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Song Parodies -> "The Blackjack Will Die"

Original Song Title:

"American Pie"

Original Performer:

Don McLean

Parody Song Title:

"The Blackjack Will Die"

Parody Written by:


The Lyrics

Sorry this is so long, but I’m providing a lot of background info for this one on top, Blackjack game terms are explained in the bottom comments. Plus you have all week to read it, because by the time this is posted I’ll be in Las Vegas, hopefully with more money than I got there with. I won’t be posting much else this week, if anything at all, so take your time. If you’re already familiar with the game of Blackjack, you probably can skip the top comments

This parody tells a little about how the game of Blackjack, or "21", has changed over the years and how it might end up if things continue. Not many people played Blackjack in the early days because it was very hard to win. Then in the late 50s some geeky math guys came up with the optimum way to play any hand dependent on your hand total and the dealer’s face-up card. This is called Basic Strategy and gets the house advantage over the player down to one half of one percent.

Then in the early 60s a card counting system was developed by professor Edward O. Thorp, published in his book “Beat the Dealer” in 1962. Card counting systems have been developed and perfected over the years by many others. Now it was possible for the player to have a 1-2% advantage over the house. So what did the casinos do? Changed the rules, of course. They started adding more decks of cards, shuffling more often, limiting when and if a player could split or double their hand, dealer hitting on soft 17s, not allowing player surrender, etc. Then the real kicker was when they started paying only 6:5 odds on a natural 21, an Ace plus a 10, J, Q, or K, called a Blackjack. The normal payout is 3:2 odds and on a bet you would win . Now you’ll only win on that same bet with a Blackjack. While this doesn’t seem like much, over the long run it adds almost 1.5% advantage back to the casino. It virtually makes the game unbeatable, even for an experienced card counter. To many, this signals the beginning of the end for Blackjack, at least if it becomes the norm, which it hasn’t just yet.

And lastly, casinos in Vegas can bar anyone from playing Blackjack in their casino for any reason, but usually because they suspect you are counting cards. Mind you, counting cards is not illegal, as long as you’re not using any external or electronic device to aid you. It’s simply using the abilities of your brain and your skill to give yourself a chance to win. So the casino is barring you, not because you’re doing anything wrong, but because you’re just too good and you might win some of their money. They don’t mind taking money from unskilled players, now do they?

They are killing the game of Blackjack, the game is already unplayable in many casinos. I have a list of the current Blackjack rules for every casino in Las Vegas right now and have identified only five places where I think I have a chance to win. Some others are playable, but the table minimum is too high for most to afford, including me. So that’s a little history of Blackjack in America. Do your homework if you ever decide to play this game or you will be taken to the cleaners by the casiners. And enjoy the parody, hope it’s a winner for you.
The Blackjack Will Die

It’s not that long ago
I can still remember
Playing Blackjack always made me smile
And I knew if I had a chance
That I could make those face cards dance
And maybe I'd be winning for awhile
But the word that day caused a shiver, from Vegas to the cold East River
Bad news through the grapevine; It didn’t sound all that fine
I know my spirits took a dive, when I heard about the six to five
Emotions that would not subside, the day that Blackjack died

So bye, bye now the Blackjack will die
You can’t survive on six to five, it will eat you alive
I can’t believe what greedy morons contrived
They sang: This’ll be the day that we thrive
This’ll be the day that we thrive

Do you play with no regret
And do you lay down your biggest bet
If the true count tells you so *1
Now do you believe in ace control
Can counting save your trip bankroll
And can you teach me how to win real dough

Well, I know that you've been gam-bl-in’
'Cause I saw you at the Desert Inn
You played that six to five
Man you know you can’t sur-vive
Now you will only be a sittin’ duck
For the corporations with the rules that suck
And I knew we were out of luck, the day that Blackjack died

I started singing:
My, my how the Blackjack will die
Tried to manage my advantage but advantage went dry
It’s just too hard to get a piece of the pie
Singing: This whole plan has just gone awry
This whole plan has just gone awry

Now, for ten years we've been in the zone
And all through that time our cash has grown
But that's not how it’s gonna be
When a player splits on a king and queen
Then he draws two aces in between
It can mean more grief for you and me

Oh and while the hand was doubled down
The pit boss looked on with a frown *2
That session was adjourned
The player’s game was burned *3
And while Griffin made a book on mugs *4
The players practiced finding slugs *5
And we were treated like we’re thugs, the day that Blackjack died

We were singing:
Bye, bye now the Blackjack game dies
Dirty bastards I can’t play cards and no good reasons why
When you’re counting, know they’ll be calling the eye *6
Singing: Now they treat me like I’m a spy
Now they treat me like I’m a spy

Helter skelter in a Vegas swelter
Come hit it big in our summer shelter
Thousands won and rising fast
The players flocked there en masse
They couldn’t win for to save their ass
With the profits of casinos unsurpassed

But some players still could get ahead
If they would bet a bigger spread *7
We all began to play
Oh, but we never got to stay
‘Cause the pit boss gave the old heave-ho
The players could not win their dough
Do you recall we felt so low, the day that Blackjack died

