Author Topic: Other Mustachians at AWS re:Invent?  (Read 2646 times)

yolfer

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Other Mustachians at AWS re:Invent?
« on: November 19, 2012, 11:18:38 AM »
This might be a long-shot (or maybe not, since MMM has a sizable techie following). I'll be at the Amazon Web Services conference in Las Vegas next week. Just curious if other Mustachians are attending, and/or maybe some Vegas locals want to meet up?

I once read a thread here about Vegas, but most of the tips were "drive here" and "drive there". I'm staying on the strip (thank you, work!) and won't have a car.

Can Vegas be done up Mustachian style?

DoubleDown

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Re: Other Mustachians at AWS re:Invent?
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2012, 11:42:00 AM »

Can Vegas be done up Mustachian style?

Yes, it can. Although perhaps not in the typical way of "not spending." But I would say that Vegas can be a really fun place to just take in the sights at the casinos/hotels for free. Places such as the Bellagio water fountain are great and cost nothing.

But if you really want to take advantage -- and I do mean take advantage -- of what Vegas can offer, then in all seriousness, go read a book about card counting and learn it over this next week. Any card counting strategy will do. I used this book, I highly recommend it:

http://www.abebooks.com/BOOK-CASINO-BLACKJACK-Tulcea-C-Ionescu/7723040801/bd

It takes about 2-3 hours of practice to be able to count cards quickly enough to follow a dealer in Vegas. In another 1-2 hours you can memorize blackjack "Basic Strategy." With some more hours, you can memorize the tables of numbers for winning playing strategies (start with Hit/Stand, then Doubling, then Splitting). You don't have to memorize every single table of numbers to start, just the most common situations will suffice.

Card counting is a truly proven, winning strategy that will MAKE you money at gambling rather than losing. In addition, by playing at the tables the casinos will "comp" you for just about everything -- food, lodging, shows, you name it. With just infrequent trips to Vegas, I've added at least $30,000 to the 'stash through card counting, and I'm a very low-budget player! (i.e., $10 minimum bets whenever I can find a table that low). What could be more MMM than making money, having fun, and having everything paid for at the same time?!
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yolfer

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Re: Other Mustachians at AWS re:Invent?
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2012, 10:58:23 PM »
But if you really want to take advantage -- and I do mean take advantage -- of what Vegas can offer, then in all seriousness, go read a book about card counting and learn it over this next week.

Thank you for the suggestion, that hadn't occurred to me! I guess I was under the impression that card counting was the domain of savants and movies. I downloaded an e-book from my public library and I'm reading it right now! I'll let you know how things go...

igthebold

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Re: Other Mustachians at AWS re:Invent?
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2012, 06:24:54 AM »
Not AWS re:Invent, since I don't deal directly with AWS tools much. I do occasionally go to other tech conferences, though.

Re: Vegas (sorry arebelspy) I avoid it very studiously, so I can't give any help there.

kudy

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Re: Other Mustachians at AWS re:Invent?
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2012, 08:27:31 AM »
I've played blackjack a handful of times and I feel like the game needs to be second nature (not even have to think about how to play any hand) before I even attempt to keep a count going in my head. I'm certainly not a natural, but I think it takes a lot of practice to be able to do it and keep everything straight.
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DoubleDown

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Re: Other Mustachians at AWS re:Invent?
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2012, 11:34:06 AM »

I downloaded an e-book from my public library and I'm reading it right now! I'll let you know how things go...

Awesome! You are the man. I'm impressed by someone who takes such fast action! Best of luck to you, and please do let us know how it goes. Please feel free to PM me if you come up with any questions at all.

I'll say one thing -- even if you don't end up winning a bunch of money, advantage systems like card counting and playing smart is a helluva lot better than losing, which I did well enough before learning how to beat the game. Anything can happen in the short run, but in the long run, you have the advantage over the casino. If you play anywhere near 500 - 1,000 hands, statistics are definitely on your side. And don't be shy about asking your "host" (aka the pit boss) about providing you with a meal or something when you finish a playing session.

I've played blackjack a handful of times and I feel like the game needs to be second nature (not even have to think about how to play any hand) before I even attempt to keep a count going in my head. I'm certainly not a natural, but I think it takes a lot of practice to be able to do it and keep everything straight.

It does take some practice, but you might be surprised just how relatively easy it is to learn and how quickly it becomes second nature. It seems like a very difficult, mysterious system that popular media portrays as the domain only of math geniuses. But it's actually pretty easy to learn. And it can be taken up in stages, you don't have to learn everything all at once. Just following the count and making appropriate betting decisions will already take away the house advantage. You can add memorizing  the playing decisions later to gain an advantage.

If you can count a single deck of cards in 30 seconds (which took me only about 2-3 hrs of practice at home), it's fast enough to be able to keep up with any dealer and not focus intently on the cards or the game. You can have conversations with friends, other people at the table, cocktail waitresses and so on, and still follow the count. And once you've committed the various betting and playing decisions to memory based on the count, it's just a matter of recalling it when it's your turn to play. I just practiced at home until I felt I somewhat had the hang of it, and it immediately started paying off when put into action at the casino.
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yolfer

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Re: Other Mustachians at AWS re:Invent?
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2012, 08:56:46 AM »
Update, as promised:

I got so busy preparing for the conference that I wasn't able to put in the time necessary to get really fluid at counting (and remembering the rules for hitting/staying/doubling-down, etc). So I stayed away from the card tables this trip.  Next time, I'll prepare more that 3 days in advance!

I did find a lot of free stuff to do on the strip. I'll post a separate article about that once I have some time to type it all up.