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Story of the Week: The “almost” Back-off

January 22nd, 2015

by “levimich”

So a couple nights ago, I drove 3 hours up north to play at a casino I’d been to a few times. 6D games with only 1 deck cut off, H17, but all other rules are favorable and includes LS. Apparently higher stakes tables are S17. It’s a small casino though so there’s not many tables. Anyway, I have a small BR right now so I play $5 tables generally or Wong in on $10 tables when possible.

I was down close to a couple hundred during the first couple hours, then things started getting good and I won a few hundred between the two $5 tables I was going between. Then, late at night, everyone left the $3 table they have (normally full) so I went to play there by myself. I played probably 5 highly positive shoes in a row by myself at this table (with great pen it was a dream) joking with the dealers and pb’s and had won another few hundred. They would joke, when I raised my bets, about me counting and I played along and joked around back with them. They responded well to my jokes and cover and we had a good time. When the opportunity arose at a true 6, I asked the pb if he’d ever split 10′s against a 4 and he encouraged it saying “against a bust , card, all day!” I got to split 10′s again later on and they were loving it. Also got to double a A9 v 6 with no one caring. I played through another shoe which was neutral/a little negative and ended up with a massive stack of 1′s, didn’t lose a hand.

So I left then to make it home for work in time. They colored me up and I went to the other side of the casino to cash out. When I put my chips up there, the lady said, “I’m sorry, we’ve been told not to let you cash out.” I asked what was wrong and they said they could not tell me and that they were reviewing the tapes and a pit boss was waiting to speak with me.

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Story of the Week: “My First AP Play”

January 15th, 2015

by “vexbasque”

I seem to be coming up with different interpretations of life now that I am an AP. Seeing the world without rose-colored glasses creates a more accurate perspective on how the man-behind-the-curtain operates and sharing that perspective with BJA gives me a chance to express my views (accepted or not) and to make others question how the inner-workings tick, whether it be good or bad. Hopefully you enjoy what I’ve written and your comments are appreciated.

A few weeks ago, I was asked a simple question, “What was the first AP play you ever did?” I never had an answer for this question until something nostalgic reminded me of my childhood. During my youth I was an avid player of video games and I loved reading “GamePro” and “Nintendo Power” to master any game I could play. Renting a game for $3 a day and beating them in a single night was an ego boost that any kid would need, that played as often and routinely as I did. On a positive note, they kept me out of trouble and away from drugs, drinking, and smoking. It was almost an instinctive way to build a wall to separate myself from the negative and keep it away during my vulnerable years. However that didn’t stop my health class from meeting once a day for 50 minutes to discuss procreation, drugs, and malicious tactics companies used for you to buy their product. Still to this day, Joe Camel is embedded into my brain, pleasantly brandishing a pack of cigarettes with one of them extended out in your direction. This ad, however, was placed in many magazines from Playboy, to Archie, in the hopes of selling their product to new customers and possibly a young, lifetime customer.


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Story of the Week: The Hare and the Tortoise

January 7th, 2015

by “va_bj”

I walked into a casino (many, many months ago) intending to sit down and play a few 6D shoes of a good game of BJ. This place had both a good 2D and 6D. I generally prefer to play 2D heads up with the dealer but normally the tables are full.

The Hare, 2D, is fast and furious. It’s action packed and full adrenaline, while the 6D is more of an old mans grind, slow and steady. Dull but profitable, great way just to kill the time.

As I walk up to the table, I’m stumped. Two tables; One 2D and one 6D. Both what I’m looking for and both empty. My head goes into a debate. Which one to choose? We want the 2D ( the Hare) but we were planning to play the shoe (the Tortoise). After a few moments of indecision, I plopped on the 2d, the greedy card counter I am. I want the action. I want their cash. That’s what I’m here for. I bought in and played about two rounds before being joined by more players.


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Profile of a Counter: BJA Member “Bubba”

January 7th, 2015

We recently had the pleasure of interviewing BJA member “Bubba” on his blackjack journey. Here are the questions we asked him and his responses.

bubba1. How did you get into card counting? I came across the documentary one night before going to bed, at first it sounded too good to be true. The scene came on where Ben explains how simple the concept is, and then he proceeds to say you have to memorize like 2 or 3 charts, do some calculations, etc. At that point I was thinking, forget about it. A few weeks later I was on a trip in Vegas when I recalled the documentary. I was in my room bored so I decided to look up how to count cards. What do you know, right there on top of the search was the guys from the documentary. Something felt right about it so I went ahead and bought the subscription, loved the videos, signed up for a year membership, and never looked back.

