It ain't pretty being easy... (soopageek) wrote,
It ain't pretty being easy...

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brutal blackjack

Location: Effingham, Illinois

On my way to St. Louis this afternoon the proverbial yang to my $7,000 ying occured. About 50 miles from where I was going, I went through a weight station, the only one left on my journey. All of the others along the way had been closed or my Pre-Pass let me truck on past. But this one didn't. And it turns out I had an axle that was overweight by 2400 lbs. Grrrr. $220 fine. I have no right to complain really. I knew it was a heavy load and I didn't take the necessary precautions to check the axle weights and make adjustments to the tandems. I know this is all very lingouistic. If any of you are curious to know about all these things, like why are there weight stations? And what are the weight limits? Leave a comment and I'll formulate a nice little entry later. I don't have the energy to do so at the moment and have some bigger fish to fry with this post.

So, I got to St Louis and delivered my load and decided to try my luck in the casino again. I decided on taking $700 in with me, 10% of my earnings from earlier in the week. I mosied up to a $25 table, got a stack of green chips and within 30 minutes it was gone. I mean it was brutal. I headed for the door when I heard a roulette table calling to me. I don't usually play roulette. I don't really care for the game and find it rather boring. But something was pulling me toward it. I had about 40 bucks in my pocket so I cashed in for 8 red chips. For those of you not intimate with the game, it is a wheel with 37 numbers in which a ball is spun then lands in one of the numbered slots. The numbers are 1-36 (18 red, 18 black) and 0, and 00 (both green). The betting table is setup with with two primary sections: the inside and the outside. Inside bets are placed on the numbers or lthe lines and corners of numbers. These bets have the higest payoff, however, they also have the worst odds. If you place a bet on the 3, you have a 1 in 37 chance of winning, and the payout is 35 to 1. It takes no huge math wizard to understand how the house has the advantage on the inside. You can also place a bet on the line between the two and the three, thereby increasing your odds to 2 in 37 but only goes to off at 17 to 1. Likewise, you can bet a corner, for instance, the 2, 3, 5, 6 by placing your chip on the corner of these three numbers and you odds go to 4 to 1. Line/corner bets on the inside only make sense if you're "spreading" bets. If you're only betting a chip or two, betting the lines/corners is kind of silly because the payout is not proportionate to the decrease in actual odds. But if you're betting numerous chips, upwards of 15-20+, it is to your advantage to place some hard number bets as well as the soft number bets.

The numbers are arranged in a rectangle in numerical order starting with 1 in the upper most left, then going three wide and continuing down the length of the table with 36 in the lower right hand corner. 0 and 00 are at the very top, above the 1, 2, 3 row. Then there is outside betting. These have better odds but proportionally lower returns. At the end of the table are the vertical 2 to 1. You can place a bet in any of the three columns created by the three wide rectangle. If the number is in that column, you win twice what you bet. Similarily, there is a horizontal 2 to 1 (1-12, 13-24, 25-36). There are also outside line bets where you can bet entire rows, or two adjoining rows. A row bet pays 12 to 1, a "line row" pays 6 to 1. Finally there are the even money bets. You can bet by color (red or black, but not green), even or odd, or 1-18 & 19-36. The payout is 1-1. The house limits it's liability on the outisde bets by setting lower maximum limits and higher minimum limits for the outside than the inside. I alway play the outside. If you find a table that has a rhythm, you can exploit it. A lot of people play the outside betting on a streak to end. For instance, if it's hit "red" three times in a row, they start betting black on the outside, expecting the law of averages to kick in. I look for longer streaks in the bigger picture. Tonight, it was happening in the 12's.

