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Old December 11th, 2011, 10:56 AM
Lonesome Gambler's Avatar
Lonesome Gambler Lonesome Gambler is offline
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Posts: 903
Default A farewell post from me, too

Haven't started a new thread in a while, so why not?

I'm sure I'll still be in touch with many of you, whether online or in the field, but I wanted to again say thanks to Ken for running such a great site over the years.

A poster recently sent me a PM, having searched back to my original postings on this site some 3 years or so ago, and he noticed that they were laughably naive. It's true I was really starting from scratch. He wanted to know what my "secret" was to getting from where I was 3 years ago to where I am today.

Honestly, where I am today is nothing compared to where I want to be a year from now, or even 3 months from now. This forum has played a massive role in my development as a player, and I'm very glad that I found it when I did. Had I not, who knows where I'd be right now in my AP career?

Here are some of the most valuable things I've learned in my humble 3 years of coming up as a complete newbie to what I consider a viable up-and-comer:

- Information is more valuable than you may think. People that scorn discussion of advanced topics are often seen as elitists (I understand this because I once looked at these people the same way), but people that make their living from this stuff understand the need for preservation of trade secrets. Nobody is trying to hide anything from anyone an eager student will learn if they stick with it. But being too open with information sharing hurts you, the community, and even the player you're trying to help. It's truly a "teach a man to fish..." scenario.

- THINK about the game. Not every move comes in the form of a book chapter. Not every opportunity has a published expectation. Brainstorm with like-minded people and employ some lateral thinking. Our bread and butter comes from that standard approaches, but whenever something new pops up, try to be one of the first to figure it out! If it's a good opportunity, you're in the money; if not, you can at least know that you've done your due diligence.

- Network with skilled and knowledgeable players. Form a team, get an email discussion going, whatever. Several brains are often better than one when it comes to solving new problems, refining techniques, and offering constructive criticism. My game has improved from criticism I've received from partners who have played with me in live games. I've benefited greatly from the combined brainpower of a few good, like-minded players.

- Don't be afraid to take chances and to challenge yourself. It's easy to get comfortable and complacent, but you must strive to always improve your game and to sometimes tread into untested waters. I can think of at least one highly valuable opportunity that is not published in any book. Sometimes we'll need to engage in this particular opportunity without precise information on expectation, variance, risk, and optimal strategy. If you only stick with what you're comfortable with, you'll always be behind the curve.

- Don't be afraid to adapt. Machinist gave KJ a friendly prod in his thread, and while I'm sure KJ will shrug it off, he would do very well to consider it. Obviously, I don't like the idea of increased competition, but I hate to see people struggling so hard for so little. I'm not slamming on card counting and I'm not just singling out KJ, but if you're able to successfully leverage a 6-figure bankroll playing 30 hours a week of blackjack using mostly card counting techniques, you have the skills to make WAY more money with far less work. Most advanced techniques are only advanced because of the experience needed to pull them off; the techniques themselves may be quite simple in application. If you can play 30 hours a week for medium stakes and not get backed off in every place you go, you should consider adding some new tricks to your bag because you're in a strong position to be successful in using them.

- Don't rely on conventional wisdom when it comes to finding and playing games. Most of the money I've made in AP this far has come from regions that are conventionally known to be among the worst playing environments for APs in the country. If all the APs "know" that all the good games are in the same place (Las Vegas, for example), they will all be there playing. Don't rely on the information of others to formulate your game plan. Get out there and do your homework yourself.

- Keep your eyes and your mind open. If you see something out of the ordinary, think about what that means. Is there an edge to be had? If you think there may be, spend some time really thinking about the problem. The spectrum of available AP techniques and opportunities out there is far broader than you may think. Don't do it half-assed, either. Every square inch of casino floor (and not just table games) has potential. Pay attention and always be thinking. There's nothing like discovering an edge that you've never heard about and that no one has ever mentioned in a book or on a forum.

