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Thread: Introductory Post

  1. #1

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    Introductory Post

    Introductory Post
    Hello all, I am DoctorBlackjack, new to the forum and the game. I didn't see a thread for introductions, so I originally posted this in the social forum, yet nobody saw it, so I’m reposting it here in the main forum. I live on the island of Oahu, Hawaii (one of only two states that has a blanket ban on gambling). Despite my username, I do not hold a doctoral degree of any kind. It's simply the best username I could come up with that expresses my personality. I went to college at Florida State University and the University of Florida for graduate school-- all for science. I served in the US Navy for nearly 10 years doing air traffic control and paperwork before being given a permanent medical retirement. The stress of the job had ultimately taken it's toll of my health, both physically and mentally. Today, I hold a real estate broker's license and help my wife with her successful real estate business.

    I joined the forum because my wife doesn't want to hear me talk about blackjack, and playing with my 4- and 8-year old daughters has its limitations. I discovered the game while reading books about the stock market and quantitative finance. I kept reading about this guy named Thorp and the game of blackjack. I asked myself, "what does a card game have to do with investing?" I found out there was a correct way to play every hand of blackjack, mathematical fact. I was under the impression that blackjack is unique among gambling games and had the smallest edge over the player. I looked into it more.

    When my wife and I went to Las Vegas for a business convention last summer, I couldn't pay attention and started wandering around the Strip. I played my very first hand of blackjack at MGM Grand, stadium-style, $5 bet. The result was a push. I didn't like pressing buttons on the machine, so I read about playing a traditional table game. The second time I visited Las Vegas, I played one hand of blackjack at the Palazzo and won $25. My wife then called me and I had to step away from the table. The dealer didn't seem too friendly, but it may have been my social anxiety or excitement at winning a hand. I wanted to play a few more hands so I went to Park MGM and played on a 6:5 table (I didn't know what that meant at the time) and won about $200. When I heard Colin Jones mention that 3:2 games are superior and to stay away from 6:5 games, I went around the strip looking for a good 3:2 game. I found one at Mandalay Bay in the late morning. There was no one else at the table and the casino looked empty. When I hit my 14 against the dealer's 4, the dealer said "you like to hit a lot, don't you" in a friendly way and tried to help me understand the game better. I lost $75 at the table and realized that I needed to learn basic strategy. Before leaving Las Vegas, I played a busy 3:2 table at Treasure Island. The variance was horrible, and I ended up walking away with $50 from my initial $200. That's when I committed to getting better. I plan to return to Las Vegas regularly. I think blackjack can help me to walk away from a casino with a net $0 or better. I don't want to burn the tables, yet. I also think it can help me overcome a lot of personal issues, such as difficulty concentrating, social anxiety, etc. It will force me.

    I just finished reading Wong's Professional Blackjack. I learned basic strategy, and I am working on the running count now. To help me with keeping the count over longer periods of time, I spent a whole day counting a deck one card at a time. Now I need to work on speed. I can count one deck in 1 minute 9 seconds (a 7-second improvement since 10 days ago). My doctor prescribed me some ADHD medication yesterday, and it's helped quite a bit. Today I noticed a change. I turned the deck around and started thumbing through the cards. I was able to completely ignore 7s, 8s, and 9s in my own mind, and I am cancelling out meaningful pairs. I look forward to sharing with you my journey from novice to AP. Did any of you ever have a eureka moment when learning to count that showed you that you were making progress?

  2. #2

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    Welcome! The game of AP blackjack will certainly give you the opportunity to face and perhaps even slay some of your demons. I'm not sure there was ever a "eureka" moment for me. I simply became obsessed with the game and went from novice to full-time in a matter of a few weeks. But that was in Vegas during the good old days when you could walk in any direction and trip over playable single and double deck games. To be a full-time pro today would take a lot more than it's worth to me. That being said, you'll be refining your game for the rest of your life, and hopefully applying the lessons you learn to other more productive endeavors as well.

  3. #3

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    Welcome to a fellow University of Florida Gator (B.S., 1994)!

    You sound excited about Blackjack! That's nice to see. At the same time, if I may offer a caution to be deliberate about not letting it "consume' your thougnts/energy/time or money. If you find yourself becoming obsessed, or if you wife notices it, it's time to step back and do others things (e.g., play with your kids, etc.), even if you don't feel like it - maybe ESPECIALLY if you don't feel like it.

    With respect to this Forum, it is owned and operated by Norm. He is Yoda to many of us. When it comes to Blackjack, you can really 'count' (pun intended) on what he says. He and Don and some others have a wealth of knowledge and experience.

    Finally, having a 'thick skin' on this Forum will serve you well. It can be easy (at least it is for me) to get one's feelings hurt by others' feedback. Try to be business-minded and view correction, etc. as purely practical, helpful information. Though it may initially sting, in the long run it can save you some heartache.

  4. #4

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    Welcome DoctorBlackjack! You can get your fix while you’re away from the Casinos by reading some of the great books that have been published over the last 30 years. You might like:

    Blackjack Blueprint by Rick Blaine
    Blackjack Life , by Nathaniel Tilton

    As you get into things more technically, get a copy of Blackjack Attack, third edition , by Don Schlesinger . You’ll keep reading and referencing that for a lifetime.

    Regarding your practice, strive to count cards in pairs, that will speed up your time significantly, and that’s a good way to count the deal at the tables at a face-up game.
    Last edited by Intermediate; 02-04-2023 at 01:16 PM. Reason: Edited name of OP

  5. #5

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    Just an FYI - There's a long-time AP (40 years plus) who goes by DoctorBJ. He's no longer active on forums, but lots of established APs know him.

  6. #6

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    Thanks 21forme! I’ve edited my post to correct the name.

  7. #7

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    Thanks everyone for the warm welcome. I’ve been practicing everyday trying to breakthrough this plateau in my training. It’s nothing that a little time and effort can’t fix.

    No need to worry, I won’t be getting into written altercations with other forum members. I remember reading a thread with someone arguing with Don. I don’t have the hubris for anything like that. I did order his book off Amazon, and it’s on the way. I think I’ll save the read for when I’m ready for deviations.

    I also ordered DV Cellini’s book. Longevity is very important to me. My favorite book — and the “one” that inspired me was Tilton’s “The Blackjack Life”. I’ve read it multiple times and wish I could have a beer with the author. I recall he had a self-checkout where you had to count a deck in 30 seconds or less. I’m in the 40s-50s range right now. Was that one card at a time or pairs?

    I got a box of eight used casino decks from Strip properties. I was really excited about that. Most of them look like they are configured for use in a blackjack hole card reader. Even though they are used, they feel as good as new.

    For now, I need to work on my running count practice. Talk to everyone later.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Gramazeka's Avatar
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    Dec 2011

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    "Don't Cast Your Pearls Before Swine" (Jesus)

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