The twelves are the afore mentioned horizontal 2 to 1 outside bets. The table marks them as 1st 12, 2nd 12, and 3rd 12. After playing for a while I began to notice that it seldom hit in the first 12. Generally speaking, it landed in the first 12 maybe once every seven spins with an occasional 0 or 00. What this meant was, I could bet both 2nd AND 3rd 12's, lose my bet in one but win twice as much back in the other. For instance, if I bet $5 in the second 12, and $5 in the third twelve and it landed in the second twelve. I lost $5 in the third twelve, but won $10 in the 2nd twelve: net gain $5. I have a 66% chance of winning 50% of my bet. When it did land in one of the zero's or in the 1st twelve, I just upped the next bet accordingly to recover the loss and further increase my take. Within a couple of hours I had worked my 40 dollars up to $600 in this manner. However, this is where the problem begins. With a $100 max outside betting limit, when it didn't hit the 2nd and 3rd twelves, I lost two hundred dollars, and couldn't "up" my next bet to recover it due to the limit. So it would take two more successive bets after that just to recover and a third to get back up again. So things become a lot more chancy. See, in roulette, in theory anyway, given the law of averages, if you had a enough money to infinitely increase your bets on the outside, you could beat the house everytime, hence the relatively low maximum outside bet limits.

I colored all my red up to black and continued even though now I was in very treacherous territory. Two hits to the 1st twelve and I'm out 2/3 of my winnings. And of course, this is what happened. $400 right down the drain. I almost walked right then, but decided instead to give it another chance and changed my black out for green. It hit the first twelve one more time then went back to hitting the 2nd and 3rd 12, over and over. Before you know it I was up to $900. I decided then that if it hit the 1st 12 two consecutive spins again, I was leaving, I would have at least most of what I lost at blackjack back. And it soon happened and I walked away from the roulette table with a little more than $500 in hand.

But I decided that I wanted to play more blackjack. Winning money at roulette was fun, but I enjoy playing blackjack. I took my stack of green over to a blackjack table again. That pile of green was the equivalent of the $100 in red I started with in Connecticut in terms of numbers of chips. Twenty chips. I experience a 7,000 percent increase in my starting pool of chips that night. Can you imagine if I managed to do that again? But with $500 instead of $100. This is what I kept thinking the past couple of days. Of course, I didn't expect it to happen. And of course it didn't. But the brutality of my earlier experience surley wouldn't happen again.

And it didn't. It was worse. In less than 15 minutes that $500 dollars was a memory. I have never seen anything like it in my entire life. It was insane. With twenty bets in front me to make, I can usually at least play for a couple of hours, go up a little, go down a little, but have a good time and occasionally make a little money. But there was no love for me at the blackjack tables tonight. In total, I guess I lost $1,200 at the blackjack tables in about 45 minutes. Of course, $500 of it belonged to the casino courtesy of the roulette table, and $700 of it belonged to the other casino up in Connecticut. I guess I'll be done with the gambling for a while and I'll be back in the cheap seats with my $100 in a month or so.

Tomorrow I begin working my way back east to New Jersey. I have to be there by Monday morning, which gives me plenty of time to get there, but not enough time to go home. This means I'll miss my brother's cookout, but I'm not gonna complain about getting all these miles. Makes for some dandy paychecks. I thought about doing some hard driving and trying to get there early Sunday for the U.S. Open, but with the finals being played on Sunday, it's doubtful I could get tickets anway and what tickets I could get would probably suck. More than likely I'll have time on Monday just for goofing off in the city anyway, so I'm not too worried about not getting to visit at all. This load to New Jersey is one I've taken a dozen times before, and I always have about 9-10 hours left over on Monday afternoon/evening to go play in the city.

Finally, huskerdude1 had an interesting entry about a particularly moving experience he had while visintg the home where Anne Frank and her family were hidden during the Holocaust. Not only would I recommend you read it, just because it is some damn fine writing, but encourage you to do the following: in a future journal entry, write about three things which move you. They don't have to be as profound as the one huskerdude1 experienced, but try and describe three things in your life which has moved you. Maybe it's art, or a place, or a person; it doesn't matter. It could be a joyous feeling or a sad one. But think about it, write about it. I wanna read it :)

I'm thinking about my three right now. And it will more than likely be the topic of my next entry. For now though, I sleep.

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