hook3670
hook3670
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February 15th, 2012 at 7:53:45 AM permalink
I was listening to the podcast of Mike and Bob's radio show when they interviewed the blackjack team member Mr. Axelrad. He described how as a team they took down casinos for I believe hundreds of thousands of dollars but they were different form the MIT team which had the same results in a different way. My question is, how common is something like this where teams band together and win hundreds of thousands of dollars. You obviously hear about the ones that are a huge success, but every team that wins huge, how many go broke or fail? It seems if it were as easy, and I know a lot of work, dicipline and effort, and planning goes into this, as it seems why wouldn't there be hundreds upon hundreds of teams looking to make an easy big score and then be set for a long time financially?
WongBo
WongBo
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February 15th, 2012 at 8:02:59 AM permalink
We have all heard about the MIT teams and several subsequent teams have been publicized.
My feeling about so-called teams is that you would never hear about a truly successful team anymore
as this would defeat the purpose and bring heat.
If mr axelrad was so successful at it, he would still be out there collecting his alleged thousands,
instead of writing a mediocre book about it.
Having played BJ for over 35 years, I have never been part of a team
but I have managed to grind out a long term profit from the game.
It is fairly rare for a large number of shoes to yield a high enough count to make a substantial enough impact on your profit.
You need to play positive running shoes by highly advantageous house rules, at high limits, with a large spread.
Just try doing that anywhere in the world and see how fast you get flat-betted or backed off.
I have no doubt that there are teams of players and certain able individuals who are profiting from certain games,
but it is no where near as common as we have been led to believe.
In a bet, there is a fool and a thief. - Proverb.
FleaStiff
FleaStiff
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February 15th, 2012 at 8:14:25 AM permalink
Because alot of those teams were obvious and just because you play in a Blackjack Team doesn't mean you are a net winner.

Sure there were some teams flying in from Santa Monica and playing nice steady games with no real bet spreading... they just signaled Team Leader who would hop from table to table making big bets while team members who did the counting just stayed there and kept up their standard bets.

The team members were proud of their counting skills and patience in not showing any excitement. Casino personnel were not fools. One floorman said to Big Bettor "your friend at table 4 just took his cap off again" which let Big Bettor know the casino knew they were part of a team and also knew what his signal was.

At least in those days, the floormen were not fools.

The real problem is most of those teams were not really winning big at all. They may have claimed to be winning big but it really was not happening all that much.
MakingBook
MakingBook
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February 15th, 2012 at 8:21:21 AM permalink
I never really understood why the team member would remain at the table and consume the "good" cards with their flat bets. Shouldn't they leave the table (bathroom break) and allow the big bettor to play solo? Would this be too obvious to the pit?
"I am a man devoured by the passion for gambling." --Dostoevsky, 1871
FleaStiff
FleaStiff
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February 15th, 2012 at 8:46:44 AM permalink
Quote: MakingBook

Shouldn't they leave the table (bathroom break) and allow the big bettor to play solo? Would this be too obvious to the pit?

Too obvious. Some casinos just watched the teams closely and tracked their non-team spending profiles and didn't much care.
hook3670
hook3670
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February 15th, 2012 at 10:52:48 AM permalink
I just can not believe that there are teams and teams of card counters that are making hundreds of thousands a year. Sure a couple might hit it big and those are the ones everyone hears about, but I have to believe for every team that wins that big there must be 25 that go broke or fail.
EvenBob
EvenBob
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February 15th, 2012 at 12:04:33 PM permalink
A lot goes into making a good team. Everybody has to be of equal skill, not an
easy thing to find. And everybody has to be trusted not to rip off the rest of
team, a really hard thing to find in 5 or 6 people. The job is a shitty grind, you
travel all the time, stay in crappy motels to save money, are always worried
about getting heat and are always getting heat. Axlerad said in an interview
that in his best year he made $110K, big f-ing deal. Thats a year of really hard
work, of being chased by the internet from casino to casino, of erratic swings
in your BR, of living like a bum in Motel 6. Its not worth it to most players, the
few that are qualified to do it.

Added: And that $110K was in 2000, 12 years ago. Its much harder now,
casinos are really sophisticated about catching counters, especially teams.
"It's not called gambling if the math is on your side."
buzzpaff
buzzpaff
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February 15th, 2012 at 12:06:51 PM permalink
And that's his best year. Like so many " professional" gamblers, his real winnings came from the advance on the book. 300K if he is to believed ??
EvenBob
EvenBob
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February 15th, 2012 at 12:13:53 PM permalink
Quote: buzzpaff

And that's his best year. Like so many " professional" gamblers, his real winnings came from the advance on the book. 300K if he is to believed ??



