View Full Version : Leaving Las Vegas

10-26-2006, 12:24 PM
This came up in a conversation the other day.....something that happened around 1970.
I used to have a gambling problem....still have it, but no $$ to feed the addiction. Like any addiction...it's always just one step away.
Some years back,I took my 4 months pay from a trip to Australia, and headed for Sin City. I managed to last about 10 days, with decreasing amounts spent on food. Craps fascinated me....but my biggest one day loss, was the day after watching a James Bond movie on TV...then walking by a Baccarat table that was just opening for business. James never lost a hand it seemed, and the game looked easy. I was the only player, and since it's an even game, I bet on "player" instead of "Bank"....and lost 10 bets in a row. The odds against that are staggering....and I think I staggered away from the table.
Being broke in Vegas is no fun, esp if you don't have anything to pawn...a Rolex, wedding ring, wife, kids....
The only valuable commodity I had was my blood...and I sold a pint. I even struck out there...Irish Catholic A-negative blood sold for only $5 a pint, it was as common as unfiltered tap water...while some of the more exotic blends A-B, and anything positive brought in as much as $15, as I remember.
$5 isn't much of a bankroll, to win back the lost hundreds, but I gave it a try...I almost attracted an investor in my dice throwing expertise. He had the idea to back my rolls for $1....while he would be betting $10 a roll against me. It was a super, can't miss idea, that fizzled out after I won $3, while he lost $30. He left without saying goodbye.
Well staying up the night with no place to sleep, and no $$ to buy food....I decided it was time to get out of Dodge. Took a GI shower in the Greyhound Bus depot men's room, donned the same suit I had been wearing for 3 or 4 days....it had acquired a nice patina, and a strange odor, probably from the Casino...and set out to hitchhike to LA, where I had some friends that were about to get an uninvited house guest. At the same spot I choose to hitchhike, less than 100 ft away was a "hippie" type, with the same idea.
For some reason cars seemed to speed up and change lanes when they got near enough to spot us. After an hour or so,of competing for a ride, we decided to hitchhike together. We were both hungry, starved actually, and I think his agreement to the merger was the thought that I, resplendent in my $60 suit, might have some $$....and I would have, except the blood bank had turned me down ...they don't accept "donations" two days in a row....even though I pointed out I would still have about 5 pints left.
My new associate had a can of tomato soup however, or tomato juice...seemed like it was in between a #10 and a small size...enough to sustain life however for another few hours.
Problem was neither of us had a can opener....but my partner proved resourceful.....this part is a bit hard to believe, and may be one of the reasons we couldn't get a ride...he had a bow and arrow.
So there we were, on the shoulder of a major highway...trying to shoot a hole in a can of tomato soup, or juice. He wasn't that good a shot either, I think it took 3 or 4 shots to save us from dying of starvation.
We did manage to get picked up by a guy in a late model car, with some good horsepower. I took the back seat, and as he was driving down the road, doing about 80, he pulled out a doobie in the shape of a cigar,and had the bright idea of having the other guy steer from the passenger side, while he lit up and took a couple of tokes.
That's when I knew if the chips were really down, I would seek to make peace with the Lord.
I no longer gamble, but do invest in the market.
In 1997 I invested over $3 million in stocks, with an account valued under $50k...You could do that then, by day trading on margin. I think I managed to earn under $10k.
Cal state which had a record of my sales, but not my buys, decided I owed them $355,000 and change. When I called to inquire about the debt, the absurdity of the situation hit me, and I started laughing, and when she said, "you're taking this very well" then I couldn't stop....the tears were rolling down my face...I had to hang up.
Fortunately a pool playing IRS agent and a pool player studying to become a certified financial player got me off the hook with both the IRS and the state.

10-26-2006, 12:37 PM

Jack was that you, really?

10-26-2006, 12:45 PM
Good story and I won't even say, "Verbose"....By the way, I should have never picked you up that day, long ago. You stained the rear seat of my caddy and the hippy stole my last joint. I do have one piece of advice for a succesful gambler like you, Take up bowling!


10-26-2006, 02:38 PM
I bet you still can't shoot straight

10-26-2006, 08:54 PM
I think I bought that suit in a pawn shop. Good memories thanks.

