double-down on 11. There's a VERY good chance of getting a 10-point card to make 21.
DEALER: 10
Dealers ALSO check their down card for an Ace when a 10-point card is turned up. Again, if it's not an Ace, the hand continues as normal. Else, the Blackjack is shown and everybody loses. In this case, Dave doesn't have Blackjack, so the hand goes on.
HIT: J = 26
BUST
HIT: J = 25
BUST
DOUBLE: $20,000 STAND STAND
DEALER: 10-6 = 16
HIT: Q = 26
BUST
    DD Card: 8
Total: 19
   
LOSS LOSS WIN WIN WIN
BANK: $83,000 BANK: $85,500 BANK: $113,500 BANK: $67,000 BANK: $108,000

HAND 9
Mark
BANK: $85,500
Chynna
BANK: $113,500
Andy
BANK: $67,000
Richard
BANK: $108,000
Marissa
BANK: $83,000
Bet: $4000 Bet: $20,000 Bet: $12,000 Bet: $25,000 Bet: $5000
J-9= 19 7-A = 8/18 4-8 = 12 10-10 = 20 (SPLIT) 4-K = 14
DEALER: 9
STAND HIT: 6 = 14
HIT:
8 = 18
STAND
HIT: 8 = 20
STAND
STAND HIT: Q = 24
BUST
DEALER: 9-7 = 16
HIT: Q = 26
BUST
WIN WIN WIN WIN LOSS
BANK: $89,500 BANK: $133,500 BANK: $79,000 BANK: $133,000 BANK: $78,000
That's Chynna's fourth straight win! Of course, that's no surprise since EVERYONE is helping her!

HAND 10
Chynna
BANK: $133,500
Andy
BANK: $79,000
Richard
BANK: $133,000
Marissa
BANK: $78,000
Mark
BANK: $89,500
Bet: $25,000 Bet: $25,000 Bet: $25,000 Bet: $6000 Bet: $5000
9-J = 19 6-9 = 15 5-8 = 13 3-7 = 10 10-4 = 14
DEALER: K
STAND HIT: 8 = 23
BUST
HIT: 2= 15
HIT: 4 = 19
STAND
HIT: 3 = 13
HIT:
Q = 23
BUST
HIT: 2 = 16
STAND
DEALER: K-7 = 17
MUST STAND
WIN LOSS WIN LOSS LOSS
BANK: $158,500 BANK: $54,000 BANK: $158,000 BANK: $72,000 BANK: $84,500

Heading into the halfway point, the stakes are raised to no-limit.  The minimum bet is $5000...but there is NO maximum!

HAND 11
Andy
BANK: $54,000
Richard
BANK: $158,000
Marissa
BANK: $72,000
Mark
BANK: $84,500
Chynna
BANK: $158,500
Bet: $25,000 Bet: $50,000 Bet: $15,000 Bet: $5000 Bet: $7000
9-3 = 12 4-7 = 11 2-5 = 7 K-5 = 15 5-5 = 10 (SPLIT)
Richard doesn't HAVE to take the Blackjack. He can call the Ace a 1-point card and double-down. However, taking the promised 3-to-2 is much better than chancing it for a 2-to-1.
DEALER: 3
STAND DBLE: $100,000 HIT: 5= 12
STAND
STAND DOUBLE: $14,000
Hitting on 12, even WITH a low dealer card, is a risky proposition. Doubkling on 10 is likewise risky, though LESS so with a low dealer card.
DEALER: 3-J = 13
HIT: K = 23
BUST
WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN
BANK: $79,000 BANK: $258,000 BANK: $87,000 BANK: $89,500 BANK: $172,500

HAND 12
Richard
BANK: $258,000
Marissa
BANK: $87,000
Mark
BANK: $89,500
Chynna
BANK: $172,500
Andy
BANK: $79,000
Bet: $100,000 Bet: $20,000 Bet: $10,000 Bet: $50,000 Bet: $50,000
J-8 = 18 6-2 = 8 JOKER-2 = ?? 4-6 = 10 2-3 = 5
DEALER: 3
New Card: 6
J-6 = 16
  Richard's 8
8-2 = 10
   
STAND HIT: 6 = 13
STAND
HIT: 5 = 15
STAND
DBLE: $100,000

HIT: 2 = 7
HIT:
3 = 10
HIT: K = 20
STAND

DEALER: 3-K = 13
HIT: 9 = 22
BUST
WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN
BANK: $358,000 BANK: $107,000 BANK: $99,500 BANK: $272,500 BANK: $129,000

