Blackjack and Gambling Quotes

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Welcome to the Blackjack Review Network‘s blackjack and gambling quote database!  From the facts of the game to a philosophical understanding of the gambling mindset.  Have an interesting quote?  Submit it today for possible inclusion below.

 

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I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it. - Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826; USA 3rd president)

In gambling the many must lose in order that the few may win. - George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950; Irish playwright and co-founder of the London School of Economics)
The safest way to double your money is to fold it over once and put it in your pocket. - Kin Hubbard (1868-1930; American cartoonist, humorist, and journalist)

The only difference between a winner and a loser is character.  - Nick the Greek (1883-1966; Professional gambler and high roller from Crete)

Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect.  - Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882; American essayist, lecturer and poet)

Gambling’s not about money … Gambling’s about not facing reality, ignoring the odds. - From the movie Croupier starring Clive Owen.

Stop cheating!" the dealer told the card player. "I'm not!" claimed the player. "You must be," said the dealer. "That is not the hand that I dealt you." - Author unknown

Life is not always a matter of holding good cards, but sometimes, playing a poor hand well. - Jack London (1876-1916; American Novelist, journalist and social activist)

Las Vegas is the only place I know where money really talks – It says, Goodbye. - Frank Sinatra in the movie The Joker Is Wild.

If you give advice, you need to be exposed to losses from it. - Nassim Nicholas Taleb (B1960; Lebanese-American essayist, scholar, statistician, former trader, and risk analyst)

For winning money at multiple-deck blackjack, bet variation is much more important than strategy variation. - Stanford Wong (2002 member of the Blackjack Hall of Fame)

Gamblers bet on possibilities. Pros bet on probabilities. - Bob Dancer (Video poker expert and author)

Everything in life is luck. - Donald Trump

[Las Vegas] looks like somebody took one of Liberace's jackets and made a city out of it. - Lance Humble (Blackjack expert and author)

You don't learn from smart people, you learn from idiots.  Watch what they do, and then don't do it. - Minnesota Fats in The Hustler.

If you got talent, Las Vegas is the land of milk and honey.  If you don't, it's a burial ground. - Benny Binion (1904-1989; Las Vegas visionary, American gambling icon and mob boss)

Life may not have dealt you a great set of cards... but who says the one with better cards will win? - Manoj Vaz (Author and screenwriter)

The probability of winning is inversely proportional to the amount of the wager. - Las Vegas for Dummies proverb

After taking stock of my life, I find my most valuable acquisition is the wisdom I've learned through gambling. - N. M. Moore (The Crossroader: Memoirs of a Professional Gambler)

Blackjack is a love of mine. This fascinating game of money and chance challenges my mind and allows me to act the role of a secret agent infiltrating foreign territory. - Michael Dalton (Editor/publisher: Blackjack Review Network)

... in the game of Blackjack, as in the game of life, winning is tough.  It requires determination, preparation, and plenty of perspiration. - Bryce Carlson (Author of the book Blackjack For Blood)

Those beautiful edifices we call casinos were not built or subsidized by people who win consistently. - Ralph Stricker (Author of The Silver Fox Blackjack System)

To complete the "gambler" image, a bottle of water diluted Heineken or a glass of apple juice on the rocks is often attached to this figure. - Anatomy of a Card Counter (Spring 1996; Blackjack Review Magazine)

In the casino, the cardinal rule is to keep them playing and to keep them coming back. The longer they play, the more they lose, and in the end, we get it all… - From the movie, “Casino” starring Robert De Niro (B1943; American actor, director, producer, and voice actor)

He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.  - Muhammad Ali (1942-2016; American professional boxer and activist)

It takes a lot of skill to hide your talent. - Max Rubin (Gambling expert, former dealer and casino manager and author.)

LLOYD: “I’ll bet you 20 bucks I can get you gambling before the end of the day!?” HARRY: “No way.” LLOYD: “I’ll give you 3 to 1 odds?” HARRY: “Nope.” LLOYD: “5 to 1?” HARRY: “Nope.” LLOYD: “10 to 1?” HARRY: “You’re on.- From the movie Dumb and Dumber.

