In every bet, there is a fool and a thief.
The King of Hearts is my lucky card. The card is supposedly depicting Charlemagne, who died after impaling himself with a sword. I always liked how unique the Suicide King was in the deck, and that was even before I found out that I can’t lose with that card.
Okay, that may be an exaggeration, but I’ve played thousands upon thousands of hands, and because of what I do, I keep pretty extensive statistics on hands. I legitimately have above an 85% win rate when I get dealt the Suicide King. There is absolutely no rhyme or reason to it, and there will be almost certain a regression to the mean, but till then, my card is my card, and that is the one fallacy that I believe in. Hang around gamblers enough, some of their lunacy rubs off on you.
Gamblers will say that there’s a flow to the cards. That’s superstitious garbage, but I will admit there’s a certain musicality and rhythm to play.
Flip the chip, set: plus 6, three decks in the discard, TC: 2, bet
Jack/7, minus one
3/7, plus one
5/5, plus two
Dealer 9 up, zero
Set: plus 8
Stay, double, double
10/King, minus two
Dealer Ace under, minus one
Flip the chip, set: plus 5, three decks in the discard, TC: 1.7, bet
The sound a card makes as it hits the felt activates a Pavlovian response in my head. My right hand flips a black chip to start the sequence in my head. It’s hard, and it’s monotonous, and then imagine doing this hand after hand, while chatting with the dealer and the other players. It’s hard to describe the stamina you need to balance being a human calculator yet maintaining a facade of joviality [Case in point: I pushed two hands and lost one in that previous sequence].
Doing this takes discipline. The discipline to not press when you get a bad beat but the deck is heavy, and the discipline make the big play when you have the odds on your side. There is a razor thin margin where you can beat the casino, and a single mistake can cost you that advantage. I’ll be the first to admit that discipline is elusive for me. If I go by myself, with no partner, I have a proclivity to go on tilt. That’s me, the Suicide King. The only times I’ve ever failed to go home positive was when I ignored the math, when my emotions trumps reason. My defeats are self-inflicted. Math doesn’t feel, math doesn’t change, there is only the distribution of probability over time.
If I’m out there alone, I’m full of piss and vinegar. I always start out collected, but small things tend to snowball, and at the end of it, I’m tilted to all hell. It can just be a bad beat, or something like a player being a dick to a dealer. It’s always fine in the beginning, but when you start to get a little fatigued, a crack happens here and there, and then before you know it, the count’s off and a bet is misplaced. It’s hard to catch yourself, even harder if you’re trying to do everything together. It’s why the Woman was so helpful.
The Woman balances me out. Where I’m drawn to the table, she isn’t. When I’m about to tilt, she can somehow sense it. She dragged me out to lay in the sun for three hours by the pool, and then made me take a nap after eating leftover sushi. I have to say, it actually worked like a charm, and the next three rounds of play went off like a charm.
In addition to playing amateur psychiatrist, the Woman also serves an important purpose. No gambler in the history of time has ever left from a winning table. Every player wants to believe that their hot streak has one more good deal, one more good play, one more big jackpot, and that’s where they get you. The Woman is the exit strategy. An hand placed at the small of her back means that the deck is starting to get hot, and that she should start paying attention. A hand on her thigh, while otherwise lascivious, does two things. First, if someone sees it, they quickly look away. Second, it allows me to signal her discreetly. One tap with a finger means that sometime within the next three hands, we’re out of here. A quick double squeeze tells her that we’re leaving, now.
I can’t tell you how many times this weekend she pulled me off the table at exactly the right time. I didn’t have to stay a single hand longer than I wanted to in order to maintain cover. When you get up and the table’s doing well, everyone causes a stink because it ruins the flow. But when a beautiful girl is telling you that you have dinner reservations for your anniversary and you need to go change, no one bats a damn eye. Even better, when the same girl whispers something unintelligible into your ear, and then your eyes light up and you get away from the table, no one says a damn thing. Everyone at a casino loves to believe that they know best. I just let them keep believing that, and use their assumptions to my benefit.
Their misdirection is my focus.
To Be Continued…