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Friday, March 15, 2013

Advantage: Blackjack

Nathaniel Tilton is a world class blackjack player with a story to tell. His book The Blackjack Life, is a compelling read detailing his start from being an average Joe, to learning an authentic skill, to honing that skill into a finely tuned craft that afforded him an incredible array of fantastic experiences that he adeptly shares in his truly excellent book. Read the entire interview here:
 Several years ago, I met and briefly consulted with author Nathaniel Tilton whose book The Blackjack Life, recently hit the stands. To say the least, our time together was one of the most interesting I've had in my writing career.

In Nathaniel's own words, here are some of the things that grabbed my interest in the oft-misunderstood though thoroughly fascinating world of card counting. All are excerpts from the above interview on

"If more investors approached things with a mindset of getting to the long-term, like so many good advantage players do, they’d have a lot more success."

"Most students come to me with a desire to “win big” and believe that their skill set is better than it actually is. So I have to temper both by managing their expectations with how volatile the game is and how much more work they need to put in. My advice is always the same, though. If they want to get great, they have to put in a lot of practice. The edge in this game is so slim that each skill involved in counting cards needs to be incredibly sharp."
"Any pro will tell you that there’s not one strategy in my book that was new to the blackjack community. But what was different about our system was how we moved in and out of various strategies within a playing session. We felt like if we could move from back counting and wonging, to big player call-ins, to gorilla big player signaling at the table… all within one session… it would be difficult to detect."
"I realized that so many books either focus on the experiences of big teams or the science of solo play. I wanted to highlight the value of small team play in a way that would appeal to both students of the game and casual readers." 
"Blackjack subject matter can be intimidating for people, especially those who are new to the game. I think my book shows that you don’t need to go to MIT to be successful at it. You just have to have a relentless enthusiasm."
"Here we were, being wined and dined, going to big fights and shows, staying in luxurious suites, and being driven around Vegas in a limo, only to come back to a Boston morning commute (which is miserable), a 9-to-5 job, and lunch in the office park’s cafeteria. There’s some culture shock. And I wanted so badly to tell my stories to friends, but it always felt like it would sound like bragging. So I mostly just kept it all to myself."
"I specifically withheld certain techniques from the book that we used, just in case I returned to the game. So writing the book didn’t mean that I couldn’t return to playing some day.
The Blackjack Life is a story for the expert, novice and anyone curious about the enigmatic life of card counting. Check it out on Amazon: By the way, this is NOT a book on how to count cards but rather a book about a card counter's experience.

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