I don't consider myself a gambler. I play to a strategy not a system. Over the last few years, the face of the compulsive gambler has become an all too familiar sight. I see them with their own 'winning' systems, some of which work for a while, but they never make money in the long term. That is why casinos love them - they are a bread-and-butter source of income. The strategy player is the complete antithesis. I may lose occasionally, but the underlying trend is always upwards.
The only chance I have had to demonstrate my revised strategy was in the Autumn of 1992, when GQ_ magazine arranged for me to play the casinos of northern France. The four-day trip was based on the assumption that I was an unknown quantity in France.
I played at seven casinos and won in six of them. Using my new strategy, I was able to bet more subtly, gradually increasing and decreasing my stake. In five memorable hours at the Grand Casino in Dieppe, I made £1,200, much to the annoyance of the management, who were beside themselves. Once again, they were kind enough to pay for my meal, after which I cashed in my chips and headed for the casino at Deauville.
It all ended dramatically in Enghien les Bains, a casino in the northern suburbs of Paris. It was my last day of the trip and I had turned my original float of £4,000 into £6,000. I had been playing for only twenty minutes, when the manager tapped me on the shoulder and uttered those immortal words. 'Mr O'Brien? We must ask you to leave immediately.' It was not my method of play that betrayed me. They had calculated from my geographical movements that I was professional player. Why would someone staying at a hotel in Deauville travel to Paris to play blackjack?
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