Last night I was walking around the Borgata casino and resort in Atlantic City, watching hopeful gamblers trying to get rich playing blackjack. I usually try to watch the high energy tables or noisy ones and the first table that caught my attention was a $15  minimum bet table. All eyes at this table were on a grandfather who was playing $500 to $1000  per hand. His grandson was standing closely behind, watching in amazement as “Gramps” was doing quite well. People at the table mentioned that this jeans and baseball wearing gentleman (who was around 70 years old) had bought in for just $200,  building his stack to a staggering $4000+. I watched him hit a blackjack for $1000, followed by an $800 double down, he was rolling, high fiving the other players and smiling from ear to ear.

He seemed to be showing his grandson that he was “the man” and was gonna break the bank. As “Gramps” put out a  jaw dropping $1200 bet of 12 black chips on the felt, his cards were a 5 and a 6 equaling 11, while the dealer showed a 5. This is a blackjack players dream senerio, an automatic double down.The man confidently reached into his stack and lined up an additional $1200 doubling down and drawing 1 card (hoping for a 10, jack queen or king to make a 21). The entire time his grandson (who looked 19 or 20 years old) was jumping up and down with excitement in anticipation of the next card to be dealt. An 8 of clubs appeared from the deck giving the man a solid 19, a strong hand vs. the dealers 5. So as the dealer continued down the table, with everybody playing their hands accordingly, based on the dealers 5. When it got back to the dealer he casually flipped up his hidden card and it was an 8, giving the dealer a total of 13 (the dealer must take a hit on any hand under 17). The dealer pulled another card from the deck as he turned it up it was a 7 of hearts, ouch, giving the dealer a total of 20 and devastating the table of players and onlookers.

Grandpa had lost an incredible $2400 on one hand of blackjack. Probably more money than his grandson had ever seen at one time. A silence then came over the table, suddenly all of the celebrating and jubilation stopped instantly. Grandpa was stunned, but like a true over matched gambler trying to break the bank and not realizing he was still ahead over $2000, he quickly pushed out the remainder of his stack, roughly $2400-$2500 into the circle of felt and was ready for the next hand.  A very pretty queen and a jack stared at gramps, a formitable 20 vs. the dealer showing a 10 of clubs. As the anticipation built up and the action got back to the dealer he exposed a 5 underneath giving him a total of 15. The dealer pulled a card from the deck and flipped it over, the 6 of diamonds, giving the dealer a 21 and shattering both gramps and his grandsons dreams, ruining the entire mood of the table. Devastated and staring aimlessly at the stack of chips being taken away by the dealer, grandpa was in shock. He then grabbed his jacket and sheepishly walked away from the table, flat broke, almost in tears, blackjack will do that to you. Another victim of the big casinos, another lost & shattered dream crushed by the establishment and the “house”. I felt horrible for the man, I was truly rooting for him. But in the end, I had been there, done that, I was that old mad, many times in the past, turning a couple hundred into a couple thousand, like it was easy. Catching cards, winning double downs, ect. … and in the end leaving the casino flat broke. Unsatisfied with the stack of chips on the table, being caught up in the excitement, the high 5’s, the free drinks, the big lights and sexy waitresses leads to greed, which had swallowed up another victim, this time it was grandpa. They say these casinos weren’t built on people beating the casinos, because the house always wins, you can’t brake the bank-they have too much money. Hopefully I can take my own advice next time I play blackjack, hitting and running for a deck or two, because that’s about all you can ask for, believe me.

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I just finished watching a video posted by Adiana Vega, showing boxer Floyd Mayweather flaunting his bricks of $100 dollar bills on an airplane recently. “Wow” is all I can say about that scene. This guy just got out of jail for domestic violence again. It’s not the first time he’s been locked up. Every interview I’ve see of this guy is always the same, flashing jewelry, money, cars and his mansion in Vegas. Newsflash Floyd, congratulations on having more money than you’ll ever spend in this lifetime; but guess what-boxing is lousy these days, until you fight Manny Pacquiao, nobody will respect you or consider you an all-time great. Is this the image you want kids to act out and follow. You want them to think that life is all about the Benjamins?

