Questions and Answers

AskThePRO with Ryan “xSCWx” Dodge

We would like to invite all our users to watch and participate in yet another AskThePRO episode on TiltBook.com that will take place on Wednesday, 27.11.2013 at 22:00 CET!

You can start posting your questions right now and when the session begins, our hero will choose and answer your best and most interesting ones in a course of exactly one hour (during which you can still post more questions)!

This week's special guest: Ryan “xSCWx” Dodge

Ryan "xSCWx" Dodge is the co-owner of www.HUSNG.com. Over the course of his career he's played as high as $5,500 HU SNGs and even $300/600 PLO cash games. After the Black Friday hit, Ryan realized that relocating would be a major issue, as he had just invested in his first home and had close friends and family in the Austin, Texas area. His new profession? He began counting cards in blackjack.


Over time, he developed a system that combined value situations in blackjack with low-detection methods and he's now earned over $200,000 from counting since Black Friday. He still plays live and online poker as well, but blackjack has allowed him to really ease the pressures of the fall of the US online poker market. He gets to travel to cities like Las Vegas, stay in major hotels for free, he gets tickets to UFC fights complimentary, plane tickets and private poker tournaments that only casino gamblers get invited to.

Ryan's here to answer your questions about poker, blackjack and lifestyle and he will do soon Wednesday, 27.11.2013 at 22:00 CET at www.tiltbook.com/AskThePRO. And as always, remember the best question posted will win $20!

Sorry, you can't post questions at the moment.