We started singing:
Aye, aye time for Blackjack’s demise
Had a big loss ‘cause the pit boss thought he be Cap’n Bligh
We soothed our souls by drinking whiskey and rye
Singing: Pit boss be a stinkin’ fish pie
Pit boss be a stinkin’ fish pie

Oh, and then we tried in one last place
The games were all a sad disgrace
With no chance left for us to win
So, come on; boss be simple, boss be prick
Boss thinks bringing the heat is slick *8
'Cause, fire is the devil's only friend

Oh, and as I watched him at the cage *9
My hands were clenched in fists of rage
The truth I’m here to tell
Pit boss was straight from Hell
And as they barred the players left and right
To keep their profit margins tight
I knew nothing then would be alright
The day that Blackjack died

I was singing:
Why, why should the Blackjack game die
Lost my money lost my honey, kissing all of them bye
Them good old pros can’t beat the game but still try
Singing: This’ll be the day that it dies
This’ll be the day that it dies

I met a girl who served me booze
And I asked her for some gratis brews
But she just frowned and made me pay
I went down to my fav’rite store *10
Where I'd played some Blackjack weeks before
But the games there were so bad I couldn't play

And in the streets, the players screamed
The old pros cried, and the gamblers dreamed
But no one there was speaking
The Blackjack games were reeking
And the three men who did it best
Wong, Uston, Thorp, and all the rest *11
We now must pass a bigger test
The day that Blackjack died

And we were singing:
Why, why does Blackjack have to die
Was a good game but it’s not same, so we’ll have to say bye
Then we flipped bird up to the eye in the sky
Singing: Fix your games we might give a try
Fix ‘em and we might give a try

We were singing:
My, my hope that Blackjack survives
Love to play it but they slayed it, now we spit in their eye
With all that said, we could be back next July
Singing: We just might be back next July

Security code: W8X=...Win...8...Times!! =-O If I win 8X my investment this week I'll be back way before next July!!! ;-D

1. true count- The ratio of high cards vs. low cards in the remaining decks. When the true count is plus (more high cards left) you make a much larger bet. This is your “bet spread” see #7.

2. pit boss- Oversees the table games in his area, or pit. One responsibility he usually has is identifying card counters at Blackjack tables.

3. burned- When a Blackjack player is barred from a casino, his game is said to be “burned”

4. Griffin made a book on mugs- Griffin Detective Agency, now defunct, began compiling photos of card counters in a mug book and distributed them to casinos.

5. slugs- Groups of high value cards clumped together, sometimes their position can be tracked through the shuffle and benefitted from later in the deck.

6. eye, or eye in the sky- Hidden cameras in the ceiling monitor everything at the tables. A pit boss can call security upstairs and have any individual player monitored if he sees something suspicious.

7. spread- The difference between your smallest and largest bet. Too big of a bet spread is often the tipoff that you’re counting cards. Often brings heat, see #8.

8. heat- A pit boss, floorman or even the casino manager will stare down or stand behind a player’s shoulder if they suspect the player is counting cards. This tactic will often make a player uncomfortable and they’ll leave. If they don’t leave they will soon be barred from playing.

9. cage- The casino cashiers area where all the chips and cash are kept, often has bars and/or bullet-proof glass.

10. store- A slang word professional gamblers use for casino.

11. Wong, Uston, Thorp- All famous names and pioneers in the modern history of Blackjack. Many others have come after them and continue to discover new ways to get an edge and beat the game.

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Pacing: 5.0
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Overall Rating: 5.0

Total Votes: 14

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User Comments

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AFW - August 03, 2009 - Report this comment
Great job...are you a professional gambler? you're gaming knowledge...even if some was researched, is very impressive...and your parody ability is equally you surmise, perhaps the game of Blackjack will wither into dust..but if this parody is any indication, (and it is,) the parodist, Blackjack will suffer no early demise at this site, or anywhere else he may submit...great story, too
Andria - August 03, 2009 - Report this comment
Great job here, although many of the terms were way over my head even with your explanations. I liked it just the same. 5s to you.
Patrick - August 03, 2009 - Report this comment
They didn't build those fancy hotels and casinos from paying out jackpots. Nothing bores me more than card games. But, a brilliant, well written parody, and one that comes from your personal experience and feelings.
Mark Scotti - August 03, 2009 - Report this comment
a gambler's epic that I "bet" you put your heart & soul into! High marks, and especially high fives!!
Andy Primus - August 03, 2009 - Report this comment
Great work on this. Didn't know any of the numbered terms until I read the notes - a card shark would already know them all but unfortunately I'm more like a card minnow
Old Man Ribber - August 03, 2009 - Report this comment
An epic parody and a valuable history lesson as well. Thanks and I'll double down. ;D
Guy - August 03, 2009 - Report this comment
Blackjack - High fives and kudos just for varying the choruses on this parody. It is a challenge for most just to write a decent parody on this OS but the real challenge is in what you did - vary the chorus. My early writes on this OS did not vary chorus but my later ones do. Varying the choruses on this OS is more rare than pulling a 5 card "Charlie" . I mused at your brilliant lyrics. I did notice that you used a few OS lines in the parody but it is written so well that it doesn't matter.

