My 2017 blackjack year started off extremely poorly with a big loss that dug me what felt like an insurmountable deficit. I use yards as my public unit of measure and I started the year 55 yards down during a weeklong Vegas trip in early January. After that rough start I took stock of my strategy and used data to evaluate options for improving my results. With that foundation I began a nearly 6 month climb out of that hole.
It is hard enough to sit down at a $50 or $100 blackjack table, but the stakes jump quickly when you are already in rough waters. Luckily, I can afford to lose a decent amount and still pay the bills, but it hurts the ego and makes the trip so much more painful when the bankroll is shrinking.
I started my climb with short trips to Harrahs Cherokee Valley River to test out my revamped strategy and claw back some cash. By taking small steps I was able to go on a solid run of 7 straight winning sessions before hitting a slight 10 yard hurdle before my latest Vegas trip.
So heading into Vegas last week I was only down 20 yards for the year and feeling good about my strategy. This was another relatively long trip of 4 nights so I didn’t need to rush, but of course I was ready to hit the tables within 15 minutes of checking into my room at Caesars.
Day 1 was a short session so I stopped by my favorite high limit area at Bally’s. Unfortunately, the first round began slowly and sure enough I dug myself a deeper hole. Nothing notable during the short session, just a run of the mill poor night which added about 8 yards to the deficit.
Day 2 brought 117 degree heat – and it doesn’t matter at that temperature if it is a dry heat, it is just brutal, and so was my day of blackjack. After my conference I went through another couple losing rounds at Planet Hollywood and Bally’s which left me hurting and back down 35 yards for the year – ugh.
Now we’re back in the danger zone, down a significant amount and second-guessing my strategy going into day 3. The day started with a pep talk from none other than Dr Phil at the conference and maybe that was just the thing to get me back on track. I began the climb at the Paris high-limit room and had a nice run to cut into the lead a bit, then had a very short, but productive stint at The Cromwell HLR . My comeback was on track and after dinner I kept the tide rolling with a return trip to Paris HLR which closed the rest of the gap and got me back to even in a round that included my largest single bet (without a split or double) on one hand of $750 which was thrilling and terrifying at the same time. Now was it was decision time. I’m even, I’m on a roll, it’s getting late and I have to get up early for work tomorrow and I’m walking back to my room. So of course I walk by my favorite seat at Bally’s and it’s open so I’ve got to see if I can keep the roll going. After 2 hours it was looking bad, down 10 yards and getting tired I kept plowing forward. Then I hit the best shoe in a long time…about 1/3 through it was meh, but then I couldn’t lose, including 4 straight blackjacks, and that 2/3 of the final shoe took me from 10 yards down to 25 yards up in under 10 minutes. Every card hit, the dealer busted, and doubles and splits came up winners – it was amazing. The dealers, pit boss and other players in the small high-limit area all were watching in relative amazement – it was a huge swing and sent me to bed well ahead for the week and even for the year.
On day 4 it was a packed work agenda and so I kept my play to a minimum with not much excitement except for a nice last shoe that swung down and then barely made it back to even for the day with a solid double-up on the very last hand.
It was quite the rollercoaster of a trip. Now I’m even for the year and I’m looking forward to my next Vegas trip in September to move into the black for 2017!