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!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Cyber Scouting

On Gambling With an Edge Bob and I had several shows where we talked about the importance of scouting.  I mentioned that it is important to check all the games in the casino, not just blackjack. This is especially true in casinos outside of Las Vegas where they are less savvy and often decide to run some promotion on a game where they really don't understand the math behind what they are doing.  Scouting is time consuming.  You could spend all day just scouting the casinos on the corner of Tropicana and the strip.

But there is another type of scouting that can be done from the comfort of your home.  I call it cyber scouting and I recently had some email questions asking if I could elaborate.  I break cyber scouting into two categories, news, and forums.  First let's talk about news.  Scouring news sources brings you information like: When the new casinos will be opening in Ohio (mid May) or places that are building new casinos (Fiji and Cyprus), or countries that are thinking of legalizing gambling (Japan).  You may find information on a cheating scam or new books coming out; all sorts of things turn up in my news sources.  So where do I find all this stuff?  Here is a list of the sources and websites I scan.

Google Reader is a collector of news and blogs that you choose.  Say there is a website that you like to read, that changes periodically, like this one.  You don't want to keep checking the site to see if there is something new, well Google reader will do it for you.  Whenever something new gets posted it will show up on your Google reader page.  Gambling sites that I subscribe to in Google Reader, The Wizard of Odds, The Bear Growls, Blair Rodman's blog, and the most informative is Online Gambling News at  That feed alone sends 15-20 gambling stories a day to my reader.  Many of them I can skip because they are about online gambling in Europe, or poker news that doesn't interest me, but it is still a great resource.

Google News  is a news aggregator that you can tell to search for news stories about gambling, poker, blackjack, or whatever you like.

Trapit This is another news aggregator and I like this site a lot.

BJ21 Newsletter This is a newsletter from Stanford Wong's site.  It is good but it only comes out once a week.

The Catwalk This is a newsletter for surveillance people that often has good articles by Bill Zender.

The next category is forums.  These are the forums I check, some much more than others.

The thing about forums is there is a LOT of crap you have to wade through to find a little interesting or useful information.  Rarely will you find someone posting something like - I live in Podunk Utah and my local casino is having a promotion this weekend where blackjack pays 3 to 1, but it does happen.  The reason that forums are so valuable is because of the contacts you can make there. If you read people's posts you can tell pretty quickly who is a newbie, who believes in voodoo, who is a blowhard, and who just wants to stir up an argument.  But I also find that there are 5% or maybe less that are there for the same reasons I am.  They may still be new, or not have a big bankroll, but are serious.  I have made some tremendous friends that have become team mates just from talking to people in chat rooms.  I have made contacts all over the world on these forums. That means, I don't have to fly to Singapore to scout the new casinos; I know someone who lives there.

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