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Casinos, poker, & blackjack card counting. My early years

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In 1978-1980, I was a craps dealer in Reno, Lake Tahoe, and Las Vegas before getting a legit job at the USPS. Before becoming a dealer, I loved playing poker with my Greek-American friends once a week before turning 21. Also sneaked into casinos and played poker before coming of age. One time I drove 6 hours from a Sons of Pericles and Maids of Athena lake party (a Greek-American fraternity and sorority & Junior Order of the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association or AHEPA) at Millerton Lake near Fresno to Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

With the poker experience provided by the weekly home game with my Greek-American friends, I was ready to compete against Vegas's poker players. Seven card stud was the game offered at Caesars Palace in 1975. One hand stood out and here is how it played out. I had pocket threes and connected one three from my open cards. When I received the last card down and dirty, it was a three! I had quads and a poker face that did not give a tell. I raised and re-raised and several hundred dollars were eventually in the pot. When I showed my cards, the Caesars players were amazed that I had four of a kind without showing emotion. That was my baptism to Nevada gambling.

Frequently I played seven card stud at Sahara Tahoe leaving San Francisco by Greyhound bus at 6:30 pm after delivering groceries at Chicos Market on Nob Hill, my Saturday job. After work at 6:15 pm, I'd run down the hill from Leavenworth/Sacramento street to the bus terminal (at least a mile) at Seventh Street near Market Street, buy my ticket, and off to South Shore Lake Tahoe casinos.

Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, five card Lowball was offered in California card rooms in those days. The Casino Royale in San Bruno on El Camino Real Blvd. is where I played. The casino collected its money on a time basis instead of collecting it out of the pots. The players were the dealers. The regulars were not fun to compete against, so I gave up playing poker until the '90s.

My sister's boyfriend at the time (James Stratigos) gave me books on blackjack card counting by Stanley Roberts and Edward O. Thorp's "Beat The Dealer" (1966 2nd edition) in 1977. I wondered, why the get rich quick scheme for the masses? Being a sceptic, I observed these card counting systems while dealing blackjack at casinos in Nevada. A dealer friend of mine tried playing Thorp's Hi-Lo Count while I was dealing $1 blackjack at Harolds Club in Reno all-night long heads up (one on one). He lost $100, and we were both disappointed with the results. I also dealt to the "legendary" card counting king Ken Uston and cleaned him out along with hundreds of delusional card counters. With the hundreds of thousands of blackjack hands I dealt in casinos, I thought card counting was bunk and a scam.

However in 1991, I created the JSTAT Count that used actual mathematics based on the perfect probability of blackjacks and the utilization of perfect insurance. I won a good amount of money as a single deck blackjack counter from 1991-1997. Reno and Lake Tahoe casinos were ATM's in those years. In 1997, I got cocky and played six deck games in Las Vegas and was barred from playing blackjack in Nevada. So I applied a hit and run strategy without giving my name to nosy pit bosses after receiving the bum's rush from Nevada's gambling casinos. That's what you get for betting with your head instead of over it.

While working at the post office, I dreamed of writing a book about casinos and its games. The Internet came along and I was concerned about others stealing my material, so that was shelved. But if any blackjack expert wants to debate about the validity of my count, bring it on! I tried to share my card counting method on Internet message boards and YouTube, but was shouted down by "agents" of the casino industry! What are they scared of? I can prove that blackjack books by "recognized" experts were not accurate as promised. One day I hope my card counting method will make mainstream media and truth will prevail.

Updated 10-12-2023 at 01:07 PM by JSTAT

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  1. IamGreek's Avatar
    Good stuff Patriotaki! OPA!
  2. The Shrink's Avatar
    Thanks for this blog. I noticed you have videos about "baccarat card counting" (e.g., Can you explain how card counting in baccarat works?
  3. JSTAT's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by The Shrink
    Thanks for this blog. I noticed you have videos about "baccarat card counting" (e.g., Can you explain how card counting in baccarat works?
    Thanks Shrink! Here is a video I did which explains the JSTAT Count with a side count of 8/9's for baccarat. This same count can be used for blackjack. Maybe a future blog is in store for baccarat to give the basics.