Former casino dealer Ted Gottlieb has for the last 17 years been living off the profits of "win cards," which has little to do with winning.
"The strategy I use is for teaching the generic beginner," said Gottlieb, president of Gaming International ”” a two-person venture that tries to help bettors eliminate the intimidation factor of table games. "I can’t give wise guys any advice. Most people who play are novices."
Gottlieb, who lives in South Lake Tahoe, has sold over $7 million in cards. As a businessman he had made his money as an advisor to customers and a promoter for casino gambling.
"I supply the casinos with these cards and make a profit off the transaction," he said. "The casinos win by selling the cards because only customers that join the Players Club are eligible to purchase them. I tried selling the cards in retail stores, but they just collected dust."
It costs $10 for the three cards, which detail charts and strategies for blackjack, craps and roulette. When customers purchase the cards after joining a casino’s Players Club, they receive $15 in chips and a $1 coupon that goes to the dealer when a bet is made.
"Blackjack makes up about 80 percent of table games wagering," Gottlieb said. "Craps and roulette account for 10 percent each. Craps is drifting away from our eyes and I think casinos are going to realize that stories like this one need to be written in order to get the word out. A fire needs to be lit or else we are going to lose tables games."
The blackjack card goes into simple basic strategy on which cards to hit on and when to hold. The craps card deals with odds for the Pass Line, Don’t Pass and Place bets. The roulette card deals in the probability of rolling reds and blacks.
"The major thing we deal with is educating the customers, which is what the casinos want as well," Gottlieb said. "Casinos use the cards as a promotion. They never give us any negative feedback. They want people to play table games without being afraid."
Gottlieb’s biggest client is the Excalibur in Las Vegas, but he has sold his cards to casinos across the country.
"My job is to pump up the tables," he said. "I sell to cruise ships. I want to help beginners cross the bridge, to gain a sense of confidence at the table. Cards are also available for Carribean Stud, Let It Ride and baccarat. We have cards printed in other languages. It’s no shame to be a beginner in playing table games."
Gottlieb is a regular exhibitor to the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas each fall and will return with cards in hand.
"My biggest worry is that casinos will not protect table games enough to be promoted," he said. "I worry that the pits may disappear and that slots will take over. Indian casinos do not carry craps or roulette. Casinos need to realize that customers can get burned out playing slots."