Casino Stories - Playing Blackjack With A Pro At The Table
Occasionally, my wife and I would finangal a way to get time off from our jobs and make a long weekend of it in Las Vegas. We'd fly out of Detroit and stay at a hotel where a package rate was offered that we could bundle with our plane fare. Sometimes we'd take in a stage show while there and eat some exceptional meals but mostly we just went so I could blow off some steam and concentrate on playing cards and not working in an office.
Michigan had had a terrible snowstorm the night before we were to leave in the morning and when I went to get the car out of the garage, there was too much snow to get out of the driveway. I shovelled as best I could and got the car loaded and started backing out. The snow grabbed my wheels and I wound up in a ditch by our driveway. It appeared that our trip to Las Vegas was spoiled as we didn't have a lot of spare time before I plane was to leave Detroit - an hour and a half away.
I looked in the phone book and tried a couple services that might get up out but was unsuccessful. I called my son-in-law who lived nearby and asked if he thought his jeep could pull us out.
"Why don't I come over and just take you to Detroit. I can come down and meet you when you get in."
Sounded great to me and within half an hour we were in the back seat of his jeep and headed for Detroit. We got to the airport with fifteen minutes to spare and imitated one of the commericals of the day and ran through the corridors to the gate, getting checked in and on at the last minute. Since it was at the last minute, our seats were not near one another but we survived the trip and arrived in Las Vegas only a few minutes late.
At The Blackjack Table
We got settled at the Maxim Hotel where I'd made reservations. We’d scheduled a tjree night stay and were looking forward to playing cards, eating, and not thinking about the office.
At that time when I played blackjack, I was utilizing a straight forward counting method. I was increasing my bets when I had the advantage. I’d decrease them when the advantage turned to the casino. I made minor variations in my play based upon the content of the remaining deck.
I had played off an on for a couple days and nights. I was sitting in the number two position at a table late the last night and opposite me was another player. When I sat down we were the only two of us at the table.
Amiably chatting I found out his name was Gil and that he was an oilman from Alexandria, Louisiana. He was betting rather nonchalantly at a level a few steps higher than what I bet. My bets were probably an average of $25. His bets were an average of about $100. I did notice, however, that when I increased my bet, Gil had already increased his bet.
My cards stayed average and my stack of chips gradually increased. Gil, on the other hand, seemed to be able to do nothing correctly. Shortly after I sat down, he ran out of chips and asked the pit to supply him with another rack of green. He signed the marker for $2500 and continued to play. This happened a second time and although his losses would have devastated me, he seemed to retain his cool.
As if by magic, a petite, attractive young lady showed up at Gil’s elbow. That she’d been drinking was obvious. She leaned her body heavily against Gil and seemed to want to talk directly into his ear. The pit personnel became a little agitated but Gil continued to play and lose so they stayed out of it.
Gil pulled out the chair next to him and motioned her to sit down. He moved four green chips to the dealer and asked for change. He put the stack of red chips in front of the girl and invited her to play for a while. She fumbled around and I (and everyone else) could see that she funneled some of the chips into her purse.
I did notice that during this exchange which probably took ten minutes from the time she walked up until she was seated next to him, his betting remained remarkably similar to mine. When the deck got rich for the player, his bet moved up and when it got lean, his bet moved down.
He paid more and more attention to the girl. She got a little bit sloppy because of the drinking. He assisted her as best he could. The dealer began trying to help. The pit personnel came over and watched. Soon the pit personnel was trying to help also.
The dealer did keep the game going and didn’t seem to pay attention to the fact the my chip stack was growing slowly and that Gil and my bets were fluctuating simultaneously. I noticed that the more flamboyant the girl became, the more spread there was in Gil‘s betting. Where he had previously been spreading from a low of $25 to a high of $200, he was now spreading from a low of $25 to a high of $500.
The problem was that he was still losing. He bought more chips. Then, he bought more chips again.
My cards began to turn cold and I couldn’t seem to do anything correctly. I was pretty tired from the activity of the three night trip. My cards had become much the same that Gil had been experiencing. After half a dozen losing hands, I decided to lock up my winnings. I colored up my chips and went to the cashier.
The Next Morning
We were at breakfast the next morning and had just finished our second cup of coffee when Gil came in the dining room. With him was the girl from the night before. Both of them looked fresh and alert. In the condition that I’d left them a few hours earlier, they had made a miraculous recovery.
He saw me and smiled a “Hello”.
“How’d it go?” I asked.
“Well,” he said. “Shortly after you left the cards got better for me. By that time I was in about $12,500. In an hour of play, though, I was able to cash out at $30,000.”
“Hey, that’s great. I could see you were in trouble but it was obvious you knew what you were doing.”
“Oh,” I continued. “This is my wife. As I said last night, we’re from Michigan and our plane leaves in a while. We get out here every couple months or so from Detroit although we live in Lansing.”
He took the girl’s arm. He smile at me again. “This is my wife and partner. You saw her last night at the table. We try to get out here once a month. First time we’ve stayed here. And when they think about it, I’m not sure they’ll be too happy to see us again. Have a good trip home.”