Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Card Counting

The summer after I graduated from high school (and was thus 18), a number of my friends and I used to go to the local casino Mystic Lake on a fairly regular basis to play blackjack.

We were young, had a healthy amount of free time on our hands, and a bit of disposable income. The fact that the casino was only 30 minutes away made it a good destination when we didn't have anything else to do. Over the course of summer, I went to the casino quite a bit. I believe I finished the summer roughly even, after initially starting out on a huge hot streak.

For the most part, I just played what would be termed 'basic strategy'. However, Dan had bought (or gotten from the library) a book on card counting and I had read some articles on various BBSes of the time, and I was reasonably proficient at keeping the count. The relative ineffectiveness of that technique was mostly due to the lack of significant bankroll, which made playing through bad streaks and adjusting bets appropriately difficult. That and the fact that it was basically just something to do, rather then an serious attempt to make money.

Anyways, based on that, I was relatively excited to watch the movie 21 last weekend. I read the book a long time ago, and seemed to remember enjoying it, so I was looking forward to the movie. Unfortunately I found it extremely boring.

I can't quite put my finger on what my complaint with the movie was, but I just didn't really care what happened to the characters throughout the extremely predictable plot. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but between the very long build-up to the main character actually becoming a successful part of the team, and then the inevitable rise and fall of his fortunes, I just lost interest.

We watched the whole film, but it was not as interesting as much as I was expecting. Perhaps it was due to my understanding that card counting (at least the basic hi-low system) is not really all that mysterious or difficult. Or maybe it was just a bad movie.

No comments: