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When people sat down at Sarah Seldon’s blackjack game, they always wanted to talk about The Book. “Should I double down? Should I hit? Dealer, I know you’re a gambler; you could let me win if you wanted to. What does the book say?” She had never read this book, this mythical Bible for gamblers. The truth is there are 2256 books, each teaching its own foolproof winning system. But Sarah had been in the casino business long enough to think with a gambler’s mind. Gamblers knew they could follow all the rules of basic strategy, utilize money management and still lose if they weren’t dealt the right cards. The allure and curse of gambling was that there were no sure things. In the end it all came down to luck; gamblers prayed that Lady Luck would show up and that she would stick around for awhile.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

ROULETTE, CAN YOU SPIN IT TO WIN IT?

I just found an interesting article and experiment on spin control with roulette wheels. I for one don't believe that any dealer can control the ball to the degree required to hit a specific number or section. If it were really possible to do this, then the game of roulette as we know it simply could not exist. And that for me is a very simple proof showing that spin control is all in the dealers head.
I started in the casino business at a major London casino, and the standard spin was very slow, only about 4 or 5 times around the wheel, and also with the wheel just turning at a fairly leisurely speed. The idea was to get as many spins in a day as possible. We never reversed the spin either, and guess what, it made not a whit of difference in anyone's ability to predict the number. The casinos P/C was the same as anyhere else. I was very surprised when a few years later I started work at another casino and discovered the dealers whacking the ball around at a hundred miles an hour, changing the spin direction and also using such high wheel speeds that the ball would sometimes bounce clean out of the wheel! No doubt this was all mandated by management’s belief that this would prevent players/dealers from predicting the outcome, or that it would make the result more ‘random’ in some fashion.

Modern wheels and even the balls are highly sophisticated pieces of fine engineering. Also nowadays the separators between the pockets are very low, ensuring that the ball will jump into and out of many pockets before coming to rest. Generally the ball will fall into a pocket when it begins to slow down, but then the ball will bounce out and around the pockets landing in many numbers until the ball finally stays in one pocket. If you spin the ball enough times a pattern will ‘seem’ to develop, just like when you flip a coin a hundred times, it will very rarely land on fifty heads and fifty tales. So some numbers will win more often on the wheel but that pattern can not be predicted. That is just the randomness of numbers and the proclivity of the human brain to see ‘patterns’ where there are none. It is simply how we have evolved to make sense of our big scary world.

About the author:
Cara Bertoia is the author of Cruise Quarters - A Novel About Casinos and Cruise Ships. Her novel is really a travelogue, a narrative, a romance, a self-help manual for gambling and cruising, and a real-life story all rolled into one funny, obsessive, and entertaining story of two people whose separate life journeys meet at a crossroads. Kindle Fire Dept. says, "This novel is a gem that is nothing short of a vacation in a book!"

Please check out her most popular posts at CaraBetoia.blogspot.com  to find more blogs about cruising, casinos and anything that catches her fancy.

Below are the links to Cruise Quarters - A Novel About Casinos and Cruise Ships

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Monday, March 7, 2011

THE TEN TOP REASONS TO WORK IN A CASINO

When I was younger and working at Caesar’s Tahoe, players would sit down at my game and invariably the following question would come up. “What’s a nice girl like you doing working in a joint like this?” I would always look around me where there were rows of dealers just like me, fresh faced recent college grads trying to postpone adulthood as long as we could and Lake Tahoe, (America’s all year playground) is a great place to do it.  Over the years at one time or another most of us have left the casino business, but in the end the majority return. So let me tell you the top ten reasons for working in a joint like this.

  1. You get paid for playing games all day. Well you really don’t get paid much; the majority of your money comes from tips. So remember punters there is one person in the casino that wants you to win, and that person is the dealer. Because if you don’t win she won’t make tips and everybody likes to eat. There is nothing more exhilarating than sharing in a big win with a player.

  1. Every casino that I have ever worked in provides health insurance, because we are all going to get carpel tunnel from pitching cards for years.

  1. You can work any shift that you want to. Can’t stand sunlight, you just sign up to work the graveyard shift. A morning person, well day shift is for you. With casinos open 24 / 7, including the holidays there is a perfect shift for everyone. When dealers have children they don’t need child care they just work opposite shifts.

  1. Gambling is a growth industry. With more states and cities in desperate financial straits, they are turning to casinos. Fifty years ago there were casinos only in Nevada now according to Wikipedia there are casinos in 19 states.

  1. You can’t be outsourced. Someone does have to actually pitch those cards on a blackjack game. I know they have been working on perfecting a blackjack machine, but then you might as well just play the slot machines, Table game gamblers don’t trust machines. So we’re safe for awhile.

  1. You can get a job at almost any age. I have seen dealers in their sixties get hired. This is great because at some point most people in the casino get fired. But it is a small enough industry that you probably know someone in management somewhere, and they will juice you into a job.

  1. Free food is a great incentive. Most casinos I’ve worked in have provided free meals and drinks and if they do charge the cost is minimal. If going out to lunch costs $5 a day, then that is like a $25 raise every week. It can get even better, when I lived on a ship I also got free room and board.

  1. You don’t have to buy clothes, because your company will gladly provide you with a uniform. It will be ugly, it will be made of polyester, but it will be free.

  1. You get to live in nice places which is what got me into the business in the   first place. Besides Tahoe, I have lived on a cruise ship circling the world and  I now live in Palm Springs. My husband has worked in Moscow, London, the Czech Republic and the Bahamas.

  1. You get to meet celebrities. I am just thrilled whenever anyone from General Hospital plays on my game. Well, okay to me they are big celebrities. My husband dealt to Pamela Anderson and Kirk Douglas. Some of them are nice, but you soon realize that the rich and famous aren’t “all that.”

So the next time you play at a table you don’t have to ask, you will already know why that dealer is working there. 


About the author:
Cara Bertoia is the author of Cruise Quarters - A Novel About Casinos and Cruise Ships. Her novel is really a travelogue, a narrative, a romance, a self-help manual for gambling and cruising, and a real-life story all rolled into one funny, obsessive, and entertaining story of two people whose separate life journeys meet at a crossroads. Kindle Fire Dept. says, "This novel is a gem that is nothing short of a vacation in a book!"

Please check out her most popular posts at CaraBetoia.blogspot.com  to find more blogs about cruising, casinos and anything that catches her fancy.

Below are the links to Cruise Quarters - A Novel About Casinos and Cruise Ships