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-By Caleb Jones
One of my most enjoyable hobbies is playing blackjack. Whenever I set foot into a casino, I only play blackjack. I ignore everything else there, since everything else there is designed to transfer money from your wallet to the casino's coffers, something casinos do extremely well. (I would LOVE to own a small casino...ah, if only the laws in my area were less restrictive.)
Blackjack is different than everything else you see in a casino. Assuming you play a certain way (and most people don't) you have a very slight edge over the house.
Using this, I win at blackjack far more often than I lose. So much so that blackjack has actually become a small but recurring source of income for me. In some ways I consider blackjack my "fourth business" (since I run three small businesses already). The difference is blackjack is my hobby, not a business. One of my life philosophies is to always find a way to monetize my hobbies. The entire reason I started this Blackdragon business was to help cover the costs I was incurring going out on first dates (back when I was spending much more on dates than I do now) and the time I was spending on seduction forums; time I was not getting paid for.
I monetized my hobby of dating, just like I've monetized my hobby of playing blackjack. At this point in my life, four of my five hobbies (travel, dating, blackjack, movies, and writing fantasy fiction) I've successfully monetized at least to some degree. (Writing fantasy fiction is the only one I haven't, and I may never, since that's a really tough one to monetize, especially as a less-than-part-time hobby-status endeavor.)
I strongly suggest you look at your hobbies and find ways to monetize them, even if just a little. It makes life much more enjoyable. But I digress.
To address what some of you might be thinking, I do not win at blackjack by counting cards. I know how to count cards but it's difficult. Moreover in order to take full advantage of card counting it requires memorizing several rule deviation tables, and I haven't taken the time to do that, nor do I plan to. After all, blackjack is just a hobby (albeit a money-making hobby) and I have more important things to do.
Hell, not only do I not count cards, sometimes I even have trouble adding the numbers together quickly (especially on those damn aces, which in blackjack can have a value of either 1 or 11), and sometimes I have to stop for a second and pause like a dumbass to add in my head. Yet I still win. I'll explain why.
The reason I do well in blackjack is the exact same reason I do well in dating, seduction, and relationships. The core principles are the same.
In blackjack, there are two kinds of players.
1. People who play for the experience of playing blackjack.
2. People who play to win.
These two types of people look the same and act the same. When you're casually watching a blackjack game, you cannot tell the difference. Regardless, there is a HUGE difference in how these two groups of people view the game and play the game. It's like night and day. When people play blackjack, they say their goal is to win money. It's not. It's really to have fun, or to enjoy playing blackjack, or to satisfy some other emotion they have.
When I play blackjack, my only goal is to walk out of the casino with more money than I walked in with. THAT'S IT. (Fortunately, since I like making money, this is fun for me.)
It's the same thing with dating/seduction/relationships. Most people play for an experience. A few people play specifically to enhance their lives.
Here are how the two groups are different.
Difference 1: Experience players play based on their emotions and hunches. Winning players play based on a specific set of rules they never deviate from.
Most people who play blackjack have no idea what they're doing. They know the rules of the game more or less, but that's it. They have no concept of strategy. Of the people who have a strategy, the vast majority of them follow "their own system", which is always a system that they emotionally feel will "work". Sometimes they might win, but over the long haul they LOSE MONEY. Between the clueless players and the delusional players, the casino makes big bucks.
However, when I play blackjack, I follow a system called "basic strategy". Google it if you want details on how it works. I follow this system, to the letter, 100% of the time, regardless of anything else going on in the game, with no deviations, ever. I never guess, I never play hunches, I never "go with my gut", or do any of that other shit everyone else does. Nope, I follow the system. Period.
Any time you're playing blackjack and the guy next to you has a 16 and he's pausing, trying to determine whether or not he should hit, you know he's playing the game based on his emotions, not based on a system that works. This applies to you if you're guilty of this. If your hand is a 16 and you don't instantly know what to do with that 16 the split second the dealer shows his up card, you're not playing to win. You're playing for an experience. (And boy, you'll get one!)
