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!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Gambling With an Edge - guest Mohan Srivastava

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. Also on the show we mention a story Mohan wrote about Scrabble. You can read that story here. Scrabble Story.

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Gambling With an Edge - guest Arnold Snyder

This week's guest is Arnold Snyder. We talk about some gambling stories in the news, and some thoughts on James Grosjean's latest blog posts.
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Friday, July 4, 2014

Gambling With an Edge - guest Bob Nersesian #10

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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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Gambling With an Edge - advantage players David & Kyle

Our guests this week are named David and Kyle. These are 2 advantage players that successfully sued Virgin River Casino in Mesquite Nevada. They settled their case for $199,999, and were represented by frequent guest of our show, attorney Bob Nersesian.

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Gambling With an Edge - guest Jimmy Jazz on low roller strategies for comp hustling

The guest on the show this week is Jimmy Jazz. Jimmy talks about strategies for low rollers to get everything free in Las Vegas.

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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Reader mail - Beating Roulette

Recently in the mail bag I received...

"Can you suggest a strategy or book to help me master the game of roulette?"

Super Fan

Dear Super Fan,

I hope you are not asking about a system based on something like - 5 red numbers came up in a row so I should bet on black. Or, 5 red numbers came up so I should now bet red because it is hot. Or, I should bet 1 chip and if it loses bet 2, then 4 then, 8 etc. No betting system, nor a system based on what came up in the last few spins can overcome the house edge at roulette.

With that said there are 3 ways we can talk about beating roulette that can actually work.

1. You can beat roulette with the use of a computer. Ed Thorpe who wrote Beat the Dealer was the first I am aware of to use this approach. Back in the 60s he built a hidden computer that he could wear into a casino. The computer times the speed of the wheel turning, and the speed of the ball, and then makes a prediction as to where the ball will land in the wheel. Obviously technology has come a long way since the 60s, and most of us carry very powerful computers in our pocket every day. Developing a program that will beat roulette would not be an easy task, and getting away with it might be even more difficult. WARNING - Most states have made it illegal to use a computer in a casino. Many foreign countries also have laws against using electronic devices, so if this is your plan be sure to research the laws carefully. If you are interested in an entertaining book about the exploits of one team who used computers to play roulette pick up The Eudaemonic Pie.

2. You can beat roulette by visually tracking the ball. The idea is you use your brain to do the same thing the computer was doing in the previous method. This is not something that is easy to learn. It requires hundreds if not thousands of hours of practice, and you would need to buy a full size roulette wheel which can cost $7,000 to $12,000. And the problem is, just as in a hand held blackjack game where you raise your bet and the dealer shuffles the cards - as soon as you start winning the dealers will call "No more bets" earlier and earlier. Also this move was much more feasible back when roulette wheels had deep pockets. Most wheel today are what they call "low profile" which means the ball bounces around a lot more before landing. The bottom line is that IF you can learn to do this then under ideal conditions you may have a very large edge. But finding these opportunities may be few and far between. The only book that I'm aware of about this technique is Professional Roulette Prediction which I reviewed here. Review. Here is a link to our podcast of Gambling With an Edge on which we had the author of this book Laurance Scott. PODCAST

3. The third method is almost as old as casino gambling. Going back to the 1800s people discovered that a roulette wheel is a machine, and machines are not always engineered perfectly. They wear unevenly and do not always act randomly. They started writing down the numbers that had hit, and eventually found that certain numbers had a bias. This method is also not a way to a fast buck. It requires the recording of thousands of wheel spins, and even then it is tricky to determine whether a wheel actually has a bias. And don't think you can just stand around a wheel writing down numbers. People get backed off for doing exactly that. There is only one book I'm aware of that details the math involved in determining roulette bias, and unfortunately it is out of print. The book is The Bias Wheel Handbook by Mark Billings.. But maybe if you set up eBay alerts it will pop up there one day. Mark was a guest on our show and you can hear that episode here. PODCAST

Just as a side note, (and a shameless plug) if you haven't read the story of Billy Walters winning millions of dollars at roulette in Atlantic City pick up Gambling Wizards.

