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A daily series, Connect! Unite! Act! seeks to create face-to-face networks in each congressional district. Groups regularly socialize but also get out the vote, support candidates and engage in other local political actions that help our progressive movement grow and exert influence on the powers-that-be. Visit us every morning at 7:30 A.M. Pacific Time to see how you can get involved. The comment thread is fun and light-hearted, but we're serious about moving the progressive political agenda forward.

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Would you gamble for Christ?

This is a weird question, isn't it? I ask only because there are those who do. At least they've rationalized gambling, which they've been taught is a sin, to be something that's perfectly fine and honorable to do. How? By deciding that taking money from Satan is always good no matter how you do it because you are ultimately weakening Satan. So even if you consider yourself to be a pious Christian, you can make hundreds of thousands of dollars in just a few months in Las Vegas as long as you convince yourself you are doing it for the benefit of Jesus and Christianity.

Before I touch on that I'd like to talk about a group of MIT students who figured out a way to win at blackjack in casinos in the 1980's. There is nothing they did that was illegal, but casinos consider any method anyone uses to win to be "cheating."

Casinos are private businesses and therefore can make whatever rules they want to run their establishments. Of course they can't discriminate based upon race, gender, sexual orientation or religion, which currently is still the law in the USA (we'll see for how much longer). Why would they? Everyone is a sucker as far as they're concerned. They simply want to take your money. They don't want you to win. If they recognize you are winning, they can immediately throw you out of their joint at their discretion. It doesn't matter if you just happen to be on a long winning streak. That in itself can be enough to get you tossed out because your luck is simply not in their best interest.

If you get caught gaming their games, you will likely be escorted from the casino floor to a back room. There you'll be told to leave and threatened with things that could happen to you if you ever return to gamble at the establishment. If you dare to return, you risk possibly being roughed up and thrown out on the sidewalk. You may also be arrested.

Well these MIT students created an interesting device worn under clothes that sent information from the person playing to a person in a hotel room upstairs who was using a computer. The player would send information to the person upstairs by tapping their shoes on the ground which represented the cards they saw being played.The person in the room used the computer to calculate the odds of getting a blackjack or very good hand with the cards left in the deck. Then a signal was sent to the person playing blackjack by way of the device worn under clothes telling them if it was a good time to bet big or not. This was done by giving the person an electric "buzz" they could feel.

I've both read about these MIT students and heard interviews with them. One of the funniest stories was when one of these devices went haywire and started shocking the wearer. Another time, the thing got really hot and nearly caught on fire making for some crazy responses by the poor person wearing the thing. When they later took the thing off, their skin was burned.

Well this worked, but they soon realized counting cards would be a lot simpler and safer, and so they did just that. You don't have to build some crazy electronic device to wear under your clothes in order to know if you have a decent chance of getting a good hand in blackjack or not. You can see tons of youtube videos and read books about these MITstudents if you care to know more.


To win at blackjack, all you have to do is "count cards." There are many different ways to do this. The simplest way, however, works just fine and it's what the MIT students did. Before you learn to count cards, you must learn how to play blackjack well to begin with. Only after you are quite good at that do you then want to add being able to count cards in order to absolutely guarantee you'll win at blackjack. Well that is until you are not allowed into any casinos in the world anymore once they're on to you.

Normally the "house" has a 3% advantage in winning at blackjack against those that truly know how to play the game very well. (UPDATE: Normally the "house" has a 1/2% to 1% advantage in winning at blackjack against those that truly know how to play the game very well, according to jpmasser, who knows about this. He then says if getting a blackjack pays off at 6:5 vs 3:2, then the 3% house advantage is about right. He says a fair number of casinos in Las Vegas now pay 6:5 for blackjacks. He also put included a link for those who want more info:

This is the lowest odds against you the casino has in any of the games you can play. Actually, there is another game you can play at a casino that also only gives the house a 3% chance of winning. That game is craps, but only if you bet on the Come Line or the Don't Come line and only if you take insurance on your bet when warranted (depending upon the initial roll by the dice tosser). If you screw around with any of the plethora of side bets in craps, you are gonna get your money removed from your wallet never to be seen again.

