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Colin Jones (S1 E3): What is “Real”?

Colin Jones (S1 E3): What is “Real”?

When I read gambling books, I generally dog-ear pages of interest. With Colin Jones’s book, The 21st-Century Card Counter, I had to modify my approach. It created no sense to dog-ear every single web page, so I just began circling passages and writing notes in the margins. In lieu of a conventional book evaluation evaluating the book, I decided to treat the book like a textbook, and go by means of its speaking points in an N-portion series. Right here we go!

[p. 5] “This ‘card counting’ thing haunted me. Was it true?” That’s the query I’ve faced and debated publicly for two decades. CJ’s perspective at the time was a bit different from mine. He was asking yourself if you could truly make funds, or a living, carrying out it. I ask the logical adhere to-up: Even if you could, why would you want to? By the end of the book, the hero CJ answers his own question (yes, card-counting is “real”), but evolves to answer my adhere to-up (answer: “I wouldn’t”).

Now that he has been a effective test case, CJ gets criticism for making card counting sound as well effortless. I do not think that’s fair. His components say, “If you do X and Y, you will make income.” The fact that most folks won’t do X and Y is hardly his fault. Does he misrepresent the difficulty level of executing X and Y? I don’t feel he does, at least not in the book. I think X and Y are not that challenging, but I consider expert gambling has been mis-portrayed all through the media at large, and for that reason attracts a lot of weak, delusional weirdos, who have unrealistic expectations, and would have had a challenging time succeeding in a lot of career paths, not just AP. I’ve mentioned many instances: If the issue that attracts you to getting a skilled gambler is effortless money and becoming able to sleep until noon every single day (which you could do), then you aren’t going to be effective. (At least, not by my definition of achievement.)

Some of my old teammates feel I’m just teasing when I describe card counting as a “gambling habit.” Do I look like I’m joking? A lot of APs look at a game and say, “It’s good.” Yeah, so? Who stated our threshold is zero? An investor facing an array of selections doesn’t pour time and cash into items just since they are constructive. If you marketed your start-up organization to Wall Street, supplying a $ten return for every $1 million invested (good!), you’d come house with an empty hat.

When facing a menu of feasible investments, we start off by hunting at the danger-adjusted returns of every single. For a long-term AP, winning takes care of itself, and the only genuine risk in the casino landscape is heat. Counting cards has a high heat-to-profit ratio, compared to other targets that are typically offered in the exact same casino, often at the same table. To make matters worse, the heat may impact your complete portfolio. Imagine that you’re a skilled stockpicker who can beat the S&ampP, and there’s a marginally constructive penny stock that may well get your entire account frozen, since the organization is on the Russia sanctions list. But it exhibits short-term volatility and trades on on the internet exchanges 24 hours per day. Only an action junkie with a ten-foot pole would touch that! [word of the day: “junkie”]

I’ve heard people say they take pleasure in the mental stimulation of counting cards. All the folks who link becoming “good at math” with card counting are a bit loose in their English. Executing a card-counting method entails extremely tiny math rather, it requires arithmetic. There’s a distinction. I don’t get considerably mental stimulation from counting the alter in my pocket, which is the same arithmetic activity. (When I see the silvery George Washington, I count +25. The tiny silvery Roosevelt is +ten. The brown Abe Lincoln is +1. The medium silvery Jefferson is +five. The maple leaf is a . When my count exceeds +212, I purchase a Energy Bar at the gas station.)

The mechanical method of counting cards is a repetitive, rote method with no creativity or problem solving at all. I actually wonder if counting cards (or playing video poker at 1000 hands/hour) for 30+ hours per week might somehow cement some pathways in the brain so that inventive thinking is retarded. Over extended hours, counting is thoughts-numbing.

But the boring stretches of waiting bets even though the count drones on are interrupted by the occasional frenzy of massive bets. For those of you who took a psychology course, does this sound familiar? We know that the strongest way to addict an animal is periodic or random reinforcement: We give the animal an thrilling stimulus from time to time, not each time. You all saw the video of the pathetic rat pressing the button repeatedly, hoping to get a shot of sugar or cocaine each twentieth time, dying of starvation when the reward was permanently removed, in spite of the availability of sure-point meals in the adjacent bowl. Tell me how that is different from a gambler on a slot machine, or a card counter at the tables.

The fact that the card counter’s game might be constructive does not modify considerably. The way this technique delivers occasional large-betting opportunities interspersed all through periods of boredom turns the player into a card-counting junkie (the plot of French Connection III, set at the Aviation Club in Paris), often wanting to play a single much more shoe, and in no way feeling really happy no matter how many max bets he wins, or how numerous new ATHs he reaches.

Describing the procedure as “mentally stimulating” is sad. Meth heads and heroin junkies describe their drug of decision as “stimulating” as well. I’m not saying that CJ is essentially a junkie-cum-drug-dealer-kingpin. The unfavorable connotations of that don’t fit right here, due to the fact the addictive product—counting cards—is advantageous to CJ’s buyers, if they do it appropriate. I know an AP who is addicted to working out, running, and usually consuming healthful foods. He just can’t support himself. Pathetic.

So go ahead and count, and make cash. It’s real in that sense. But do not inform me it’s mentally stimulating or intellectually difficult. Just admit that it feels good to you, and it is your small gambling habit that may well be tough to kick. Rehab counselors like me will tell you that the best way to kick a habit is to replace it with a healthier habit. They’ll also tell you to start with an truthful admission. [Here’s mine: I like watching kung-fu movies on Netflix I don’t claim that it’s mentally stimulating.]

CJ could only kick the habit by removing himself from casinos. But what would occur if he occurred to come across a “glorious accurate 1” (or a much more glorious accurate 4). I have a feeling he can not aid himself. Who remembered the word of the day?