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(warning - highly opinionated and long) Cafe Blackjack...

Postby Mercer Boy » Fri Oct 22, 2004 10:54 am

has quickly become a game called "Kicker Blackjack." :-t

There's nothing wrong with that since the rules allow it. Yes, it is virtually impossible to get 21 without a kicker, but people are fielding entire teams of kickers since most score about 7 points a game. But, I feel this isn't a very trying test of a person's ability to get close to the number of 21 with the huge amount of skill players to choose from.

Almost 38% of the members fielding Blackjack teams last week had teams entirely made up of kickers - and so far this week almost 50% have two or three kickers making up their team. As I said before, it's playing by the rules, but (and I'm hoping not to hurt any feelings here) to me that's "wimping out."

The original idea and game set forth by MCG321 said that a team would consist of no more or less than four players - a RB, a WR, a K, and a "wild card" player. I would assume that this meant not "scrub" players either...meaning the people on your team would be "fantasy football usable" players. That means you would have to choose your players wisely as to have some that you think would score points and others that you don't think would score.

Heck, you could still essentially field an "all kicker" team by picking two skill players (and not second stringers) you thought wouldn't score and two kickers who you thought would do well. But, at least the chance was there that you could be wrong and bust. The way things are set up now, you could play two kickers that you know will get at least 8 points (Akers and someone else) and almost be guaranteed 16 - 20 points every time. You take away much of the possibility (and the chance of the game) of busting by not picking any RB's or WR's.

Before someone asks, I understand determining the limits of a "scrub" player would be somewhat difficult as well. I don't know if you've ever played "Three Card Poker" at a casino, but in that game you can't win extra money if the dealer doesn't have a "qualified" hand. I think a RB who gets 10 carries/game and a WR who gets 3 catches/game wouldn't be a "scrub" player for the most part. As long as the player you picked got to those numbers, the player would "qualify" and therefore your blackjack "hand" would be scored. If both the RB and WR on your team don't "qualify," your hand would not be scored. That would eliminate people picking two backups that would never play in the game, and it would at least create the chance of a player busting by trying to pick only kickers.

I'm not writing this because I'm mad that I'm not winning; I'm doing as good as I would expect to do. But, I'm trying to at least field a team with one RB and one WR and one or two K's every week. This at least shows that I'm thinking about which players I think will score a TD and what kicker(s) could get the nine additional points I need for a blackjack. Granted, it still might not be living by the original rules, but at least it's more challenging than picking 2 or 3 kickers and bringing in 15 points every week...

So, what does this "rant" boil down to? I'd like to see the rules switched up for Cafe Blackjack next year. I think it's just too easy for people to "copycat" players when they know they can pick two kickers and score well. By forcing players to pick RB's and WR's (and again I reiterate, not scrubs), the game becomes a lot more entertaining and thought provoking because you have to determine who you think may or may not score TD's that week.

End of rant. :-° I'm expecting a major hammer to fall down on me, so please leave your comments/rage/whatever here. I hope what I said didn't totally offend anyone, and I'll still play the game either way because it is fun and something to think about every week. I just wanted to give another perspective on how the game is shaking out in its inaugural season.
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Postby Flux » Fri Oct 22, 2004 11:57 am

I have to say, I agree w/ Mercer.

Granted this is the inagural season of Blackjack and nobody was really sure how it would go, but I think it has gone a little mindless.

I do think part of the problem is that scoring is a big pain in the butt b/c it has to be done manually, and if there really were 4 or 5 players to find the scores on, it would become that much more time consuming.



I have always only used 1 kicker, and this is the first week Im not using 4 total players. I think it would be a lot more fun if it werent just a kickerathon.