My mother put a copy of Beat the Dealer in my Christmas stocking when I was 16. I was interested in cards and games, and I had a natural affinity for math, so it appealed to me. I’ve since forgiven her. - Darryl Purpose (2010 member of the Blackjack Hall of Fame.)

For it is easy to criticize and break down the spirit of others, but to know yourself takes maybe a lifetime.  - Bruce Lee (1940-1973; Martial artist, actor, philosopher and filmmaker)

What is life if not a gamble? - F. E. Higgins (Pen name of Irish writer Fiona Higgins: author and teacher)

In the beginning, everything was even money. - Mike Caro (Poker expert and author)

NOTICE! All gamblers and fancy women must register with the captain upon boarding.  - Early American riverboat notice.

Gambling releases us from the real world. We are isolated. There is no outside, no past or future, only here and now ... We suspend ourselves at a comfortable level of arousal ... There's no feeling like the one when our money hits the table. - Lance Humble and Carl Cooper (The World's Greatest Blackjack Book)

... before leaving to play, I put on some Old Spice after-shave lotion.  My next session was a dramatic winner.  For the next several weeks I doused myself with this lotion without fail before playing.  If I went out the door, and remembered that I'd forgotten the after-shave lotion, I'd return for it. Sure, we're scientists, but I guess certain superstitions creep in periodically. - Ken Uston (Two Books on Blackjack)

At gambling, the deadly sin is to mistake bad play for bad luck. - Ian Fleming (Casino Royale; 1953)

As soon as you can accept the possibility of losing philosophically, you automatically improve your chances of winning. - Darwin Ortiz (Casino Gambling for the Clueless; 1986)

Blackjack does possess a memory (the interdependence of the cards) and a conscience (inferior play will inevitably be penalized) and is not democratic (the mental agility and retentiveness of the player are significant factors). - Richard Epstein (Author of The Theory of Gambling and Statistical Logic)

You ought to know that the math of blackjack is an example of sampling and partition theory that has applications in particle physics, where the mass of virtual particles changes their interaction with others, much the same way blackjack changes when dealt from a single deck, and then dealt with the same rules from a shoe… - Clarke Cant (Author of Blackjack Therapy, c2005)

All the evidence shows that God was actually quite a gambler, and the universe is a great casino, where dice are thrown, and roulette wheels spin on every occasion. - Stephen Hawking (English theoretical physicist, cosmologist and author)

Your bankroll grows or shrinks in direct relations to the size of your balls. - Max Rubin (Gambling expert, former dealer and casino manager and author.)

I was very fortunate in my gene mix.  The gambling instincts I inherited from my father were matched by my mother's gift for analysis. - T. Boone Pickens (B1928; American business magnate and financier)

There is no such thing as a “best” card counting system unless you are a robot, in which case you would be keeping track of each and every card. - Michael Dalton (Fall 1997; Blackjack Review Magazine)

The game was called vingt-un, or “twenty-one,” when it was initially introduced, and was later more commonly called vingt-et-un. The name “blackjack” was not used until the twentieth century, when the game was being played in the mostly illegal casinos in America. - Arnold Snyder (Author of The Big Book of Blackjack)

betting correlation. (BC) An index measure of how closely a card counting system approximates the advantage that a player has in a given situation. - (From the Encyclopedia of Casino Twenty-One)

A gambler never makes the same mistake twice. It’s usually three or more times. - Terrence “VP Pappy” Murphy (B1937; American freelance writer)

Show me a good loser, and I’ll show you a loser - Stu Ungar (Three-time World Series of Poker main event winner)

Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own. - Bruce Lee (1940-1973; Martial artist, actor, philosopher and filmmaker)

All blackjack books should have at least one chapter titled : "You Won't Win"... - Arnold Snyder (2002 member of the Blackjack Hall of Fame)

The majority of casino players leave too much to chance when playing in a casino. To put it bluntly, they don’t have a clue as to how to play.”Henry Tamburin (Gambling expert and author)

Gambling’s like sex. It exposes everyone for who they really are and most of the time it ain’t pretty. - Max Rubin (Gambling expert, former dealer and casino manager and author.)