HAND 13
Marissa
BANK: $107,000
Mark
BANK: $99,500
Chynna
BANK: $272,500
Andy
BANK: $129,000
Richard
BANK: $358,000
Bet: $25,000 Bet: $30,000 Bet: $17,000 Bet: $112,000 Bet: $200,000
Andy, mad at Richard for him saying he'd "kick his @$$", just shoves a mess of chips in, leaving it for Dave to count them. Then, when Richard shoves $200,00 in, Andy yells, "Why do you have to one-up me?!"
A-10 = 11/21 6-K = 16 5-5 = 10 (SPLIT) A-8 = 9/19 J-8 = 18
DEALER: Q
BLACKJACK! HIT: 10 = 26
BUST
HIT: Q = 20
STAND
STAND STAND
Matt after Mark hits: "Mary Hart wouldn't have hit that..."
DEALER: Q-K = 17
MUST STAND
WIN 3-to-2 LOSS PUSH LOSS LOSS
BANK: $144,500 BANK: $69,500 BANK: $272,500 BANK: $17,000 BANK: $158,000
The bad news for Richard: he lost $200G. The GOOD news...he's STILL in second. A DISTANT second,...but second noetheless.

HAND 14
Mark
BANK: $69,500
Chynna
BANK: $272,500
Andy
BANK: $17,000
Richard
BANK: $158,000
Marissa
BANK: $144,500
Bet: $10,000 Bet: $26,000 Bet: $5000 Bet: $100,000 Bet: $20,000
4-10 = 14 J-A = 11/21 7-5 = 12 2-6 = 8 Q-Q = 20 (SPLIT)
DEALER: 2
STAND BLACKJACK! STAND HIT: 4 = 12
HIT:
8 = 20
STAND
STAND
12s are always tough. But basic strategy is to hit with such a low dealer card. Richard did...and it paid off.
DEALER: 2-A = 13
HIT: 4 = 17
MUST STAND
It doesn't matter that it's a "soft" 17 (one with an Ace); the dealer MUST stand on ALL hands 17 and over.
LOSS WIN 3-to-2 LOSS WIN WIN
BANK: $59,500 BANK: $311,500 BANK: $12,000 BANK: $258,000 BANK: $164,500
Had Richard stayed on 12, the dealer would have had 21 and EVERBODY (but Chynna) would have lost!

HAND 15
Chynna
BANK: $311,500
Andy
BANK: $12,000
Richard
BANK: $258,000
Marissa
BANK: $164,500
Mark
BANK: $59,500
Bet: $60,000 Bet: $5000 Bet: $200,000 Bet: $25,000 Bet: $5000
K-6 = 16 9-8 = 17 Q-Q = 20 (SPLIT) A-6 = 7/17 10-6 = 16
DEALER: 2
STAND STAND STAND DOUBLE: $50,000 STAND
Neither Chynna nor Mark seem to get the concept of double down. Shame; Chynna would've had a great chance at doubling her big bet.
DEALER: 2-A = 13
HIT: A = 14
HIT: 2 = 16
HIT: 2 = 18
MUST STAND
BOAT! Or...it WOULD be if this were poker.
      DD Card: 3
Total: 20
 
LOSS LOSS WIN WIN LOSS
BANK: $251,500 BANK: $7000 BANK: $458,000 BANK: $214,500 BANK: $54,500
And Richard regains the lead...and Marissa, with her successful double-down, is right behind Chynna for second place!

 

HAND 16
Andy
BANK: $7000
Richard
BANK: $458,000
Marissa
BANK: $214,500
Mark
BANK: $54,500
Chynna
BANK: $251,500
Bet: $7000 Bet: $250,000 Bet: $20,000 Bet: $5000 Bet: $30,000
4-4 = 8 (SPLIT) 9-3 = 12 4-K = 14 3-8 = 11 5-2 = 7
Andy HAD to go all-in. Had he just bet the minimum $5000 and lost, he would not have had enough to bet the minimum in the next hand and, thus, would be out anyway.
DEALER: 8
HIT: 4 = 12
HIT: 2 = 14
HIT: J = 24
BUST
HIT: J = 22
BUST
HIT: 4 = 18
STAND
DOUBLE: $10,000 HIT: 7 = 14
HIT:
6 = 20
STAND
Andy is out of the match.
DEALER: 8-2 = 10
HIT: 4= 14
HIT: J = 24
BUST
LOSS LOSS WIN WIN WIN
OUT BANK: $208,000 BANK: $234,500 BANK: $64,500 BANK: $281,500

 

HAND 17
Richard
BANK: $208,000
Marissa
BANK: $234,500
Mark
BANK: $64,500
Chynna
BANK: $281,500
Bet: $208,000 Bet: $15,000 Bet: $5000 Bet: $80,000
Now RICHARD is all-in!
8-5 = 13 3-9 = 12 9-7 = 16 7-4 = 11
DEALER: 3
STAND STAND STAND DOUBLE: $160,000
Chynna is 3-for-3 so far in double-downs. If she goes 4-for-4, she'll STILL be in the lead even if Richard DOES win.

