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Top 10 most-read columns by Mark Pilarski

27 February 2017

To card count, or not to card count?

To card count, or not to card count? (photo by Bob Owen)

You may have already heard the news: After decades of faithful service to the gambling industry, working for seven different casinos and writing informative, entertaining columns, Mark Pilarski retired late last year.

For more than 20 years, Pilarski has answered burning questions from readers that covered a wide range of topics — everything from explaining casino odds to expounding on the finer points of going head-to-head against a chicken (more on that later).

We'll miss him here at Casino City, where he has been a regular contributor to our Gaming Guru section since 1999. That's why we've brought together our top 10 most-read columns from the renowned gambling columnist.

10. Let us all praise streaking – 29 November 2004
Don't get the wrong idea — Pilarski recounts tales of the longest winning streaks he's ever witnessed and all the magical moments that follow.

9. Is counting cards worth the hassle? – 3 September 1999
A question from a would-be blackjack card counter asks Pilarski: Is it worth it?

Pilarski dishes out some hard advice and expounds on his thoughts and theories.

8. Dealer's batteries plugged in backwards – 29 September 2006
A preternaturally gifted roulette dealer, tax forms and dubious odds all make appearances in this series of letters.

7. Tic-tac-dough – for the casino, that is – 7 June 2004
Would you play a round of tic-tac-toe against a chicken with a pretty solid win record? A skeptical letter-writer doubts the skills of one of nature's most edible (and, apparently, most talented) fowl.

Plus, in a separate letter, Pilarski psychoanalyzes the hell out of someone's marriage.

6. Dealers call these players. . . – 2 July 1999
What to do with another player who's acting rudely?

So says Mark: Eh, not much. But, fortunately, you can make yourself a beacon of good behavior and hope that others follow suit.

5. Deal Me In: In unison, yell "monkey monkey" – 2 July 2010
You mean you don't know the reason behind this all-important, age-old, must-do baccarat ritual?

(Don't worry, neither did we.)

4. The odds may say "no deal!" and yet. . . – 7 April 2006
Did you know that Deal or No Deal is 12 years old? We are forced to confront this reality during the course of these letters, in which readers ponder when you should take the banker's offer and what the true odds are for a given case-choosing situation.

Got your craps lingo straight yet?

Got your craps lingo straight yet? (photo by Chris Martin)

3. The language of craps – 10 December 1999
In addition to having a hilarious name, craps also has a highly entertaining system for referring to numbers. "Push the don't"? "Outstanding in your field"? "The windows"?

Read this column and improve your gaming lexicon tenfold.

2. Card counting 101.5 – 29 October 2004
A reader with a strangely adversarial tone wonders why Mark Pilarski doesn't advocate more for card counting.

As with item No. 9 on this list, Pilarski lays down the law.

1. Pumping oxygen into a casino is not a trick of the trade – 26 February 1999
Pilarski answers a letter-writer whose friend has accidentally transposed an event in a book onto reality.

Hey, it happens to the best of us.
Abby Messick

Abby graduated from Champlain College in 2013 with a degree in Professional Writing. She didn't expect to end up in the casino industry, but it's proving to be an educational experience.
Abby Messick
Abby graduated from Champlain College in 2013 with a degree in Professional Writing. She didn't expect to end up in the casino industry, but it's proving to be an educational experience.