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Greasyjohn
Greasyjohn
Joined: Dec 8, 2013
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May 7th, 2014 at 3:14:46 AM permalink
Quote: AxiomOfChoice

Yeah, that's how I know who he is, too. That book is a classic.



The Casino Gambler's Guide--another stunningly good book, written about the same time... the stories about playing biased wheels in Reno are wonderful.
Greasyjohn
Greasyjohn
Joined: Dec 8, 2013
  • Threads: 134
  • Posts: 2172
March 20th, 2015 at 8:31:25 PM permalink
Quote: Greasyjohn

Many years ago, in a certain city, I went to see a movie. Nearby there was a newspaper/magazine stand and I was browsing before the show. I came across a small paperback booklet entitled “Smart Casino Play” by Edwin Silberstang. That booklet is what encouraged me to gamble smarter. Prop bets at craps, the Big Wheel, Keno, Roulette–they all lost their appeal. But it’s the section on blackjack that really interested me. At the time, I didn’t know much about the game, but I had always had a desire to understand and play the game well.

I lived in a condo at the time, and I sat out by the pool and read the section on blackjack basic strategy and started to memorize it. I had no idea why many of the plays were called for. Soft doubling was a mystery to me. But I endured. After studying basic strategy I remember going to Vegas and holding my own at a $5 game at the Union Plaza. $5 a hand was pretty heady stuff back then when a $3 bet at craps was generally my largest wager. I had arrived. It felt good, sitting there, knowing the right play for any two cards vs the dealer up-card. Admittedly, I didn’t yet know the differences in basic strategy for a SD game vs a shoe, or DAS vs NDAS. That would come later.

A couple of years after that I was in Vegas to meet my cousin and her husband. I was playing Keno in the coffee shop at the Hilton (Keno hadn’t totally lost its appeal yet. For just one dollar you get a lot of action). Well, I can’t remember exactly but I got like 7 out of 9 or something like that and I won $500. The Keno girl bought my winnings which included four hundreds and five twenties. I held out one of the twenties and asked if she had change. She gave me two tens. I held out one of the tens and asked her if she had change and she gave me two fives. I tipped her $5.

On my next trip to Vegas I remember watching the Lido show and being up about $575 playing blackjack. That was a good feeling. Back then, the Stardust had a promo which included a room for two nights, a ticket to the Lido show, and a food comp–all at a discounted price (this was a few years before I got my first comped room). I stayed in one of their motel-style walk-up rooms. Years later they tore down all those rooms and the area became one big parking lot.

Then I bought what turned out to be my favorite book on blackjack, The World’s Greatest Blackjack Book. I learned Hi-Opt I with an ace side count. I’ve since read perhaps 30 books on blackjack.

Then one day, I was playing at the Four Queen. Back then the Four Queens had SD, DA2, NDAS, H17. A suit asked me if I wanted to have my play rated. This was like 4 B.C. (before the canopy). Winning at blackjack and getting comped was something I enjoyed. By this time I was playing SD exclusively, betting $25 to $100 a hand. Not long after this I decided I wanted to up my game and play $50 to $200 a hand. On my next Vegas trip I tried out the new betting level at Fitzgerald’s and lost badly. Keeps one humble. Anyway, I didn’t know back then that playing at that level, $50 to $200 a hand on a single-deck game, was probably not going to be tolerated. These were the days before the internet. There were no message boards with blackjack APs sharing thoughts about spread, heat etc. So when I went to play blackjack on my next trip, humbly playing back at my $25 to $100 level at the same casino, I got my first back off. They were polite about it. I still got my breakfast comped.

Some years later I was playing DD blackjack at the $25 to $200 a hand level and had my biggest losing trip ever, $6,990. To put that into perspective my biggest trip win, before or since, was about $4,500.

Ups and downs. After my first 29 trips to Vegas I was ahead only $85 total. I had been up as high as +$ 4,700 during those first 29 trips, and I’d been as low as - $ 3,045. But after this 29th trip I’ve never been in the red.

You know what felt good about that $6,990 loss? It did not get to me. I realized going in that it could happen and I accepted it. I was not gloomy–I was actually proud of the fact that I wasn’t bothered by it–wasn’t depressed about it. But if I had won that much I would have been ecstatic, believe me!