On this day somewhere, a blackjack card counter is being barred from further play. 

There's no one that ever beat me playing cards.  The only one that ever beat me was myself. - Stu Ungar (Three-time World Series of Poker main event winner)

Beer is proof that God wants us to be happy - Benjamin Franklin (One of the Founding Fathers of the United States)

Life is a school of probability - Walter Bagehot (1825-1877; English Author)

Blackjack is a cat and mouse game... and you are the mouse. - Michael Dalton (Summer 1996; Blackjack Review Magazine)

But to us, probability is the very guide of life. - Joseph Butler (1692-1752; English bishop, theologian, apologist and philosopher)
Information: the negative reciprocal value of probability. - Claude Shannon (1916-2001; American mathematician, electrical engineer and cryptographer)

Statistics: the mathematical theory of ignorance. - Morris Kline (1908-1992; Professor of Mathematics, writer on the history, philosophy and teaching of mathematics)

It is very easy to win at Blackjack; in fact, there is more money to be made playing Blackjack than can be made in most occupations and professions. - Lawrence Revere (19?? - 1977; Author of Playing Blackjack as a Business)

Life is a math equation. In order to gain the most, you have to know how to convert the negatives into positives. - Unknown author (iliketoquote.com)

Intelligence Without Ambition Is a Bird Without Wings - Salvador Dalí (1904-1989; Spanish surrealist painter)

I owe everything to Al (Francesco).  He really might be the greatest blackjack player there ever was... - Ken Uston (The Big Book of Blackjack by Arnold Snyder)

playing efficiency. (PE). A measure (related to the playing correlation) which indicates how closely a card counting system responds to changes in playing strategy. - (From the Encyclopedia of Casino Twenty-One)

The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits. - Anonymous.

Never perform card tricks for the people you play poker with. - Unknown author.

The most common progression systems are either "up as you lose" systems or the exact opposite, "up as you win" progressions. They have one thing in common -- they don't work. - Stanford Wong (2002 member of the Blackjack Hall of Fame.)

Wonging. A method of betting coined by Atlantic City card counters in the late 70’s after the style of play blackjack expert Stanford Wong proposed and used. - (From the Encyclopedia of Casino Twenty-One)

Of course, if they only pay 6 to 5 on a blackjack they are cheating you in plain sight. - Michael Dalton (21 Frequently Asked Questions About Blackjack)

Isn't card counting illegal?  No, It's no more illegal than using your brain to add up how much money you have in your wallet. - Michael Dalton (Summer 1997; Blackjack Review Magazine)

The most successful APs we know (ourselves included) made more money AFTER they got in “the book” than before. If you choose to beat blackjack it’s inevitable that you’ll get your picture in a few yearbooks you never wanted, but take heart. It just means they’re more afraid of you than you are of them. [Ben & Colin of Blackjack Apprenticeship]

As with most things in life, the answer lies in balancing risk with potential reward. - John Leib (Winter 1995; Blackjack Review Magazine)

What is the “secret” to winning? Winning at blackjack requires the ability to take advantage of situations. This ability involves balancing knowledge, skill, bankroll, and risk. The ultimate secret, however, is a life-long dedication to the game. - Michael Dalton (21 Frequently Asked Questions About Blackjack)

Captain, I'm beginning to understand why you Earthmen enjoy gambling. No matter how carefully one computes the odds of success, there is still a certain exhilaration in the risk. - Spock from the Star Trek TV series.

insurance correlation. (IC) A measure of how well a counting system indicates correct insurance betting decisions compared with other systems.  - (From the Encyclopedia of Casino Twenty-One)

Play within your bankroll, pick your games with care and learn everything you can about the game. The winning will come. It has to. It's in the cards.  - Bryce Carlson (Author of the book Blackjack For Blood)

I hesitate to give advice because every major single piece of advice I was given turned out to be wrong and I am glad I didn’t follow them. - Nassim Nicholas Taleb (B1960; Lebanese-American essayist, scholar, statistician, former trader, and risk analyst)

"I want you to see this, Arnold," he said, "but you can't write about it."  - Ken Uston to Arnold Snyder (On one of Uston's new "Big Player" acts he was working on. Dec 1987; Blackjack Forum)