When I used to drive from Denver to San Francisco back in the 1970's and 1980's, I'd stop at small casinos in towns all across Nevada. I'd play craps to earn enough money for gas and food. That was it. I'd play until I was up $30-40 bucks then quit. Back then that amount of money would fill your tank up and buy you a good meal. Knowing the house had a 3% chance of winning, and playing craps the safest way, meant all I had to do was wait to have a short winning streak. It doesn't matter if you are throwing the dice or someone else is.

If you get really, really good at counting cards in blackjack however, you can change the odds to your favor giving yourself a 2% chance at winning over the casinos. And that's why they won't let you play anymore once they realize you know how to count cards.

The easiest card counting method is to simply assign a negative one (-1) to face cards, 10's and Aces, a zero (0) to 7's, 8's and 9's because they don't favor you or the dealer, and a positive one (+1) to cards numbered 2-6. High cards left in the deck favor you while low cards favor the dealer.

With this simple method, you keep a counting total going as the cards are dealt. Anytime your total card count is negative, you know your odds are going down in getting a blackjack or high hand. Anytime your total count is positive, you know your chances are getting better at getting a winning hand.

Once you get good at this simple method of counting cards, more sophisticated ways are there to be learned, but the truth is very few people can successfully use the more sophisticated ways of counting cards as the action is so fast and most casinos use multiple decks. The simple way I outlined about is the best way for most folks to count cards.


There is a famous group of very devout Christian young adults that decided to create a team of card counters using the method above to take money from the casinos. They were taught and firmly believe gambling is Satanic. They rationalized what they were doing as taking money from Satan, so it was all good. They would change their appearance. They would work as teams by individually being at different tables while very carefully watching each other for the "signs" they'd decided to use. Once one of them would make their sign, the others would then join in at that table to bet like crazy. An example would be a women who would stroke her hair twice signaling that the table she was at was "currently ripe for winning" so her cohorts would move in.

So whether you are an MIT nerd or Christians rationalizing making big money at blackjack is helping Jesus...or if you're just you, you can win at blackjack by getting really good at counting cards. No really!

Would you be willing to count cards to win while playing Blackjack?

Latest Updates on Kossack Regional Meet-Up News Can Be Found Below the Orange Group Hug.

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Let's Build Communities!

Our team is here to provide support and guidance to new and existing volunteer leaders of each regional and state group, helping them with recruiting, organizing and executing social and action events.
We invite you to join in this effort to build our community. There are many ways to pitch in.
If there isn't a group to join near you, please start one.


List of All Existing Meatspace Groups


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Los Angeles Kossacks: Shanikka's Red Carpet Lunch 3/15 - With Pictures

by Dave in Northridgefor Los Angeles Kossacks

The LAKossacks welcome shanikka to their fair city. Many people attend. Here are few photos:

L-R: moore musings and shanikka
L-R: Former Chicagoan Now Angeleno      and      bruinkid

Please visit Dave in Northridge's diary for many MORE photos plus Food Pr0n! Enjoy! You can join Los Angeles Kossacks by sending a Kosmail to Dave in Northridge.

DC Kossacks banner
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Maryland Kossacks

Chacounne meets Kossacks from MD and DC

by mimifor Virginia Kos

The DC and Maryland Kossacks welcomed Chaucounne on her visit to attend a conference in DC. It was a last minute meet-up pulled of by mimi.

Here's one photo:

L-R: mimi, kim (wife of olliegarkey), olliegarkey, webgenie and Chacounne

Please visit mimi's diary for many MORE photos! Enjoy!
You can join Maryland Kossacks by sending a Kosmail to JamieG from Md.
You can join DC Kossacks by sending a Kosmail to NinthElegy.



Photo Diary: NYC 3/16 Meetup is PACKED! (food pr0n, too!))

by sidnorafor New York City

Thank you, sidnora, for the great photo diary recap. So many terrific photos of our NYC Kossacks and all their food pr0n. It looks like everyone had a really good time. There's still time to rec her diary.

Here's only two photos of the many that belinda ridgewood, joanbrooker and Denise Oliver Velez provided:

L-R: the camera-shy Yasuragi (yes, she weally showed up!), belinda ridgewood, kathny, malloy, Miscweant, No Exit, Son of Broccoli, jfdunphy, mightymouse, plf515, sidnora, Mets102
L-R: Ian Reifowitz, plf515, sidnora, Denise Oliver Velez, Mets102

Please visit sidnora's diary for many MORE photos! Plus massive food pr0n. Enjoy! You can join New York City by sending a Kosmail to sidnora.

