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Out of the Humidor

Marvin R. Shanken, Gordon Mott
From the Print Edition:
Steve Wynn, Jan/Feb 03

(continued from page 1)

I believe if he had told me to cut out sweets and I said, "I'm not paying you, because I'm not taking your advice," he would have laughed. So why is it that people have no sense of humor when it comes to tobacco products? We all know that cigars aren't good for us. Why don't they lighten up a little bit? Perhaps this would make a good article for your publication. Arriba Cohiba!

Gabe Kaplan Los Angeles, California


Dear Marvin,
Michael Kaplan's article on blackjack tournaments (December 2002) puts me in mind of one I was entered in during the pre-poker days in Atlantic City in the mid-'80s.

The buy-in was $500 and it was a cash game (you could cash whatever chips you held after each round). Additionally, the maximum bet throughout the tournament was $500. My strategy was similar to that of my pal Anthony Curtis, except I loaded up on the front end.

In the first round, I bet half my stack -- $250. I caught a decent hand and forced everyone else to play catch-up as I proceeded to play $5 bets with perfect basic strategy. I advanced to Round 2, and bought in with a fresh $500, pocketing my $380 net win from the first round. The second-place finisher advanced with me.

My strategy worked well until the semifinal round, in which only one player would advance. Here's where position and a good count on the other players' chips came into play. On the final hand I was $20 behind the only other true contender. Trouble is, I had to act first and I knew he would simply do whatever I did. So, like the player in Mr. Kaplan's article who hit a hard 18 to win, I had to do something weird.

I bet the maximum $500 and, correctly, so did the other guy. We were both dealt stiffs, a 5 showing for me and a 6 for him. But the dealer had a 6 showing, too. Of course both of us would normally stand on our stiffs, but then he would win the round -- no matter what the dealer does. So what must I do?

I doubled down for $25 on my 15, forcing him to do the same. I make a hand, drawing a 5 to make 20. He makes a hand, too, drawing a 3 to make 19. If the dealer breaks, he wins the round. The dealer draws to a count of 20 and I push. He loses and I advance to the final table.

It would make a better story if I went on to win it all ($38,000), but I ended up with a lot of cash and a very nice gold bracelet for third place.

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