This is the second of my fictional name stories that I’ve written. As always, any resemblance to any actual people is purely coincidental. The stories for the next two weeks will have a “Blackjack” theme, with each story being set a generation apart.
It was the summer of 1982, and [name]Barbara[/name] [name]Morris[/name] is expecting a baby early the next year. If the baby is a girl, she wants to name her a name she’s liked for years (as with many other moms of the time): [name]Jennifer[/name]. Her husband and the baby’s father-to-be, [name]Donald[/name], prefers the more “traditional” [name]Nancy[/name] (for some reason in general men liked this name more during that era than women). Regardless, her middle name would be [name]Elizabeth[/name] after family members on both sides. After months of debating, they decided on Thanksgiving weekend that year to have a visiting family member act as the dealer and the couple would play a Blackjack tournament against each other. Six decks of cards were shuffled together and put in a card shoe, and a cut card was put with about one deck left to play after it. An even number of rounds would be played (so that each player would go first an equal number of times) and after the cut card was reached there would be two more rounds; if one parent were to wipe out before the tournament was done, he/she would automatically lose. [name]Both[/name] parents started with 1,000 points in chips and could bet anywhere between 5 and 200 points in 1-point increments with each round of play. To start out the tournament, the first card would be exposed (and not used in play): A red card would mean the mom goes first; a black one, the dad. Out came a diamond card, so she would go first (and thus go last whenever the final round is).
At the time of the final round, Dad had 860 points, Mom had 950. Dad, betting first, puts up the maximum bet of 200 points; them Mom does the same. Dad got dealt a hard 10, Mom got a pair of sixes, and the dealer got a three up. Dad knew that he should double down on that hand, but knowing that Mom had a pair that she’d rather split than double (since you can’t split for less) he decided to double for less (put up only an additional 100 points). This was a good move for Dad, since he got a five and was now stuck with a hand that would win only if the dealer busts. Mom now had a dilemma; whether to hit or stand and win only if Dad loses, to split and win only if she wins both hands, or double for only 100 like Dad did and hope that she doesn’t get a 10-value card and the dealer than bust. Since the last option appeared to have the best odds, she then doubles and guess what…out came a [name]Jack[/name]. Then the dealer flipped over the hole card which was a nine, then drew a [name]King[/name] and busted. Dad won thanks to his clever strategy, and the baby if a girl will be [name]Nancy[/name] [name]Elizabeth[/name] [name]Morris[/name]. [name]Nancy[/name] ended up being born on February 11, 1983.
In the late 1990s when [name]Nancy[/name] was a teenager, when asked about her name she had this to say: “I’m glad my dad won that tournament. Although [name]Nancy[/name] is dated-sounding for someone my age, I’d much rather be the only (or one of a very few) Nancys than one of many Jennifers. [name]Even[/name] when figuring in the older women named [name]Nancy[/name], it is still less common than [name]Jennifer[/name] (so much for thinking that Dad’s choice was more “traditional”).” Once [name]Nancy[/name] was of age she decided to go visit a casino and play some real Blackjack, and whenever she sees someone double down on a hard 12 (a fairly common bad play) she remembers her naming story (especially if they draw a 10-value card and break the hand).