Scarmaker: Hey Ryan! Thanks a lot for doing this, this seems to be a really special one :) I thought that in the recent years casinos collaborated and worked really hard to make card counting virtually impossible for longer period of time. Where am I wrong? :)
November 25, 2013 13:18
They are definitely much better at catching people than they were in the 80's but the casinos have a very long way to go with being able to catch everyone. The only thing that really differentiates a card counter from a random degenerate is their betting and the lack of basic strategy errors. If you can incorporate some low EV cost strategy errors into your game and bet somewhat erratically it makes it extremely hard for the casino to be able to tell you apart from anyone else.
 photo xSCWx November 27, 2013 22:12
Scarmaker: Second thing that immediately comes to my mind is... you probably were/are a pretty good player given how high stakes you used to play and since being a blackjack pro requires sitting at the tables for countless hours anyway, I just do not get why didn't you simply switch to live poker after Black Friday hit? That would make much more sense and feel much more natural to me.
November 25, 2013 13:20
I dabbled into blackjack just for fun and found myself really infatuated with it. It reminded me of how I felt toward poker when I first got started. I'm not sure if it is just because I've played too many hours of poker or if maybe it has to do with the lack of unknowns (everything in blackjack can be calculated whereas with poker you're always in the dark with some ranges and whatnot) but I found that I enjoyed blackjack more.
 photo xSCWx November 27, 2013 22:13
fulixas: Hi. I have some questions for you :).When did you started playing poker and how you builded your bankroll? What was the biggest win in your carreer?What is poker in your life ?Why you turned to blackjack? What is best and worst things in blackjack? Hope get the answer soon :) Good Luck at the tables :)
November 25, 2013 17:39
When I first started playing poker I was playing home games. I think that the best way to build a bankroll in poker right now is by far HUSNGs. You can have a very high hourly income relative to a very small bankroll. I've had several +-$100k days (I've been on both the winning and the losing end of it). I turned to blackjack because the US poker market has been much worse since black friday. Best thing about blackjack is tough. I'm torn between the comps (free food, hotel, travel, show tickets, etc) or just getting to travel in general. The worst by far is the volatility. There is much more variance than in poker. Good luck to you too!
 photo xSCWx November 27, 2013 22:07
Acceleration: Hi. I thought counting blackjack is punished in most casinos is Vegas/U.S., that they don´t rly let you count the cards ... anything you can say about that ?
November 25, 2013 19:59
As long as you don't use an electronic device to help you count it is legal. The casinos can bar you from playing there but they can't arrest/detain/harm you for it. If you know what you are doing you can get away with it for a very long time without being caught. The only time I've ever heard of a casino openly allowing it is when the eight deck was first introduced they thought it was unbeatable. It cost them a lot of money.
 photo xSCWx November 27, 2013 22:02
Quadvquadme: Does blackjack really have a better hourly? i am still convinced the games unbeatable with today's security measures. Do you have to search for ages in order to find the right casino? Opinion on pkr's blackjack and online blackjack in general?
November 26, 2013 05:52
Your hourly in blackjack scales almost perfectly with your bankroll. As far as being unbeatable, that is definitely very wrong. For a really simple example, the house edge on the higher stakes double decks at MGM properties (Bellagio, Aria, Mandalay Bay, MGM, etc) is .19. You gain more edge than that just by removing two low cards from the deck. It's very easy to beat. As far as the security measures go, I don't think ANY of the casinos I've been to have handled it well at all. Some tend to be too relaxed toward it (Aria with their double decks on the floor is probably the extreme for this) or too paranoid (El Cortez, which is probably due to them having the softest house rules in Vegas on a single deck game). Thanks to the internet, table conditions are extremely easy to find online. I'd check a newsletter from BJ21 and a Google search before driving over to anywhere. I haven't ever played a hand of online blackjack, but it probably isn't beatable unless you are using it to exploit some kind of bonus.
 photo xSCWx November 27, 2013 21:27
Scarmaker: Playing as high as $300/$600 PLO (was that live or online?) I am surprised that I have never ever heard about you as far as I remember. Why do you think is that so? Did you actually use to play against people like Galfond, Benyamine, Ziigmund etc?
November 26, 2013 18:44
Online almost exclusively. I played as Big Tuna JKo and really fell off at high stakes toward the end (hence why I didn't continue). I got a lot of help from the Dang brothers (I've known their younger brother since I was about 12) and they said that most of what they learned was from Galfond so needless to say I avoided him. Benyamine wasn't very active when I played. I sweated them playing against Ziigmund quite a bit and could see some mistakes he made but I still think he was quite a bit better than me so I didn't get a lot of hands in vs him. I mostly played against bums and Gus Hansen. Gus was good postflop but consistently played too many hands. This made him pretty good at heads up but much worse as you add more players to the table.
 photo xSCWx November 27, 2013 21:16
catacata20: HY Ryan! My question for you is : what was the best player that you played against at those stakes? and what maked him that special? TY!
November 26, 2013 21:08
For HUSNGs I thought the best player was R-Quaresma/Skaiwalkerrr. For PLO, I think Ivey and Galfond but I played almost no hands against them (for obvious reasons). The most frustrating for me to play against were Andrew Robl and Brian Hastings because they 3bet so much it made the seat to their right nearly unplayable. Position is even more important in PLO than in NLHE and you really can't do much to punish a good player who is 3betting from your left. They forced me to pick my seat very carefully.
 photo xSCWx November 27, 2013 21:10
