Thursday 20 November 1997
Of course, there are a few players who do win, the Bishop explains. Professional card-counters exist; they are not entirely mythical. "It's just that I know that these professional players are so exceptional, so obsessed, so dedicated, such gluttons for punishment, so terror-stricken by the concept of working a nine-to-five job, so few and far between in every sense of few and far between, that, honestly, you are highly unlikely to be one of these human anomalies."
The most honest message he can preach to his followers, the Bishop avows, is: You won't win. The reason is the fluctuations. The negative downswings will be bigger, harder and longer lasting, and more upsetting and more unbelievable, than the player's level of toleration.
"Your losses will tear at your heart, and fill you with emptiness, and leave you in a state of quiet desperation ... Some card-counters will win, but not you."
The Bish concedes that some counters will experience inordinate positive fluctuations. But, again, not you. These card-counters will be having champagne parties in their hotel rooms, celebrating that marvellous life of freedom and money and adventure that just seems to come naturally with the lifestyle of a professional gambler. But not you.
"You will be among the unfortunate few who, statistically speaking, will be located in the far left tail of the Gaussian curve ... it is a cold and lonely place. Someone has to be there. It will be you."
Doesn't the Bishop's warning apply just as much to the lottery? And, in fact, to all casino games? What makes his advice so striking is that unlike these other games, professional blackjack counters do have an advantage over the house, of 1 per cent or so. And still, they suffer.
That will not deter blackjack players or gamblers. The appeal of the game is too great to be resisted. The Bishop's awful warning makes one wonder why casinos are so paranoid about counters. Casinos, if they knew their own business, should encourage counters. The negative fluctuations will do the casinos' job for them.
`Blackjack Wisdom', which is both funny and enlightening, is available from RGE publishing, 414, Santa Clara Avenue, Oakland, California 94610, price $25 including postage.
Life & Style blogs
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary
PTSD photo series documents what the disorder is really like – as study reveals suicides of 22 US veterans every day
Facebook to test 747-sized drones that will beam broadband to the entire world
The distress of some Zayn Malik fans is real, and they need support, say experts
The truth about student sex workers: it's far from Belle Du Jour
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Germanwings plane crash live: Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz wanted to 'do something people would remember him for'
- 1 Finland schools: Subjects scrapped and replaced with 'topics' as country reforms its education system
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
- 4 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
- 5 Zayn Malik quits One Direction: Hundreds of workers request compassionate leave following band member's exit
£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...
£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A challenging opportunity for a...