Ignorance, Lies, Libel & Malice

Posted March 5, 2010

There's a vicious old school blackjack machine that trolls the Internet to shut out new ideas, facts that conflict with their theories, and people who disagree with them.

If you don't believe that, try posting a comment on blackjack message boards that contradicts old school theories. Then see how many seconds it takes for one of these trolls to blast you with nastiness and ignorance. Perhaps you'll also get barred from the site.

That's what happened to a player who dared to question the faulty Hi-Lo card counting system's efficacy, on (a site that hawks basic strategy and card counting methods). See for the story: “ silences San Francisco Blackjack Examiner.”

Didn't that site's operators read Bringing Down The House, in which Jeffrey Ma, as Kevin James, criticized the Hi-Lo system for its paltry 2% return? They must be ignorant of that fact because otherwise they'd post a warning about that severe Hi-Lo drawback on their site, wouldn't you think? I mean, if they are aware of the Hi-Lo system's drawbacks and they don't warn their readers isn't that irresponsible if not unethical and possibly a violation of truth-in-advertising laws?

Specifically, Ma said the paltry Hi-Lo return forced the MIT team players bring huge amounts of cash to the table ($150K apiece) and make risky large bets in order to hope to profit from it's tiny return - something no ordinary player could do. So doesn't any site promoting that system, such as, have the obligation to post a warning that the Hi-Lo system requires an extraordinarly large investment of money and the placing of huge risky bets in order to make a decent profit (as Ma has said)?

In fact, I got barred from recently when responding to the libelous postings of “flash1296,” a person I believe is an old school gaming columnist. His attempt at anonymity was thinly veiled; he made the mistake of putting a pompous quote after his comments on the message board, which is probably a huge clue about his identity.

Within seconds of my protesting flash1296's libel, Moderator Sonny attacked me in nasty comments, supporting the libeler and questioning my credibility. Plus he made his own libelous attacks on my reputation, never having read my books (the personification of ignorance)! Actually flash1296 does not appear to have read my books, either. Nor has “Renzey,” a third person who joined the fray on the Message Board, intent on denigrating me. (Is this Fred Renzey, the old school writer?)

Now what kind of person attacks another's books without having read them? That malice was the motivation for all the knowing lies (making them libel) is undeniable.

“Renzey” claimed he'd been to one of my book events and all he could remember was something about “orbiting strings.”

C'mon, Renzey! Let's be honest! You know damn well what my system's about if you were at one of my book events and it's not about “orbiting strings.”

Renzey's malicious comment is of another kind - a knowing fraud - typical of old school nasties whose books, columns and web sites I've made obsolete. I say this because either Renzey is either incapable of understanding state-of-the-art blackjack concepts (which I doubt) or he is intentionally trying to mislead players into thinking my system is stupid by describing it in maliciously stupid terms.

Isn't it clear that “flash1296,” Sonny and Renzey are lying about me, defaming me to discourage players from reading my books? (I guess on one level it's high praise that they're so afraid of what I have to say!) But let me make this clear:

No one has the right to defame me through libel on the Internet. And anonymity is no defense or protection, as recent court cases have shown.

Like Elton John and Tom Cruise before me, I'm going to do my part to clear the filth off the Internet and get due compensation for any libelous, malicious smears the nasties are stupid enough to post on the Net thinking they can get away with it. (Wrong!)

Now, by the way, Moderator Sonny had the gall to say I didn't know my math. That's a gratuitous insult and a lie. Well, Sonny, we'll see who doesn't understand math.

Here's some math even Sonny should understand. It's definitive math, an admission of basic strategy's shortcomings, straight from Edward Thorp, the man who introduced basic strategy in 1962's Beat The Dealer:

This was written at a time when blackjack was a single deck game, dealt to the bottom. The “adverse rules” he referred to included the practice of shuffling before all the cards are dealt, which is the reality we all face today. In other words, against today's game, it's a loser.

Get it, Sonny? So the basic strategy your site hawks is neither “perfect” nor “correct” as the old school likes to claim. But I guess Sonny and the others who run are ignorant of the quote above, or they wouldn't promote the use of basic strategy as if it's a winning system. That wouldn't be responsible or ethical at the very least, would it?

And let's not forget this admission by “Lance Humble,” Carl Cooper and IBM's Julian Braun (whose computer simulations were also used by Thorp) in The World's Greatest Blackjack Book (NOT a humble title by the way):

I think even Moderator Sonny can understand that math. Just in case you didn't get it, Sonny, “almost breaking even” means it's a losing system. You should know by now whose math is wrong, Sonny. Hint: It isn't mine.

And, Sonny: Don't you now have a legal obligation to warn your site's visitors about the facts I've exposed above? Isn't it misleading advertising, at the very least, to sell something as a winning system when its inventors admitted it was a loser?

And hey flash1296 and Renzey: Now you can't pretend you're unaware of the admissions above by Thorp, Humble, Cooper and Braun. So don't you legally owe it to your readers to warn them about basic strategy's shortcomings instead of pretending that method is “correct” or “perfect” or “winning”?!

P.S. To “flash1296”: I'm glad you're telling players how to buy my books for cheap (even if these are probably older out-of-print Editions, damaged and dirty). Why don't you put that information in your columns, too?! I don't care whether players buy used copies or old Editions of my books, or go to the library to read my books for free. My primary goal in writing books is to pass knowledge down to the next generation and make real contributions to game strategy, to transform blackjack for the better. And, hey flash1296, this newsflash: In helping more players to obtain my books, you're helping them discover what a charlatan you are. It'll be a happy day when all players have read my books and are aware of how undesirable the old school methods are. Someday these oldy moldy methods will just be a dim memory, a footnote in blackjack history. And - hey, flash1296, Sonny, and Renzey: I'd make a quick public apology if I were you.

P.P.S. I took courses in libel law in getting my Master's degree in journalism. So I use the word "libel" advisedly.

Richard Harvey is a world renowned blackjack researcher and innovator, expert player, coach, columnist, blogger and bestselling author of Blackjack The SMART Way (the NEW Gold Edition), Cutting Edge Blackjack (the NEW Third Edition), NEW Ways To Win MORE at Blackjack and the audio book Richard Harvey's Blackjack PowerPrep Session. For Richard's blogs and info see

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