Still, big losses aren’t fun. Playing blackjack I’ve lost $800 in 5 minutes, lost $1,400 in ten minutes, lost $1,800 in half an hour. I once went to Vegas twice in 60 days. I lost heavily on these two trips back-to-back. About $9,500 total. It took sixteen more trips to Vegas to get back to where I was.

Back in the early days I made mistakes that many new counters make. I remember once at the Golden Nugget playing SD, $25 to $100 a hand. The count got real good and I spread to 3 hands of $100. Another tell a new counter might have is if a suit talks to you, you carry on the conversation like you’re watching a ball game. You jump your bets. You ramp down too quickly. You look guilty when the suits stare at you. It isn’t natural to look at someone who’s staring at you and look away quickly. I mean, it’s a suit, it’s not like some thug staring at you on the street. Give a look back like, “I’m trying”. Or a look like, “What am I going to do?”

I’ve gotten pretty good at not looking like a counter. In a pitch game I don’t glance over to see my neighbor’s hand if a suit is watching. I look at the discard tray BEFORE it’s my turn to play my hand. And if I win a big hand I might celebrate. Not all the time though, mostly I play with a certain equanimity. And I drink, that helps. And I tip, but not much.

And I never take it out on the dealer if I’m losing. And I never chase my losses.

Back in my early counting days I had an encounter with a suit at the Shoe. Single-deck and the running count is like +6 no aces out, about 20 cards dealt out. Juicy. I put out $150 ( this was in my $25 to $100 days), double down and lose. Suit says, “You can’t have a 1-6 spread.” I say something like “Huh?” He says, “ If I could get a 1-6 spread I wouldn’t need this job.” I say, without directly addressing the 1-6 spread relevance, “I lost the bet.” He says, “And next time you win it. Do you know what a flat bet is?” I say “Yeah.” He says, “ See, I know you know this game. That’s what I want to see, and no more than double it.” And I say, “That guy over there is betting higher limits than me.” And he says, “I think you know the game better than he does.” I thanked him for the compliment. Anyway, when I left the table he still gave me a comp to the coffee shop (I left shortly after the exchange).

Countermeasures: Sometime just before the new millennium, I was playing SD blackjack at the Golden Gate. This was one of the last places you could get your play rated that didn't yet have a players' card. I was playing green action which really stood out there. Older female pit boss, blonde hair, been there forever, just hands me a comp for two for the coffee shop. I didn't even ask! You're hungry now, go eat!

Some ten years ago or so, I was playing at the Gold Strike, their single-deck game. Full table. They bring in new cards and a player asks why they’re doing that. I mention that it’s because new cards are in perfect condition with no signs of wear. The female supervisor mutters to me “Let’s see if you change your strategy.” You know what's so ironic about what she said? I was probably the only one at the table who knew what she meant. No, you don’t need to hit me over the head. Well, in the beginning you did.

I have a friend that is a Vegas’ dealer. She knows I count. One day, I’m playing at her single-deck game ( this was at the Golden Nugget. They have since gotten rid of their SD game, then some years later brought it back again. Pretty sure they don’t have it now). Anyway, the count goes up, I raise my bet, and she says, "I knew that." Later on, same trip, I’m playing with a friend who I taught basic strategy to. I deviate from basic strategy and my friend asks me why, OUT LOUD. My friend the dealer says, “He knows what he’s doing. He’s a counter.” By the way, we’ve never had a conversation about my counting. I like to say hello to her when I visit Vegas.

Back then, the Golden Nugget was a fun place to count cards and play blackjack. I remember once making a big bet, getting an eleven and doubling down. Friendly female pit boss watching over the dealer’s left shoulder. Dealer raises up the card I’m going to receive so that the pit boss can see it. Pit boss’s expression changes to a look like she’s just seen a train wreck. It’s a 10.

Ever teach someone basic strategy, then they get a 16 vs a dealer 10-value and they want to stand? Yeah, I know it’s a close decision. You lose 77% of the time if you stand and 75% of the time when you hit. What are you going to do? That’s not really a question. I think it was Doyle Brunson that said $2 not lost is the same as $2 won.

I remember one time when a player had a soft eighteen vs dealer 10. He asked, kinda to no one in particular, “What does the book say?” I felt like saying, “You lose 18% of your money if you stand and 14% of your money if you hit.” But I remained silent, of course. 4% not lost is the same as 4% won, right Doyle?

