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INTERVIEW WITH JOE PANE

CO-HOST OF "BE IN ACTION"

by Henry Tamburin

 

Every Thursday night from 6-7pm PST Joe Pane, along with co-host Kenny Einiger, broadcast the live radio show Be In Action on Las Vegas KLAV 1230. Joe and Kenny are accomplished blackjack and tournament blackjack players so it should come as no surprise that the show focuses on blackjack and also the world of casino gambling. Anyone with a computer and access to the Internet can listen to the live show by going to either www.klav1230am.com/lowbandwith/liveonair.htm or at Kennyís web site www.worldblackjackchampion.com and clicking the link to Kenís Weekly Radio Show. To get the scoop on the show I interviewed Joe.

 

How long have you been on the air and whose idea was it to do a radio show about blackjack?

It was Kennyís idea to do the radio show. I was his guest on the second show and the chemistry between us clicked. Kenny asked me to co-host the show with him and Iíve been on ever since (the show has been on the air since June of 2005).

What is your background in blackjack and how did you wind up in Las Vegas?

I started playing blackjack back in Atlantic City in 1986 but played for very small stakes since I realized this was a game that I could not beat unless I learned how to count and play the hands correctly. I didnít have the time or the passion at that point to commit to such a large task. Plus there would be a lot of traveling in this profession and because I was a full time police officer, this just wouldnít fit with my work schedule.

Now along comes blackjack tournaments and this caught my eye as something that I could do and be successful at. I played my first tournament in Atlantic City at Resorts and finished 2nd without a clue as to the inner working of tournament play. Man was I hooked! I won $10,000 with a small entry fee. At that point that was my biggest win ever playing blackjack. I later went on to win $100,000 with a $350 entry fee.

Now I had the tournament bug so I started looking for other places to play tournaments because Atlantic City didnít have many of them. Las Vegas was the next place that made sense because they had a lot more scheduled blackjack tournaments. But my job as a police officer still didnít allow me the time that was needed to play on a full time basis. But that soon changed.

In November of 1987 I was injured in the line of duty and after 2 Ĺ years on medical leave I was granted a full pension for the rest of my life. That changed my life as far as blackjack was concerned. I now had the ability to travel as much as I wanted. But it wasnít until 1997 that I was fully committed to blackjack and blackjack tournaments as my main source of income in addition to my pension. I was traveling back and forth from Brooklyn, New York to Las Vegas about six times a year for 3 to 4 weeks per trip. I also learned a counting system that I still use today that has been very profitable to me over the past 9 years. But itís my blackjack tournament accomplishments that Iím most proud of, which resulted in over $500,000 in tournament winnings. While there is at this time no official tournament player ranking system or leader board, you would be hard pressed to find more than five players who have had more success than I have in tournaments. Yes, there are three players who have won 1 million dollars in a tournament but my result over multiple tournaments speaks for itself.

With all this success in tournaments, I finally made the move to Las Vegas in January 2001 and live here full time. Unfortunately, my tournament playing opportunities and income have diminished because of the narrow-minded casino bosses who decided that they would not let me compete in many tournaments because of my skills. But the Ultimate Blackjack Tour (UBT) has come to the rescue. Iíll talk more about the UBT later in this interview. It will be a great chance for all players, skillful or not.

I understand you were interviewed for a TV show that recently was shown on TV in Great Britain. Can you tell us about it?

James Grosjean, who is a friend of mine, asked if he could use my home to film a show for British TV called the Worlds Greatest Gamblers and Gambling Scams. The reason he asked is because James lives out of town and I have a blackjack table in my house so it made sense to tape Jamesí interview there. When the producers for the show arrived at my house to set their recording equipment they noticed my blackjack tournament trophy different blackjack topics. When you mix this in with my law enforcement background, the producer decided there is a rather interesting story to be told. I guess they thought an ex-cop being chased out of casinos for skillful play was a good story line considering that getting chased by the casino "Goons" for skillful play was ironic considering I chased bad guys for a living. The main difference is that what I'm doing in casinos is by all means legal. I guess it's a good story for all to see (except for me who has to bear this burden).  I guess using your brain in Nevada casinos is still deemed illegal. However, James Grosjean's case vs. Caesars Palace and Griffin Detective Agency seems to have changed that opinion .The only language casinos understand is money; if it cost them money they pay attention and James has done that with his successful win in the courts.

