Early the next morning, I ordered coffee. Laced mine with Beam, poured some sugar and lots of cream into hers. Woke her up. Then after her first four or so cigs, I taught her how to count the deck.
“Shonnie,” I said. “Aces count as zero. Two through nine count as plus one. Tens and the rest (face cards) count as minus one. You’re gonna sit there and count while you play two-dollar bets. Don’t get fancy. Just use the basic strategy I taught you. When the count goes hot, I mean, when the count goes real positive, I mean anything over plus five, you light a cig in your left hand. I will be at the bar and come on over, playing a drunk with a lot of money. Should just be a bit part for me. No acting. I can do ‘drunk’ slicker than owl shit.”
“Wait a minute!” She said. “You’re gonna play a drunk?”
“Yeah. So what?”
“Never mind. But you probably need to rehearse.”
“Funny. Anyhow, we will go to the El Cortez this evening and you havta go in first. Take a seat at the closest blackjack table to the bar. I’ll be watching you. When you signal, I will stumble on in and start throwing black chips around. You hand off the count to me by stacking some chips to your right. Five six, seven… Whatever it is. I will pretend not to know you and pick up the count. If all works out, I will score a grand, then feign needing to move on, color my chips and bug. You stay for another twenty minutes or so and then meet me back at the Plaza.”
“Great girl,” I said.
“Yeah. Fuck you! If we get in trouble, it’s on you.”
“Honey, nothing illegal ‘bout countin’, but they do frown on it. We’ll be fine. Just lay off the sauce a bit.”
Pretty sure you could. Just takes practice.
Thanks for reading Teela!
I couldn’t count cards if I wanted to.
Looking forward to reading the rest.
Problem with me being ‘Lance Corporal’ is that I am a Sailor, not a Marine. 😉
There are many different levels of skill in card counting. I had honed my skills on a six month Western Pacific deployment. I also read Thorpe’s book and Kenny Uston’s.
(This book must be a later edition. The one I worn out reading, I purchased from a book store in Hong Kong. Same title, but published in the late Seventies if memory serves. Was not aware of any later editions. Might be the same book, just a reprint.)
I taught Shonnie just the basic count. Not as powerful as the more sophisticated ones (for example keeping a side count on Aces). The thing I learned from Uston was the concept of the ‘Big Player.’
The easiest way to get spotted as a card counter is to be betting small, then suddenly when the deck goes ‘hot’, start betting large. Sure tip off. Having someone else counting, then walking up and immediately placing big bets is safer. Usually.
Thanks for your comments and for the visit. You are correct. I need to finish this up. I aim to.
You make counting sound so easy! If you don’t have a brain for numbers or, like myself, a functioning brain at all, you get pretty tripped-up in the pluses and minuses. But that’s a pretty concise explanation.
I know my way around a craps table but don’t know nuthin’ ’bout no stinkin’ cards. I’ve sat at black jack tables and fucked it up for everyone. Boy, do they give you dirty looks!
I think it’d be cool if your last name was Corporal. You’d be Lance Corporal. See what I did there? Finish this up. Did you get busted?
It’s a grind if ya do it right Sadie. More and more difficult these days. Most of the Joints deal from a six-deck shoe and reshuffle halfway into it. Tough to get a real advantage.
Thanks very much for reading and commenting.
Laughing my ass off!
You could be right Mark.
Thanks for the read and your comment. I appreciate it.
Yeah, I think I know that guy.
Thanks My Friend.
One of my cousins is a nice guy who dresses well and speaks softly, and if you aren’t careful about counting cards in certain Vegas “properties” he’ll drop by and invite you to take a walk with him. Good thing you didn’t get to meet him.
Somebody’s gonna end up either beat to a pulp in the back room of the casino or bloody face down on the pavement in front of the joint, and I sure hope it ain’t Shonnie. You know how to build the tension, Lance-a-rooney.
“There’s that Girl I love.”
Methinks the cat just landed amidst the pigeons!
Damn – you can get an education anywhere 😉 I want to try that card counting shit, now!!! Thanks Lance for teaching me something new & the continued saga . . . great writing & storytelling!!