The other day I was at a casino and I sat down at my favorite blackjack table. There were two other players there. As soon as I sat, both of them started warning me. "Man, you're pretty brave to sit at this table. We're getting murdered here." I sat and watched them play for a bit while waiting for the end of the shoe, and indeed, yes, these two guys were getting their asses kicked, losing money left and right.
I could tell they were reasonably experienced players who knew the game, but I noticed they were making all kinds of "gut" moves. Things like doubling on a 9 when the dealer had a 2 and staying on a 16 when the dealer had a 14. (If they were card counters these moves might have made sense, but these two guys were clearly not counters.)
When the dealer reshuffled, I put down $100 and played basic strategy to a T. Twenty minutes later I left with $145. $45 profit from 20 minutes of effort (if you want to call playing a fun game "effort"). Not bad, and it was the third day in a row I had done this. The two guys were amazed. As I walked away one of them grumbled about how "lucky" I was (which has become a popular thing to say about people who make more money than you). Of course luck had nothing to do with it. I chose to stick with a system that works. They chose to do otherwise.
In dating and relationships, most people go with the flow, doing what they think is best, making most decisions on the spur of the moment, hoping everything will magically work out. In relationships, women are constantly agreeing to stuff that they know will make them very unhappy down the road but they agree to it anyway. In dating and seduction, men are either AFCs doing everything wrong, or players who are doing things based on what "feels right" or "feels human" or "feels natural" or "not too risky" or what "girls should like". As a result, people have all kinds of problems in this area.
When I'm in a dating or relationship situation, I always follow a system that I know works, and very rarely do I deviate from it. As a result, I do very, very well in this part of my life.
Difference 2: Experience players play to satisfy temporary emotional desires. Winning players play to make money.
Here's one of the big reasons casinos make money from the blackjack tables:
When an experience player plays blackjack and starts losing, what does he do? He wants to win his money back, so he keeps right on playing. What usually happens? He keeps right on losing.
When an experience player starts winning, what does he do? He gets excited, so he keeps right on playing. What usually happens? He loses all the money he won as well as some (or all) of the money he started with.
Either way he loses. The longer you play blackjack, the more likely the game will grind you down. Casinos rely on players to not only play, but keep playing.
Why does the experience player keep playing like this? Because he gets caught up in it. He wants to have "fun". If he stops playing, he won't have "fun" anymore. So he keeps playing, either to "win more money" or to "get back that money he lost".
Compare this to me. When I start winning, I immediately stop playing, cash in my chips, and go home. That's right. I do this every time, just like in the above example. Sometimes that means I spend 20 minutes driving to the casino, spend 10 minutes playing, then drive 20 minutes back home. Not very "fun" is it? Other players look at me like I'm crazy. The casino staff tries to get me to stay and keep playing. Fuck them.
My goal isn't "fun", it's to make money. Which again, to me, is fun. This is why I win. Sometimes I leave the game fast, but I usually leave a winner. Sometimes I don't win every much, but I still walk away with a net profit. It's a great feeling when you walk out of a casino with a fat wallet of new cash. I'll take that excitement over the excitement of "playing" any day.
When a guy has oneitis and is in a relationship that sucks, or with a woman who treats him like shit, he keeps playing. He stays with her and "tries to make it work". As a result, he stays unhappy and needy.
When I'm in a relationship, I soft next women immediately as soon as they start giving me drama. Any drama a woman gives me that lasts longer than about 20 seconds, and she gets instantly soft nexted. I don't wait for a huge catastrophe in the relationship to end it (or in my case, pause it). Just like with blackjack, I leave on a high. Once she's calmed down (as women always do), then she comes back, but only when she's happy again. My goal of maintaining a high level of consistent happiness is always hit.
