Friday, April 04, 2008

Hate the Game, Not the Player | The Media | The American Scene:

When I was at MIT there were three well-known teams: the MIT team, the Stanford team and the Czechoslovakians. The Czechs were by far the coolest – a small group of mathematicians and scientists who had somehow gotten across the Iron Curtain and were living the American Dream in Vegas, complete with gold chains, Kangol caps and plaid polyester pants. They were almost perfectly represented by a famous Saturday Night Live skit.

My experience was that it was very easy to stay under the radar of casinos if you didn’t feel the need to do any of that. Just play solo at the quarter tables, never spike your bet above 5:1, and play no more than one hour at casino before you move on to the next one. There are about 100 casinos in Vegas, so you can play ten hours per day every other weekend and only visit a given casino once every two or three months (for an hour each time). No pit boss will know who you are or care what you’re doing because you’re so far down in the noise. You can make a lot of money this way. Of course, nobody will ever know that you are taking them, and the emotional satisfaction arises from walking into this multi-billion dollar enterprise and walking out with their money because you’re smarter and more disciplined than they are. In a bizarre way, you succeed through classical bourgeois virtues: self-discipline, frugality, ego control and steady work.

Once you realize all this, of course, you figure out that you can make a lot more money in that giant casino called Wall Street.

2:50 AM