Andre: Hi Ryan, and welcome to Tiltbook. First of all I respect your decision not to relocate after black Friday hit. Being close to friends & family is way more important than making money. The first thing I think of is the movie "21" when I read that you play blackjack for a living, is your lifestyle anything like theirs in the movie? Second, is counting cards hard? And do you recommend anyone else try it? Thanks for the answers and I wish you all the best.
November 27, 2013 20:16
The movie 21 was almost completely unrelated to my experiences. I played without a team for the most part, they don't actually backroom you (in fact, most of the casinos I was banned from they were actually very nice about it), and the studying wasn't nearly as difficult as they made it out to be. Counting itself is very easy. You are literally just adding and subtracting 1 when you see certain cards. The hard part is doing it without being caught. Even if you are just playing blackjack recreationally I would strongly recommend that you at least learn the basics of card counting. It is very easy to reduce the casinos edge (or even gain one on your own) and unless you are really hammering away at them or playing at very high stakes they are unlikely to ban you. As far as playing professionally goes, the game is extremely volatile. I think it's great to play as a hobby or as a second income but I wouldn't recommend trying to play it professionally unless you have experimented with it a bit already and are very passionate about it.
 photo xSCWx November 27, 2013 20:56
Scarmaker: Not sure, what why should I ask this question, so I will do both. Given your blackjack career in addition to poker, do you consider yourself a "professional gambler" ? Or, if someone calls you a professional gambler, what is your reaction? Are you totally fine with that or would you prefer smth esle/feel like you should clarify that what you do is not actually gambling in the sense most people define it? Thanks!
November 27, 2013 20:52
In my experience, when someone asks you're best off just confidently starting with saying that you are a professional gambler and going from there. If you can explain yourself well and confidently most people will think it is cool and realize that you aren't just a total degenerate. I think "investor" is a more accurate title, but if you start there then they find out that you're a gambler most people will think you are sketchy or lying to them. More than half of my income these days comes from non-gambling sources (website ownership, stocks, hedge fund, business opportunities, etc) so investor probably applies to me more than most. The investments I do are primarily passive income though so my actual work life tends to be professional gambling. It's a lot to explain at once so I think professional gambler is a good place to start. P.S. I think that having the word "professional" in front of "gambler" differentiates it from how most people would define gambling. There are definitely some people who will never understand, but I try not to let it get me worked up.
 photo xSCWx November 27, 2013 21:05
Andre: When counting cards, what seat has the best position to count cards on the table? Also does it matter how many players there are at any given moment at the table? And another interesting question, can you get banned from online casinos when playing live blackjack? The only one I know is 888 where the pretty ladies deal the cards lol :)
November 27, 2013 21:17
Your position doesn't matter for the actual counting but it does help to pick a seat that gives you a good view of what the pit boss is doing. You want to be aware of what they are focusing on and any phone calls they make. Often if you are really hammering away at them they will call security to watch over you with the cameras. That should be your signal to leave. Having more players at the table brings your winrate down a bit by exposing more cards at once and also reduces your hourly because you don't get to play as many hands. I don't have any experience with online casinos, but the pretty ladies do sound appealing!
 photo xSCWx November 27, 2013 22:19
TiltBook: Touching upon "most of the casinos I was banned from they were actually very nice about it" I wonder what is your WORST experience so far regarding this?
November 27, 2013 22:04
When I got barred from playing at the Venetian (my first ban) they sent a team of 3 security guys over to escort me away from the table but not even out of the casino. They escorted me over to the poker room and I played some cash games. When I got barred from playing at the Hard Rock some guy came up behind me and angrily tried to pull my chair out while I was still sitting in it to tell me to leave. He wasn't strong enough to do it and seemed to have a bad case Napoleon syndrome. I smiled and threw the dealer a tip before leaving. At worst they just tend to be a little douchey. That guy touching my chair was the closest anything has been to being physical.
 photo xSCWx November 27, 2013 22:26
cipelinio: Hi Ryan. what do you think about borrowing me 100$ and i'll make 100.000$ and give you back 50.000$ :)) a good investment or a gamble? :)))
November 27, 2013 22:09
Haha, the question that every poker player dreads answering!
 photo xSCWx November 27, 2013 22:27
cipelinio: Hi Ryan, my birthday is tomorrow, what gift can u make me ?:)))))))
November 27, 2013 22:31
Happy birthday! Mine is in a couple weeks, we could do a gift exchange!
 photo xSCWx November 27, 2013 22:35
ozziwar: Hi, how much have you made out of blackjack?
November 27, 2013 22:32
Roughly $200,000.
 photo xSCWx November 27, 2013 22:34
fulixas: Thanks for answer! Wish you to win as many as you want!
November 27, 2013 22:47
PumaPerez: do you put your toothbrush under the water before or after you put paste on? :)
November 27, 2013 22:48
After. The paste is too dry and the water helps out with that a bit. This question is a strong contender for the $20!
 photo xSCWx November 27, 2013 23:15
kramirez05: There was a site made only for Blackjack players, im not sure if its still running, its called vsjack.com. Have ever tried to play or heard of this?
November 27, 2013 23:54
kramirez05: oopss i forgot to ask, if u were given a chance, would u rather become a ufc fighter and get $200k a year by punching someone out or still play blackjack? :)
November 28, 2013 00:03
Scarmaker: Thanks a lot to Ryan Dodge for awesome AskThePRO, I loved it :) I am a little sorry there were not more questions as I would love to read more from Ryan. Nevertheless, thanks to all who posted, Ryan picked fulixas as the winner of $20! :)
November 28, 2013 17:06

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