Difference 3: Experience players get advice from their friends, who are also not successful at blackjack. Winning players get advice from proven pros and ignore everyone else.
Listening to guys talk about blackjack is fucking ridiculous. All the superstition, all the incorrect math, all the wrong assumptions about statistics, it's insane. Experience players who have a "system" usually get pieces of their "system" from other dumbasses who lose just as much money at blackjack as they do, if not more.
On the other hand, when I started playing blackjack years ago, I made a conscious effort to ignore all the advice my buddies were trying to give me at how to "win" at blackjack. Instead, I purchased several books, ebooks, and training programs written by professional blackjack players who make their living and pay their bills solely by playing, and winning, at blackjack on a regular basis. I'm talking serious, hardcore guys who regularly get banned from casinos because they (the guys) win so often, like Avery Cardoza (my favorite), Colin Jones, Ken Uston, and others.
As usual with gurus in any area, some of them disagreed, sometimes vehemently, on some of the specifics, but the core concepts were usually the same. So I followed those guys, ignored my friends, and started winning.
One of my big pet peeves with women is that they always get their relationship advice from their female friends who have massively fucked up relationships just like they do. It's really, really sad. I'm amazed that after years and years otherwise intelligent women still haven't figured out that asking your best girlfriend for advice is not a good idea if she's on her sixth boyfriend in a row, or has a high-drama marriage to some boring beta male.
Men aren't much better. Most men tend to get their dating advice from their loudmouth Needy Alpha buddies. These advice-givers range from being completely unsuccessful with women to being moderately successful with a LOT of work and a LOT of drama.
Even in my AFC days I knew that "normal people" were completely and utterly full of shit when it came to both dating/seduction and relationships. So right after my divorce I ignored all of them. I got serious. In terms of seduction, I started studying guys like Paul Janka, David DeAngelo, Neil Strauss, Player Supreme, and many others. In terms of relationships and lifestyle, I studied men like R. Don Steele, Hugh Hefner, Penn Jillette, Gene Simmons, Johnny Soporno, and many others.
I didn't agree with 100% of everything these guys said, and as usual many of them disagreed on all kinds of shit. That's okay. I pulled from these men what worked and did it. Where there were holes in their knowledge, I experimented with different things, repeated what worked, and dropped what didn't. For a divorced, middle-aged guy who hadn't had sex with anyone other than his ex-wife for almost ten years, I got up to speed very fast and got results so quickly I literally couldn't believe what I was accomplishing.
Difference 4: Experience players have no goals or hazy goals. Winning players have very specific goals and they stick to them no matter what.
The typical blackjack player, even one who knows how to play and has some sort of strategy, walks into the casino with either no goal (other than to "have fun!") or a very hazy goal ("win some money!") which they will weasel out on as soon as their emotions take over during play, as I described above.
When I play blackjack, I have a very specific stop-loss goal (a negative starting-pot amount that will cause me to stop when I hit it) and a very specific stop-win goal (a positive winnings amount that will cause me to stop playing when I hit it, no matter where my emotions are at the time).
When people go out on a first date (for example), they either have no goal, or a very hazy, generic, disempowering goal like "find a husband" or "get laid" or "have fun". I talked about this in my last podcast. When I go out on a date, or open new women, or am in a relationship, I have one very specific goal that I 100% adhere to. That is: to always maintain my current high level of happiness.
There are many parameters around that. This means there are clear and definite things that I will do, and clear and definite things I will never do and never agree to, even if my momentary and temporary emotions might attempt to tilt me in a direction I know will make me very unhappy later. (Again, women are extremely prone to this, but men do it too.)
Blackjack or women-issues, it's all about having
A) a specific goal that you
B) 100% stick to while
C) using a proven system that works and
D) not deviating from the system when you get irrational.
If you want your goal bad enough, you'll do it.