10-26-2006, 10:51 PM
Verbose ??? I actually had shortened the story somewhat. Needing a place to sit down, stay out of the cold, and not by roused by the local gendarme, I settled on a casino bar. Behind the bar was a glass wall, behind that was the lounge where Frank Sinatra Jr. was performing. This was before they cut off his ear to see if he really was tone deaf, I guess.

I managed to catch the whole act, while sipping on one drink. The lounge itself had a two drink minimum....but in reality you feel you need 3 or 4 drinks to get you through the show....it could have been worse ...it could have been Nancy up there. Frank Jr. is like a cheap carbon copy of Frank Sr. Sort of like GW...oops, we can't go there.
It was now about 3 a.m. and few people walk the strip at 3, let alone begin to walk downtown like I was doing. In fact there were only two people trekking downtown on foot; myself and in the distance, I could hear footsteps. I walk at a decent pace, but the footsteps behind me were getting closer. It took maybe to the end of the strip before he over took me....and just a few strides later before he bent down to pick up a shiny object, which proved to be a silver dollar.
You read in the newspaper sometimes where people get killed over small amounts of money...and to this day, the guy doesn't know just how close he came....

Gayle in MD
10-27-2006, 08:31 AM
What a story...you really should write a book about some of your adventures. Good story teller. I always enjoy them. Boy, I'm glad to have some kind of natural aversion to gambling. Guess thats why I prefer Real Estate, to the stock market, lol.


10-27-2006, 09:38 AM
Cut off his ear? I thought the kidnapping turned out
to be a hoax? I wouldn't have minded kidnapping Nancy
and let those boots walk all over me.

10-27-2006, 09:43 AM
That $1 I believe was meant for me, and could have changed my whole life. A large jackpot on the slots machine, or maybe equalling the legendary 27 straight passes on the dice by a sailor, at the Sahara Tahoe...the dice were on display along with the story. He won a grand total of $700, while people were offering $500 just for room at the table to get in on the action.
Who knows what I would have done with the $$...buy this mag perhaps, and there would be no political controversy here...there would be no right wingers allowed....or with that $$, I might have yielded to the dark side, and switched ranks...you know how them libs are always trying to get our money.

10-28-2006, 12:50 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote wolfdancer:</font><hr> ... I used to have a gambling problem....still have it, but no $$ to feed the addiction. Like any addiction...it's always just one step away. Some years back,I took my 4 months pay from a trip to Australia, and headed for Sin City. I managed to last about 10 days, with decreasing amounts spent on food. Craps fascinated me....but my biggest one day loss, was the day after watching a James Bond movie on TV...then walking by a Baccarat table that was just opening for business. James never lost a hand it seemed, and the game looked easy. I was the only player, and since it's an even game, I bet on "player" instead of "Bank"....and lost 10 bets in a row. The odds against that are staggering....and I think I staggered away from the table... <hr /></blockquote>

Woolfy -- this is your lucky day -- i have a good gambling system for u -- i developed it for baccarat, but baccarat is too slow (for me), so i ended up sticking to blackjack -- but, if u have the time and patience, u can give it (baccarat) a go.

My mate from Sydney uses my system for his favorite game -- roulette -- and he wins about 9 days in 10 -- a loss is usually about $100 to $150 -- a win is $35 to $100. He goes to the casino 3 times a week -- free bus -- he was invited to join the high-roller club, even tho he never bets big -- so now he sits with the big boys, and takes his girlfriend along to feast on cheap drinks and meals in the club's restaurant.

Funny thing, he gets my system to show a profit with the american wheel, ie a casino edge of 5% -- i keep telling him to look for a monte-carlo wheel, edge 3% -- but, like i said, i developed the system for baccarat, 1.5% edge.

There are 3 tricks to my system.
1.... Firstly, the over-educated math crowd do not know how to work out probabilities -- they dont realise that in an even-money bet, the punter enjoys a 0.66% edge (approx) over the bank, if he/she uses good money-management. I developed a computer program to work this stuff out for myself -- but i am not 100% certain of the exact figure (ie it might be 0.70%), koz microsoft's random number generator (excel) prooved to be a heap of [censored] (for my requirements). Anyhow, u havta use a smart money management system. Look at it this way -- i am sure that if i went to the casino every day for a year, with the aim of losing $100 each day, i would be sure to be $3650 down at the end of the year -- a smart system more or less reverses this sort of result.

