Those lists of odds published by offshore gambling emporiums asking bettors to wager on which song Bruce Springsteen will sing to begin his Super Bowl halftime show leave me with mixed emotions.
Which was probably posted, somewhere, as a 15-1 long shot to be the Rolling Stones’ opener at halftime of the Super Bowl in 2006, had they opted to go the “Steel Wheels” route rather than with “Start Me Up.”
For the record, “Born in the USA” and “Glory Days” are co-favorites at 2-1 to open Sunday’s show, followed by “The Rising” (4-1), “Born to Run” (5-1), “The Wrestler” (5-1), “Radio Nowhere” (8-1) and “I’m on Fire” (12-1).
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
A big year for blackjack started when Roger Baldwin, Wilbert Cantey, Herbert Maisel and James McDermott — known by blackjack insiders as the “Four Horsemen” — were inducted into the Blackjack Hall of Fame at Max Rubin’s 12th annual Blackjack Ball in Las Vegas. While serving in the Army at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland in the 1950s, the Four Horsemen became the first analysts to determine the optimal strategy for playing blackjack. They published a book on their findings in 1957 before moving on to careers in business, government and academia. Their research laid the groundwork for later blackjack figures including Edward O. Thorp, author of the influential 1962 book “Beat the Dealer.”
Blackjack on the big screen
The movie “21,” starring Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth and Laurence Fishburne and inspired by the exploits of the MIT card-counting teams, received solid reviews from a couple of critics whose opinions should carry some weight. Neither Mike Aponte nor Dave Irvine had any role in the production of the film, but both were members of a real-life MIT card-counting team that terrorized casinos in the 1990s. “It did a good job capturing the lifestyle of these kids, who were typical students during the week, and how they had to adjust to becoming Vegas high rollers on the weekend,” Irvine told the Sun. Aponte thought the scenes in which the heroes get roughed up were “over the top.” “I hope people don’t think that’s what happens to card counters,” he said.