Monday, August 22, 2011

Blackjack Does Not Work That Way

When a politician is called out on something they said, and they stand by it, they are often said to be "doubling down".

This is fine.

Until they continue to stand by the original statement, and are said to be "doubling down" a second time. Or a third time. Or whatever. You'd be amazed how many times someone can double down in a given debate...

Since he took office, [Barack] Obama's strategy has been to double down on the nation's failed financial elite, from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to AIG to Bank of America.

This cannot stand any longer. Clearly, we need to review the rules of blackjack.

After you are given your first two cards of a hand- but only at that point- you are given the option to double down. When you double down, you double your bet, are given one more card, and then you are forced to stand on whatever you are given at that point. The dealer then shows his or her card, and the hand is over.

Let us review:

When you double down, you get ONE MORE CARD AND THEN THE HAND IS OVER. You do not get to double down twice. The hand is over. Stop betting. The rest of the blackjack table hates you.

This is also wrong:

[Rick] Perry, for his part, initially didn’t double down on the [Ben] Bernanke comments, but he was unapologetic this weekend after being asked about his comments reportedly making members of Congress nervous.

As we have already established, you may only double down immediately upon getting your first two cards. You can't draw extra cards and then double down. So if Rick Perry didn't initially double down, he could not have doubled down at all.

This is a correct usage:

The plaintiffs had argued that the deadline had not passed because the DOT had promised them this was a pilot project, but the DOT has emphatically denied ever saying that the PPW bike lane was a trial, and Judge Bunyan saw no credible evidence to the contrary. Jim Walden, the attorney for Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes and Seniors for Safety, has said his clients are reviewing their options. But these are people—especially those who live in fancy homes on Prospect Park West—are used to getting their way, and it wouldn't be surprising to see them double down and take this all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court is a definitive end to the bike lane debate alluded to here. They are the highest, and last, court that can be asked to rule on an issue. In metaphor terms, they are the one additional card before the hand absolutely ends. Well done, Gothamist!

A much more appropriate blackjack term, when there is the possibility of additional chapters to a story, would be the simple hit: drawing another card. It can be done repeatedly without necessarily ending the hand or providing an immediate win, loss or push. So, remember, fellow writers: unless there is a definite end to the process soon after doubling down, "Hit Me" before I hit you.

This has been a message from Concerned Citizens For Proper Gambling Metaphors.

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