2..... Nextly, u havta use a betting system -- for instance, doubling up is one such ( but stupid) system, probably the sort of system that u used in 1970. The role of the betting system is to get some action happening, as cheaply as possible. This action will get your bank going up and down, hopefully with some largish swings, preferably up of course, but up-and-down-and-up etc will do just fine.

3..... If the bank's edge is more than 0.66%, u will loose in the long-run. But, here we come back to the silly math-crowd's stupid idea of what the long-run is -- in my sort of system, the long-run is longer than a life-time -- hence it is possible for my Sydney mate to be well up in the short run (ie, 3 years in his case), even tho playing against a suicide-wheel (-5% edge). I could write a program to examine the odds etc, but the earlyr work took me 3 solid months, and this other stuff will be much more difficult, ie it could take 12 months.

I hope that this will whet your latent appetite, and change your life. How far is it to the closest casino down your way???

10-28-2006, 05:25 AM
Ya know, while I was reading this story I was thinking that this is the sort of situation me or DeeMan would get into. I once went to Vegas with nothing but a sock full of pennies. I had no illusions about making any money. My only goal was food and drink. The buffets were cheap and as long as you were at a table the drinks were free.

I played blackjack well enough to break even for hours on end. The hotel room I shared was paid for in advance. Some dealers I could just win against. I would get on a streak against them and they would rotate the dealers. If I started to lose a couple of hands against the new guy. I would quit. I came up against one dealer I just couldn't beat. I had five hands of 20,20,21,20 and 21 right in a row. The guy matched me on every hand. On the fourth hand I got 20 and he got 21. I played one more hand. I got 21 and so did he. I quit.

I made it through the week in pretty good shape and still had some pennies left. I managed to party some and keep myself fed.

10-28-2006, 11:22 AM
There was a famous money management system in the past, began with an "M"...it wasn't a double up system though...there are two reasons why gamblers lose eventually....the house had the odds in their favor, and while the house can last through a losing streak....few gamblers can. There's actually a third reason that's hard to understand. Most player's are betting small when they are on a winning streak, and "doubling up", betting high during a losing streak.I once read where most players are underfinanced, to get through a losing streak...the rule was if you had $1,000 you should be a $1 better.
Problem there is...there's no thrill in a $1 bet....the bets become orgasmic only if you risk enough. It's the action, not the winning that is the addiction. winning only lets you stay at the table a bit longer.John Daly came in second in the SF golf tournament this year, and lost it all in a day.
I've tried the basic counting system in blackjack count the 16 high cards and the 16 low cards...doesn't help much when they keep dealing you 12, and hitting you with a face card.
All of the Chinese games are an even bet...with the house raking in a 5% commission on your wins. i never could figure Pai Gow out, which uses dominos...but it is the forerunner of Baccarat....the one Chinese game I did figure out involved an ever changing pile of beans...the dealer then raked them off 4 at a time...until there were 4 or less remaining....your bet would have been on 1 through 4.
why anybody would bet on an American Wheel...0 and 00
instead of the European wheel with just 0....crazy.
There was a book out some years ago..."Six against the house" about a team of 6 players using a betting system to beat the European Roulette wheels. They all bet opposite even money bets...black/red...odd/even....high/low...and with a money management system took advantage of the inherent streaks that occur...eventually they were banned from all the casinos.
If you Google gambling money management systems....you won't have to rent Cray computer time to work out your own system.
your mate is riding a lucky streak...he should enjoy it while he can. there was a legendary gambler in Vegas, not Nick the Greek....who made millions over a period of years. Had the habit of making good on high odds bets...like snake eyes (12) which pays 30 to 1 Vs the true odds of 35 to 1.
Eventually he went flat broke, and they wouldn't even let him into a Casino.
Best true gambling story i ever read...Binions had a $10k limit on bets at the craps table, but if you arranged it in advance, Benny would remove the limit.
Young guy walks in with 2 suitcases, is escorted over to the table, opens the one filled with cash $777,000 and bets it on the "Don't Pass" Woman rolls a nine and a couple of rolls later, 7's out. they fill the other suitcase up with a matching amount and he leaves.

