I recently dove into a fair sized lot of 2007 Ginter mini cards on eBay. a vast majority of them are base player cards, but there were a handful of oddball cards mixed in to the lot. The groundhog card is pretty sweet, the horse owner card is just pointless and then the card below...
Mike Aponte. I flipped it over and read the back and quickly realized that Mike is one of the MIT blackjack team (kinda like glee or chess club except you get to make mad mad money), that is a subject of the quasi-fiction/nonfiction "Bringing Down the House" about a group of MIT students that count cards and take Vegas and other casinos by storm.
I remember seeing the movie version of this, "21" a couple years back and just becoming enamored with the card counting system. Plus any movie with the Fishburne is worth checking out.
The system itself is pretty straight-forward. If the card count is high, time to bet, if it is low, time to seek greener pastures or order a drink and bet the minimum for awhile. Surely any ol schmo can do this, right?
My wife had a weeklong conference in Vegas coming up, and OF COURSE I had to tag along, so I figured between lounging around the pool and playing some 3-6 Texas Hold Em, that I can count me some cards and...........BRING DOWN THE HOUSE....YEEEEAAAAHHHH!
I practiced in my free time for a couple of weeks. It basically is learning how to flip though a deck of cards...or two....as quickly as possible while keeping count in your head. In my own head I got pretty fast!
So I hop the flight to Vegas and take the cab to the MGM Grand. My wife is on the flight behind me because she is flying with her corporate cronies, so I have about an hour or so to burn. I head to the bar and order a drink, play a few round of video poker, and then decide its time to put my plan into action.
I head out to the Casino floor. With my luck it is the Country Music Awards weekend and there are 10-gallon hats everywhere. If there were country music stars around I would not know them anyways, though I did see Jason Alexander playing poker and I shared an elevator with Seth Rogan rambling about $1000 bottles of champagne...gotta love Vegas.
ANYWAYS, I head for a table and plop down just in time for a new shoe to start. A shoe contains (I think) about 10 decks of cards. The deal begins.
And I kid you not, no matter how fast I thought I was out counting, and no matter how fast I was was at flipping cards during practice, I guarantee that the dealer was 10 times faster! The table became a blur of cards, arms, chips, and some annoying heavy drawling country bumpkin roadie who was trying to impress the dealer with all of the country singers that he knew personally.
So while I came in guns-a-blazing and feeling like this , in reality it ended up more feeling like this and that expression on his face? yeah that was pretty much what I felt like after about 20 minutes of sheer terror, in which I had NO idea what the count was, I had NO idea when to bet up, and apparently NO warning system in my head that I should walk away quickly, nay, run away quickly.
All things said and done, I think I lost about 1/2 of my week-long allowance in just over 20 minutes. I quickly decided that my card counting days were behind me and stuck with the pool, Pai Gow Poker, nickle slots and LOTS of watching television in the hotel room to pass the time. Heed this advice, never stay in Vegas for more than a few days tops.
Nevertheless, A salute to Mike Aponte for getting a Ginter card, winning the 2004 Blackjack World Series, and being able to count much fasterer than me!
Pedro, by Pedro Martinez and Michael Silverman
3 hours ago