I had a girlfriend that I taught basic strategy to. For years we went to Vegas, Laughlin and Mesquite together. Played some Indian casinos too. She sat on my right. I would give her signals. For betting there was a signal to raise your bet and a signal to decrease it. To play the hand there was no signal if basic strategy was called for, but there was a signal to deviate from basic strategy–hit instead of stand, stand instead of hit, don’t split if you would normally split, etc. One strategy signal was all that was required for playing decisions. And actually, this was the same signal for raising your bet. So one signal for lowering your bet, and another for raising your bet and deviating from basic strategy. Once, after several trips to Vegas together, we were playing at a SD blackjack game. There were a lot of small cards out on the first round. She gives ME the signal to raise my bet. I was proud of her.

Another strategy I adopted was to give her the signal to raise her bet in a neutral count as I lowered mine. You don’t want to always play in unison. And I think it looked better for me to be the one lowering because the higher bets usually attract the attention (I usually played at higher limits than she). We had it really down. And the signals were not perceptible.

So let’s go back to the beginning when I taught her basic strategy. We’d go for long walks in the evening with our dogs and I’d say, “You have a total of 15, dealer’s up card is a 10 and you get the signal. She says, “Stand”. I’d say, “You have a two-card total of 9, dealer’s up card is a 7, you get the signal.” She says, “Double.”

You know what the signal was to take Insurance? I’d take insurance.

And you probably already know why she’s on my right: if she makes a mistake and stands when she should hit it could be corrected. Anyway, after she had basic strategy down cold we went to Vegas and played at Circus Circus. She sat there and watched the SD game in progress before the shuffle–intently in concentration, wheels turning. This was her first time in a casino with a winning game (she knew basic strategy and my signals were her winning game). The Circus had 3:2 SD back then. I was playing $25 to $100 a hand, usually opening for $50. My girlfriend was playing a 1-3 spread betting $5 min. (She was a $1 to $3 better prior to her basic strategy days.) At some later session on this trip we were at a $5 min blackjack table having fun and enjoying ourselves–still at Circus Circus. I say to her, “Put out $15" (this was off the top). She reacts with a “No.” I continued to ask her and she does it, but she felt a little pressured by my playful nudging. She was not really happy about it and I got the feeling that had she lost the bet she would have been positively ticked. So she gets a pair that had to be split. She plays the first split card to a stand. On the second split card she receives a card that requires a double down. So now she has $45 out there. Now, she would have a $15 initial bet out if the count called for it, but to just throw out a $15 bet that morphed into $45 was heady stuff. Remember, before this trip $3 was a big bet. Well, the dealer busts and she lets out a scream like she’s won the lottery. It was just a primal vocal wail. (I could have had a $5,000 bet out there and I wouldn’t have felt that elated.) Good thing for me. I hate to think what would have happened if she lost.

You know what’s fun about the game of 21? It’s when you make a bet in a high count playing at or about at your highest betting level, and you can feel your heart beating faster. Those are the ones you want to win. I’ve always liked the feeling of arriving in Vegas, that first walk up to the blackjack table, buying-in, placing a bet, and the cards are in the air.

Once I went into the Western. Only played there twice. Real friendly suit, I think his name was Bob. SD. This was in my $25 to $100 spread days. About fifteen minutes into the blackjack session I put out $200, a table max bet off the top. It's good to make a big bet off the top once in a while as a cover play. I'm sitting at third base (a seat I usually try to avoid unless it's the only one open) so I get to see about a quarter of the deck before I play my hand. When it's my turn I have to double and it all gets swept away. I had thought they would call out “table max bet” like they did at Railroad Pass when I made a “table max bet.” This was back in the days when Railroad Pass had a SD game. They always burned it but it was fun. All good things come to an end. Last time I was at Railroad Pass they just had a DD game with mediocre pen. Meal I got in their coffee shop once was terrible, and I’m usually pretty easy to please. I liked the buffet there. As a mater of fact I’ve liked the buffet everywhere–IP, Silverton, Stratosphere, Orleans, Silver Sevens. Oh, I shouldn’t say everywhere. The food was alright, but I wouldn’t eat at the Circus Circus buffet again even if it was comped. Why? Kids out of control.

Once, I was playing at Sam’s Town at a $25 DD game. Same girlfriend, sitting by me and not playing. I was the only one playing at the table so they didn’t mind. We were having fun and I was holding my own. I said to her, “Why don’t you make a $100 wager?” Now, she had never made a $100 bet prior to this. She said, “Oh, no.” But I playfully pressed her and she made the wager. Okay, so we had a 50 cent negative expectation. Call it a cover play if you like. So what. It’s good advertising. Well, she gets a snapper. No lie.