To re-coin two phrases this parody is not as "easy as cake" and it is not a "piece of pie".

I grew up in an Italian neighborhood and cards were just part of the culture. I swear every Italian has a gambling gene in their DNA. I get this parody to the max. I've never been to Vegas but I have been to Tahoe and Reno - I avoided the BJ tables. But the game that has the worst odds has got to be roulette. My dad was an avid card player - he played regularly at the local American Legion - they liked to play a game called Okinawa - interesting game - ever heard of it?

Trivia question - what card game melds points for possessing in your hand the jack of diamonds and the queen of spades?

BJ's hand - 5♥ 5♠ 5♥

Dealers hand - Q♦ J♠ 2♥
Rain Man - August 03, 2009 - Report this comment
DK they'd changed the Blackjack payout. As prev mentioned, they don't like winners..... sux. Masterful job here, and reiterate the apology for my pea-brained friend's underestimation of your knowledge -- but he didn't need the intro or footnotes either, so it's a draw :) 555 and 222, not that the song deserves Twos, but it gets you both 21 and Five&Under.
Timmy1000 - August 03, 2009 - Report this comment
Interesting info and great write on a subject you know well. I'll hold at 15, two fives up and one down and hope the dealer busts.
alvin - August 03, 2009 - Report this comment
a better parody about blackjack could not possibly be written
Red Ant - August 04, 2009 - Report this comment
Excellent AmPie parody about blackjack. I hadn't heard of the 6:5 payout either - bummer. Great work, but one question: why would anyone ever split face cards?
Guy - August 04, 2009 - Report this comment
@Ant - Maybe they're two faced? Just like many of our politicians, I find that there is only one thing I don't like about them - there face. =;-) Splitting face cards, especially if you are counting and maybe you know there is a slug in the midst can double your winnings. It's a gamble but if it pays off it could be worth your while. That's my take on it. It's that gambling gene that all Italians seem to have inherited.
Rain Man to Red Ant - August 04, 2009 - Report this comment
To extend Guy's answer: Because they know the deck is rich in ten-cards, especially near the end of the deck, and they're very likely to draw two more of them. And especially if the dealer shows a bust card like a five or six, in which case you stand on whatever you draw. If you draw the low one, it makes it even more likely the dealer will bust.

General comment: The only time I was ever tempted to play in a casino was on a cruise ship. I saw the dealer draw to a 17, which I thought wasn't allowed, and .. wow! ... hit a Four! Amazing coincidence... and the last time I was ever tempted to play against a casino.
blackjack21 - August 08, 2009 - Report this comment

Thanks for all the comments everyone. Whew, what a week!!! While I didn't make 8x on my investment, I am planning to go back next spring. Blackjack is alive and well in Vegas, IF you know where to play. Had a great, great time, but sure missed reading all the parodies every day. Got a lot of catching up to do.

AFW: Not a pro, just a wannabe. :-) I'm not averse to the risks, but I don't possess the bankroll required to make a go of it. Didn't have to do much research for it, but I do have one correction: I learned this week that the Griffin Detective Agency mentioned in #4 filed for bankruptcy, but are still operating in some casinos in Vegas and other parts of the country. So card counters beware!

Andria, Patrick & Mark: Thank you, thank you, thank you. You all get dealt 21s. :-)
blackjack21 - August 08, 2009 - Report this comment

Looks like I misplayed that first hand, er comment. Didn't get it all in. :D

Andy Primus: LOL, card minnow. They call the big bettors "whales" in Vegas. :-)

Old Man Ribber: Dealt you a 10 on your double down, nice play. Don't forget to tip the dealer. ;-)

Guy: Thanks for the winning hand. I didn't vary the chorus initially, but it didn't "pop" untill I did. I do tend to retain some OS lines if I think they're a perfect fit, is that a definite no-no for parody purists? Don't know Okinawa, but I'm gonna check it out. Roullette? Yeah, just kiss your money goodbye. ;-)

Rain Man: Would never have the guts to draw to a hard 17, let alone 19, but thanks for the winner. ;-)

Timmy & alvin: Thanks, glad this parody wasn't a bust for you.

Red Ant: Good explanations from Guy and Rain Man. There are certain situations for card counters where the deck has turned so favorable for the player that the best move is to split tens against certain dealer hands. I don't personally do it because I feel that it draws too much attention from the pit and they'll make you as a card counter. The only people who split tens are either counters or extremely bad players.

Rain Man: Most blackjack games now require the dealer to hit on a soft 17, which is a total of 17 where an ace is counted as 11. As you saw firsthand, this benefits the house and not the player. This was one of the rules that was changed after card counting was discovered. I found a few games that were dealer stands on all 17s, but the table minimums are generally higher for those games.

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