2. How long have you been counting cards?
My first day to the casino as an AP was just about 4 months ago. At this point I didn’t know any deviations. I shouldn’t have gone out there that early but I thought I would be moving away from where I am now so I might not have the opportunity to visit some of my home casinos with this much ease. It wasn’t until the deviation drill came out on the site that I really got them down, which was around my 3rd or 4th outing. 5 months ago I didn’t even know what a double down was. I guess I’ve made my way pretty quickly. Wow, I didn’t even realize this until just now.

3. How long did it take you to trust your skills? How do you know you’re any good?It took me about 3 1/2 months before I built up some confidence in my game. I made a few mistakes almost every session, I’m very fortunate that I was aware and quickly learned from them. When you strive to be perfect the mistakes burn deep and you make sure you tell yourself it’s not going to happen again. I test myself all the time with different drills, I recently got tested out by Ben which was a great feeling, Because I knew he shows no mercy in his test outs and I did way better than I expected. Read More »

Story of the Week: It’s All About Who You Know

December 17th, 2014

by “Hita7″

Recently I was involved in an incident at a place where I had been BO (backed-off) before. I have never played rated there, and to their credit, I am extremely surprised at how fast they were on to me (I’m talking literally single-digit minutes!), even after not being there for a few months on a different shift.

Anyhow, as I sensed the unusually fast and hot-hot-heat, I stuffed my chips in my pockets and started walking, then saw several suits and security coming my way. Of course, I headed for the nearest door. I then hear behind me something along the lines of “Excuse me, you’re coming with us, we need to have a talk!”, and more “Hey, Hey! I’m talking to you!!!” I didn’t say anything, but it was so obvious that they wanted to steer me in a particular direction, my AP instinct tells me this was a back-room operation in the making as they were very aggressive.


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What Bootcamp Grads Said about the Blackjack Bootcamp

December 10th, 2014

Colin schooling the noobsHey fellow card counter!

The first sentance of our Mission Statement is “Blackjack Apprenticeship exists to educate and empower people to make wise decisions with their money.

That means Ben and I have to be really honest about our Blackjack Bootcamps. Are they a wise use of someone’s money, or are we selling people short? To answer that question, we send out a survey to every Bootcamp attendee to gather feedback.

Here are two  responses we got (completely un-edited). We thought they were honest reviews that could help you decide if the Bootcamp is right for you! Read More »

Story of the Week: First Day on the Field

December 4th, 2014

by “levimich”

So I’ve been practicing since January and have been eager to get started for quite a while. Last night a friend and I went to our closest casino to play for the first time with an actual bankroll. I’ve played there a million times, knowing all my deviations and wonging in on tables in hopes of getting some short term luck. So it didn’t feel too different than the average trips in the past but at the same time it felt like a great milestone.

Being a Friday night, it was jam packed. Definitely the worst time to go for a low stakes card counter. This place doesn’t allow midshoe entry so I’d sit down at a table, play the first hand and then take a “phone call” while my friend “watched my spot” (After you play one hand, you aren’t limited to the min). We came up with a good signal for me to come back and she passed me back the count when it was favorable.
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Tommy Hyland Q and A Podcast

December 2nd, 2014

At our most recent Blackjack Bootcamp in Las Vegas, Tommy Hyland honored us by coming by to do another podcast interview with a Q and A from some of the Bootcamp attendees.

Check it out below!






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Story of the Week: Watching a High-Roller “Ploppy” Blast a Casino, and a Lesson Learned

November 19th, 2014

by “hita7″

Recently I was playing at a major Las Vegas strip casino. On the table next to me there was a civilian (ploppy) playing very big action…I’m talking betting up to table max ($10K a hand). At first I though he might be an AP, but after I noted a couple of things about his play, I was convinced he was not (e.g. betting and/or tipping black chips for the dealer). Read More »

Blackjack Hall of Fame

November 13th, 2014

By David Drury Blackjack_Hall_of_Fame

The Blackjack Hall of Fame at Barona Casino in San Diego, California stands as a curious testament to the giants who mastered the game of 21 and/or paved the way for its continued mastery.

The shrine is more than curious; it is paradoxical. Unlike the “Winners Wall” you can find down one hallway or another in every casino, filled with old bats smiling at having lucked their way into a big slot payout—this is different. Casinos are happy to celebrate luck. They are loathe to celebrate mastery. Luck represents a mere tax on their mathematically guaranteed profits. Mastery represents where profit got away from them. More often than not, Casinos boot people from the premises for mastery at Blackjack. Yes, even Barona Casino where, after being booted for mastery, you can walk a few feet and see them celebrating it with great gusto. It all is very strange if you allow yourself to stop and take it in, which I did one day on the way to the gaming floor at Barona Casino. Or I tried to do. I had no idea it was there to begin with.