The Weird & the Wonderful
by Frank Scoblete
I’ve been involved in casino gambling now for some 20 odd years—and indeed some of my experiences have been quite odd in the houses of Lady Luck. Over these years I have written 20 books, four videos and DVDs, three audio tapes, three television shows, as well as chapters and forewords for another 20 books. I now write for over 40 magazines and newspapers around the world as well as dozens of Internet sites including www.casinocitytimes.com.
I help to run several web sites including www.goldentouchcraps.com, www.goldentouchblackjack.com, and www.scoblete.com, and I offer seminars in certain games such as craps, blackjack, poker and video poker.
I began my gambling career innocently enough. I was co-owner of a touring theatre company in New York and I was about to star in a play The Only Game in Town, the story of a degenerate craps player who falls in love with a beautiful chorus girl and, as fate would have it, they hit it big and they live happily ever after.
I had never played craps before. In fact, I had never been to a casino before. I had no idea of the words I was saying in the play: hardways bets, the yo, seven come eleven, etc. I decided that my co-star and I should travel to Atlantic City and see what the game and the environment of the casinos were like. My co-star was Alene Paone. I fell in love with the character she played in the play—and I also fell in love with her in real life. Alene Paone became my wife “the beautiful A.P.” of whom I have written about in most of my books. We married in 1993 and these have been the best years of my life.
Oh, yes, on that trip to Atlantic City I learned craps, and I learned about blackjack too. I remember on my very first night at the casino watching a blackjack game and thinking, “You know, if all the aces come out of the shoe, no one can get a blackjack. I wonder if there is a way to beat this game?”
I had no idea at the time that far greater minds than mine had already figured out just how to beat the game of blackjack. When I got home, I studied everything I could get my hands on concerning the game. Within a year of that play, I sold my share of the theatre company and began to play and write about my experiences and strategies at the casino games. One of the very first articles I ever wrote about casino games was titled “Emotional Blackjack” and is now a chapter in my book Best Blackjack.
In the years to come, I met many of the greatest minds at blackjack and had the privilege to play at the same tables with some of them. The greatest blackjack player I ever knew was the late Paul Keen who used to work at the Gamblers Book Club in Las Vegas, along with the current owner Howard Schwartz, another great character in the world of casino gambling.
Speaking of great, the greatest casino player, and casino-gambling mind, I ever met was the Captain, a legendary Atlantic City craps player who developed a method for controlling the dice on a modern casino craps table in the late 1970s. He and the Arm, a woman who was the best dice controller I ever saw, hammered the casinos for millions in the 1980s and through the mid 1990s. I have written five books extolling the wisdom of the Captain, and his throw is the model of the controlled dice throw we use in the Golden Touch Craps dice control seminars. You can learn more about this throw in the new book, The Golden Touch Dice Control Revolution! Here is a remarkable fact: the Captain recently rolled 147 numbers before sevening out in two hours and 18 minutes at the age of 83.
I think the best dice controllers today are Dominator, Tony Lee, Jerry “Stickman” (a writer for Casino Player magazine), Howard “Rock ‘n Roller,” and, of course, the Captain himself. The Arm is now in retirement owing to crippling arthritis. As I said, she was the best ever.
I’ve had wonderful experiences in the casinos, sessions where everything went perfectly and the money poured in. I’ve had the reverse too. Sessions where I can’t seem to win a bet and I go back to my room desiring to curl up into the fetal position and suck my thumb, asking myself the question: “Why am I doing this to myself?”
I’ve seen people die at crowded craps tables and other players step over them to get their spots. I’ve been in casinos when the fire alarms go off and no one moves from the games. I was in one casino, the Maxim (no longer there) in Las Vegas, when the sprinkler system went off and dripping players refused to budge from their spots. I’ve been at tables where blackjack players refuse to hit any hand, even hands that are below 10. I’ve seen craps players throw the dice at dealers and pit bosses. I saw a surgeon playing at the Golden Nugget throw over the blackjack table and throw a towel in the face of the dealer. (I hope he’s calmer when he operates!) I’ve been at tables with celebrities and criminals, the brilliant and the brain dead.
Over my 20 years of experience I have found that some games can be beaten, some easily and some not so easily; and some games can’t be beaten. Video poker is an easy game to beat. Just find out which machines are the best, get the proper strategy for these machines, and play away. Given the edge on the machines along with cashback and comps, you should be in the black over time.
Blackjack is not an easy game to beat—as card counting the traditional way can be laborious and tedious. But that has all changed in the past few years. Computer/math whiz Dan Pronovost discovered the easiest method for beating blackjack in 2003—it is called Speed Count and is taught in the Golden Touch Blackjack course. If you are a competent basic strategy player you can learn how to use Speed Count in 10 minutes. A couple of days of practice and you are ready to hit the casinos.
Dice control, on the other hand, is a hard thing to become proficient at, but it can give you rather large edges over the casino when you shoot. But dice control takes almost daily practice to achieve competent results. It’s probably the hardest advantage play method around, but one with the greatest return when mastered.
Of course, slot machines are unbeatable, except with a large hammer, and so are most of the other casino games with this one caveat. Some outstanding players, such as author John May, are able to follow the shuffles of cards in six- and eight-deck shoe games such as blackjack and baccarat and they can figure out when to bet the ranch without buying the farm. More power to them. I can’t do any of that, although I have seen it in action.
Unfortunately for every genius involved in casino gambling, be it in writing or playing or both, there are hosts of morons, fakers, and systems sellers hawking fake systems, advocating stupid methods of play and poor betting schemes. In blackjack, you have schemers selling betting systems that advocate betting big after high cards come out because “high cards follow high cards.”
In craps, you have morons advocating betting horrendously poor bets because they believe that in a random game, the future can be predicted based on the results of the recent past. In slots, you have all manner of systems sellers who claim they have figured out how to get the machines to pay out at certain times. One such fraud plagiarized sections of my book Break the One-Armed Bandits! and sold these pages for $99. And by the way, there was no winning method in those pages he was selling!
My first 20 years are behind me. It’s been a great two decades.
Frank Scoblete is the #1 best-selling gaming author in America. He is executive director of the Golden Touch advantage-play seminars in craps and blackjack. Looking for great gambling products and gifts? Go to www.gamblersoutpost.com. His websites are www.goldentouchcraps.com, www.goldentouchblackjack.com, and www.scoblete.com in association with CasinoCity.com. His newest book is The Golden Touch Dice Control Revolution! For more information or a brochure, call 1-800-944-0406 or write to Frank Scoblete Enterprises, PO Box 446, Malverne, NY 11565.