I have two distinct lives. One in the trenches of low-budget film and television, the other in professional gambling. Because of the feast-or-famine nature of show business I need a reliable income... gambling. So here you will read about both worlds. Enjoy!



Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Gambling With an Edge - guest Michael Bluejay

Our guest today is Michael Bluejay. Michael Bluejay  was an employee of Michael Shackleford at  wizardofodds.com, and shares many tips for the low rolling player, as well as some of his crazy stories from his playing days.

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Friday, July 24, 2015

The Tragedy of the Commons

A couple things happened this week that finally forced me to put my butt in the chair and spit out a post. The first was an article zooming around the Internets, about a math teacher who gave the following extra credit assignment.

You can either have 2 points extra credit or 6. Choose one.

___ 2 points

___ 6 points

However, if over 10% of the class chooses 6, then everyone will get zero.

This problem is often looked at in game theory classes, and is known as the "Tragedy of the Commons." It teaches us that over 10% of the people are selfish dickheads. Rarely does a class ever get the extra credit. You can see real life examples of this in areas that get over-fished to the point that no one can fish there anymore, or a great blackjack game that gets burned out because too many people exploit it too much. Because we are APs it is easy for us to say, "I better burn this BJ game now because if I don't someone else will." Yet we look at the fishermen and say, "Come on guys. Soon we won't be able to eat Tuna."

The second thing that happened was a conversation I was having with some friends about another AP. One friend said about this other person, "He won't share anything with anyone. He feels that anything he tells someone else costs him ev." My bet is he would opt for the 6 points. This reminded me of an incident from one of my first blackjack teams. I had discovered a promotion, and ran off to play it. I called some of the other members of the team and told them to go. (This was before cell phones and it was much harder to get ahold of everyone back then.) Anyway, some of us played it, and we did quite well. Later at a team meeting one of the guys who had not played the promo started arguing that the people who played it should not be given any hours for the play. The players earned based on hours played, so he was arguing that we shouldn't be compensated at all for having played this promo, which was clearly worth more per hour than our card counting. The counters I played with were very smart guys, and new how to build a persuasive argument. It shocked, and appalled me when I realized that all he really was arguing for was for him to make more money personally when the bankroll broke. I knew we were struggling to get an edge over the casinos, but I didn't think we were trying to do it to each other. It was like learning there is no Santa Claus.

My point in all this is not to point out that some people will act in their own self interest. What is important is that you understand yourself. When I saw the first question I answered 2 points without a moment of hesitation, because I have learned over the years that I am much happier being part of a group than I am on my own. I would much rather earn $200 and hour playing with one or more partners, than $400 an hour playing alone. As I have repeatedly told my kids, my goal in life is not to die with the most money. My goal is to be happy. And it is HUGE positive ev to figure out what it is that makes you happy. Once I learned it, it made me.... happier! #Winning!

But I also have to say that I could not disagree more with the people who think that sharing costs them ev. I believe the opposite is true. I can not believe I would have earned what I have if people had not shared information with me. And the reason they share with me is I share with them.  That doesn't mean I share everything with everybody, but there are more games available to play than any one person has time for. Currently I don't count cards. So if I find a really good count game why wouldn't I give it to someone who I know will appreciate it?

I also have an extra credit assignment for the class. Can money buy happiness? If your answer is "No" then you're doing it wrong. Watch this TED TALK and find out.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Gambling With an Edge - guest Bob Nersesian #13

The guest this week is Bob Nersesian.  Bob is a frequent guest to the show, and always entertaining.  Bob is the lawyer who advocates for the players against the casinos, and has successfully sued many Vegas casinos on the behalf of players.  He is also the author of Beat the Players


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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Gambling With an Edge - guest Charlie Davis

Our guest this week is Charlie Davis. Charlie makes his living betting horses. How can you beat horses when the track is taking over 20% out of the pools?

 podcast 
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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Gambling With an Edge - guest Jake Jacobs #4

Our guest this week is Jake Jacobs, a blackjack, and backgammon professional. We talk to Jake about some of his many gambling exploits.


 podcast 
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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Gambling With an Edge - guest Bob Loeb #3

Our guest on the show this week is attorney Bob Loeb.  Bob is based in Chicago, and is the coauthor of Blackjack and the Law.  


