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, 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?

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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.

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