Wild Cards: A Year Counting Cards with a Professional Blackjack Player, a Priest, and a $30,000 Bankroll

Pinned on June 17, 2017 at 11:22 pm by Admin

Wild Cards: A Year Counting Cards with a Professional Blackjack Player, a Priest, and a $30,000 Bankroll

Philip Reed is coasting toward retirement, looking for one last adventure, when he meets Bill Palis, a professional blackjack player and former member of the legendary MIT team that took the casinos for millions.

At a blackjack table in a strip casino, Phil sees Bill win $1,600 in 20 minutes of play—and he’s intrigued. Initially, he plans to write the book as a spectator, but Bill encourages him to overcome his fears, learn to count cards, and get a piece of the action for himself. The two men form a friendship and begin traveling and playing blackjack together, often with Father Andy, who kicks in money so they can play out of a $30,000 bankroll.

Phil, who has adult ADD, and flunked math in high school, adopts the challenge of card counting as a way to banish the old ghosts of his poor self-image and build new synapses in his aging brain. With Bill as his tough mentor, Phil struggles to learn the game and secretly track the cards. As Phil’s play improves, Bill teaches him to disguise his wins and avoid scrutiny from casino security and the Orwellian “eye-in-the-sky” security cameras.

Philip Reed punctuates My Piece of the Action with short, funny, informational sections on various gambling-related subjects. These sections step outside the main story and add depth by investigating different card counting systems, the danger of gambling addiction, interviews with memory experts, and secrets of dealers, pit bosses, and casino surveillance specialists. Throughout, he takes a humorous look at casino characters, even as he begins to sink into the gambling world himself.


Aybee says:

More than just a how-to… Philip Reed’s autobiographical account of his firsthand experiences learning how to count cards exceeds expectations because it isn’t just an instructional book with colorful and often hilariously spot-on descriptions of Las Vegas, but also a deeply engaging memoir in which blackjack becomes a kind of metaphor for life’s challenges. Reed demonstrates a keen ability to seamlessly blend personal anecdotes with the nuts-and-bolts of card-counting, and to bring not just Vegas, but many different…

Shaney G says:

The card counting book that tells a story we were all waiting to hear Dangerously enticing in that it teaches us that MIT Undergraduate entry is not essential to the makeup of a card counter. An honest and exciting book that lets the reader know that card counting is not dead and that it can be learned. Thrilling in that it is written in the first person in near real time and covering the learning process as opposed to merely looking back from lofty heights over a successful and romanticized experience.I read this book in two sittings – would have…

Cycle Kid says:

This author has guts!

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