Then on another trip to Mesquite we were playing a $25 min SD game at the Oasis (the Oasis often had a $25 min after about 6:00 pm on their SD game). After we played there for about 45 minutes we went to the Virgin River and played a $5 min SD game. So, I’m playing $25 min with a 1-4 spread, and my girlfriend is playing $5 min with a 1-4 spread. We were holding our own and having fun, so I say to her, “Come on, play green with me. You were just doing that at the Oasis.” Now, by this time in her blackjack game she had only played at that level a couple of times. But she comes along. Now, I’m not making this up. After over 80 trips to Nevada you’re going to have some stories! So after a short while the count is high and she gets the signal to raise her bet to $75. She gets a pair of 2s. Situation calls for a split. I don’t remember the dealer’s up-card, 5 or 6 or something. So on the first 2 she gets a card that requires a double down. Second 2 gets another 2, she splits. Second two gets a card that requires a double down. Then she plays the third hand and she gets ANOTHER card that requires a double down. So she has $450 on the felt. The dealer busts. What a beautiful sight! That was by far more money than she ever had on the table at one time, EVER. I told her to give the dealer $10. She did. That was our tip for that session. Side note: Got my first royal at the Virgin River. 8-04. $1,076 progressive 8/5 Bonus Poker game.

All four casinos in Mesquite used to have SD, DAS, DA2, 3:2, H17 games. Then that all changed about 2004 when three of the four casinos got rid of their SD games. Then only the Eureka had a SD game with really bad pen–two rounds to one person, and one round to four people kind of thing. The other three casinos in Mesquite were owned by the Black family and the Eureka was an independent, if I’m not mistaken. Then the Oasis closed down. Not sure what the current status of Mesquite is–haven’t been there in a decade.

One of my girlfriend’s best and biggest blackjack sessions was at the Golden Nugget, LV. We were playing SD, $25 min 1-4 spread. The deck got red hot. Huge count. The casino was jumping; lots of noise, partying... and no heat. Good cover as I casually shove $150 into the betting square with malice aforethought. Girlfriend takes the hint, matching my bet, doubles down and wins! We both win. After about 3/4 of an hour she cashed out $1,100 ahead and I was $1,400 ahead. Wow! (I'd like to clarify that these days I rarely play $25 to $100 at SD. $25 to $75 a hand with perhaps an occasional $90 wager is the norm.)

When I played blackjack with my girlfriend there was no way of disguising our advantage; we were basically always betting higher in high counts and lower in low counts. Your longevity is compromised to a greater degree when you're playing in unison than if you're playing single-o. But we had a blast. 31 trips together and only one back off. This was in Laughlin--shift manager with two security guards behind him. We were playing $25-$75 a hand at a single-deck game. She might open for $25, me for $50. Even if we varied our opener we'd move our money with the count. Even a 1-3 spread is too strong if they know what to look for.

Then there was another time, my girlfriend and I were on the outs. I went to Vegas alone. There was a cute dealer at the Main Street Station. What a body! I think she was French Canadian. Named Marie if I recall. We kinda flirted. Anyway, sat down at a blackjack table after talking to a couple of suits. Played $ 25 min 1-4 spread, DD game. (Back then I didn’t know that you really want a 1-8 spread in a DD game.) Anyway, these two suits are just watching my game. I’m playing alone at the table. The suits weren’t burning the game; we had just had a nice conversation about that cute dealer at the other table. But since they’re watching, why take a chance? Opening for $100 should keep things friendly. And the count is positive right from the get go, so why lower the bet? In fact, for the next 20 minutes the deck is almost always positive, so a majority of my bets are $100. I leave the table after a $2,250 win. I kept this session short--this was a fantastic win, my second best winning session ever, and I wanted to savor the victory.

I was careful after this big a win. It’s not like I’m at Caesars Palace. After I cashed out I just strolled around between the cage and the front door, ostensibly looking at the slot offerings. I then walked toward the north part of the casino looking toward my left at the cage. Then, as if I hear something, I quickly look behind me to see if anyone looks away. Anyone have their concentration on me? I then kinda amble towards the south, then take a sharp left toward the door. Once outside, I sprint to my car in the lot across the street. Would have gone home with a $5,000 win on that trip, had I not felt like pushing it by stopping at Buffalo Bill’s for a DD twenty-minute shellacking. Went home with a $4,000 win.

