• Dave Schwartz
    263
    Thought you guys might enjoy this reply to a PA post.
    The original post is here.
    (From there, you can read the entire thread.)

    Link to the YouTube Video

    That's a great video and he is far more sophisticated than all but two of the mechanics I knew in my Las Vegas days.

    In the '70s "dealing bottoms" was vernacular for "not dealing the top card," as opposed to actually dealing from the bottom.

    To make that more difficult, there was always an upside down card on the bottom of the deck.
    ___________________________
    In Miami, my lessons began at age 16 and lasted about a year. To be clear, I was simply never that good.
    I could deal a pretty good second - certainly good enough to never be caught on camera.[
    ___________________________
    When I got my Las Vegas schooling, my goal was to not be cheated.
    That goal was realized except for the 2 guys I mentioned above.

    I had lost $80k to one particular dealer over several hours. By far, the biggest loss of my life - and I KNEW I had been cheated.

    I was $120k up when the fireworks began, so he actually beat me for $200,000.

    In the end, it was my own arrogance that cost me the money because, after all, it takes one to know one, and I had been taught by a couple of "pretty good" mechanics.

    Just couldn't figure out how. It was a 4-deck shoe game and I was beaten with several hours of seemingly highly coincidental losses when the deck was very rich.
    ___________________________
    The story improves tremendously when I walked into a fellow mechanic's home in Las Vegas a few weeks later.
    My friend - and he was a dear friend - had arranged a meeting with a fellow who wanted to run a scam.

    I'd stayed away from all of that in Las Vegas because I valued my life.

    Imagine my surprise when the guy who had taken my cash walked in as That Guy.

    He recognized me right away and was, frankly, more than a little afraid. (Physically.)

    He didn't bother to deny it. He simply said, "It was nothing personal," sounding like a hit man.
    ___________________________
    There was no way I'd get my money back, so I said, "Teach me what you know."
    That's when the lessons began.
    While it upped my dealing skills immensely, I simply did not have the gift of soft hands.

    There was no way I was ever going to be That Guy.

    But I could certainly learn to RECOGNIZE that guy when I saw him.
    ___________________________
    What I learned from him - and more from his protégé was unbelievable.

    Seconds in that world were nothing.
    I mean, NOTHING.

    What impressed me most was:
    • Switching hole cards as the hole card is turned.
    • Switching double down cards as the face down card is turned.
    • Shuffling to a Negative (or positive) deck.
      (Actually knew some of that one, having played in the Bahamas for 4 hours without a single positive deck.)
    • Capping the deck from the discards (my personal favorite) so you can pick a card or two to give your target (friend or foe).
    ___________________________
    By the time this education was done, my TALENT LEVEL was not much higher than before. But my KNOWLEDGE LEVEL was through the roof.

    You just have no idea what behind the scenes at Disneyl... I mean in Las Vegas... looks like.




    .
  • Jim Pommier
    49
    In reference to the 4-deck shoe. I'm guessing to start; each deck is new so the cards are in what I would call a "new deck order". What I've seen is the dealer then spreads the cards face down on the table and then swirls the cards around in a circular motion. Shuffles the cards and then into the shoe.
    1. Did the mechanic after several hours of practice figure out how to arrange the cards into the shoe?
    Not knowing exactly how you would play each hand-- hit(s), hold(s), split(s), etc-- seems impossible.
    2. Was he taking 1 card from the shoe each time or was he able to slide out 2 with just the one hand? Again, watching the shoe closely seems it would be easy to see more than 1 card coming out of the shoe.
  • Dave Schwartz
    263
    1. Did the mechanic after several hours of practice figure out how to arrange the cards into the shoe?
    Not knowing exactly how you would play each hand-- hit(s), hold(s), split(s), etc-- seems impossible.
    Jim Pommier

    It would be impossible - unless it was a completely stacked deck. That's known as a "Cold Deck" in the vernacular, and demands a floor man be in on it. (Somebody has to switch the previously prepared deck in and then fake the shuffle.)

    But, no. That's not how it is done.

    He arranges sequences of cards that wind up serving his purpose (i.e. win or lose).

    BTW, must be a face-up game.

    It's all in how you pick the cards up.
    Once he has a sequence built into the discards, you top the section off with a "signal sequence." Think of something like Ace of Spades, King of Hearts, Jack of diamonds. (A little obvious - only to illustrate a point.)

    BTW, I could never do this myself. When the guy showed me I was shocked.

    A common way of arranging the cards would be like putting together 2-card combinations that add up to 10 or 11. Thus, once the sequence is live, when you see an "8" you know that the next card is likely to be a 2 or 3. When you see a "7" it is reasonable to expect a 4 next.

    So, if you need a small card to prevent breaking, you hold that next small card on top until it's your turn.

    Again, this guy was really masterful. This would be above literally all but a half-dozen or so dealers in Las Vegas in that era. (Of which, I knew 2.)


    2. Was he taking 1 card from the shoe each time or was he able to slide out 2 with just the one hand? Again, watching the shoe closely seems it would be easy to see more than 1 card coming out of the shoe.Jim Pommier

    Dealing seconds out of a shoe is not difficult. The difficult part is knowing what the top card is so that you have a reason to store it. See #1.
  • Jim Pommier
    49
    Interesting story. Not sure if you can say or not, but did your friend and the mechanic run their scam? Instead of a big score, with their talent, seems that they would be able to run small scores over time. Where the friend wins and loses, but over time is up money and splits with the dealer. I would be too nervous to try something like that, especially in the '70's-- sort of like my fingers and my life as you say.
  • Dave Schwartz
    263
    Can't comment more specifically.
  • Jim Pommier
    49
    Thanks, maybe for a later date. I'll always remember the look on Steve "The Kid" McQueen's face when Karl "Shooter" Malden was I think dealing bottoms. He wanted to beat "The Man" played by Edward G. Robinson so bad, and on the straight. You didn't know if The Man recognized what was going on, but I think he did. Very good movie.
  • Dave Schwartz
    263


    One of my favorite movies.
    Lancey Howard!
    vs
    The Kid
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