Are you looking for the best, the very, very best times I have ever had? There  might be a single problem with them, as some are not around anymore or some of them might be played only in locals casinos. 

1. How would you like to play a single-deck blackjack game where all but one  card was dealt from the deck and then the deck was reshuffled from the  cards in the discard pile?

Single deck blackjack with all except one card played. Yes, this was the best  blackjack game my wife, the Beautiful AP, and I played at the Maxim Casino Hotel in the summer of 1992 or thereabouts. 

2. When the dealer ran out of cards, he just grabbed the discards, shuffled  them, and played what remained in the game. Yep! A basic strategy player  had an edge at this game because … 

You could surrender your hand if you wanted.

Any blackjack with $5 wagered earned you a dollar that could be spent anywhere  in the casino. Even for meals in the gourmet room!  

The odds were about one in 20 that a player received a blackjack. That plus the 3-to-2 payouts meant those blackjacks were quite valuable. Of course, those $1  payouts didn’t go up as you increased your bets but still … come on! Free money! 

I learned a method of play (called end game from Paul Kean, a master blackjack  player), and that plus the basic odds of that wonderful game gave us an edge over  the house. Paul was one of the teachers of blackjack great Ken Uston. 

My wife and I spent eight weeks in Vegas until we had to return home to our jobs – we were both teachers at the time. We played eight to 10 hours a day, two  hands each. We were somewhat well-off teachers after that time. All our debts  were paid off. 

They only had four tables available for that magnificent game and we came down early and played all day. Two hands for each of us too!  

We’d go out to dinner and I played craps most nights, working on my controlled  dice throw (took me three years to learn it!). I used the Captain’s throw as my  guide but seriously it was the hardest thing I ever tackled in my gaming career. 

But I could even see in the early 1990s that blackjack was starting to change. Multiple-deck games were becoming the norm – not all at once but slowly you  could see the writing was soon on the wall. 

A few weeks after the Beautiful AP and I returned home the Maxim ended their  game and that was that for that game. 

Playing Baccarat in the High Roller Rooms 

In the good old days of the casinos, just about every high roller room had the large baccarat table with large minimums (in those days $100 to $200). I liked playing in  those. The game was slow and the dealers were truly well-dressed and responsive  since tips were plentiful.  

Given that the house edge on the two best bets were 1.06% on the Banker wager and 1.24% on the Player wager, baccarat is a close game between  players and casinos. It was also a slow game – which was really, really good. The  slower was the better for the player; the faster was the better for the house. 

Since the Banker won more often than the Player I always bet banker. The lower  the house edge; the less you lose. The higher house edge; the more you lose. 

Baccarat attracted many as in many, many superstitious players. You will note that  some table numbers do not appear on the game – number 4 and a couple of  others. 

My most fun came when I found myself sitting across from a wealthy and truly  nutty lady whose English wasn’t actually English. I think she was Asian but even  that was hard to determine since she always had a scowl on her face.

It took me some minutes to realize that she and I had a relationship of sorts. “Of  sorts” is the right term. I won a couple of hands in a row and all of a sudden she  ran around to my side of the table and stuck her face into my face and screamed.

Baccarat table

A couple of the people she was with took her by her arms and led her back to the  table. She was glaring at me. 

I won a third hand in a row. She was (I kid you not) growling. Her companion held her arm – I guess to prevent her from running to my side of the table. 

I didn’t play the next round. Nor did she. I didn’t play the next round either. Nor  did she. 

Then I realized what she was doing. She was counter betting me. If I bet Player; she bet Bank. Now for some fun. You see, as I said, I always bet Bank. It was the  best bet at the table so I always made that bet. 

I would see what she did as I made my Banker bets. I was so hoping – and praying – that I could hit a long, long winning streak on the  Banker bet. That would – I assumed – drive her crazy. And that drive wouldn’t be a  long trip for her; I can assure you of that. 

Okay, I made a Player bet. Yes, yes, I made a Player bet. She made a Bank bet. I  quickly switched to Bank bet just as the dealer signaled for the game to start. Bingo! She was now betting with me.  

Her eyes bugged out and she garbled something. She stood up. Her companion  took her arm and settled her down. We lost the bet. Boo-hoo! 

I then bet Player again. She waited and waited. Then the deal hit and I quickly moved my bet over to Banker. She stood up. Was she going to attack me? 

Oh, I forgot to mention, she was a truly short lady. Wrinkled too. She didn’t seem  old but I’m guessing her emotions had left their marks on her skin. I won again!

I could see now that she was struggling. Emotionally struggling. I made a Banker bet. Would she bet with me or against me? 

She bet with me. I won again! This was better than I had hoped for. This was  glorious. I could see she had a full head of steam seemingly coming out of her  ears. 

Then she got up and ran to my side of the table. Oh, boy, I thought, I’m in trouble now. 

She took me by the head (she was awfully strong for such a little lady) and she kissed me. A big wet kiss. She was jabbering in her language – whatever language it was – and she hugged me. Then she ran out of the room. 

That was the last I saw of her. And then, as the gods of chance would have it, I  went on a losing streak. 

The Greatest Dice Rolls I Ever Saw 

The greatest dice roll I was ever on I wrote about in one of my books. The roll was 147 numbers – the second-longest roll ever accomplished (at least as far as I  know). That was the Captain. That roll I will leave for readers of my books to enjoy. 