10-28-2006, 11:25 AM
My friend's wife dealt Blackjack in Reno...she was one of their top dealers...but Casinos also believe in luck. If it looked like she was having a bad day, they would send her home.
One thing that always bothered me though....she would brag about beating somebody out of ther money...as if it were a personal thing.

10-28-2006, 03:27 PM
My gambling library is at my mountain home, i am at my bush home -- but i seem to recall that the M stands for Martingale (system). Basically the limits at a casino are in place to protect the casino. In the (few) years that i played bj, i won about as much when not counting as i did when counting.

I dont go to the (melbourne) casino any more -- they have changed the rules of blackjack over the years to favor the house even more-so (can only split aces once etc etc) -- and the smallest game is now $10 (used to be $5) -- but u karnt find a bj table koz most tables are nowadayz silly versions of 21 -- but u karnt get a seat, koz there are 100's of asian gamblers.

I remember dropping into the casino and picking up $350 at bj on my birthday on the way to mum's place -- when i got to mum's i bigmouthed about bj and how good i was, and bigmouthed about the games that stupid people can play at the casino, like 2-Up. Turns out that my sister's friend's husband, a mechanic, who was quietly listening, was a hi-roller -- the casino (hobart) pay for him to fly down etc -- and he only ever played 2-Up -- and he only ever bet $1000, never more, never less. He told me about the time that he was watching the 2-Up, the 2 coins came around to a young guy who seemed to have a very nice flipping action, the coins landed softly and sat pronto -- so he placed $1000 bets on evens, and the young guy threw 20 winning throws in a row before a looser, picked up $19,000 and flew home. But, the odds at 2-Up are about the same as a double-green-wheel, ie suicide -- i heard that he duznt play any more (so i was correct all along).

The last time that i was at a casino (adelaide), i put $1 in the slots (50 credits), and worked it up to 100 credits in 10 minutes, then played multiple lines and blew the lot in 2 minutes (fool). In the meantime, my mate (who worked as a croupier in the melbourne casino for a few years, and who won the world ibsf snooker championship the first year he entered), picked up $500 at craps.

My sydney mate plays the suicide-wheel koz this allows bets as small as $2 -- whereas the single-green-wheel has a minimum of $5 or $10. I wonder how long his lucky-streak will last -- we will see, he had a bad heart attack and then a stroke, but continues to smoke.

Mathlanders seem to think that math is a pure science and disregard the fact that even ordinary probability theory was based on reality -- but no longer. I like the St Petersburg Paradox (i think) -- maths duznt have a realistic solution. I will check out the money management links later, thanks.

I guess that croupiers have a sort of pecking order and peer pressure (to beat the punters). And management would i guess foster some sort of other pressure allso. Its a bit like a DA trying to nail an innocent punter like OJ. madMac.

10-28-2006, 04:41 PM
You're right, it is the Martingale system, thanks, it bugs me when I can't remember something....I gotta call Kim Peek and get his retrieval system.
Adelaide was one of my favorite cities over there...4 visits...
Re: O.J. if Abe Zapruder has been alive, we might have had the murders on tape, and it was probably just a coincidence that the real killer (the one-armed guy) wore the same size
Bruno Maglia boots as O.J. did....and Mark Furman planting all that blood evidence, without anybody noticing....you might want to buy OJ's new book...about how the murders might have gone down had he done it.
I don't know what 2 up is,but sounds like you play some good BJ
The probability factors for dice...need a run of 10,000 to produce accurate results. It's thought that around once an hour you will see a run of 6 on pass/don't pass...betting either of those lines, has the best odds you can get in Vegas... house odds of just over 1%.....about the same odds an expert card counter can get...although it's also claimed that card couners can beat the odds.....what you can't beat is that li'l old lady in the chair before the dealer, hitting 16 with the dealer showing a 5 as his face card.
I've seen four 12's in a row come up twice....seen the dice go around the board...point/seven...several times....it'll make a believer out of you