Worst part is that today Manny Pacquiao, even after a loss, is so much more respected and revered than you-now that is amazing. He shows humility and class, in and out of the ring. You’ll go down in history as the cockiest most arrogant boxer of all-time, who was in and out of jail and never fought any quality opponents, Congratulations Floyd. I have an idea why don’t you go visit a children’s hospital or start a foundation for kids with cancer instead of buying the biggest, shiniest rings you can find. You still have time to change your legacy my man, why don’t you find it in your heart to thank God for all of the gifts he has blessed you and your family with, or do it on national TV, or better yet go to church and thank him in the quietness of his house.

I suggest you read the parable about the rich landowner who wanted to follow Jesus, when Jesus said “you must give up all of your riches before you walk with me” but the man couldn’t do this and went on his way. I would love to see you confronted with the same situation, or maybe you have been already? Good luck with your greed and love of money Mr. Mayweather, and remember “a camel has a better chance of going through the eye of a needle than a rich man does of getting into heaven”, God bless.

Derek Jeter was brought up by the New York Yankees in 1995, and ever since then he has been the poster child for class, consistency and decency; not only for the Yanks, but for Major league Baseball. Jeter was given the coveted #2; the significance of this is that single digits are reserved for legends. #3 Babe Ruth, #4 Lou Gehrig #5 Joe Dimaggio, #7 Mickey Mantle, you get the picture. Derek came into his own in 96′ helping the Yankees move onto their first World series in almost 20 years. Led by manager Joe Torre; whom Jeter referred to as Mr. Torre out of respect.

His parents are a doctor and a school teacher; so he learned discipline, respect and class at a young age. He is what you call squeaky clean as far as reputation. Handling any and every sitiuation that comes his way, for over 18 years in the majors, with dignity and professionalism. After legendary announcer Bob Sheppard past away a few years ago, Derek insisted that Mr. Sheppards’ recorded voice be used to announce his name, before every at bat at Yankee stadium, for the rest of his career. There’s something very regal every time I hear it “now batting #2 Derek Jeter,…. #2,” saids Jeter.

In this era of steroids and selfifh athletes having problems with the law, DJ is the most respected athlete in the world, period. When he walks in the room, all eyes are on him and everyone wants to be him. He’s the guy you want your daughter to marry and the guy you want to have a beer with after the game. He’s been blessed heavily by God and he shows his appreciation every night he steps on the field to shortstop for the Bronx Bombers.

By the way Derek has recently become #11 on the all-time hit list and is leading the majors in hits at age 38, while showing no sign of slowing down. Jeter is exactly 1000 hits short of Pete Roses’ all-time hits record and closing quickly. He has a charisma and cool demeanor about him that very few posses. He definitely does his parents proud on and off the field. Keep up the good work Mr. Jeter and keep playing the game like a little leaguer who loves baseball and life.

So the Melky Cabrera situation is the latest episode in major league baseballs’ bout with illegal substances and performance enhancing drugs. In this case it was an excessive amount of testosterone in his system. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he went so far as to create a fake website and tried to coax some web geeks into falsifying testimony, saying they sold him a product from that fake website. “It wasn’t what they advertised” was his defense. The scheme was meant to alleviate Melky of all responsibility or any wrong doing. Well this plan may have worked 10 years ago, but after the many federal cases against former baseball players such as Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Mark McGwire, just to name a few; it failed big time. The other suspects involved in this cover-up scheme must have come to their senses, because they came clean before the fed put the squeeze on them, (smart fellas) leaving Melky hanging out to dry and holding the bag. So now on top of the 50 game suspension handed down by MLB, he may be looking at further headaches due to this combination of greed and stupidity.

