thecesspit
thecesspit
Joined: Apr 19, 2010
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June 18th, 2012 at 9:30:30 AM permalink
http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/466/blackjack - they are covering various aspects of Blackjack, counting and the like. There's errors in the stories (or short cuts, if you like) but interesting stuff.
"Then you can admire the real gambler, who has neither eaten, slept, thought nor lived, he has so smarted under the scourge of his martingale, so suffered on the rack of his desire for a coup at trente-et-quarante" - Honore de Balzac, 1829
CrystalMath
CrystalMath
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June 18th, 2012 at 9:48:22 AM permalink
I listened to that show last week and it was very good.
I heart Crystal Math.
GameBoy
GameBoy
Joined: May 26, 2012
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June 19th, 2012 at 6:13:39 AM permalink
Thanks for the post.
thecesspit
thecesspit
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June 19th, 2012 at 10:00:56 AM permalink
Finished the second half of the show on way into work. Very good piece about a lady who lost around a Million playing blackjack at various Harrah's/Cesars casinos, and unsuccessfully sued them for facilitating her problem gambling.

The last part of it was the most interesting :

1) Research shows that in pathological gamblers, near-misses register in the brain almost the same as wins. This creates feedback of "winning" even when they are losing. Non-pathological gamblers don't show this same reaction.

2) The judgements made in the case say there is nothing -illegal- (maybe immoral, and unethical, but not illegal) in a casino targetting and enticing known problem gamblers to play more.
"Then you can admire the real gambler, who has neither eaten, slept, thought nor lived, he has so smarted under the scourge of his martingale, so suffered on the rack of his desire for a coup at trente-et-quarante" - Honore de Balzac, 1829
bigfoot66
bigfoot66
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June 19th, 2012 at 10:43:59 AM permalink
It seems really silly to expect a casino to be responsible for stopping problem gamblers.

Should McDonalds be responsible for determining who is obese and not feed them?

Should drug dealers be relied on to seperate the recreational stoner from the degenerates and not serve the latter?

How about mechanics ought to determine who is a dangerous driver and not fix their cars (ok this one is a stretch) ?

The burden does not fall on these institutions, and that is a GOOD thing. Economics teaches us that people usually do that which is in their own best interest, and it is almost unfair to rely on them to police their patrons.
Vote for Nobody 2016!
thecesspit
thecesspit
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June 19th, 2012 at 11:43:59 AM permalink
Quote: bigfoot66

Economics teaches us that people usually do that which is in their own best interest, and it is almost unfair to rely on them to police their patrons.



I'd say economics (especially free market economics) is predicated on the axiom that people tend to act in their own best interest. I'm not sure that is actually true. People may act in what they -think- is their own best interests, in the short term.

Not that I disagree with the idea that it's not the casino's responsibility. I just found it interesting as a flip-side to the argument about card-counting being "wrong".
"Then you can admire the real gambler, who has neither eaten, slept, thought nor lived, he has so smarted under the scourge of his martingale, so suffered on the rack of his desire for a coup at trente-et-quarante" - Honore de Balzac, 1829
Tiltpoul
Tiltpoul
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June 19th, 2012 at 1:40:16 PM permalink
Quote: bigfoot66

Should drug dealers be relied on to seperate the recreational stoner from the degenerates and not serve the latter?



While I agree with your argument in general, this particular point is very different, as drug dealing and usage is illegal. Casino gambling, McDonalds and Car mechanics are NOT illegal.

Perhaps a better example would be a liquor store refusing to sell booze to a known alcoholic.
"One out of every four people are [morons]"- Kyle, South Park
reno
reno
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June 19th, 2012 at 4:22:52 PM permalink
The radio program mentioned how alcohol helped fuel Ken Watanabe's $200 million losing streak. But I wish the program had acknowledged that while Caesars was catering to him, Steve Wynn had personally barred Watanabe from his properties because he wasn't comfortable exploiting a gambler with such a serious drinking problem. I'm not suggesting that Caesars did anything illegal, but I'm impressed with Wynn's integrity in that case. Wynn missed out on a lot of revenue by doing the right thing.
CounterRotating
CounterRotating
Joined: Jul 12, 2013
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July 12th, 2013 at 4:36:18 PM permalink
This program 466 (- or an edited version of it ? ) aired again July 5th ... just heard it.

It got me interested in counting, but I am a real N00B. After reading up enough to understand that counting is doable with the right amount of practice, patience, and temperament, I was then discouraged to learn about CSM.

I asked the Internet :)) " do all casino tables use CSM? " and also " are there any casinos where dealers still hand shuffle? "

This led me here - very cool website (I love math too :).

So this thread, at least as of a year ago, mentions that there are places where Counting would still be possible, "until they politely ask you to leave". - LOL

There is a nice survey here showing casinos B.J. ranked by number of decks, betting min's / max, etc. (Sorry, I misplaced that link at the moment). It would be very nice to add a column that says number of tables not using ASM, or CSM - or, simply a yes/no as in "does casino offer hand shuffled decks" .

I guess the real question for me at least is: "considering all the 'counting counter-measures' now is it really worth it to learn and really try counting to eck out odds improvements ? "


thanks !

- CR
FleaStiff
FleaStiff
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July 12th, 2013 at 4:48:15 PM permalink
You have to learn counting.
You supposedly have to learn how to blend in with non-counters.
AND you still have to play black jack and win against the house.

Depending upon various parameters some of which are temporary, the player who is a solid card counter can, at most, achieve about a one percent edge over the house. This still requires a fairly large bankroll and lots of practice and even then will often result in a tap on the shoulder and a very polite "play anything you want here, but not blackjack".

Even if you maintain a one percent edge and there is no "tap" ... Lady Luck can still frown upon you and give you a bath.

If you find the notion of card counting to be entertaining, then fine: explore it further. If you plan on it for income, you might want to see how the famed MIT team lost 75 grand their first time out.

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