So there you have it, from one of the oldest advantage plays, to the most modern. None of them easy, but all have been used to make millions of dollars. Good luck Super Fan, and keep those cards and letters coming.

Gambling With an Edge - guest Joseph Kerr on Advantage Cruising

The guest on the show this week is Joseph Kerr. Joseph is an advantage player from Florida who has found a number of advantage plays on cruises. Sounds like a great way to take a vacation, and earn money at the same time.

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Saturday, June 7, 2014

My favorite new app

Have you ever been in the middle of nowhere, and you say, "I know there is a casino around here somewhere." You drive around, but you just can't find it. Well your problems are solved. I've always been a fan of the book American Casino Guide, but now they have an app. Open the app and they have a buttons for "Casinos nearby," "Find Casinos" and "Special offers." Open the link to a casino you're looking for, and at the bottom will be a button that says "directions" and another for "map". Hit directions and it will bring up your phone's navigator with turn by turn instructions on how to get there.

Under "special offers" you'll find thing like 2 for 1 buffets, 20% off at a spa, or $5 match plays. This is a must have app for anyone who spends time in casinos. Best of all - it's free. Download the app at the Google play store here. American Casino guide App.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Gambling With an Edge - guest Eric Raskin author of The Moneymaker Effect

The guest on the show this week is Eric Raskin. His new book is called The Moneymaker Effect about the World Series of Poker of 2003 where Chris Moneymaker won the main event.

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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Gambling With an Edge - guest Andy Bloch #3

The guest on the show this week is Andy Bloch. Andy is a very well known professional poker player, and a former member of the MIT blackjack team. We talk about the upcoming WSOP.

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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Gambling With an Edge - Learning to Count Cards.

We have no guest this week. We continue our series on learning games from scratch. This week we discuss how to go about learning to count cards.

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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Gambling With an Edge - guest Ed Miller #6

This week's guest is Ed Miller, poker author and player. Our topic this week is how to learn to play winning poker starting from scratch.

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Monday, May 5, 2014

Ben Affleck & the Vegas casinos

If your friends and family know you are interested in blackjack, then I'm sure by now you have been emailed, texted, and facebook tagged with articles about Ben Affleck being backed off at The Hard Rock in Las Vegas for counting cards. Ben's problems started a couple weeks ago when, according to Radar Online, Game Protection Manager at the Wynn and Encore casinos Rob Olivetti sent out an email to the other casinos in Las Vegas saying that Affleck was moving his money with the count. Ben, this is called "getting fliered." Welcome to my world.

A few days after  this flier went out Affleck was playing at the Hard Rock. He was surrounded by security, and barred from ever playing blackjack again at that property. I have a few questions.

Dear Hard Rock,

This story has received international attention. It is in over 100 newspapers, and numerous TV shows. Do you think that people reading this story are more likely or less likely to want to visit the Hard Rock?

Do you think there is value in having Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner in your casino? I hear that people like Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian are paid 6 figures to show up at Vegas nightclubs. How much would your marketing department  be willing to pay to have them play for a few hours?  So what if you said to him, "Ben, you are obviously a very good card counter, and we'd love to let you keep playing, but we can only let you spread 1-5 on this double deck cut in half. So if he plays 2 hands spreading from 2k to 10k he is making $6,000 per hour. Is it not worth $24,000 to have Batman and Elektra in your casino for the evening? That is his win rate if he doesn't make any mistakes. If he plays perfectly. Remember this is a guy who uses chips to help him keep the count. Now betting that much he may win or lose $300k. If he wins your marketing people get the headline..

Ben Affleck wins a MILLION DOLLARS while partying like a Rock Star at the Hard Rock!

