This is a continuation of my last post--an introductory post about
me ... wisereyes ...
So I made my mind up that I wanted to be a blackjack professional and
when I attack something, I attack it wholeheartedly. I read every
book I could find on blackjack or advantage play. I wanted to know
everything. I made it a point on each trip to Vegas to check out The
Gambler's Book Club, in the off-chance that a new book on the topic
had been released. I subscribed to the Bishop's newsletter (highly
recommended). I even bought the Patterson "Target" book. Sometimes
reading and understanding the extremists and kooks has a way of
providing frame of reference for mainstream blackjack wisdom.
Sadly, I seem to recall that Mr. Patterson began his career as a
legitimate card counter. I guess we are all subject to going
astray. More on how *I* went astray--still to come.
While I bought casino chips, a shoe, and tons of cards--most of
my "practice" was in the casino. Practicing at home is fine, but as
much time as I've spent in casinos, after nearly 15 years, I STILL
love the atmosphere. So, that's where I learned the professional
perspective ... right in the casinos (after reading the books). In
the early days--about the first full year, I played low stakes. At
first, it was the dollar, two dollar, or three dollar minimum tables.
I'll never forget one of the first times that I sat down at a quarter
table. Man, though I could easily afford to lose the money, my heart
was in my throat. I'm a pretty low key guy, but this new level
scared the crap out of me--especially with those creeps breathing
down my neck. It was at the Union Plaza of all places--and I began
to win immediately. In 15 minutes I had the kind of streak that even
the worst BJ player in the world would have won with. And my wife
happened to be with me at the time (she RARELY travels with me on BJ
biz). Man, was she impressed. I won almost $875.00 or so in varying
my bets from 1 to 4 units. Having read about the reputation of the
Plaza, I ducked out quick, even though I was still winning.
I began making a trip every 30 to 45 days, usually staying 4 or 5
days--unless I was digging out of a hole. In that kind of situation,
I often played until my negative fluctuation turned before I could
even think about going home. I learned pretty quickly to buy the
kind of airline ticket that was "changeable." Though it's happened
plenty of times (of course), I couldn't stand that long plane ride
home, thinking about a long losing streak, so when I could take the
time away from my "real" job, I would stay until my negative
Admittedly, having a "real job" provides security which allows me to
feel more comfortable with betting outside of the Kelly C. I know
that my bankroll can be replenished with another deal or two. It's
quite a nice luxury that many full-time players can't afford. I
don't think I would have it any other way.
On one trip in the first few years, right after I graduated to green
chip play, I have a vivid memory of a most amazing winning streak. I
was hot as a branding iron and just kept winning--day after day after
day. After about 4 days, I was up in the range of 4,800., and I was
I decided that I had to stay at Caesar's Palace. I felt like a rock
star with such a big bulge in my pocket (no jokes please, I'm talking
about the money). This was back in the days before I understood the
ease with which I could have easily pulled a room comp. Somebody
told me that Caesar's had a special on suites for $68.00 bucks per
night. Well, I had to have one. So I checked out of my normal
downtown digs (more on that later), and headed out to the strip (cue
the "moving on up" Jefferson's music).
Wow. I remember walking on such a cloud that I actually skipped like
a girl between the dividing lines leading up to the front doors. I
remember brousing the Forum Shops thinking about something cool to
buy--something splurgy that I really didn't need. Jeez. Five grand
seemed like a HELL of a lot of money then, especially when I acquired
it in such short order. Thankfully, though I still had a LOT of
learning to do at that point, I *had* acquired enough blackjack
wisdom to realize that backroll is everything, so I resisted the
temptation to start throwing money in the Forum wind--at least for
the time being.
I am far from a mathematician. Math was one of my worst subjects in
school. So, I simply trusted that the smart guys from Mr. Thorpe on
through--just knew what they were talking about. Then, as I began to
gather empirical evididence in my own BJ career, both positive and
negative, I understood clearly that these guys were RIGHT ON.
That's it for now. It's time for me to hit the sack. The next (and
hopefully last installment) of my introduction will cover, 1) my
graduation to black chip play, and 2) my backroll buildup, and 3) my
fall from blackjack grace.