The highest limits I’ve played for was at Barona, their $100 min SD, DAS, DA2, LS, H17 game. 2007. Went there to take advantage of an offer they had where if you lost $200 playing VP they’d give you another $200. But if you won $200 or more they’d give you $200. Either way you’d get $200. You had to play at least 2 hours. Well, I got 7 quads on their $1 8/5 Bonus Poker game in 2 hours. Won about $750 at VP and of course, got the free $200. (As I recall they had 9/6 job but only in the 25 cent denom.)

So, on this trip to Barona I went with 10K. I had the indices for LS memorized. I knew it was a big risk playing $100 to $400 a hand. You can lose a lot of money at that level. I had to honestly ask myself: I could come home with a $7,000 loss. Am I totally okay with it? Do I still want to go? I did, because even though there was risk I knew I had the advantage. It felt good to play on this bigger stage. It felt bold, and I was ready to cross swords.

So, I’m going to open for $200 and gradually ramp my bets. If I went down to $100 I would increase to $200 before playing any higher. My intention, as usual, is to keep my session short. Well, after 45 minutes I’m up $ 2,850. (I was up about $3,200 at one point.) I quit. Tipped the dealer $25. Went home with about $13,850. The drive home was nice.

Got to see the Blackjack Hall Of Fame at Barona. And got an offer for a comped one-night stay which I finally took advantage of a year-and-a-half later (they sent me mailers every month for the free room and $5 in free slot play). And when I went there on the room offer and sat down at the blackjack table, a suit almost immediately says, “Would you like a dinner comp for two?” On this later trip I was betting $10 to $80 a hand at their DD game. Never bet at the $100 to $400 level since. Barona has since gotten rid of their SD game.

About 12 years ago, I played the SD game at Slots-of-Fun. S17, DAS, DA2. Game had a +.13 EV. I don’t know if they even have table games at Slots-of-Fun anymore. They were all 6:5 a few years ago as I recall. Westward Ho had a great SD game too. But I usually lost there. Never went to their other wing on Industrial that was only open for about a year when the whole place was closed down. Westward Ho, Stardust, New Frontier--all closed down to build something better. Then the economy tanked. Remember all those condo projects that never came to be?

You know, if I was to be honest about my blackjack game, I’d tell you that my weakness is that I don’t bet quite as much as I should when I’m playing for higher limits and losing heavily. I try to always make the right playing decisions no matter how much is riding on the bet. If I have a big bet out and 8,8 vs a dealer 9 I’m splitting, now, later and forever!!! I trust the math, and NEVER play hunches. But if I’m losing heavily I might not put out as much as I should with the appropriate plus count. If I’m betting $25 to $200 a hand and taking a beating I might have only a $125 bet out there when a $150 bet is called for. I’m just telling you the truth. But if I’m betting $10 to $80 I let it fly. I’m always, and I mean always, going to bet more than my average bet in a + count. But if I’m getting killed at a high bet level, I might not bet as much as I should. I’ll bet I’m not alone on this.

I have a winning game and have made money at blackjack. But, like I’ve heard it said before, I don’t like losing more than I like winning. I can afford it, but one reason I don’t bet at a higher limit is that I like being a winning player. I’d hate to say after over 80 trips to Vegas, “Well, I’ve lost money in the long run playing blackjack, but that’s only because I bet at a higher level the last few trips and I've had some big losses." Then the person I’m talking to says, “So you’re a losing player?”

I like the feeling of being a winning player. Sometimes if I have a small win, say $150 or so, I might not play that last round of blackjack on the day I’m going home. I like going home thinking about my win.

I’ve taken over $10,000 out of Vegas and other places over the years–I’m talking cash not winnings. Match plays, loss rebates, Xtra play VP. Blackjack pays 2:1 and 3:1 coupons, sign-up free play, free gas, Visa gift cards, etc. One of the best was the “two free nights and we’ll give you $200 in cash” offers. No strings. One casino gave me $175 in free VP to stay with them. I’m sure many of you reading this have planned your vacations to include the end of one month and the beginning of another, right?