Thanks again for all the good times on this forum, and best of luck to all of you. If you're willing to do the work, you'll be surprised at what you can find. And if you see me at work, introduce yourself in a safe place (i.e. not in the casino) and I'll buy you a beer!

Old December 11th, 2011, 11:24 AM
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KenSmith KenSmith is offline
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 2,118

Nice post.
__________________ blackjack basic strategy cards. Latest online casino news in the US: Nevada Online Casinos
Old December 11th, 2011, 12:36 PM
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kewljason kewljason is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Las Vegas
Posts: 2,564

Very nice post indeed, Lonesome Gambler. You have always been one of the truly good guys of the site. Always classy and respectful. I have never seen you engage in any of the petty stuff that some of us resorted to. Personally, you have always shown an interest in me and offered friendly advice both in public and private conversation. I always knew you had my best interest at heart and I thank you for that.

I can appreciate that there are many members that think I need to take it to the next level. Yourself, Machinist, Jack Black, who wasn't quite a polite about it, come to mind, but I am sure there are many more. My friend Kim Lee seems to want to push me away from blackjack and toward poker in almost every conversation I have with him.

But the thing that folks don't understand is that I have no desire to play anything but blackjack. I don't consider myself an AP but rather a blackjack player. I don't seek out whatever advantage I can gain at a multitude of games. I understand there are ways to gain a bigger advantage at many different games, but my goal is not to make as much money as I possible can. My goal is to make a comfortable living playing the game of blackjack that I so love. Many folks seem to look down on card counting these days. I think it is very honorable. I even struggle a bit with hole-carding. I will use those opportunities when they fall to me, but will not seek them out.

As for working hard. I don't know how hard I work. I do put in more time playing than most players. But my time is all muddled together, personal time and playing time. I am not killing myself as Mac seems to think. I may leave my home after breakfast and walk down the strip hitting a few games, while taking breaks to do some shopping or sit and watch the tourist for a half hour, maybe meet up with a friend for a late lunch, followed by a few more hours of roaming and playing. Maybe at 4:30 pm I stop in a sportsbook and watch my beloved Phillies play for a couple hours. Then I hit a final session or two as I head home. I arrive home to make a late dinner at 9pm. Seems like a long day, but it's work and play. Other days I may get in the car and circle around hitting some of the outlying local spots. But along the way I stop at the outlet mall for an hour and hit Red Rock Canyon for a 2 hour hike. So how much of it is really work and where do I draw the line between work and play? So don't worry, I work hard but am not working too hard. I am still enjoying life and love what I do and where I am at, and not that many folks get to say that.

Again LG, you are a class guy and I am better off because you were a member of this site and look forward to our paths crossing in the future.

Last edited by kewljason; December 11th, 2011 at 12:38 PM.
Old December 11th, 2011, 12:43 PM
moo321 moo321 is offline
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Join Date: May 2007
Location: Midwest
Posts: 3,812

Yep. There's no substitute for hard work, reading a lot, and trying things. I didn't make much money off of blackjack until I went off the beaten path a bit: I learned to hustle comps, so my expenses were 0. Then I learned other games that have less heat.
Old December 11th, 2011, 01:47 PM
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Friendo Friendo is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 330
Default The role of awareness & situational opportunism

As a salamander, I'm still in that land of counting. I miss a lot, such as promotions I should have noticed (ouch!), but we humans tend to optimize as we repeat the same tasks: I now know to watch every table around me as they shuffle, to note the deepest cuts, and I am becoming a far better actor than I thought I was, fixating on that flat-screen football game while paying no outward attention to that shoe I'm back-counting.

And dealers' card-handling peculiarities grow more evident each week. They once looked speedy and precise, but now I see slop everywhere. As the brain calms under the routine of counting, resources are freed up for goings-on which were originally ignored.

I can't sequence; I can't HC; I don't see things a more experienced player would. But I understand the ongoing curiosity which leads to wider awareness and competence.

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