The most impressive roll was by the woman known as “the Arm.” The rolls themselves were not more than 15 or 20 numbers or so. No. In fact, roll by roll, it wasn’t what you would call special. Plenty of shooters can roll 15 to 20 numbers right? 

It was New Years Eve and the Captain was at the craps table at the Claridge in Atlantic  City. This was somewhere in the vicinity of 1993. 

At that time, the Claridge was a favorite hangout for the Captain. And also, for his crew of high rollers. There were 22 of these guys and most of them played craps. Some also played blackjack; a few even played slots. But the main game was  craps.

The table was cold. Horribly, awfully, hideously cold. “Get the Arm down here,  Captain.” “Come on Captain. Get the Arm.” “This table is freezing.” 

The Arm was the best dice controller I ever saw. She had a unique throw and she more often than not would make money for the Captain and his crew. She didn’t  gamble but she would, when asked nicely, shoot the dice. The Captain would put up a Pass Line bet for her and she was usually off to the races after that. 

She entered the casino shortly after she was called. The crowd (I swear this!)  parted as if she were Moses crossing the Red Sea. She took her place at the table, took the dice, rolled a four, then immediately rolled the four again.  

And for about an hour that is what she did. She’d roll a number then hit that  number again within a roll or two. She did seven-out at times but these seven outs were not often. I watched the greatest dice controller ever that night and it  was, when all was said and done, a very happy New Years for the Captain, the  Crew and, yes, me.

Roulette wheel

The Beautiful AP and I Stumbled on A Biased Roulette Wheel 

Roulette players of the I-hope-I can-stick-it-to-the-casino school of thought are  always looking for biased wheels where certain numbers come up more than  others in long-range calculations. Indeed, over history some players have found such wheels. 

This is an extensive project, recording hundreds (make that thousands) of spins.  Very few players ever find such roulette wheels and when I played roulette I never  bothered to look. I just played my red and black colors for small amounts and I  was done with the game. 

I always played in casinos where a green zero meant the casino only took half your bet. That brought the house edge down to 2.63% on the double zero wheel and down to 1.35% on the single-zero wheel. That game was a good one  but, no matter what, no edge could be found. 

All the Atlantic City casinos had that game and a few Las Vegas casinos offered it too.

Our normal Las Vegas and Atlantic City days were repetitive. We’d head out early  in the morning to play blackjack for a couple of hours, then go for a walk or run or swim, then eat breakfast, then take a nap, then go out again later, then return and at night go to a show after a scrumptious dinner. 

We might play a little roulette in the evening or craps (low, low, and lower wagers on both of those games) and we’d do the same thing the next day. Our trips lasted a week or two. 

This particular morning in Las Vegas, we headed out to play blackjack at a locals  casino that had a good game. As we passed the roulette table I noticed three  numbers that were next to each other on the wheel that had been selected and we headed out. 

A couple of hours later we came back and I noticed the same three numbers on the scoreboard – each separated by a few other numbers. Wow! They had hit  again. 

We worked out; took naps and then headed to our afternoon casino again. We  passed that roulette table and two of those numbers were again up on the scoreboard. 

“Let’s wait a couple of spins,” I said. We did. In a few spins, one of the numbers  came up. Then we headed out. 

“There are a few numbers that are repeating,” I said. 

“There are always numbers repeating,” said the Beautiful AP. “I doubt there are any biased wheels in a fancy casino such as this.” 

We played blackjack and walked back into the hotel. We walked past the roulette  table. All three numbers were on the scoreboard. 

Back to the room for another nap. Then we went to dinner. Before that, however, we passed the roulette table and two of the numbers showed again on the  scoreboard. I stopped. “Let’s play a few numbers,” I said. “Maybe we have a  biased wheel here.”

We were a few minutes early for dinner so AP and I sat at the roulette table and I bet the minimum bet on the three numbers. 

A few spins later, one of them hit. A few spins after, another one hit. Then the same one right after that. We waited about eight spins later and … we were off to  the races! 

This was a biased wheel! Holy mackerel! We played that wheel for a while when  the pit boss came over. He asked if we were having a good day. “Yes!” I said. 

Here is what happened. No one else played those numbers. They all had their own ways to play the wheel. No one even seemed to noticed that our numbers were  hitting. Over and over! 

“We’re closing this table but you are free to go to another table to play,” said the  pit boss. He closed the table and the other players (who groused a little), got up  and went to the new table. 

We went to dinner. Flushed with one of the biggest wins of our careers!  We ate silently for a few minutes.

“That’s never going to happen again,” I said.

“No, it’s not,” said the Beautiful AP. We sat silently.

“It will make a good article,” I  said.

“No one will believe it,” she said. 

“Probably not,” I said. 

All the best in and out of the casinos!

Frank Scoblete grew up in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. He spent the ‘60s getting an education; the ‘70s in editing, writing and publishing; the ‘80s in theatre, and the ‘90s and the 2000s in casino gambling.

Along the way he taught English for 33 years. He has authored 35 books; his most recent publisher is Triumph Books, a division of Random House. He lives in Long Island. Frank wrote the Ultimate Roulette Strategy Guide and he's a well known casino specialist.