Sunday, October 22, 2006

Black Jack Memories:

Many years ago I attended a three-day conference on statistical modeling in Las Vegas. I prepared for this conference by learning how to count cards. After spending about six hours watching people play black jack, I played, finishing exactly one dollar ahead after eight hours of play. The fascinating part was watching other people.
I watched them simply throw $25 chips away on terrible bets. I could not imagine these people's relationship to their money.

I watched a crooked dealer at a $1 dollar game. He would pretend to shuffle but actually slide the halves of the deck together unshuffled. The players, mostly middle-aged women, chatted among themselves and seemed not to notice. It struck me that I would never have the nerve to report him to anybody. Vegas! (Who knows who might be in on the scheme.) I watched a $10 chip game where four players were doing well. The pit boss replaced the dealer - a young woman - with a hatchet-faced man in his forties. The first hand, all the players got high hands but the dealer got a blackjack and won. He dealt himself a winning twenty in the next hand. The players all got up and walked off to play at other tables.

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