Luck, bad if not good, will always be with us. But it has a way of favoring the intelligent and showing its back to the stupid. - John Dewey (1859-1952; American psychologist and educational reformer)

floating advantage. The proven theory that the same true count implies more advantage later in the deck(s) than it does earlier in the deck(s). - (From the Encyclopedia of Casino Twenty-One)

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity - Seneca (ca. 4 BC-65 AD; Roman philosopher, dramatist, and writer)

Everything in life is 50/50! - Michael Dalton (1998 Special Issue; Blackjack Review Magazine)

zweikartenspiel. A German term believed to have been coined by Richard Epstein to refer to games where the dealer’s hole-card is exposed. Also known as Double Exposure. - (From the Encyclopedia of Casino Twenty-One)

To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities. - Bruce Lee (1940-1973; Martial artist, actor, philosopher and filmmaker)

bar. As in to be barred from a casino. A casino game control measure to restrict a game from undesirables. This includes cheats, disorderly persons and players suspected of card counting at blackjack. - (From the Encyclopedia of Casino Twenty-One)

In the end... we only regret the chances we didn’t take, the relationships we were afraid to have, and the decisions we waited too long to make. - Lewis Carroll (1832-1898; English writer, mathematician, logician, deacon and photographer)

It makes no sense whatsoever to tip while you are losing.  Wait to tip until you are reasonably assured of a winning session. It is embarrassing to tip early, then lose all your winnings and more. - From The Blackjack Team Handbook (Blackjack Forum June 1996)

basic strategy. A mathematically derived and computer proven system providing the optimal way of playing any hand and based only on the values of the player’s cards and dealer’s up-card. - (From the Encyclopedia of Casino Twenty-One)

I like the probability of the impossible. - Nicolas Roeg (B1928; English film director and cinematographer)

Illustrious 18. Term coined by Donald Schlesinger to refer to the play variations that provide players the most gain from varying from basic strategy. - (From the Encyclopedia of Casino Twenty-One)

The big secret worth keeping in this game is the fact that you are an expert player. - Michael Dalton (Winter 1996; Blackjack Review Magazine)

Every conscious act requires risk. Every conscious act requires decision. Put these two facts together and you realize that the secret to life is not to avoid gambling but to gamble well. - Mike Caro (Poker expert and author)

Winner, winner, chicken dinner! - An old Las Vegas saying when a chicken dinner cost under $2.  Thus, win a $2 bet and you have enough for a chicken dinner.

George. Code name for one of the concealed blackjack computers used in the late 1970’s by Ken Uston’s team and developed by Keith Taft. - (From the Encyclopedia of Casino Twenty-One)

You can’t just fire people. A disgruntled player can wreak havoc with a blackjack team. It’s not like a regular business where you can tell him to pack up his stuff and go home. - John Chang (A former manager of the MIT Blackjack Team)

The professional gambler looks to win in the grind, when skill and stamina begin to tip the scales in his favor. - N. M. Moore (The Crossroader: Memoirs of a Professional Gambler)

big player. (BP). The blackjack team player that makes the large bets but does not count cards. The BP is often supported by team members who are making small bets or not playing at all. - (From the Encyclopedia of Casino Twenty-One)

If another player makes a mistake... any mistake, ask the dealer for your money back. - Ten Fun Ways to Look Like an Idiot (Spring 1996; Blackjack Review Magazine)

C-3PO: “But sir, the possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field is approximately 3,720 to one.” HAN SOLO: “Never tell me the odds. (From the movie Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back)

I've always been happy to take a gamble on myself. - Peter Jackson (B1961; New Zealand film director, screenwriter, film producer and actor)

depth charging.  A single-deck strategy developed and coined by Arnold Snyder that allows the player to play a winning game without using a bet spread based on count information. - (From the Encyclopedia of Casino Twenty-One)

SCORE: Term coined by Don Schlesinger that stands for Standardized Comparison Of Risk and Expectation – a methodology for evaluating different games based on the number of decks, rules, penetration and bet spread. [ Encyclopedia of Casino Twenty-One ]