DEALER: 3-10 = 13
HIT: 9 = 22
BUST

WIN WIN WIN WIN
BANK: $416,000 BANK: $249,500 BANK: $69,500 BANK: $441,500
Richard: "Just when I thought I was out...they pull me back in!" (A line from "Godfather Part III" by Al Pacino)
Mark: "But does that mean you're going to bet $416,000 in the next hand?!"

HAND 18
Marissa
BANK: $249,500
Mark
BANK: $69,500
Chynna
BANK: $441,500
Richard
BANK: $416,000
Bet: $40,000 Bet: $5000 Bet: $90,000 Bet: $300,000
2-8 = 10 6-6 = 12 (SPLIT) Q-J = 20 (SPLIT) Q-9 = 19
DEALER: 9
DOUBLE: $80,000 SPLIT
$5000 apiece
STAND STAND
6-9=15
HIT: 2=17
STAND
6-A=7/17
HIT: 4=21
STAND

DEALER: 9-A = 20
MUST STAND

DD Card: 5
Total: 15
     
LOSS LOSS WIN PUSH LOSS
BANK: $169,500 BANK: $69,500 BANK: $441,500 BANK: $116,0500
Now I think you see why most PRO tournaments don't HAVE no-limit rounds! Much like no-limit poker, your bank can swing so fast from big money to junk!

HAND 19
Mark
BANK: $69,500
Chynna
BANK: $441,500
Richard
BANK: $116,000
Marissa
BANK: $169,500
Bet: $69,000 Bet: $100,000 Bet: $116,000 Bet: $40,000
Both Mark and Richard are all-in! Mark can't make a minimum bet if he loses and Richard...he says he's had enough of "these people". If the dealer gets Blackjack, we'll be down to TWO PLAYERS!
J-9 = 19 Q-5 = 15 J-7 = 17 Q-7 = 17
DEALER: 10
STAND

HIT: 3 = 18
STAND

STAND STAND
If the dealer makes 17 or busts, everybody stays. 18 or 19 means Mark stays and Richard leaves. 20 or 21 means both Richard AND Mark leave!

DEALER: 10-4 = 14
HIT: 6 = 20
MUST STAND

LOSS LOSS LOSS LOSS
OUT BANK: $341,500 OUT BANK: $129,500
And, just like that, we're down to two!

HAND 20
Chynna
BANK: $341,500
Marissa
BANK: $129,500
Bet: $119,000 Bet: $5000
While Marissa ponders, Andy and Mark (Richard had left the set) gives her seperate advice; Andy says "all-in" while Mark says to bet the minimum. Talk about your "unmarried marriage counselors".
K-7 = 17 7-8 = 15
DEALER: 2
STAND STAND

DEALER: 2-J = 12
HIT: 6 = 16
MUST STAND

LOSS LOSS
BANK: $222,500 BANK: $124,500

It all comes down to this one hand.  The winner gets $25,000 for her charity and a spot in the $100,000 Final Table.  The others (including those eliminated) get $10,000 for their respective charities.  For the final hand, Chynna and Marissa make blind bets, so neither knows what the other has bet until its revealed! And, remember, there's STILL a joker out there!

FINAL HAND!
Marissa
BANK: $124,500
Chynna
BANK: $222,500
Bet: $124,000 Bet: $153,000
If Marissa wins and Chynna losses, Marissa will win big time. Otherwise, Chynna wins. Chynna starts chanting "Tribe of Heart", the name of her charity.
8-Q = 18 10-Q = 20
DEALER: 5
That's it. And Marissa knows it. Even if Marissa beats the dealer, so will Chynna. The only thing Marissa can do is hit...and PRAY for a 3...
HIT: J = 26
BUST
WINNER!

Chynna: "Did...did I just win?"
Marissa: "You WON!"

(Chynna screams!)

So Tribe of Heart gets $25,000 thanks to Chynna Phillips...even if she had zero-point-nada idea how she DID it!  Chynna also goes to the Final Table and a shot at $100,000 more!