Buying a book will not make you an instant winner

Dear Mark,
I learned the hard way that just because you buy a book on gambling (card counting in my case), that does not mean you are going to win. Actually, the opposite happened. So far, using the card counting system in this book, I have lost twice what I normally lose. Barry C.

Question for you, Barry. Did you really read and digest the entire book? I say that because there are two inherent problems when you buy any publication on casino gambling. Both could cost you plenty of money. First, you might feel that you have improved your game just by buying the book and start gambling with total abandon. You would be surprised how many gamblers purchase gambling books just to build self-confidence but do nothing more than read them summarily. Besides, card counting takes enormous study and years of practice, not a light bedside read and then off to conquer the casino. Getting the concept is one thing; becoming adept is quite another.

Also, there is always the possibility that you purchased bad book, filled with inaccurate card-counting information. But, Barry, I have a gut feeling it was the former.

Dear Mark,
I was sitting around shooting the breeze with some friends the other night after visiting one of the local casinos. I have thought that working in a casino for a spell might be an interesting thing to do. Since you've been there, done that, what would you say is the best job in the casino? (Owning one doesn't count). Mike K.

What originally was supposed to be a "spell," Mike, ended up being an 18-year career.

The job description of a casino employee is to put on a show, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, of a quality that will provide lasting memories for its patrons. The above is management's perspective. From a grunt employees point of view, it's a job where you give, or get, ulcers. That doesn't mean I didn't have an engaging time most nights in the trenches. But it was the camaraderie of fellow employee's and the banter of a break room generating that gambol. This is what I miss most about my 18-year gambling stint, not the bright lights. But compelled by your question to give you an aboveboard answer, I would have to say sitting box on a crap game with loads of action, fun loving two-way bettors and crack-up dealers.

Dear Mark,
What is the longest roll that you ever witnessed on a crap game? Jerry M.

Though I've participated in many 30-minute rolls, thank you Lord, I witnessed one run of the dice that lasted one hour and 25 minutes. Yet believe it or not, Jerry, nobody, and I mean nobody, made any significant money.

I was boxing a crap game when a gang of obnoxious, know-it-all college --students took control of a crap table. Their play was limited to the table minimum of $1, hardway wagers galore, with an occasionally single pass line bet and no odds. The dealers pleaded with them as the roll progressed to open up their play, but to no avail. They knew what they were doing and they didn't need any blankety blank dealers telling them how to play craps. All they really cared about was getting as many free drinks out of the casino as they could.

This incident leads me to an important point. A long, extended roll doesn't necessarily mean you'll wind up in the Craps Hall of Fame. It is the "quality" of the roll that dictates if you'll have a celestial moment. If your numbers are rolling, your game spread out on the layout (example: additional come bets with odds), and you are progressively betting more, you're looking at the potential for a roll of a lifetime. Otherwise, the experience is nothing more than a figment of your imagination.

Gambling thought of the week: "I am now eased in my finances and replenished in my wardrobe." - Andrew Jackson after winning a horse race.