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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, and in his book, "Youíve Got Heat." 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."


Editorís Note: This is a continuation of a story about M.R., one of Ralph Strickerís Big Players (BP).The time-frame was mid-1990ís.

After our recent trip to Las Vegas, M.R. and I had planned to make a play at Foxwoods Casino. I thought it was best to tighten up some of our playing situations before making that initial foray. Meanwhile, Trump had opened the Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City and I thought this casino would be a good place to hone our playing scenarios since we had not played there yet. This trip would serve two purposes: scout out the playing conditions there and reinforce our playing scenarios.


We made plans to meet at a designated location and then we entered the casino. I had already wandered through the blackjack area and knew which tables that we were going to play.

Personally, I was disappointed at the interior of the casino because it looked "chintzy" in comparison to the casinos in Las Vegas. According to Trump, the Taj Mahal was supposed to be "the most opulent casino built," but I didnít see it that way.

I started playing at a $50.00 minimum table and M.R. was ready to enter the game at my signal. I had been back counting before entering the table and the count was positive, but not enough to call in M.R. However, as I played the shoe never reached a count that warranted me to send a signal to M.R. to jump in and play.

There was another player at the table so that would mean more cards would be dealt each round and this would help move the count plus or minus quicker. After the third round of cards dealt, the count was high enough to warrant calling in M.R. He got my signal and entered the game spreading his bets from $200-$2,000. At the end of the shoe, however, we were losing a small sum of money. M.R. asked the dealer to save his two spots and left the table.


We played for about two hours and were still losing money. I decided to pull the play until the next shift. We met at an agreed upon location to discuss the play and make plans for the next session. We also decided that we would go back to the Taj Mahal since I had noticed no heat whatsoever in our last session.


We met as planned and played at the same level of play. It seemed that we just couldnít get a winning streak going even with good counts (which happens, even though itís frustrating). After about 2.5 hours of play, I decided that it was time for a break. M.R. had a comp for a gourmet restaurant and I had one at another restaurant, which was fine. We met and made plans for dinner and when to play another session.


What happened after dinner, however, was very disturbing to me and my relationship with M.R.

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