I'm skeptical about the $300K. He was not a writer, all he had was
an idea for a book. I thought the book was awful, some thought it was
OK. Its poorly written, disjointed and repetitive. Fully 1/3 of it is his
depressing fall into gambling addiction, not a good read. He's says
a couple times he's not much of a writer, no kidding. Somebody said
its like he used a Thesaurus to make it sound interesting. It didn't
work.
"It's not called gambling if the math is on your side."
buzzpaff
buzzpaff
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February 15th, 2012 at 12:19:06 PM permalink
I was just repeating what he said on the radio. Actually i am skeptical about both the 100K and the 300K. Guys have ways of inflating wins and deflating expenses ! Either way tough way to grind out a living. All the so-called professional gamblers I ever knew
had a side source of income. Married money, inherited a business, etc.
I put bookies in a separate class. Most life a good life, unless the FBI or IRS come calling. Local police are just a necessary expense.
NO MORE & NO LESS...
EvenBob
EvenBob
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February 15th, 2012 at 12:41:35 PM permalink
Munchkin's book 'Gambling Wizards' has a chapter on Cathy
Hulbert, who was on Uston's team and another team that
went all over Europe in the late 70's and early 80's. She gives
a lot of insight into what a rotten job it is. And they made lots
of money. Casinos were loathe to share info on counting teams
in those days and it was long before the internet. Today, your
pic is sent all over the place and they know you're coming before
you do.
"It's not called gambling if the math is on your side."
buzzpaff
buzzpaff
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February 15th, 2012 at 12:44:36 PM permalink
On a sidebar Ken's daughter is trying to get a movie done on her dad's life. Evidently she has forgiven him for abandoning her mother
and his 2 children to chase his addictions, gambling and drugs. I think before counting he was President of the Pacific Stock Exchange??
Ibeatyouraces
Ibeatyouraces
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February 15th, 2012 at 2:20:51 PM permalink
deleted
DUHHIIIIIIIII HEARD THAT!
AZDuffman
AZDuffman
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February 15th, 2012 at 4:09:50 PM permalink
Quote: buzzpaff

On a sidebar Ken's daughter is trying to get a movie done on her dad's life. Evidently she has forgiven him for abandoning her mother
and his 2 children to chase his addictions, gambling and drugs. I think before counting he was President of the Pacific Stock Exchange??



He was some high level there, I think a vp or something. To me he wasnt addicted to any one thing but rather was addicted to 'the life' or at least the glory parts of the life. Think about it. He had his dream at a very young age. But he was a nobody outside his office. At the casino he had pit bosses, waitresses, and spectators fawning all over him. He craved the spotlight. How many counters do commercials for a casino?
All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others
EvenBob
EvenBob
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February 15th, 2012 at 4:34:44 PM permalink
From the articles I read over the years by people who knew
him, he was pretty much a jerk. He was a bad counter and lost
track constantly and had to get the count from those around him.
He refused to let women play at first, he thought they were inferior.
He flat out refused to use any cover in the casinos and went hammer
down right in their faces and got thrown out again and again. He had
a huge ego and was a big party guy, it came as no surprise to anybody
who knew him that he died the may he did, mysteriously.
"It's not called gambling if the math is on your side."
buzzpaff
buzzpaff
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February 15th, 2012 at 5:25:34 PM permalink
I had no hard feeling about guys chasing a dream, just don't leave your wife and 2 kids behind. I can not count the number of high rollers or guys who were always where the action was, and 6 months behind on child support. TALK ABOUT LOSERS>>>
Josh
Josh
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February 19th, 2012 at 12:03:50 PM permalink
Hook, you raise a good point, and Mike provided a kind of answer on the show when he mentioned his own experience losing money as an investor in an unsuccessful blackjack venture. I have no doubt that most attempted team operations lose money. Even for those that succeed the money--even for team managers and the biggest investors--doesn't tend to be the kind of money that sets you for life financially. A hugely successful count team might take a few million dollars out of the industry in the course of a year, but that money is going to be split many ways. No one person walks away with a million dollars. And the second year is always harder than the first. It's a rare team that ever gets to a third year.

Of course--as several here have suggested--any truly extraordinary money that is getting taken out probably derives from lesser-known techniques than conventional card counting and is not likely to be the subject of a published book.

Elsewhere in the thread: some have voiced doubt about the figure Mike and Bob cited for the book advance. I'll acknowledge and endorse their doubt. Skepticism is essential when you're trying to find an edge.

Elsewhere, still: someone has said, repeatedly now, that the low six-figure income I made on a couple of the strongest years is unimpressive. I agree.

The title, 'Repeat Until Rich,' published by a person who was broke at the time, is plainly ironic. There is no richness here. That's the theme and sole message of the memoir.
Josh
Josh
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February 19th, 2012 at 12:03:51 PM permalink
whoops, posted it twice somehow? trying to delete here but i can't figure out how to do that. yes.
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