I have a lot to blog about. Really, I do. I can think of a billion things to talk about but time is going to limit me. So, I thought I’d just chit-chat about casino gambling today. After all, it’s on my mind. It should be.
There's a lot to do between now and my April 28th release of Winning Virgin Blood (Siren Publishing) because my goal is to have Winning Virgin Love completed prior to the debut of my first book in the Winning Virgin series.
Yes, I should be writing now—not blogging. You all are more fun so I’ll blog. Besides, my characters are ignoring me. Don’t ask.
I’m also working on the sequel to Casino Player (Whispers Publishing) and it is almost finished. This story stayed in my head forever but completing it was like an act of counting down a continuously-shuffled shoe (yes, impossible). The reason it seemed so hard to complete doesn’t make sense to most people but it will to some gamblers.
Casino gambling has been in my blood for so long that it finally tainted it just enough that I had to push it aside and believe me, it’s paid off and I can’t wait for you to see the results. My renewed love didn’t come without the appropriate inspiration. Thank you Jim Sturgess (see below).
Actually, it's safe to say, I should be gambling now.
Why? Because I need an excuse to run so any random reason will do (Jim Sturgess and the movie 21, for example). When I run—I typically head south for Mississippi.
If my Dad is reading this right now, he's already holding his head in agony. In fact, it's safe to say he's watching for me as this post is being typed. He lives in Nashville now. I always stop in to see him and his adorable girlfriend when I'm passing through (my daughter thinks she looks like a little china doll). I also drop in on my brother who is just as interested in heading for a casino as I am—well, most of the time.
After seeing the movie 21, I’m ready. My bag is packed and I’m ready to go. There’s a slight problem with that though—I believe that blackjack is beatable but only by those who have enough self-discipline to walk away. Unfortunately, few gamblers do.
Today, it's tougher than it used to be to “beat the house” because many of the casinos we frequent also use some kind of shuffling device (some say, it’s the casino’s way to cheat—don’t let anyone tell you anything different). However, if you saw 21 then you know and I know that the player can beat the casino—right? Right.
Hang on there friend…not exactly. Looks can be deceiving.
If a shuffling device is in play—you won’t beat the casino counting cards. What kind of device is it? You’ll know it when you see it. I’m going to leave it at that so I’m not accused of driving traffic to my site only to slam their product. But no, I don’t play on these tables and hate the concept. Enough said.
Now that you’ve been warned, let me tell you why you should take my word for it. I’ve spent more hours in the casino than the average casino player—and I write about them. I know what I’m talking about. Even when I’m not working on casino-related material, I’m printing off news and updates and mounds of research to use later.
So let’s talk about these continuous shuffling devices that should be considered downright criminal. Today, the game of 21 (blackjack) should not be considered a game with a positive expectation for the player if these little babies are in play at a table where you park your sitter-downer.
I stood by several years ago in a southern casino watching as a friend of mine tossed away a chunk of change trying to figure out how to beat a continuous shuffle concept. In my outspoken opinion, and it’s probably a good one here, it can’t be done.
Give me a hand-shuffle and I’ll change my opinion. Show me a counter who is spotted, and I’ll change it drastically. Show up with an actual accurate count and the self-discipline to boot and I’ll show you a casino that will be on to you in record time.
I didn’t think so.
By the way ladies, believe me when I tell you that you want to see this movie for more reasons than meet the eye! Even if you aren’t a gambler, if you’re female then—just trust me—go see the movie.
Jim Sturgess plays the lead and he is masterful in his performance. However, I have to ask the real Ben Mezrich if he really thinks Jim holds some similarities to him—never mind.
In any event, I can’t tell you of another movie that I loved as much as I loved this one. I just enjoyed 21 on so many different levels but I won’t go into all of them here. At least, not now. Keep in mind; I liked the book but the movie? Wow! It just exceeded my expectations.
For the record, Ben Mezrich’s book Bringing Down the House is a must-read but the book isn’t the first and only of its kind. Ken Uston’s Ken Uston on Blackjack told a similar story. If I had to compare one book against the other—Ken’s book would probably earn my vote but Mezrich’s story made the better movie. Then again, Jim Sturgess made the movie. Enough said. No, not really.
While waiting for the movie to start, I must say that I was surprised at how many young couples strolled into the theatre with kids in tow. In fact, there were more young families out for an afternoon treat to see “21” than singles or couples. It reminded me of my own childhood only we stayed glued to the television watching college and professional sports.
Today, moms and dads everywhere are taking little Tommy to see how to count cards. Then, Daddy-dearest will go out to the casinos and try to become the next Ben Mezrich. And he will fail—miserably.
The casinos are counting on it. In fact, they’re waiting on him—with their glitter and gold shining ever so brightly. If you don’t believe me, call ahead and speak to a host in Player Development. Say the right things, talk to the right people, and throw a few names around—throw mine out for that matter. See where it gets you. (Smiling here) Remember, I write under a pen name so it won’t get you too far.
Most of the time, a big player will find a limousine waiting at the airport in Memphis but guys and dolls, those in Tunica will have to know you’re on your way! Yes, you have to learn to walk it and live it if you’re going to gamble for a living. Ask Ben. Wait, you can’t. He doesn’t do it anymore. Care to guess why?
Sigh. My brother swears that there are billboards up from Memphis to Tunica that say “Welcome Home Destiny (only with my real name)!”
My last trip wasn’t profitable. At all. That said, I dare say if I called one or two hosts, and told them I just saw the movie 21 and then proceeded to ask them if they thought this Mezrich guy was on to something, that they would indeed be glad to see me. It’s actually quite funny to contemplate. Up goes another billboard—only this time it states the obvious—“Come on back—suckers welcome!”
My husband and I had this discussion several times after we saw the movie.We had a few laughs about this after seeing “21” because we know the casinos are counting on the counters now. After a movie like this, many would-be players will go broke counting card decks. Even more will fail to realize that when Mezrich played in the casinos of Las Vegas, few casinos had the security measures in place to stop a counter viewed by the casinos as cheaters (which is funny). Yes, it is. Stop and think about these new systems in place to protect the casinos and you’ll see the irony.
The automatic card shufflers that are continual throughout table play, were not in practice during Mezrich’s day and most casinos weren’t cutting open eight decks to start the game. Times change and casino rules can fluctuate to benefit the house. In any event, I do still recommend the movie. In my humble opinion, it will be one of the best of 2008. However, I don’t suggest that you book your next trip to Las Vegas with a team of would-be counters. Las Vegas will be ready for you—and so will the casinos in almost every corner of the world!
Until next time, keep it sexy and read something hot and spicy!
Added note: For more information, just search Google or Yahoo for “continuous card shuffler” and you’ll understand why Ben Mezrich’s story is a wonderful true life account of something that would be very hard to repeat. However, history is often known to show its pretty little face again and again. My hope is, if you try to do it, you win and you go to the casinos armed with knowledge and the ability to count down a deck or two (or six or eight) without being spotted by the eyes in the sky. And with that said—go break a leg! Remember in order to count cards correctly, luck isn’t needed—but a sharp mind is required.
An award-winning, international bestselling erotic romance author, Destiny Blaine writes under several pen names. She lives in East Tennessee and spends a lot of time in Connecticut and Virginia, where her granddoll resides.