I remember Cabrera playing for the Yankees a few years ago and I wasn’t impressed with his overall game. He misplayed flyballs and never came up big in key situations. I just didn’t like the guy as a New York Yankee. However he did show some improvement over a few years, before the Yankees traded him away, and that was that. Since the Philadelphia Phillies cut Melky from the roster in the preseason, I’m guessing that must be when he started taking heavy doses of testosterone. Because after 3/4 of a  season with the San Francisco Giants, I start seeing this guy on sports center every night  and hearing baseball fans talking about him at the poker tables I frequented. Next thing you know, at the 2012 all star game, Melky is leading the majors in hits and his batting average was somewhere around .350; I was shocked to say the least. Then he went out and won the MVP of the all star game, giving the National league a victory and the home field advantage in this years world series.

Ouch, was this another great player that the Yankees gave up on-too soon, I thought, as this is a problem the yanks have had in the past. But then this information about Melky came out last week and it all made sense, at least to me. I pride myself on evaluating talent through the television screen and having been a sports fanatic my entire life, I don’t get paid the millions that scouts and General Managers do, but this is a tool I use in making bets and arguing with other sports fans; stating whose better than who and why. I was right, I knew Melky was doing something abnormal or excessive in order to perform at such a high level, so fast. And the fact that he tried to cover up his wrong doing by making up this imaginary website, just goes to show you what these guys will do for big contracts and enhanced strength, speed and recovery time. But in the long run the bad guy gets caught-again. Didn’t this guy learn anything from Derek Jeter or Mariano Rivera? He should have learned that you can’t teach class and you don’t need PED’s to make the hall of fame. Both Jeter and Rivera are clean, natural, disciplined, hardworking athletes that set the standard for superior first class, rule abiding, excellence in their sport. He should have taken their lead, instead they got (milk)Y this time. Now watch his numbers when he comes back, and remember you heard it here first!

Here we are again, mid to late August and baseballs’ regular season is coming to a close, pro football is in the preseason, and college football is getting ready for the regular season kickoff. This time of year is especially fun and filled with anticipation for the die-hard sports better. Post season baseball is the time of year when gamblers believe they have an edge, due to watching and following 162 games of the season, to gauge their expertise upon. So as far as betting goes there is ACTION every night. Nationally televised  games are now meaningful baseball games where every pitch counts. Kids are going back to school with vacations ending and the weather changing. This is the time of year that brings hope to the gambler who has been losing for years. He/she will watch Sports Center for trades and trends, while pray for a winning season. The betters’ year begins in September, the first week of September to be exact, and if you didn’t know this-ask the gambler in your life, he’ll tell you. To sports betters weekends in the fall are a time to escape from life. Studying stats, injuries and any other  information we can get our hands and ears on all week is followed by making educated projections on Saturday and Sundays. Throw in some baseball playoff games, week nights in September and October, and you have a gamblers paradise. The leaves are changing colors, the sun sets a little earlier and there are around 200 games, between baseball and football, with basketball right around the corner. August and beyond is truly the bookies prime time for income and action. Good luck to all my fellow sports betters out there and if you have a LOCK please let me know about it, because in my 25 years of gambling I’ve yet to find one that I would bet my life on. But just for the hell of it, bet the Yanks throughout the playoffs and world series, you can’t go wrong there, then take the under week 1 of college football between Notre Dame and Navy as the Irish will be starting a backup quarterback and Navy loves to run the ball; but won’t run much against ND. There it is, school is in session for gamblers, let the games begin.

