Count on It

| 02 Mar 2015 | 04:34

    he has light-colored hair, bluish eyes, a healthy complexion and stands about 5'10". as he perambulates about the country, he has a pleasant look on his genial face. he is self-employed, yet he is one of the most watched men in these united states of america. what, you may ask, does he do that warrants such surveillance? he is one of about 100 people, mostly men, who go from casino to casino winning at blackjack because they are-horror of horrors-card counters.

    a casino's mission is to entice the citizenry to enter carrying the coin of the realm and to leave without it. you could write a check and leave, but the casino folk like to give the impression that you have a chance to get rich. you gamble, they win. except for a few people, like my friend daniel dravot (not his real name), who has a system to beat them at blackjack. it's called card counting and he makes a nice living by not gambling. the book he wrote to help you relieve the casinos of a surfeit of profits is called the color of blackjack, and you may check it out at

    my friend has been spotted by casino cameras and is then escorted from the premises as if he were a criminal. sometimes he is allowed to play the slot machines and other games that the house is sure to win, but he is no gambler. for many years he was a corporate slave kowtowing to the nitwits above him and the idiot public. an event known as 9/11 catapulted him into a freer world, and a chance encounter with a book on card counting got him on the road to a new career.

    daniel d. has enjoyed casinos' hospitality for years, but now they are on to him and in violation of anti-trust laws, they share information about him with each other. oddly, casinos refer to card counters as geeks, cheaters, renegades, mavericks, loners and advantage players, although all they want is a small portion of the casino dough, whereas the casino wants all of yours. the amount of money spent on spotting and photographing card counters runs into the millions, but it's good to know that someone is beating the system.

    daniel has assured me that if you read his book carefully, if you are patient and if you don't get cocky and start to gamble, you will come out ahead and one day you too will get the tap on the shoulder and the voice from on high will say, "back off."

    is it legal to throw you out? well, there is a case being tried now in federal court, so it remains to be seen if only losers are allowed. in the meantime, our neighbor is doing his bit for america by winning at blackjack and enjoying life. trump, you're fired.

    -- check my website and read malachy mccourt's history of ireland.