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Jarrod 2012-09-16 13:44:50
Marshall 2012-09-16 21:33:56
You think you have a 2% edge by playing basic strategy? Didn't know you were a sucker, you're getting hustled. Did you get that information of the basic strategy cards they sell at the casino.
Blackdragon 2012-09-16 22:51:07
Looks like someone didn't read the entire blog post.
Matt T. 2012-09-17 14:36:22
BD, are you using a special betting schedule customized specifically for your favorite casino? I'm guessing your casino uses less than 4 decks, does not do continuous shuffling, and pays 3 to 2 or better on blackjack. I find it hard to believe that basic strategy alone gives you an edge over the house. Basic strategy is designed to reduce the house advantage rather than give the player an advantage. That said, I 100% agree with all your points in the post about sticking to the system. I've worked your dating system and have gotten lots of success from it. It's getting to the point where I often tell myself, "Wow that was too easy."
Blackdragon 2012-09-17 15:29:03
My non-expert understanding is that technically the player edge is 1.x%, depending on many factors including the rules of the individual casino, the number of decks, the math you use to figure the edge, etc. It's for these reasons that I'm trying to avoid an-depth blackjack discussion, both in the above post and in the comments, but in answer to your questions: I play at two different casinos (usually), I stick with double deck only, standard blackjack payouts (150%), continuous reshuffling but the dealer almost always cuts at damn near the middle of the two decks (which makes for some very short shoes). I have noticed that when I play six deck, the results are more hit-or-miss than when I stick with double deck, so I tend to avoid anything over two decks, unless I'm just fucking around, or playing with other people, i.e. no "serious" play. I would LOVE to play nothing but single deck but none of the casinos in my area offer it (other than Spanish 21, which looks like a complete cluster fuck to me so I avoid it). I have to wait for Vegas trips for true single-deck play.
Matt T. 2012-09-17 18:55:39
Thanks for the answers. I'm going to research it a little more. Maybe I missed something about the player edge before. As usual, good post!
John 2012-09-20 07:37:28
Let me just burst your bubble right now: There is no way have a long run edge in blackjack without counting cards. If you use a simple method such as Hi-Lo counting you can make out an edge. Also, doing research, I found that there do indeed exist blackjack tables that can give you a slight advantage, but they are rare and capped, meaning you'll be netting around 0.05$ an hour, a complete waste of time if you're looking to make money and not just have fun. Please google this information so you can confirm it on your own. The house has at least a 0.5% advantage, and I'm guessing you put down 5$ a hand, and maybe play 45 hands an hour, which means you are loosing 1$ an hour on average. Try to run your strategy through a computer simulation and you'll see. Valid points at the end, but they spell catastrophe if you are using a system that doesn't work.
Blackdragon 2012-09-20 09:10:02
I have placed a disclaimer at the top of this post, just to ensure I'm not oversimplifying this (which perhaps I am). It says: Disclaimer: Blackjack is gambling. You are likely to lose money. Regardless of what I'm about to say, please don't think you can walk into a casino as a beginner and play basic strategy and expect to consistenly make money. It's a little more complicated than that. That being said, let me be as clear as I can: 1. As I made clear in the post, but perhaps not clearly enough, I have researched this extensively, including Google. 2. If you research deep enough you will find that computer simluations are not a good indicator of what happens as compared to actually playing with actually shuffled cards. (The mathematics as to why are beyond me, but that is the case.) I'm about to provide clear evidence to this in a second. 3. As I made clear in the post, if you sit at the table and play long enough, you will (likely) start losing money no matter how good you are. This is why getting up and leaving as soon as you're winning is so critical. 4. The player's edge, which I agree is small, varies widely based on a huge number of factors, all of which I have examined, taken into account, and placed in my favor. These include but are not limited to: number of decks, table rules regarding things like surrender, whether or not the dealer must hit soft 17, when doubling and splitting are allowed or disallowed, etc. A six-deck game with very restrictive casino rules will perhaps not offer the player any edge at all, while a two-deck game with very favorable rules will. (For example, my favorite casino offers double-deck, double on anything, surrender option, and full blackjack payouts. That's why it's my favorite casino. I've noticed that the smaller and crappier the casino, the more favorable player rules it will allow. Therefore I tend to play at some very shitty, hole-in-the-wall casinos.) 5. I agree that if I want to continue to do this, or do this more intensely, I should start counting cards so as to increase my edge. Very true. 6. I have been playing blackjack semi-regularly since 2007. I have been tracking my wins and losses on a spreadsheet over that entire time. I can tell you for a fact that over the long haul of playing many, many times, I clearly win more often than I lose. It is true that when I lose, I tend to lose (a little) more money than my average win, but I win so often my net is positive over time. That's five years of consistent, real-life data...better than any computer simulation. Therefore either I am the luckiest man on the planet Earth, or there is something to what I'm saying here.