The show just aired in England last month and one of our listeners (Andy) emailed to tell me that he just had seen a TV show about gamblers and their scams that also featured the interview with me and another with the MIT team. That seems to be a misconception on every-ones part that card counting is a scam. Card counting, shuffle tracking, ace locating, hole carding these are all forms of advantage play that are legal.

The shows original name was supposed to be the World's Greatest Gamblers. It was changed to the World's Greatest Gambling Scams. Hey, anytime I can be mentioned with the MIT team is a good day. The MIT team turned the tables on the casinos here in Las Vegas and for that matter all over the world. There are segments in the show that are about scams but my segment and the one about the MIT team is about skillful play. I have seen the show, as Andy was kind enough to send me a copy. I think the show is very good but of course Iím prejudiced.

(Editors Note: Joe recently showed me (and others) the tape of the show and he is right Ö the segment on the MIT Team and the interview of Joe were very good).

Who were some of the guests that youíve had on your show?

In no specific order Anthony Curtis, Stanford Wong, MIT Mike, Kenny Smith, Henry Tamburin, Gaming Attorney Bob Nersesian, Max Rubin, Russ Hamilton, Phil Hellmuth, Annie Duke, Blair Rodman, video poker expert Bob Dancer, Steve Cyr (host to the casino whales), and just last week a Las Vegas Shift Manager who gave us some pretty interesting stuff from the other side of the tables. The Shift Manager was so well received by our audience that Kenny and I will be bringing him back on the air (as long as we can protect his identity, which is a main concern, since he is employed in the casino industry and his appearance would not be looked upon in a favorable way by his co-shift managers and casino owners).

Who are some of the guests that you are planning to have on?

We have scheduled a real blockbuster guest - James Grosjean - who has changed the way casinos treat advantage players since he successfully sued and beat two casinos in court (Caesars and the Imperial Palace along with the Griffin Detective Agency). Grosjean is the author of the book, "Beyond Counting", the # 1 book on all types of advantage play (his book has sold on E-Bay for over $600). He will be a guest that we are all looking forward to having on the show. We also have Johnny Chan and Freddie Deeb, world-class poker players scheduled as guests. Also Micky Rosa, the man that many people consider the most feared blackjack player in the world and who quarterbacked the now famous MIT team will be on the show in the near future.

What are you trying to accomplish with your radio show?

What we have set out to do with this radio show is to be the first of its kind since there has never been a radio or even a TV show that been dedicated to the gaming world as seen through the eyes of the worldís top players .We are even cutting edge to the point of having a casino shift manager reveal procedures that would never have been revealed to the general public, let alone to the players who now may be able to figure out a way to get around these procedures, in a legal way of course, because I do remind you that card counting and other forms of advantage play are all LEGAL.

What are some of the topics you plan to cover in future shows?

Kenny and I will always cover our favorite topic, which is how to beat the casinos at their own game. But we are always open to cover any topic that has an affect on the gaming world, and its present condition. The casinos never want the general public to know things about their business and procedures that are harmful to their cash flow, or border on illegal. We are committed to our audience and their gaming needs to keep them informed as to all the news good or bad. This I believe is why we have such a fast growing audience that stretches as gar away as Germany because good news travels fast and our show is not only available here in Las Vegas but all over the world via the internet at www.klav1230am.com/lowbandwith/liveonair.htm or at Kennyís web site www.worldblackjackchampion.com. The show airs weekly on Thursday at 6PM Pacific Time.

Are you planning to expand the radio show?

With the upcoming premiere of the Ultimate Blackjack Tour (UBT) both on TV and in land-based casinos, the possibility does arise of having to at least extend the show to go on the road as we believe that the UBT will be the # 1 blackjack topic for years to come. The UBT will change the face of blackjack tournaments as never seen before and bring to TV a heart pumping show that will have drama throughout the whole tournament because it has 4 elimination hands with-in one tournament. This has never been done before and if this isnít enough drama for you, they also included secret bets.

