Ben Mezrich wrote one of my favorite books called “Bringing Down The House“. It’s about the infamous MIT blackjack team going to Las Vegas and winning a boatload of money. I viewed the book as entertainment going into it and not fact even though it was pitched as non-fiction. I’m cynical and don’t believe anything is 100% true or false. His new book “Straight Flush” is being promoted in the same manner. Some reviewers on Amazon are attacking his accuracy. If you’re interested in building and tearing down of an online poker empire and read it as partial truth you will probably enjoy “Straight Flush”. Here’s an interview with Mezrich from CalvinAyre.com.
“High Stakes – The Sam Tricket Story” is about poker player Sam Tricket and focuses mainly on his entry into last year’s $1 million entry for the Big One for One Drop tournament at the World Series of Poker. Like all gambling movies it touches on his ups and downs in the poker world. You can watch the entire movie by visiting matchbook.com and signing up for an account if you’re from anywhere outside of the United States and France. I’m sure if you want to watch the full movie and you’re American you’ll be able to find it somewhere. Here’s the movie trailer for the documentary.
Last week I wrote an article for Vegas Chatter asking what kind of person you’d rather playblackjack with. The question was really a lesser of all evils. Ultimately we’d all like to play blackjack with people who “know how to play.” Unfortunately we rarely get to play with these kind of people.
People that know how to play exist, but there are a lot of myths that people spout out at the table that are just not true. The biggest myth I’ve come across is that when a person makes a bad play by one player will adversely effect the other players (i.e. stay on 14 against a 10). After listening to a Betting Dork Podcast with Jeff Ma last year I learned that the math says this isn’t true and that it’s psychological.
There is also a psychological myth that Continuous Shuffle Machines (CSM) are also bad for blackjack odds. Mathematically there’s no truth to that. I never win at a CMS and I generally stay away this kind of blackjack game.
While doing a little research last week I found a list of blackjack myths at Blackjack Age and wanted to share so you know if people really know what they’re talking about when they bitch about you “not knowing the rules”.
Always Figure the Dealer for 10 in the Hole– …about 30% of the cards in the deck are worth 10, so there is really only a 3:7 chance in any given round that the blackjack dealer actually has a 10 in the hole.
Bad Players at the Table Hurt Your Chances (as discussed above) – In reality, mathematically speaking, bad players have no real effect on the outcome of the game.
The Order of the Cards is Sacred– While it’s true that another player surrendering or someone new joining the game will change the order of the cards, there is just as much a chance that their decisions will result in a shift that will help you to win.
Avoid Choosing the Last Position at the Table – The decisions of the other players at the table shared just as big a part in leading up to the end of the round and the order of the cards as you did.
Always Take Insurance When Dealt a Blackjack – However, taking insurance in every instance is often one of the worst moves you could make. When you take insurance you give up 13% of the profit that blackjack pays, cutting your winnings drastically.
Card Counting is Illegal – Stop worrying about getting caught and learn this great strategy because in reality, card counting in blackjack is perfectly legal and can greatly increase your chances.
Conceptually, the author is right about everything above. However, I know card counters that have been banned from casinos and this isn’t something to take lightly if you care about where you play blackjack.
My reasoning to share these myths is just to remind you to relax and have fun when you play blackjack. There is so much discussion of right and wrong when playing blackjack that everyone will tell a novice something different.
Just play the same way every time and don’t be a jerk and you’ll be fine with most people at the table.
Jeff Ma wrote the awesome book Bringing Down The House with Ben Mezrich. Looking at him, you may remember his cameo in 21. Besides being a card counter for the MIT blackjack team Jeff has also been a part of fantasy sports (he used to appear on the MLB fantasy podcast) and got into sports in general.
This interview, from tech crunch, touches on his new book in addition to blackjack, sports and movies. It’s a nice view/listen. Enjoy.
A remake of the classic horror movie “Fright Night” will be filmed in Las Vegas beginning this July. If this movie doesn’t sound awesome, I don’t know what does!
it’s no longer set in humdrum suburbia, but the city of a thousand gangster slayings and the scene of Hunter S. Thompson’s infamous booze and drug-fuelled weekend – Las Vegas.
Anton Yelchin will be playing Charley Brewster doing battle with a vampire who lives next door (played by Colin Farrell), while Toni Colette has signed up to play Charley’s disbelieving mother. There’s also rumour the Peter Vincent character will now be a washed up Vegas magician.
I don’t remember if I ever saw the original. It looks tame by today’s standards. I’m curious to see how they incorporate the casinos into the movie. I love movies set in Vegas with poor continuity like “21” where the team enters the Hard Rock, but their suite is in Planet Hollywood overlooking Bellagio then they head down to gamble at Red Rocks. So nice.