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The Highs and The Lows

by Ralph Stricker 

Ralph Stricker has been a successful professional blackjack player for many years, developer of the famous Silver Fox Card Blackjack System, and one of the blackjack legends described in the book, "Legends of Blackjack." 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. You can purchase a copy of Strickerís "Silver Fox Blackjack System" through Gamblerís Book Club in Las Vegas. If you want the book autographed, send a check for $32.95 made payable to Ralph Stricker (price includes priority mailing in US), and mail to Ralph Stricker, 500 Adams Lane, Ste.14R, North Brunswick, NJ 08902.

This a true story about our team trip to the famous Monte Carlo casino using concealed blackjack computers. Iím not exactly sure of the year. I know it was in the mid 80ís during the advent of the concealed blackjack computer, which was developed by Keith Taft and used by him and members of his family to gain the edge when they played blackjack. In fact, they were caught in Las Vegas using it and that is when the casinos became aware of this new technology to beat the game of blackjack.

I had a friend who was a computer genius and he was able to break the code in Taftís mini-computer. He refined the glitches that were inherent in Taftís computer and his latest version was as perfect as it could be.

In previous articles in the BJI, I described how I was asked to train people to use this blackjack computer because I was a musician and one of the instruments I played was the organ. (My experience of playing the organ, where I had to use my hands independently of my legs and toes, made using the blackjack computers easy for me since I had to input card values into the computer using my hands and my big toe).

I was asked to join a blackjack team that was going on a trip to Monte Carlo, with the express purpose of using this concealed blackjack computer. I was planning to be a Big Player (BP) because I didnít want to use the computer. The reason is that I had developed a blackjack card counting system called "The Silver Fox Blackjack System," and if the public found out that I was using a concealed computer when I played blackjack, it could have cast credibility on my reputation and the system. However, I eventually decided not to go with the team to Monte Carlo in the best interest of everyone. (Since I had trained two of the team players on the blackjack computer, I felt confident they would do OK.)

Besides the two players that I had trained, two other BPs made the trip to Monte Carlo. Their plan was to fly to Paris, and then on to Nice, where they would drive to Monte Carlo. The drive from Nice to Monte Carlo is spectacular, depending on which route you take. There are three roads, each having a different height (or level), on what is called the Cornice. The lower road is located next to the ocean, the next road is the middle level, and the third road is the highest level that gives you a spectacular view of the mountains and Switzerland. On the lower level, there are casinos along the entire stretch of road. The team decided not to play any of them on their way to Monte Carlo so as not to jeopardize their objective. However, they had planned to play at these casinos on the way back from Monte Carlo back to Nice.

They arrived in Monte Carlo and checked into separate motels/hotels. The team decided to just relax the first day and just take a stroll through the casino. This gave them a chance to observe the playing conditions before starting to play. They decided to go into the casino in pairs of two on different shifts. They compared notes and came to the unanimous conclusion that the casino was much more crowded in the evening than in the afternoon. They decided to have a practice session to be sharp in the inputting of cards into the concealed computer, and the signals from the operator to the BP. After the practice session, they had dinner and then played their first session (even though the casino was more crowded there were plenty of open tables).

They started at a $100 minimum table, which was less crowded than the lower limits. The dealers were...

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