Once, about 10 years ago, there were New Frontier blackjack $5 match play coupons in one of those magazines they have in many of the hotel rooms. I don’t remember which publication--probably Las Vegas Magazine. I was staying at the IP and they had a stack of these magazines sitting against the wall in the casino. I took five of them, cut out the coupons and laid off all five in the blackjack pit at the New Frontier on one shift. The coupons were supposed to be punched at the players club, but the dealers just honored them. To be honest, I wouldn’t have wanted to lay off a bunch more coupons on all three shifts. We all have our limits as to what we will exploit. (I’m sure there had to be an expiration on the coupons, otherwise I would have taken more magazines. I could worry about future exploitation later.)

Remember the tokens that the New Frontier gave out 20+ years ago if you got a blackjack with a min $5 bet? As I recall if you got 20 of them you could redeem them for a free night. That’s when the New frontier had SD, 3:2 blackjack. I should have been playing three hands. Still, got a few nights with those tokens.

Once I was playing blackjack at the Horseshoe in about 2000. Almost all their blackjack tables were 3:2 SD then. There were 3 or 4 of us at the table and we’re all betting $25 a hand and higher. This older gentleman at first base is playing along, $25 or $50 a hand. Then all of the sudden he makes a bet of about 50 greens. What a tower. About $1,300. Looked like one of those bets you see after a guy loses that much over the course of a trip and now takes the plunge to get even. As he’s standing on his hand and waiting for the other players to play their hands I’m looking at him. He looked very somber, staring down at the table. His face kinda twitched. He was in some agony. I knew he wanted–needed–to win that hand. He did.

At this same table, a little later, the guy to my right is drinking and getting mouthy, being a little rude to the dealer, taking a long time deciding to hit or stand, looking for trouble. Finally a suit comes over and warns him about slowing up the game. The guy says to me, “Was I out of line?” Well, I’ve been out of line before, and I would have appreciated someone helping me to get back in line. It’s not easy, when alcohol has control of a dark mood. So I say to him, “You know, I've had more to drink than I should before. I know where you’re at. You need to just be cool, just kinda go easy.” I said this is in a low tone and manner, trying not to embarrass him and help him to get a grip on himself. He played perhaps 10 more hands. Not one word. I know he was reflecting on what I said and how he had been acting. Then he left the table.

Sometimes I play craps in Vegas. Not very often–once every few trips I’d say. I used to like placing $51 on the table and saying, “ $50 No 4.” 2% neg EV but I just thought this bet was sophisticated. Made three of these bets in a row and lost all three. That was a few years ago. I haven’t made this bet since. It’s pass or don’t with double odds for me.

I love the history of Las Vegas. I’ve driven by Binion’s old home on Bonanza. Seen the remains of the Moulin Rouge. Seen one of the Railroad Houses on 3rd street, downtown. Been to the Paiute reservation on Main St., the Kiel Ranch on W. Carey. Been to the mausoleum where Helen Stewart rests. Visited the Mormon fort. Been to The Gambler's Bookstore and Pi Yee Press. Haven’t been to the Underground House location yet, or Lonnie Hammargren’s home.

Rock climbed in Red Rock Canyon. Stopped by Bob Nersesian’s law office to pick up a business card.

I’ve always liked Vegas in the early morning. Fresh new day, fresh-faced people. The blurry-eyed drunks and loud partygoers are mostly asleep. Early one morning, right outside Binion’s, about 5 years ago, I’m thinking about crossing the street against a red light. Going from Binion’s to Four Queens. Almost just crossed without looking–quiet, no traffic. Then a car traveling southbound just whizzes by at about 30 miles an hour. Where did he come from? How could it be that I didn’t hear him coming at all? I mean, it was perfectly quiet. I could have just as easily stepped out into the intersection as not. But I didn’t–perhaps my timing was just a half second off. I could have been the 10-pin and the car a bowling ball. Driver almost picked up the spare. Could have been all over. What a place for a card counter to go. Right there, at probably the most recognizable gambling intersection in the world, under the canopy.

Remember, look both ways!



