Be wary of ‘vanity’ booklets

Oct 17, 2006 12:30 AM

As I was browsing the musky shelves of a used book store on Broadway near downtown Denver, I came across two old sure-fire how-to-win at slots vanity-printed mimeographed (breathe deep here) booklets.

They’re the kind one purchases for a few bucks from the back of the gossip tabloids as an "investment." These booklets did not have all the facts straight.

There is a writer for the local Colorado casino newspaper, the Colorado Gambler, by the name of Richard Harvey. He expresses his ideas with a level of passion only equaled by Gaming Today’s own video poker crusader Rob Singer.

Richard Harvey holds fraternal lodge level super secret seminars and is published by Mystic Ridge Books out of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Mystic Ridge announces on its web page, "Our growing line of fine books covers everything from Love & Intimacy to Children’s Fiction."

Okay — calling Michael Jackson and John Mark Karr.

I wanted to cover Mr. Harvey’s presentation in Denver, but was denied access. Recently, the curiosity got the better of me, and I forked over the fifteen bones and bought his book, New Ways to Win More at Blackjack. The book is an amalgamation of published columns.

In the section from page 82, "One Thing to Watch: The Cards After the First Shuffle":

One thing to which you need to pay attention is how the cards play out immediately after new cards are brought in and are first shuffled.

I’ve proven in my computer research that shuffling does no change the order of the cards significantly. That tells an awful lot.

For example, here’s what you should do if, in paying attention to what’s unfolding before you, you notice that the first shuffle produces a bad pattern of cards in which round after round goes rather poorly. You should get up and find a better table. The cards are unlikely to be much better after the next shuffle.

Furthermore, a bad shuffling job will most often produce a bad flow of cards. You can anticipate this by watching if the dealer is shuffling the cards in a standard fashion, or is giving it short shrift. If the dealer’s giving it the once over, you should get up and move to a different table even before he or she deals the first round from that poorly shuffled bunch.

Talk about spurious, house of cards logic. Throughout pages and pages of bravado, challenging the inaccurate findings of Edward O. Thorpe and his descendants such as Dr. Olaf Vancura and Arnold Snyder, he refers repeatedly to his computer simulation, but spends the first chapter lambasting the "old school" basic strategy/card counting method developers as not being accurate due to using simulations.

Like any good academic or even high school math teacher will insist, show your work. There is not an appendix demonstrating the methodology of his computer simulations, the results, or third party verification of the (alleged) results veracity, reliability, or validity.

Thus, in a Colorado-based gaming patron paper, blatant misinformation is being disseminated to players who, according to state gaming numbers in terms of casino hold percentage and from personal observation, need all the factually accountable assistance they can get.

In short, gaming "experts" need to prove their expertise, not just their ability for bombastic ferocity.

David Paster is accepting new clients and may be reached at (702) 813-5062 or [email protected]