Fab Four.  A term coined by Don Schlesinger and used to describe the top four most profitable surrender plays using the Hi-Lo counting system.  - (From the Encyclopedia of Casino Twenty-One)

Life! What Inscrutable Card Shall Ye Throw Next Upon the Soft Felt of Our Days? - Colson Whitehead (B1969; Novelist)

Being a professional blackjack player is a lonely job. The casinos hate you, you’re on the road a lot, you don’t get to share you tales with a lot of folks because you’re afraid they’ll rat you out. Winning takes some getting used to. - Max Rubin (Gambling expert, former dealer and casino manager and author.)

It is a fact that the worst player in the world and the best player in the world could play at the same table for an hour or so, and the worst player could win and the best player could lose. - Ken Uston (1935-1987; Professional blackjack player and author)

Ed Thorp is the first modern mathematician who successfully used quantitative methods for risk taking, and most certainly the first mathematician who met financial success doing it. - Nassim Taleb (From the foreword to Ed Thorp's autobiography: A Man for All Markets)

I will take a good cut and lousy rules any day! - Michael Dalton (Fall 1996; Blackjack Review Magazine)

The typical businessman envies the gambler the way a married man envies a bachelor. - N. M. Moore (The Crossroader: Memoirs of a Professional Gambler)

When we put 50 machines in, I consider them 50 more mousetraps. You have to have a mousetrap to catch a mouse. - Bob Stupak (1942-2009; Las Vegas casino owner and entrepreneur)

God does not play dice with the universe. - Albert Einstein

edge sorting.  A technique used in advantage gambling where a player determines whether a face-down playing card is likely to be low or high by observing and exploiting subtle unintentional differences on the backs of some types of card... - (From the Encyclopedia of Casino Twenty-One)

blackjack 1) Common reference to the game of twenty-one, a card game played between a dealer and one to seven players. Also called vingt-et-un, pontoon, and van-john. 2) When the player’s first two cards are an ace and any ten valued card. - (From the Encyclopedia of Casino Twenty-One)

Hi-Lo. Originally proposed by Harvey Dubner in 1963 and later refined by Julian Braun and Stanford Wong). Also called the High-Low or Plus-Minus count. One of the most popular counting systems ever used. - (From the Encyclopedia of Casino Twenty-One)

Somewhere in that morass of the good, the bad and the ugly... I picked up early on keeping records. - Bootlegger (Fall 1997; Blackjack Review Magazine)

Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them. - Bruce Lee (1940-1973; Martial artist, actor, philosopher and filmmaker)

implied count.  An implied count is an educated guess that takes into account what you believe another player is holding for the purpose of playing your hand more accurately.  - (From the Encyclopedia of Casino Twenty-One)

Kelly Criterion.  This is a bet-sizing system based on the knowledge of the player’s advantage and variance at any point in the game.  The standard deviation (SD) in blackjack is about 1.15 thus the variance turns out to be about 1.32 (square of the SD).  An optimal Kelly bet can be calculated to be... - (From the Encyclopedia of Casino Twenty-One)

Ed Thorp's memoirs read like a thriller –mixing wearable computers that would have made James Bond proud, shady characters, great scientists and poisoning attempt... - Nassim Taleb (From the foreword to Ed Thorp's autobiography: A Man for All Markets)

Roger Baldwin, Wilbert Cantey, Herbert Maisel and James McDermott were collectively known as “The Four Horsemen of Aberdeen“.  While serving in the U.S. Army in the 1950s, they discovered and published in the Journal of the American Statistical Association the first accurate basic strategy for blackjack, using only desk calculators. - (From the Encyclopedia of Casino Twenty-One)

When you develop your opinions on the basis of weak evidence, you will have difficulty interpreting subsequent information that contradicts these opinions, even if this new information is obviously more accurate. - Nassim Nicholas Taleb (B1960; Author of the The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable)

card-counting. A method of keeping track of the cards by assigning a value to certain cards in the deck. - (From the Encyclopedia of Casino Twenty-One)

loss rebate.  A promotion or offer from a casino that rebates you money or free play when you have taken a loss at a casino game.  Loss rebates can often have a fundamental flaw that exposes them to advantage play. - (From the Encyclopedia of Casino Twenty-One)