So it only makes sense that if you are covering blackjack and itís current news the UBT will be like multiple World Championship events happening all through the year in all different parts of the country with millions of dollars to be won. Kenny and I plan on competing in these world-class events so the show will follow right along. It will be just like 10 Super Bowls in one year with the difference is that the general public can now compete in the Super Bowl instead of just watching it on TV, they now can be on TV and have their 15 minutes of fame, and a lot of cash to go along with it.

There are preliminary talks about bringing the show to satellite radio also. KLAV, the radio station that does our show, informed Kenny and me that our show gets the most calls to the radio station management during the week, with comments about the show and the material covered. We are being told its all good comments (that is until the casinos start calling, and then things might be a tad different).

We know, for example, that the bosses at the Stardust casino listen to the show. I learned this one night while I was in the high limit pit with a friend and one of the other players asked me if I was Joe Pane .He said that he always listens to the show. About a month later when I ran into this player again he told me that after I left the high limit pit, the shift manager came over to him and asked him if he was a friend of mine. He told him that he just knew me casually from tournaments. The shift manager then said, "Yea him and Kenny Einger have a radio show here in town." So we know the Stardust tunes us in.

.

You also cover poker on your show? Do you both play?

We have had some of the worlds top poker players on the show and we have plans of having more come on as featured guest. As I said before we want to be their eyes and ears of the gaming world to our audience in regards to blackjack and poker, the two most played games in the world. Our commitment is there and we have a long range plan to be the guys you come to if you have any gaming needs or questions. Kenny and I both play in Holdíem tournaments. Kenny has had a few big cash-outs already in a field that both of us just started to get our feet wet. I have had some success, but on a lower level, winning a few tournaments in the $1,000 to $5,000 payoff range. Kenny has had some big wins already in bigger tournaments. I believe our blackjack tournament experience has given us a head start in the poker tournament world. I recommend it to all tournament players as money management and pot odds are paramount in poker tournaments and good blackjack tournament players already have that skill. So itís like starting with an advantage over other players and you know my philosophy, only play when you have the advantage.

Ken had quite a winning streak with his football picks on the air. What was his final winning percentage?

Kennyís on-air football picks were just insane this year. He set a season record that will forever go down in football handicap history. His win percentage was over 81% with a record of 13 wins and 3 losses during the regular season. The worldís best handicappers boast a record-setting 64 %, which is not even in the same ballpark as Kennyís picks.

It seems like you guys are having fun on the air. How difficult was it to learn how to be host of a radio show?

I have never been on the radio before in my life so when I appeared as Kennyís first guest back in June of 2005 I was a bit nervous. But that first radio show gig seems like years ago since doing the show is just so easy for me because Iím always speaking about things that I love and have knowledge of. If I donít know something, Kenny is always there to back me up and I do the same for him. Itís a dream for me, and I thank Kenny for giving me this chance. Having Kenny as a partner is great since we work so well with each other and the chemistry is quite evident. We do the show with no script, as you know first hand when you were our guest back in the summer of 2005. We just play off each other, never knowing what the other will say. Sometimes Kenny will catch me off guard with a tournament question that I have had no prior warning on. That makes for a lot of brainpower to come with not only the answer but also the correct one in a few seconds. This is good training because that is what is needed in a real life tournament setting, good playing decisions and bets in 10 seconds or less. Actually since we do the show live, 10 seconds is much too long on-air dead time so my answers need to be pretty quick. I hate when Kenny does that because I know many of our listeners are waiting with phone in hand to correct me if I make a mistake.

Any funny or embarrassing on air incidents that you care to share with BJI subscribers?

There was a while in the beginning that because of my lack of radio experience I didnít realize I was getting very passionate about a topic, which I usually do by the way. You know Italian guys from New York, we wear are heart on our sleeve. So here I was on the air talking passionately about a subject and not realizing I was banging my fist down on the studio table while making my points. Then during one of the commercial breaks a caller called-in to say itís a great show but could you tell the construction company to stop the banging until the show ends. Boy was I red faced. Now when I start banging my fist on the table, Kenny usually throws something at me.

You accept calls from listeners. What is the toll free numbers to get on the show?

Outside of Las Vegas, call our toll free number 1-866-820-5528.

Our local call-in number is 1-702-731-1230.

Weíd love to have BJI subscribers call us with any questions on blackjack, tournament gaming, or any gaming topic. Hope to hear from you real soon.

Joe Pane

 

 

 

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