As for the 'scrub' issue, I think any player who basically starts should be included. Sometimes a player may get injured or a WR just doesnt get the looks for the week. But if they are listed as a starter that may be a good enough requirement
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Postby MeShawn » Fri Oct 22, 2004 4:18 pm

Agreed, the game would be much better if you were required to pick a RB, WR, K, and Wildcard. Picking 3 kickers (which is what I'm doing) and hoping for 21 is just a crapshoot. Much more luck than strategy. I'd also like to see the rules changed for next year
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Postby CC » Fri Oct 22, 2004 4:24 pm

Every week I've picked a kicker with a good matchup, a stud RB or WR, and then two players that might score (Givens, Jimmy Smith, Leonard Henry etc.) I think picking all kickers defeats the purpose of the game.
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Postby portisfan24 » Fri Oct 22, 2004 6:19 pm

Im also with mercer. I think blackjack is a great game, but most of the skill is taken away when you pick 3 kickers and hope for the best. Last week was my first bust. This week I believe I took 2 kickers along with vick. I wish there were set guidelines, and hopefully next year there will be. either way, thanks to mcg for doing a stand up job with it.
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Postby Rico The Retard » Fri Oct 22, 2004 7:03 pm

I would think a rule like only one kicker would be pretty good, but i dont think the rules should change this season since we are already almost at midseason. But this would be a good rule to apply to next year.
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Postby houstonherdfan » Fri Oct 22, 2004 11:27 pm

I agree. Even though I picked nothing but kickers the first game. The rules allowed it so thats what I tried. First year of any new game usually needs tweeking for the second year to make things interesting.
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Postby menyak » Sun Nov 14, 2004 9:13 pm

Ok, the easy stuff first:
#1 Thanks to MCG for running the game. ;-D
#2 Thanks to Mercer for initiating the discussion. ;-D

I guess we all agree that the game still has room to improve. After all, it's the inaugural season, and even Pick3 wasn't pefect off the shelf.

Mercer wrote:Almost 38% of the members fielding Blackjack teams last week had teams entirely made up of kickers - and so far this week almost 50% have two or three kickers making up their team.

Interesting. While I didn't take notice of this thread, I did think about possible improvements around the same time as Mercer did and came up with the following numbers: by the end of October, around 50% of those leading the overall scoreboard hat developed a kickers-only strategy. But only 3/18 (that's less than 17%!) of the Blackjacks scored were scored by teams with kickers only. - Interesting, isn't it?

Here's the conclusion: the game's main flaw is in the way the overall table is calculated. Picking just kickers is a safe way to play, and that kind of play is rewarded. With the current system, as long as you don't bust or miss a week and steadily gather points, you have a good chance of ending up high in the overall table.

Improvements planned for next year include a higher bonus for Blackjack, plus a special system of bye weeks that enables people to go directly for those big points because busting will be less disastrous (unless you do it every time). 15 points a week will not be good enough with that system.

Not sure yet if we should put restrictions on player positions, because the new rules may already twist the game in a way that it's not necessary.

One thing we defintely can't do is disallowing scrubs. Next year the game will be semi-automatic, with the main objective to save MCG as much work as possible. Looking up who scored what will still be required, but having to determine which players are eligible and which are not definitely won't be part of it.

If we really want to avoid a kickerathon and the new rules we have in mind don't help, the easiest way would be to simply allow only one kicker per team, period. WRs aren't a problem, so why not allow a dozen of them if someone wants to. That however would be a *relatively* minor change, so we could still keep it up our sleeves and throw it in during the season without distorting the game. Again, nothing definite yet, just thinking out aloud.

P.S. Seems like I got 23 points today from just 2 kickers. All-kicker teams suck, believe me. ;-)
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Postby Mercer Boy » Sun Nov 14, 2004 9:31 pm

Heh, I had my first bust today because Muhammed randomly got 3 TD's. The numbers weren't supposed to be with that.

I like the one kicker per team rule, personally. You only need one to get a blackjack, so it will still require you to pick skill players who get the correct number of TD's (normally 2 total, but it could be 3) and have a kicker that can get you the other 9 (or 3) points.
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Postby CC » Sun Nov 14, 2004 9:56 pm

I got 19 today thanks to DD and Vanderjagt, my strategy has worked pretty well so far as I am in the triple digits which I think is pretty solid.
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