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!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Blackjack Ball 2013

Last weekend was the 17th annual Blackjack Ball. This is my favorite party of the year since it allows me to see so many people that I only see once a year. It is a gathering of professional gamblers of the highest level.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Where to eat in Las Vegas

I was in Las Vegas this weekend for the Blackjack Ball which I will describe in another post. But I thought I would take some time to pass along some of my favorite places to eat outside the casinos. I am not going to write long reviews of these places, but I'm linking each of them to their Yelp page so you can see reviews from other people. The fact that I am including them here means I like them enough that I go back time and again to these places.

We arrived on Friday afternoon, and stopped for lunch at the Sunrise Cafe. This is a great spot for breakfast or lunch. They have omelettes, sandwiches, and wraps, and are open from 7am to 3pm.

They are located at 8975 S. Eastern which is on Eastern just north of the 215 Freeway.

Dinner Friday was at Tofu Hut. This is a small Korean restaurant located on Spring Mountain in Chinatown.

They have Korean BBQ, and really great soups. The address is 3920 Spring Mountain Rd. and they are open for lunch and dinner.

Late Friday I went to meet a group of friends at Komol. Komol is in Commercial Center, and is a Thai restaurant. It is right across the parking lot from Lotus of Siam.
Lotus of Siam has been talked about as one of the best Thai restaurants in the US. Komol is almost as good, and you will have a much easier time getting in without a reservation.

Saturday morning we had breakfast at The Hash House.
The Hash House is another great breakfast spot. They make their own hash of course, but they also make their own hot sauces, and jellys. Or is it jam? I never understood the difference. Anyway, they have 6 or 8 flavors ranging from jalapeno to the more normal flavors. Check it out.
Saturday night we attended a dinner party so no restaurants to report there.

We took off Sunday morning, and met friends for breakfast at The New Day Cafe.

This is a good breakfast place in the South East part of town, located at 467 E Silverado Ranch Blvd. Ste 100. This is just down the street from the South Point Casino, so a good location for you people on the south end of town.

For you people that like to visit Las Vegas you really should take the time to get out of the casinos and explore some of the local's joints. There is some excellent food to be had, and at half the price.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Gambling With an Edge - guest Angela Wyman

The guest this week is Angela Wyman, model, actress, and former party pit dealer.
Click to listen - Alt click to download

Quote of the day

"Just when I thought I was out... they pull me back in."
Michael Corleone in The Godfather III

Like Michael Corleone I have been pulled back in again. Starting next week I will be back cohosting Gambling With an Edge. Most episodes I will have to do over the phone, but I'm happy to be back doing the show on a regular basis.

Monday, January 21, 2013

To card, or not to card. That is the question.

There is a lot of debate on the internet on whether or not one should use a player's card. As my loyal readers know, I usually fall on the side of not using one. But I realized recently that the reason I advocate not using a player's card is because I assume I am talking to professional advantage players. But many of my readers are not professionals, so it begs the question: should you use a players card or not? Like many questions the answer is... it depends. Let's look at some different types of players, and who should use a card, and who should not.

The recreational gambler.
You like to gamble, and don't count cards or do anything that might get you backed off in a casino. Of course you should use a player's card. You should sign up for every player's card you can, and try to learn as much as you can about how their system works so you can take advantage of as many freebies as possible. When you gamble you are giving money to the casino, so you might as well try to get as much of it back as you can. Pick up a copy of Comp City to aid in that pursuit. Remember, the squeaky wheel gets the grease, so don't be afraid to ask. Can I get a free room, buffet comp, steak house? The worst that happens is they say no. Also, after playing ask the boss, "How much did you have as my buy-in?" Make sure to correct him if he had it wrong.

The Professional.
Just say no. I promise you will regret it. Don't do it... except when you should. If I am flying into Peoria to play a game worth $500 an hour, I can afford pay for my own room, and I have $10 for the buffet. Professionals realize that comps are an advantage play in and of themselves. For example, say you can go to The MGM for a weekend, and get tickets for Ka, tickets for a Paquiao fight, and they will reimburse your plane tickets (even though you live in Vegas). You can get $2,500 cash for all that. A pro is willing to give them 5 hours of high-limit break even play. That equals $500 per hour in ev right? Why would you want to mess that up by counting cards or doing something else that could get you backed off? Your ev comes from the comps, not the play.

Do not fall for the myth that you can't play as a refusal. In my interview with table games director Mike Patterson he said that 30-50% of their players are refusals. Are they looking at all of them? Of course not. Save your good name for the juicy promotions. But say you disagree. Say you use your player's card until the day you get backed off or barred. Now your name is toast everywhere. Now what are you going to do? Now you can't use your name, so... now you play as a refusal? Now you can't take advantage of a great promotion or "invitation only" event even if you wanted to. If you now are going to play as a refusal wouldn't it have been better to be one to start with and still have a good name? There are two other choices; get a legal name change, and hopefully you have learned your lesson and will keep the new name reserved for special things, or use a fake ID. I highly recommend you DO NOT use a fake ID. In the old days, pre 9/11, this was not such a big deal. Now it is a very big deal. My son has a close friend who was recently busted with a fake ID. He is 19 and stupid, and like many college kids had a fake ID so he could go drink. He was charged with a felony. I know several people who have been busted with fake IDs, and for every one of them it was a major hassle. One of them has a felony conviction. (Fortunately the 19 year old got off after spending thousands in attorney fees.)

The amateur counter or semi-pro
These are the people I hear form the most regarding player's cards. They don't play for a living, but approach counting in a serious way. They tell me, "I don't have the bankroll to play high enough for your MGM example, and comps represent a significant portion of my ev." I get it. In fact, for most of you the comps are worth more than the blackjack. But ask yourself, "what is my time worth?" With very little play at a Caesars property, or a Coast property you can get tons of free rooms in the mail. I know several people who lived in hotel rooms in Vegas for months without ever paying for a room or a meal. I know one guy who did this for about 2 years! Isn't it worth a few hours of your time to rack up these comps? Say you figure 3 days with room and food is worth $600. If you can get those comped with 3 hours play, that is $200 per hour. Your counting is probably only earning you $50 and hour. So earn the comps in a way that won't get you barred. Surely your name is worth that. You may want to add some video poker to your repertoire  Video poker is a really good way to earn comps, and get cash in  the mail. Use your card for the video poker, but when you head over to the tables play as a refusal.

The bottom line is this. Your name is valuable. Its main value is it gives you the ability to earn comps. So only use it when you are specifically using it to earn those comps.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Quote of the day

"If you see a guy here in Reno, and then you see him a month later in a casino on one of the Caribbean islands, you know he's working."
Richard Marcus

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Gambling With an Edge - guest Ted Straton

The guest this week is Ted Straton talking about how to live free in Las Vegas by using comps.
Click to listen - alt click to download

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Gambling With an Edge - guest Stanford Wong

The guest this week is Stanford Wong. Wong is on to talk about his newsletter Current Blackjack News, and real estate investing in Las Vegas.

Click to listen - Alt click to download

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Name That Casino

It's everyone's favorite game show - Name That Casino. Three casinos, three different cities.

What? They never heard of shooting craps?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Gambling With an Edge - guest Mark Billings

The guest this week is Mark Billings, author of The Bias Wheel Handbook, and The Ultimate Edge. This episode focuses on roulette.
Click to listen - Alt click to download