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Best of Frank Scoblete
The horror of card counting21 July 2015
I was not sure when you wrote this article, so if everybody at the table has pat 19s, 20s and blackjacks this round, the next few rounds are not likely to be very good for the players. Bet small or not at all, but with so many decks being used, how can we be so sure?
It is amazing how often the dealer gets a 10 when he needs a 10, or how often I see dealers get a five- or six-card 20 and 21.
FRANK RESPONDS: If you are counting cards, you will know whether the remaining cards in the show favor the players or favors the casinos. You can’t just tell from round to round if the house has the edge or if the player has the edge. Only accurate counting cards can tell you that.
As for seeing those awful hands that dealers sometimes get, that is selective memory. But here is an example excerpted from my book “I Am a Card Counter: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Blackjack.” This took place on my second trip to Atlantic City after a great first trip.
“I was truly a strutting cock of the Boardwalk after that first visit and then we went back to Atlantic City a few weeks later and I was the cock that got squashed by a car while trying to cross the road. I had put aside five thousand dollars as a bankroll, and during that first trip we doubled it. This second trip saw me lose every penny of that money – every penny of our win and every penny of my initial bankroll.
“My final destruction occurred at the Claridge in the high roller room when I had a bet of $2,500 on the table on various hands that I had split, resplit and doubled on. I was so convinced that my bad luck had to (had to!) change that I was betting way too much for my almost non-existent bankroll.
“Succinctly, I was a complete idiot, trying to recover all my money in just a few hands. I was on tilt; I wasn’t thinking straight – hell, I wasn’t thinking at all. I was the very ‘ploppy’ player I have made fun of over the years.
“At this moment of the ‘Frank Scoblete is the Titanic about to hit the iceberg,’ the count was sky high; my hands went from 18 to 20. The dealer was showing a six. He had to have a 10 in the hole because so many small cards had already been played and I was sure he would bust with his piddling 16 and I would come roaring back and recapture my original 5K stake.
“From there on, casino ownership had only been delayed by a small losing streak. Move over Steve Wynn and Donald Trump, the new boy, Frank Scoblete, card counter, was in town.
“The dealer flipped over his hole card. Oh, yeah, a 10! He had 16, just as I thought.
“My heart was racing with joy; it was racing with excitement. Then something hit me; a small thought in the back of my mind that now came roaring to the front of my mind, I haven’t seen many fives during this shoe. I started to sweat. I started to really, really sweat and everything went in slow motion from this point – at least that is how my memory sees it.
“Slow motion: He pulls out a card from the shoe and slowly flips it over. Slow motion as the card flips: A five! Slow motion first on my forehead, then on my nose, then on the layout: A bead of sweat goes down my nose and drops onto the table. A five, oh, my God, a f**king five!
“I was busted. I had lost every penny I had reserved to play blackjack and start my casino-playing career in order to get myself out of debt. On one flip of the cards I had lost $2,500. In one trip, I had lost $10,000. My gambling stake was gone. My confidence was gone. The casino I was going to buy was gone. I was, at that moment, the ultimate loser.
“On the way back to Long Island, the Beautiful A.P. and I stopped at the Captain’s house. [The late, great Captain of Craps was my gambling mentor.] As soon as he saw us, he smiled and said, ‘There they are with empty pockets.’”
Yes, blackjack can be a heartbreaking game even if you have the edge.
For your letter I am sending you a copy of my book “The Virgin Kiss.”
Frank Scoblete’s new book is “I Am a Dice Controller: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Craps.” Available from Amazon.com, on Kindle and at bookstores.
This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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