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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Gambling With an Edge - guest card counter SmallCap

Our guest on the show this week is a very successful card counter we call SmallCap. SmallCap started counting cards seriously about 2 1/2 years ago, and has built a bankroll to mid 6-figures as a solo card counter. His "balls to the wall" approach should enlighten any who try to make money counting cards.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Gambling With an Edge - guest Anthony Curtis #7

Our guest this week is Anthony Curtis, owner of The Las Vegas Advisor and Huntington Press publishing.


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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Gambling With an Edge - guest bookmaker Jimmy Vaccaro

This week's guest is legendary Vegas bookmaker, Jimmy Vaccaro.


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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Gambling With an Edge - guest poker pro Limon

This week's guest is Limon. He is a Los Angeles based poker pro and one of the hosts of Live at The Bike. You can find that show at liveatthebike.com

 podcast 
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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Gambling With an Edge - guest Jake Jacobs #3

Our guest this week is a blackjack, and backgammon professional and author of The Battered Butterfly. We talked to Jake about his many gambling exploits.

 podcast 
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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Gambling With an Edge - guest Ed Miller #8 on DFS

This week's guest is Ed Miller, poker author and player. His new book is called The Course, but today our discussion is on Daily Fantasy Sports. DFS is legal sports betting, and is rife with opportunities for the advantage gambler.


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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Gambling With an Edge - guest Ed Miller #7

This week's guest is Ed Miller, poker author and player. His new book is called The Course.


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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Gambling With an Edge - guest Bob Loeb

Our guest on the show this week is attorney Bob Loeb.  Bob is based in Chicago, and is the coauthor of Blackjack and the Law.  On this show we talk about a case of some players who beat a Keno machine to the tune of $1,200,000, and then had 80 felony charges brought against them. We also discuss an Illinois case where they are trying to prosecute some hole card players for cheating.


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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Gambling With an Edge - guest Jeff Hwang #2

This week's guest is Jeff Hwang, author of Pot Limit Omaha Poker.  We discuss Limit Omaha Hi Lo as well as developing new casino games.


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Sunday, April 19, 2015

An AP play worth 6 figures

Since I am only 29 I don't worry much about social security. But I have a lot of friends who are around 60, and they will be facing choices on when to start taking their social security benefits. Turns out that just like any game, the people who really understand how to play are going to make WAY more money than those who don't.  I recently picked up Get What's Yours by Kotlikoff, Moeller, and Soloman. Think of it as the Beat the Dealer of how to play the social security game.

There are several different ways you can get benefits, and different times when you can start collecting. In a nutshell, you can start getting money at 62, or you can wait until "Full Retirement Age" which is 66 (plus some months depending what year you were born) or you can wait until 70. The longer you wait, the more money you get every month. About 40% of the people start taking it at 62, and 1% wait until 70. That alone should tell you what the right play is. For the vast majority of people it is right to wait until 70. And they polled social security workers on the advice they give people. As you can imagine it is the equivalent of getting advice from a dealer on how to play blackjack... hopeless.

I can't boil down the whole book in one blog post - but here is one tip which alone is worth more than the cost of this book, and can easilly be worth 50k. Say you are married, and both you and your wife work. Let's say your incomes are about equal, and you are the same age. (although this works even better if there is an age difference.) When you hit 66 you "file and suspend". Basically the idea is you turn on your benefits, but then suspend them until 70. But now your wife can take spousal benefits for 4 years, and then when she hits 70 she can file her own. Basically you get an extra 4 years of payments for her at no cost. When you both turn 70 you get paid at a much higher rate.

If you are close to 60 this book is a must read. I give it... 4 aces.


Thursday, April 16, 2015

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Gambling With an Edge - guest Mohan Srivastava #2

This week's guest is Mohan Srivastava. Mohan cracked the code on several scratch off lottery games. We talk about beating the lottery. You can read about some of his exploits in this Wired magazine article. - Wired. Here is a link to the first time Mohan was on the show. Mohan #1

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Thursday, April 2, 2015

Gambling With an Edge - guest Bradley Davis

Our guest this week is Bradley Davis. We discuss his case with the IRS after they took issue with his filing as a part time professional gambler.


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