proof that God loves Notre Dame

After reading Rick Reilly’s article labeled “demote Notre Dame”, I couldn’t help but laugh hysterically. He writes of how he WAS a Notre Dame football fan as a child and now he wants them to take a step back, blasphemy. I, Brian Dardis am a true Irish fan, not a fair weather fan like Reilly. Sorry Rick, that they haven’t won a national championship for you in 20 years; get over it. How many teams have won championships since 88, maybe 8-9? So should fans of every school without a national championship abandon ship too? Well I surely won’t. Every time a new season begins, true Irish fans get goosebumps and full of pride watching them beautiful blue and gold uniforms, with the gold flakes shining in the sun, as we have the privilege of viewing the perfectly manicured green grass of Notre Dame stadium, and the leaves turning colors around the stadium, while watching photos of the campus and Touchdown Jesus. It’s history we’re watching, tradition and pride. The players are held to a higher standard, they must get good grades and are true role models with big hearts; it’s the Catholics vs. the convicts. Irish fans sleep good at night knowing our players aren’t out in the public carrying guns or beating woman up. Guys like Joe Montana, Tim Brown, the Rocket Ismial and Brady Quinn are players that posses class and charisma. They prove that graduating from the University of Notre Dame is an honor; one which those of us whom never had that chance to achieve, can live vicariously through them, most can only dream about that honor. It’s not all about winning (Rick), look at Chicago cubs fans or even the lowly Philadelphia Eagles fans, it’s about loyalty to your team, whom your family gathers around the TV to watch every week and loyalty to yourself, not rooting for the front runners year to year. You keep bad mouthing the Irish Rick and i will keep wearing my number 3 jersey and watching Rudy, every time it comes on, knowing that there are Notre Dame fighting Irish fans, then there is everybody else. So in short Rick, once you’re a true Irish fan-wins and bowl victories are great-but not the most important thing. It’s the goosebumps we get Saturdays in the fall that no other school can experience. Watching the intro with Knute Rocknes’ locker room pep talks and little Lou Holtz in total control of 100 wild players chomping at the bit to make their school and families proud, the films of the four horseman; we have that and nobody else does or will ever have it-or anything like it. Tradition runs blood deep Mr. Reilly. That’s what Notre Dame football is all about and will forever be. And remember God loves Notre Dame and he loves you too.

There are so many high and low emotional swings in poker, specifically no-limit Texas hold em; you gotta have a screw lose or be a glutton for punishment-to play this game. First off, no hand is safe. You could have pocket aces vs. 2-7 and after the flop, if you try to slow play ’em or sim4ply don’t bet enough to get rid of the riff raft, you could be talking to yourself-on your way to your car, going home. Poker players know exactly what i’m saying here. You limp in with the aces because you don’t want to miss out on an opportunity to capitalize on the best possible starting hand, so you get cute and just call the big blind and everyone behind you follows suit and calls as well; and then the flop comes out 2-7-10 rainbow. Now you go from first to worst in a blink, or in a flop. This is just a single scenario that can take place in a hold ’em tournament or cash game. This is why hold ’em is so wildly popular around the world (NEWS FLASH: The recent Bad Beat record jackpot that reached nearly $800,000 just got hit last night at one of the Harrah’s properties in Atlantic City, NJ ) .

In poker, the best player doesn’t always win, in fact he/she rarely does. Anyone can win any given pot or tournament. There are so many situations that you encounter over the course of a tournament and you must correctly navigate through almost all of these, to end up with all of the chips at the end. The mental and physical fatigue is grueling and very underrated. I know after a 6-7 hour tournament all I want to do is sleep and sometimes say “I will take a week off” to recuperate from these stressful periods; but after a good nights sleep that feeling of “taking a break” usually subsides.

It’s the competition and the head to head psychological warfare; making them believe what you want them to believe, or do what they don’t want to do, that’s a great feeling. That’s why we play the game, in addition to playing for the money and trophies. It’s where a kid from the streets can battle a Harvard graduate on the poker table for millions of dollars and not be looked down upon, just because of his social status or lack thereof, what a beautiful thought, huh? It’s where a “no name” can go head to head verses Phil Hellmuth and frustrate the crap out of him, catching some cards in the mean time; to take down the world famous “poker brat”. That’s the lure of this game, anyone can be a world champion; unlike boxing, tennis or golf, which usually takes a lifetime to perfect and dominate. Poker champs can be fat, bucktooth ugly guys, that never excelled at anything in life before. The Heartland poker tour has proven that, and i’m all for the underdog. The broke blue-collar dish washer, that doesn’t speak a word of English can become a household name (ie. Scotty Ngugen). Maybe even this 41 year old sports fanatic, that seems to get rivered on a daily basis; but keeps coming back for more, because I love playing this game.  I love all the dynamics and personalities that go along with this great game as well. Good luck to all and keep on chasing your dreams, God bless.