There are many factors that come into play that control winning and losing, and the most control you have is choosing the proper game to put your money at risk! - Yancy Howard (Spring 1994; Blackjack Review Magazine)

long-run strategy. A strategy used to optimize a player's chances of winning based on the actual theoretical advantage a player has in a game. This is what we all strive for when we play any game with a positive expectation. - (From the Encyclopedia of Casino Twenty-One)

Good food, good whiskey cheap, and a good gamble. - Benny Binion (1904-1989; Las Vegas visionary, American gambling icon and mob boss)

Experiment. aka “The Experiment” or “The Early Surrender Experiment”.  A reference to the 13 day period in January of 1979, when Resorts International Casino in Atlantic City offered early surrender. - (From the Encyclopedia of Casino Twenty-One)

In many countries that celebrate Halloween, card counters are dressing up and trying not to be recognized at the blackjack tables.

standard deviation.  Also called fluctuation or luck. This statistical index is often used in technical blackjack texts as a measure of how much individual wins and losses can differ from the average. - (From the Encyclopedia of Casino Twenty-One)

true count.  The running count adjusted for the number of cards or decks remaining to be played.  The true count is a much more important indicator of the a player’s advantage than is the running count. - (From the Encyclopedia of Casino Twenty-One)

unbalanced count.  A point count system that does not end with a count of zero or with the same count at the beginning of the deck or shoe.  A true count adjustment is typically not required. - (From the Encyclopedia of Casino Twenty-One)

It is ironic that to be successful with one's book and writings you have to publicize yourself, which is contradictory to everything that a player must do to be allowed to win at this game. - Michael Dalton (Author of the Encyclopedia of Casino Twenty-One)

A man’s gotta make at least one bet a day else he could be walking around lucky and never know it. - Jim Jones (1931-1978; American religious cult leader)
I love blackjack. But I’m not addicted to gambling. I’m addicted to sitting in a semi-circle. - Mitch Hedberg (1968-2005; American stand-up comedian)
Gambling is the future on the internet. You can only look at so many dirty pictures. - Simon Noble (B1971; Co-founder of intertops, the first online sportsbook)
There is a very easy way to return from a casino with a small fortune: go there with a large one. - Jack Yelton
Guessing has never been widely acclaimed as a good gambling strategy. - Unknown Author

Trust everyone, but always cut the cards. - Benny Binion (1904-1989; Las Vegas visionary, American gambling icon and mob boss)

Remember this. The house doesn’t beat the player. It just gives him the opportunity to beat himself. – Nicholas Dandolos (1883-1966; Professional gambler and high roller from Rethymnon, Crete)

Blackjack is the only casino game an amateur can learn to play and at which he can definitely win. - Lawrence Revere (19xx-1977; Author and professional blackjack player)

Contrary to popular belief, the house edge cannot be overcome by magical systems.  I cannot fathom why smart people play casino games without having an edge over the house... - Eliot Jacobson (Author and casino consultant)

I started out by betting $1 on the bad hands and a maximum of $10 on the good hands. It drove them crazy because they were looking to make some big money. I discipline and paced myself. It was a lesson about managing money that stuck with me forever after.Edward Thorp (2002 member of the Blackjack Hall of Fame)

The Lottery:  A tax on people who are bad at math. - Unknown Author

Money won is twice as sweet as money earned.  From the movie The Color of Money, starring Paul Newman and Tom Cruise.

I used to be a heavy gambler. But now I just make mental bets. That's how I lost my mind. - Steve Allen (1921-2000; American TV personality, musician, composer, actor, comedian and writer)

Casinos and prostitutes have the same thing in common; they are both trying to screw you out of your money and send you home with a smile on your face. - Terrence "VP Pappy" Murphy (B1937; American freelance writer)

Blessed be the slot players for theirs is the hope of a better day dawning. - Frank Scoblete (B1947; Gambling author)

A drunken monkey can be as successful at slots as a sober Einstein. - Bob Dancer (Video Poker expert and gambling author)

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