Kevin Velasco 2012-09-22 02:00:36
Time is not an accurate indicator for success with cards. Five years could still be short-term and not a large enough sample size. In poker for example, due to the variance of the game, a highly skilled player could be in the negative over a 50,000 hand sample size. 50,000 hands of playing poker in a casino would take between 1250-1666 hours of play. It is not uncommon for a skilled poker player to be on a 50,000 hand break-even stretch. I know, because I've played over 1 million hands of poker.
Blackdragon 2012-09-22 10:34:27
Not sure if I agree with that but even if I did, poker is not blackjack. In poker you're playing against the skills of other human players. In blackjack you're playing against the math.
Kevin Velasco 2012-09-22 11:13:19
This is good data talking about number of hands, sample size, and variance: http://www.blackjackincolor.com/blackjackvariance1.htm
Ellie 2012-09-23 12:56:24
I'm curious to know more about how you monetize your hobbies. That sounds really awesome, especially with traveling. Did you learn how to monetize your hobbies through a book, or is it something you implemented on your own?
Blackdragon 2012-09-26 10:47:29
Every hobby is different, so it depends. To summarize what I personally did: Dating - Started Blackdragon business to cover cost/time of dating. Blackjack - Make more money than I lose (over time). Travel - Do seminars, coaching and geoarbitrage product sales whenever I travel to offset costs and make a profit. Movies - Got a local movie theater chain as a business client. Income and free movies! Writing Fiction - No monetization yet, and none likely to happen here. (I guess not all hobbies you can easily monetize. Oh well. 4 out of 5 isn't bad.)
illuzsion 2012-09-28 23:46:39
I have learned a ton from this post BD. Though I 'beleived' I was doing 'most' of the things in seduction and relationships well, I am catching myself 'playing for experience' as I read this post. I have tried adopting the playing to win mindset since a week of reading this and sure, I'm hell of a lot happier. Thanks BD!
Ellie 2012-09-30 15:25:46
That's awesome man. I honestly never thought about monetizing my hobbies until you mentioned it here. I especially want to monetize traveling, since that's something I do often. I wonder if you make money off writing this blog too. But I'm not sure how you monetize dating. I know you sell seduction products, but you still have to spend the time to go out with women. Unless what you mean is, that you use the time you spend on dates to gain experience and use that experience to create seduction products. Which in that case, is not a waste of time. If that's the case, then that makes sense. This post is about Blackjack, but I learned a lot from it. I'm going to find ways to monetize my hobbies. I'm excited about it. Thanks for this post, BD!
Kevin Velasco 2012-11-07 00:29:38
Ellie, Monetizing a hobby starts with becoming an expert at that hobby. You have to transition from being a hobbyist to a professional. I've invested close to 5000 hours over 7 years into poker. I've also invested a lot of time towards writing, photography, web design, graphic design, women & dating, health & fitness, and travel. It helps tremendously to be passionate about something:
Harshal 2014-08-13 02:12:15
I'm impressed by your techniques. ..
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