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!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Response to some emails

I've had some emails that I wanted to respond to, and now is as good a time as any. The first was from a new player that had a pit boss accuse him of counting cards. He wanted to know how he should handle that, and he had a concern about being flyered. He has heard that casinos will send out flyers about advantage players and he wants to be sure that it doesn't happen to him.

Let's start with the first question. What should you do when a boss comes up to you at the table, and says something like, "How long you been counting?" or "What count are you using?" Usually when a boss does this he is fishing. He suspects you are counting, but isn't sure so he wants to gauge your reaction. Many people strive for the clever response like, "Yeah, I counted them all and there are 316 cards in there," or "8 and 6, I got 14." Some people opt for the long story, "Yeah, I read one of those books, but it put me to sleep." I think the less said the better. You don't want to say anything that will make you memorable, and you want to leave as soon as possible without looking like you are running away. I think the complete non sequitur is a good choice, as if you didn't really hear or understand what he said. "Yeah, she should be here any minute but she is always late." That's a good time to receive a fake phone call and get up from the table. Pick up your chips while talking on the phone and head for the door. I think it is a bad idea to hang around and "convince" the boss that you are just a ploppy. The reason this is a bad idea is it gives the boss an opportunity to point you out to other bosses and compare notes. Nothing good can come of this. Just hit the door, and avoid that shift for a while.

You want to avoid getting flyered? I hate to break it to you, but if you play for any serious money there is no way to avoid it. Back-offs, barrings, and flyers are just a fact of life for anyone who bets serious money. If none of this is happening to you, then take a serious look at your game. You probably aren't a winning player.

Another player wrote to say he was accosted by security in one of the large chain casino in Las Vegas. He wasn't playing, just scouting games, and they said he had been 86ed. He argued that this was not true, and he had no idea what they were talking about. They gave him a name, and he said, "That isn't me. My name is X." He ended up showing them his ID, and they were now confused, and they let him go. So what happened?  I am pretty sure this was a case of the writer looking a lot like someone else. In poker we would call this a bad beat. The only thing you can do at that point is change your appearance as much as possible so you don't look like that picture floating around out there. Cut your hair, grow a beard, get contact lenses.

Many years ago in Korea my partner was pulled aside by a manager. He said, "We know who you are." My friend said, "What do you mean? Who do you think I am?" The manager said, "Steven Michael Goldberg." Now the old timers in the room will be laughing at this point. There was no greater insult this boss could have come up with. Steve Goldberg was the most vile, and reviled man in blackjack. His name came up a couple times in Gambling Wizards, and I referred to him as Ratso because he was still alive at the time. The name Ratso was due to a pet rat that he would allow to crawl around on him while conducting business. Anyway, our team had many a laugh over our member being barred as Steve Goldberg.

One more story. About 30 years ago my brother Jake was sitting on a blackjack table in the Tropicana in Las Vegas. He was betting quarters, and there was another guy at the table betting heavy black. The shift boss had come over and was talking to the big bettor. At one point he turned to Jake and said, "Are you a card counter?" My brother looked taken aback and said, "No, why would you say that?" The boss pointed at the other bosses in the pit and said, "Those guys think you're a card counter." Jake said, "Why do they think that?" The shift boss said, "I don't know. I'll go ask them." The shift boss came back with a Griffin flyer with a picture of Jake. The boss handed it over and said, "They think this is you." Jake's look was not what you would call nondescript. Think Santa Claus before his hair turned white. Jake said, "Well that kind of looks like me, but that's not me." The boss handed the flyer to the high-roller. "What do you think?" The high-roller said, "That looks like him." The boss said, "This isn't you?" "Nope." "And you're not a card counter? "Nope." "Do you swear you're not a card counter?" "Yep." "Okay, stand up and raise your right hand." Jake stood up and raised his right hand. The boss said, "Repeat after me. I swear I'm not a card counter." Jake said, "I swear I'm not a card counter." The shift boss said, "Okay, that's good enough for me," and walked away! One of my team mates happened to be in the Tropicana when this happened and witnessed the whole thing, so we had all heard the story already when he burst through the door saying, "You're never going to believe what just happened to me."

Keep those cards and letter coming.

1 comment:

Gold Rush Alaska Rumors said...

My response to every comment or question from the pit when they are fishing is: "I don't have a players card but my wife does. I don't believe in them."

No matter what they ask, act like you misunderstood them. They usually go away, but if they don't and ask again, just say 'What? What do you mean?' and act distracted, like they're breaking your concentration. By this time they will think you're a moron and wander away. Never ever explain anything, they've heard it all. Acting like a moron fits with their view of you and they always believe it.