I walked off a video game the other day, and I have Colin Jones to
thank. On paper, the sport could be a 20% edge or better. In the actual globe? Not
so considerably. My frustration grew. Why am I participating in this 10% garbage? I’m out.
In which does Colin Jones match into this? A little something he wrote on
p. 14 of The 21st-Century Card Counter hit dwelling, since I’ve
wrestled with it my total career, even while I’ve hardly ever seen it in print
before: “Being liable for other people’s cash is a total distinctive
animal. I hardly ever missing a night’s slumber driving out the swings with my own cash,
but shouldering the body weight of household and friends’ income unquestionably came with bouts
of night sweats and indigestion.”
That dilemma influences me, not so a lot with good friends and
loved ones, but with rookie teammates. Around the class of a staff vacation, there are
invariably opportunities for me to make a guess or execute a temporary play myself,
with no teammates witnessing the participate in. That is standard for an ECA (Just about every Counter
By yourself) workforce, but my staff journeys typically involve a most important concentrate on that entails
many gamers together (these types of as a spotter and BP). So it’s a bit of a gray
space when a staff member goes off and plays a little something by itself in the course of the journey.
There ought to be some discussion or understanding about that.
For occasion, what if the team’s major focus on is HC participate in, and a group member
suggests, “I missing $5000 on a scorching deck in a monster depend when checking dealers in
the high-limit pit.” I’ll chop the loss, but that teammate probably won’t be a
teammate for lengthy. Sure, we could strictly outlaw that, but I’d alternatively give
men and women some flexibility, see what decisions they make, and then chop them off
if they self-reveal idiocy, degeneracy, or recklessness.
I consider the 2nd-best compliment I ever got was
from D Cash, an outdated BP teammate from Vegas (whom I ran into in an elevator fifteen
a long time later in a smaller hotel in Europe just before the covid lockdown), who
explained: “I’ll always choose a piece of your action.” That exhibits that he trusts both
my skill and my counting of the cash. (The very best compliment I at any time obtained was from
a supplier in the Rio substantial-restrict pit, who stated: “We have a term for people like
The challenge when gambling with OPM is that perhaps people Other
Folks really do not truly have the Cash! A rookie teammate could be unable to chop
a reduction. A rookie who’s been winning with the crew for two several years or lengthier
need to have saved up some funds, but, inexplicably, some individuals are just as well irresponsible
to conserve any money in any respect. That puts the workforce in a bind, due to the fact now we’re
floating that loss, and the rookie owes us, but perhaps the only way the
rookie can make money is ongoing play with the crew. So we have to dig the
rookie out of his have hole. Alternatively of the rookie being our minion, the
veterans on the crew become minions for the rookie. We’re out there scouting,
working numbers, getting and hitting targets to set money in this rookie’s
pocket, so he can pay us back the income he owes. And then the rookie complains
that we really don’t respect his skills. What a joke. But I digress.
In other circumstances, the man or woman can afford to pay for the loss economically,
but receiving in a major hole can cause melancholy or grumpiness, primarily if
profitable was expected. And rookies often have the most unrealistic anticipations
about successful every time. On a good activity, we will win every single time,
but not every match is a great game.
A third issue is that if I engage in a little something devoid of witnesses,
and then shed, the rookie might want to know what I was taking part in. Veterans on my
group know that I have a little bit of a “don’t-check with-since-I-won’t-tell” plan, and
there have been a lot of instances when I played a little something and place the earnings in the chop
that they knew nothing at all about. It is like the bag of funds that the film villain/hero
leaves at the orphanage, telling Sister Theresa, “Don’t fear about exactly where this
revenue arrived from, just do some very good with it!” But explaining advanced moves to
rookies is something that is not about to happen.
There is a little bit of ego concerned as very well. Dropping as well often
without the need of witnesses may well increase red flags and damage a player’s trustworthiness.
There are two—only two—ways that regular losing can occur: both the video game is
destructive, or there is skimming. I would not want to be suspected of possibly.
So, like CJ, I find myself below stress when OPM is
concerned. I consider which is a great litmus check of a staff participant. You will
encounter some players who enjoy quick and loose with staff funds, although folks
like me and CJ likely enjoy tighter.
I realized a staff that experienced introduced on a rookie, and bankrolled
him to go play some supposedly significant-edge online games (that was the team’s initial
error). In any case, they observed that he was tipping too a great deal, way far too a great deal. I
spied on this participant (he did not know me) and verified too much tipping, between
other problems. So they adjusted the workforce plan and explained that all recommendations would
henceforth appear out of his very own pocket. Guess what happened. The dude promptly
begun complaining about toke-hustling sellers, and how these recommendations were incorporating
up ($100-$200 per day). It did not take prolonged right before his tipping stage went to
At that position, you might imagine that the staff had solved its
problem, for the reason that they removed the EV-offensive actions of too much
tipping. That was legitimate in the small-term, but extended-phrase, they experienced a even bigger
trouble: this man performs fast and loose with the workforce cash, but when it’s his
own cash, he’s limited as a drum. To me, which is a substantial warning sign. That may
even warrant cutting the man free ideal there.
(Their “solution” that led to the male not tipping at all isn’t
ideal for the staff anyway, mainly because now the man isn’t building the modest
experienced tips that he should be generating. For high-edge video games, some quantity of
tipping is commonly optimal, and strategic tipping is a helpful instrument for a veteran.)
I want teammates who are as limited or tighter with workforce cash
than their have own revenue. You’ll see some gamers start out blasting on a
tremendous-marginal activity with possibly no edge at all the second they get their fingers
on a big crew bankroll. (Overbetting marginal video games is one particular of the red flags for
skimming, BTW.) For me, it’s normally been the opposite: my game assortment is
tighter when I play on a group bankroll.
In involving crew excursions, I may well participate in marginal games on my possess
bankroll. There’s a group gain to that. Protecting my solo publicity and
persona at the casino can be good for the staff afterwards, presented I do not get
backed off. On the other hand, I’m at a place in my career when I want to do additional coding,
significantly less enjoying. To that conclude, I’m making an attempt to skip the marginal games that I are inclined to
engage in on my individual time.
So it came to go that I was on a marginal match the other
day. I was in the middle of a compact decline, and discouraged by the inconsistent
match good quality. In my youth, I would have stayed to dig out of that gap. The
recreation was a crappy 10% match, but mama usually mentioned, “Finish your game—there are
starving card counters in Vegas!” Small edge be damned, I’m digging out! That was
the aged, young me.
The new, old me asks, “Would I be playing this recreation on a
group bankroll?” Hell no! If Colin Jones and Sister Theresa could see me on this
crappy recreation, they’d assign some inter-denominational penance, like producing “I
will not participate in inadequately slice shoes” a thousand occasions on the chalkboard. Or worse,
they’d make me play those people footwear.
So I walked absent from that game. Thank you, Colin Jones, you