(we all know you're going to inflate it)  And if he loses you get

Ben & Jennifer party like Rock Stars at the Hard Rock.

And Ben, what a wasted opportunity. Have you not read the stories about Don Johnson winning $15 million? If you had just hooked up with some real pros we could have got you more ev than Don Johnson had.  I shudder to think what you could have won with the right people behind you.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Gambling With an Edge - guest Jeffrey Compton publisher of CDC Gaming Reports

Our guest this week is Jeffrey Compton, the publisher of CDC Gaming Reports.  

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Gambling With an Edge - guest Richard Marcus, author of American Roulette part 2

This week our guest is Richard Marcus. Richard was a casino cheat, and tonight we will be talking about his book American Roulette. This is the second part of our interview. Part 1 can be heard here - Part 1

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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Gambling With an Edge - guest Bob Nersesian #9

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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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Gambling With an Edge - guest Dusty from the Church Team - Holy Rollers

Our guest this week is Dusty. Dusty was part of the Church Team, a group of card counting Christians featured in the movie Holy Rollers. You can read my review of that movie here -  Holy Rollers.  

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Gambling With an Edge - guest Anthony Curtis 4

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

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High Roller Las Vegas

The new Linq Mall has opened between Harrah's and The Quad in Las Vegas. It's an open air mall filled mostly with bars and restaurants.

The High Roller is at the east end, and is the tallest observation wheel in the world. I went yesterday, April 9th at about 2pm. The wheel has only been open a week, and it was empty when I went.

They encourage you to get drunk to ride this thing but I took a pass on the $12 cocktails. Tickets during the day are $24.95 and at night they are 34.95.

Boarding Area

One thing surprised me. As you can imagine there is a video screen with some guy prattling on. At one point he said, "Right now we are 420 feet up. That's right, 420. You know what that means. We're high." This surprised me that marijuana has become so mainstream. It is kind of a perfect joke since the people who get it will really appreciate, and the people who don't won't be offended. If you don't get it just google 420.

The ride takes 30 minutes, and really 10 would have been plenty.

Bellagio fountain

I saw some pictures of the ride at sunset, and that would be a much better time to get great photos. The best parking is a large free lot just east of the High Roller which you can access off Koval or off Linq Lane. I did the big wheel in Chicago with my son about 15 years ago. That one was open air, and we went in December. This was a much better experience than that, but I wouldn't go again. Maybe I've just been around Vegas too long.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Player Secrets of a Vegas Whale

I opened Netflix last night only to see this in my recommended list. How could I not watch? The Player is 45 minutes of what I would call "Newsotainment"; not really news, and not really entertaining. It is the story of how Don Johnson won $15 million in Atlantic City by exploiting their loss rebate program.

The show is filled with a lot of fluff. The actual time spent on what Don Johnson did maybe totals 10 minutes. The rest of the time is spent talking about how the economic collapse of 2008 effected CET, MGM, and Wynn. There are interviews with Steve Wynn, Jim Murren (CEO of MGM), and Gary Loveman. (CEO of Caesars). Now either Gary Loveman has no clue as to what goes on in his casinos, or he is a blatant liar. When Trish Regan asks him about DJ being barred at Caesars properties he says, "We can't, or wouldn't bar you from coming to the casino." Really? Would you like a list of just the people who have sued CET for being handcuffed and mistreated while being 86ed for doing nothing illegal?

Unfortunately I'm and addict. For me these shows are like pizza - even when it's bad it is still pretty good. The more you already know about the Don Johnson story, the less you will like this show. One tidbit the show brings out that hasn't been mentioned much in other places is his use of porn stars. The idea is the dealer and pit get so distracted by the girls they make errors. One or two errors a night and DJ now has an overall edge. If you're bored some night and scrolling through Netflix you might check it out.

The show was originally made for Bloomberg TV, so if you don't have Netflix you can also watch it here. The Player.