Thursday, April 30, 2009

Steve Blogs

Nothing has made me happy this week.

I tore cartilage in my knee... let me re-phrase that, re-tore cartilage in my knee during a back pack hike in Yosemite. Apparently in the x-ray I f-ed up my knee along time ago, back when I was 14 and skateboarding through Daly City on my Santa Cruz Skateboard and orange bullet wheels. One too many ramp jumps and pivoting wall rides I guess.

When I was 14 my knee was swollen three times its size. My mom basically after school one day, after seeing her orthopedic doctor said, I got you an appointment. The next thing I knew after school I was getting my knee drained. It was pretty screwed I guess. And then we moved away a week later and I hung up my skateboard.

I guess the stress up and down the granite steps up to Nevada Falls just took its toll. I could barely walk after the hike. I spent $153 in the emergency room in Yosemite to get a good bottle of Ibuprofen and that was it. Sunday I was sore but managed. That night I fell to the ground in agony three times. I had to go back to the doctor the very next morning.

So Sunday night I canceled a meeting and decided to get it checked. Of course, I guess it was more important for other people that were not going to that meeting that I didn't send a sub in my place. I guess 8-9 hours notice on a Sunday night is reasonable to suggest a replacement right? Or drive down loaded on Vicodin because I could have done that too. No... I went to the doctor.

And found I tore cartilage and had to take a cortisone shot so I could be upright all week. I deal with enough pain in my arms, neck and back... the last thing I needed was a bum knee. I took the shot and then guess what? No get well... it was why didn't you plan for your meeting you missed better? You should have at least tried. Yeah... I tried to go and at the last minute I said no.

Then my computer breaks today and all my email and files and things I need to do are all trapped on it and here I sit stressing out over it. Can't get a new one until Monday and I have a big trip.

Life just sucks right now...

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Did I ever tell you I am obsessed with cleaning my ears?

Monday, April 06, 2009

How to play Black Jack


Totally took over the black jack tables I visited this weekend and took money. I make a few hundred to a $1000 on a good trip. I bet I could make more if I started with a higher number. I am not a big money player. I tend to stay on $5 to $10 tables mostly because it is where I can make the smallest investment.

I have a system to playing black jack that works 75% of the time and I always walk with the money. I estimate I have earned 12-15 grand now playing Black Jack since 2005. I am up $700 this year so far.

No idea why I try to play casino hold em or three card poker. Those games are luck based. Black Jack takes skill.

Basically my system is as follows:

Find low priced table with a shoe I look for $5 tables.

I generally watch the player at third base. I actually like playing with those that do not understand the rules so I can yell across the table and influence their hands. The dealers usually agree with me because I play their hands by the book. Sometimes the dealers tell me to shut up but I keep doing it. The other players see me winning and they follow my lead. When they fail, I am always like, "Well... the odds are better if you play by the rules!"

I usually like an empty table with only 1-2 other players.

Enter game with $100. I don't need a lot to start. Sometimes I enter with $40 or 50 but I sit usually with $100.

I like 7 deck shoes and not single deck play. Single deck is too slow with the frequent shuffles and you cannot see a run of cards when they happen.

There are numerous card counting theories out there but that is too much info for me to process. However, I can remember pairs and aces. I generally compare my cards to others. I like when I have a run and others don't.

I figure the odds are anything could happen. A third of the time, there are shitty cards. A third of the time they are okay. And a third of the time they are good. The idea is to recognize the good runs if they happen and remember they cannot last the whole shoe. They occur in the beginning middle or end, but not the whole freaking thing.

So how do I do it? When I play this is what I do:

I bet $5. I continue to do this until I win. Usually it is one or two hands and I play conservative as all hell. I will stay on 15 or 16 against a high card. I play the automatic doubles and splits like 7-8's against the dealer 3-6 or the 10-11 against that 3-6 or whatever. But really I play it straight and tight.

Once I win a hand, I take the winnings and throw it on top. Now I am at $10 and I only am $5 into it. Now I play the next hand. If I am in a bad bad run, I may stay on $10 until I lose and usually it is to build up reserve for bigger bets but I am only $5 into the run. But if it is average or hot, I continue to pile $5 on top for each win until I hit $25. So if I am on a good run, after 5 wins in a row, I am at $25 a hand, I have $5 invested into it and I have made $30. If I just won $5 and kept only betting $5, at 5 hands I would have made $20 against my original $5. I break even if I only win two hands and lose $5 if I only win one in a row.

I think after 5 hands is where the risk is which is why I stop at $25 a hand. A few reasons why I stop here:

The dealer gives $25 chips against my bet because they do not want to dish out stacks of $5 chips. I bank those on the side. With 4 banked I have my original $100 back and I have $120 on the table (assuming I have my started at 0 winnings) but usually if I have my $100 back I have made money. I am in the black.

If I have to double or split a hand due to my rules, and I am on my original 5 hands, my investment is their money if I am on hand 3-5 in a row. Plus it can get stupid real fast if 10-11's start showing up everywhere.

I am cheap. $25 is the highest I will risk against any single bet. If I split a hand those are technically two bets not one so I treat each one separately. So if I have $25 out their, the next $25 is their money technically so I am good. (if I am within the 5 hands or more.)

Once I lose the run. I start back at $5 and then watch for it to be cold. I will even go to the restroom or walk around the casino with my chips held on the table so I can come back and catch a wave if it is dry.

Another good rule I have is setting a time limit. I make more money within 45 minutes to an hour than I do at any other time on the table. Self control means you walk whether you are $20 up or $400 up. If I lose $50 or half of what ever I bet more than $50 I am out. I get up and walk and move tables. I did this Friday night. I lost $50 in 15 minutes, bailed walked to another table, caught a run, made $200 and left.

If I just started the shoe or it is an auto shuffle shoe, you can get fucked real fast if you catch a run too soon and then try to play the entire shoe. Two... I leave a black jack table between 45 min-hour, period. I found that over the years I make a lot of money (if it is going to happen) right when I sit down or within 20 minutes. I do not think it is purely skill, it is just being observant and applying the rules. I mean after 5 hands... you start winning $25 a hand... There is no reason to get too greedy. It's okay to bail once you have a few hundred and go enjoy yourself elsewhere in the casino.

If I am in the middle of say a 10 hand run, I do loosen my rules. Say I have an ace 5, 6 or 7 against 5 or 6 on the dealer, I double. I split 2's, 3's and 4's. I will even split tens if I am feeling it hard against a 6 by the dealer. Especially if cards are up and everyone else has a bunch of low shit.

Yesterday, I applied my theory to Black Jack Switch. This is a game where you play two hands at the same time. After the first cards are dealt, they allow you to switch the top two cards to "make" hands. In theory if you have an Ace over a 3 and 7 over a Jack, you "switch" the Ace with the 7 and make Black Jack and a 10. I also found if however you are dealt a 13 or 14 on both hands and the dealer is showing 5 or 6, it is better to not switch to make a hand if you can. You could be stealing the card that the dealer needs to bust. Plus if the dealer busts with a 22 it is a push all the way so no need to try and make one hand and cancel the other hand out. I made $150 in 25 minutes playing this game, applying the above rules. I have yet to figure out if I have a system for Black Jack switch but I feel I can make one.

Follow my system and you will make some money. You won't make a whole lot unless you change the denominations. You can lose money too. It isn't an end all for black jack.