I've been thinking lately that there may be some new forum members who have not seen my story about my card counting journey. I originally posted this in May 2014 and it is now buried in the pages of prior blackjack posts. I have added paragraphs to this OP and made some corrections. For my 1,000th post here is that story.
Wino
Wino
Joined: Dec 13, 2014
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March 21st, 2015 at 9:24:50 AM permalink
Very inspiring. Thank you for sharing it and bumping the post up to the top so that new Counters could enjoy!
Wanda Wilcox: “I can’t stand people. I hate them.” Chinaski: “Oh, yeah?” Wanda: “You hate them?” Chinaski: “No, but I seem to feel better when they’re not around.” Barfly, starring Mickey Rourke
Greasyjohn
Greasyjohn
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March 21st, 2015 at 9:33:58 AM permalink
Thanks, Wino
aceofspades
aceofspades
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March 21st, 2015 at 9:43:09 AM permalink
great post - enjoyed learning your history in the game - more more more!
Romes
Romes
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March 23rd, 2015 at 11:59:37 AM permalink
Agreed about the great post. I read it last year, but re-read it again as it's a good read. I especially enjoy the parts about your 'gambling partner girlfriend.' I too had a very close girlfriend and we had a 2 person "routine." Similar, she would take signals (although ours were very non complicated and often she could simply play the 'clueless girlfriend' and just ask me what to do). If she was to play BS, I would tell her, if not, I'd just say BS with something like 'but go with your gut' or 'do whatever you want though.' This was her indication to make an index play... I miss those great trips and that great girl. What ever happened to your blackjack playing partner in crime? ...if you don't mind me asking. Also, did you guys ever have a losing trip together? How did you/she feel when you did? Was it far enough along in your blackjack partnership that she knew it was bound to happen (i.e. didn't take it as "this doesn't work" etc..)?
Playing it correctly means you've already won.
texasplumr
texasplumr
Joined: Mar 6, 2011
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March 23rd, 2015 at 1:44:38 PM permalink
Wow! How did I miss this? I have to agree, best post ever!
Stupid is a choice
Greasyjohn
Greasyjohn
Joined: Dec 8, 2013
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March 23rd, 2015 at 1:58:13 PM permalink
Quote: Romes

Agreed about the great post. I read it last year, but re-read it again as it's a good read. I especially enjoy the parts about your 'gambling partner girlfriend.' I too had a very close girlfriend and we had a 2 person "routine." Similar, she would take signals (although ours were very non complicated and often she could simply play the 'clueless girlfriend' and just ask me what to do). If she was to play BS, I would tell her, if not, I'd just say BS with something like 'but go with your gut' or 'do whatever you want though.' This was her indication to make an index play... I miss those great trips and that great girl. What ever happened to your blackjack playing partner in crime? ...if you don't mind me asking. Also, did you guys ever have a losing trip together? How did you/she feel when you did? Was it far enough along in your blackjack partnership that she knew it was bound to happen (i.e. didn't take it as "this doesn't work" etc..)?



Romes.

My last Vegas trip with my girlfriend/partner was in March on 2006. She and I really liked each other. We had been together for about 7 years and she still brought out my passion. But she had two kids from her prior marriage and the kids were the wedge that broke it off.

What's really weird is that once I taught her basic strategy, and signals for betting and deviating from basic strategy, she still lost on her first 6 trips in a row! A total of about $1,000. She didn't flinch at the staggering losses. What an incredible losing streak considering that, at the time, her average bet was $10. In my 87 trips to Vegas (as a counter) I've never had more than 3 losing trips in a row. Anyway, after 31 trips together she was ahead about $1,328 lifetime. (She had been as high as $1,955--should have left me in April of 2005). The 31 trips broke down like this: 15 winning trips and 16 losing trips. And along with her winnings she got us a couple thousand in comps and about $300 in cash for herself (match plays, free vp, etc.)

She once had a $75 bet out and split 2,2 into three hands that were all doubled. $450 on the felt. Had she lost that one round she would have only been up $428 lifetime. She was lucky on several big bets as I remember.

She was a great dancer too.
Greasyjohn
Greasyjohn
Joined: Dec 8, 2013
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March 24th, 2015 at 7:43:20 AM permalink
Quote: texasplumr

Wow! How did I miss this? I have to agree, best post ever!



Thanks for the kind words Texasplumr.
Romes
Romes
Joined: Jul 22, 2014
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March 24th, 2015 at 7:47:45 AM permalink
Thanks for fulfilling my curiosity =P... It just reminded me of my gf/partner at the time. We lost on our 2nd trip and she was curious if what we were doing worked so I had to give her a little math (to the accountant lol) and reassure her we were doing just fine. I'm sure she was sweating the action hard with $450 on the felt. She'll probably remember that hand for the rest of her life.

Again, thanks for sharing your story, but I hope it never ends and in another X years we get another update!
Playing it correctly means you've already won.

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