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HOW AND WHERE IT BEGAN:

COLLUSION or TAKING ADVANTAGE?

by Ralph "Silver Fox" Stricker

 

Ralph Stricker has been a successful professional blackjack player for many years. He is the developer of the Silver Fox Card Counting system and author of "Silver Fox Blackjack SystemóYou Can Count On It." Note: This is the system that BJI contributing writer Barfarkel uses and mentions in his BJI trip reports. In his articles for the BJI, Stricker describes his blackjack career, specifically how and where he started playing, teaching, and managing blackjack teams, as well some personal experiences that affected him along the way. He is one of the blackjack legends described in the book, "Legends of Blackjack."

Note: This is a continuing story of Ralph Strickerís life as a successful blackjack player and teacher. See prior BJI issues for the previous articles in this series.

 

In the late 80ís, I went to Las Vegas with three players who had each hired me to play for them. I have previously mentioned two of them (Harold N. and Dr. C.). A new member was someone named Silver R. He had formerly operated a casino in Cairo, Egypt until the new government took away the casinoís license. He had formerly been a shift boss in Reno, NV and was now living in Florida. We became very close friends and I trained him as a BP. He was a tremendous asset to me because he was well respected in the casino industry all over the world.

We decided to make a trip to the Dominican Republic and play extensively. After playing in two casinos that had the best rules and deck penetration, we decided to play at the Lenas casino. It was at this time that knowing Silver R. came to be a blessing. As we sat down to play, one of the pit bosses recognized Silver and came over to say hello (they had worked together in Reno). After a few minutes of conversation, Silver gave me the signal to leave the casino. Once outside, he informed me that his friend informed him that the shoes were missing certain cards and that the dealer would cheat. (Yes, casinos would do that back then.)

Next, we went to the Continental Hotel and Casino and lo and behold, the same scenario unfolded. What a blessing to have someone like Silver R as a friend and BP. We played another day at two casinos that we knew were honest and made a little money and we covered our expenses. After five days, we decided we had had enough playing so we left for Miami.

Subsequently, I decided to go to Las Vegas and I brought along Silver R., Harold  N., and Dr. C. After checking in our respective motels, we had a meeting and decided to play the Aladdin casino. We knew that they were in financial straits and thought we could catch a break since the word on the street was that the workers were not being paid on time. As luck would have it, the story was true and we got another break. One of the pit bosses (Art R.) had worked under Silver R. in Reno and he was thrilled to see him. He told Silver R. not to worry about anything because "we donít care what you do."

Our team had a meeting back in one of our motels and discussed the situation. We wondered if Art R. could be trusted and Silver C. said as far as he knows he was a stand-up guy and that he would never compromise him and or anyone with him. I remained as a loner because I was doing the counting and, therefore, I would not get any heat.

We made our first play and I used Silver R. and Harold N. as BPís. To test the waters, on my signal I would have one of them leave the table. Eventually, I would call in the other BP as the deck/shoe became favorable. No one bothered us and we played without any worries. It was (as some pros would say) "just like a candy store."

On the shifts that Art R. was not working, we played lower limits and not for long periods. We continued to experience no heat and or attention because the story of the dealerís being disgruntled about not being paid on time made the situation fantastic. I decided to use Dr. C and Silver as my BPs while I had Harold N. scope out the El Rancho casino because he was bringing junkets there.

In all of our time playing at the Aladdin casino, we made 22 plays and only had three (small) losing sessions.

We also got news that Art C. was going to the new Rio casino in Vegas to be a shift boss. He invited Silver R. to come there when they opened and promised to comp him a five-day stay.

As you might expect, we left Las Vegas like a bunch of very happy campers. 

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