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Golden Gate Bridge at sunrise with SFKossacks banner treatment
Paradise and Chico Kossacks regional event banner

Four Kossack regional groups descend on the California State Capitol
to demand that Governor Jerry Brown ban
the oil and gas production process known as fracking

by navajofor Connect! Unite! Act!

Representing Northern California, the SFKossacks, Central Valley Kossacks, Paradise & Chico Kossacks and the Silicon Valley Kossacks gathered on the mall of our state capitol in Sacramento on Saturday, March 15th to protest fracking. Governor Brown has the ability to ban the environmentally destructive, water-intensive oil extraction practice known as hydraulic fracturing in California. The state is in a severe drought and the last place our water should go is into fracking. It is estimated the protesters numbered around 4000. We endured the hot sun which sent the temperatures into the 80s as we gathered midday to make a lot of noise and get the attention of the Governor.

DailyKos banner at fracking protest
Please note red arrow pointing to our Daily Kos banner to gather all us Kossacks together!

Please visit paradise50's diary for his terrific photos!

You can join SFKossacks by sending a Kosmail to navajo.
You can join Central Valley Kossacks by sending a Kosmail to tgypsy.
You can join Paradise & Chico Kossacks by sending a Kosmail to smileycreek.
You can join Silicon Valley Kossacks by sending a Kosmail to Glen The Plumber.

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Event Organizers! Please contact wink from by KosMail to schedule airtime with them to live broadcast your Event. Wink & Justice will then promote it on The After Show radio program!
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Saturday, April 5th

Baja Arizona Kossacks 4th Annual Picnic

TIME: 4:00 PM
LOCATION: Home of Mr. & Mrs. sneakers563
Address by Kosmail to RSVPers • Tucson

ORGANIZER: Send Azazello a kosmail to attend.

1. Azazello
2. sneakers563
3. rasbobbo
4. DaNang65
5. ItsaMathJoke
6. Itzadryheat
7. pwoodford
8. ramara
9. Desert Rose
10. chloris creator
11. drnatrl
cosmic debris
Latest diary: Baja Arizona Kossacks Open Thread
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Saturday, April 5th

Seattle & Puget Sound Kossacks Meet-up

TIME: Noon - 3:00 PM
LOCATION: Pyramid Alehouse, Brewery & Restaurant
1201 First Avenue South • Seattle

ORGANIZER: Send EagleOfFreedom a kosmail to attend.

1. EagleOfFreedom
2. Reetz
3. John Crapper
4. John Crapper's S.O.
5. WisePiper
6. bleeding blue
7. mlharges
8. Caligrrl
9. Regina in a Sears Kit House
10. Regina in a Sears Kit House's DH
11. Ojibwa
12. Notrouble
13. Bleeding Blue's spouse
Kitsap River
Charles CurtisStanley
Latest diary: Seattle & Puget Sound Kossacks April Meeting
DC Kossacks banner
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Saturday, April 19th

Inaugural DC Kossacks Potluck Picnic on
the National Mall

TIME: Noon
LOCATION: National Mall
Exact location TBD • Washington, DC

ORGANIZER: Send NinthElegy a kosmail to attend.

1. NinthElegy
From NinthElegy: We will meet on the third Saturday of each month at noon. Please note--  This regular Saturday meeting day and time is flexible. It was chosen as a starting point to be amended according to what is the best fit for the DC Kossacks group members. If it is not a workable regular day and time for you, suggest alternatives and let's see what we can work out.

Latest diary: [Waiting for linked diary]


Boston Kossacks logo, 550x100 pixels.

Potential Boston Kossacks Meet-up

[Address] • [City]

ORGANIZER: Send GreyHawk a kosmail to attend.

1. GreyHawk
2. Hawk Wife
3. Knockbally
Latest diary: BosKos Meetup: Mindscapes
Dkos Asheville
Saturday, May 3rd

DKos Asheville Kossacks Meet-up

TIME: 1:00 PM
LOCATION: The Bywater
796 Riverside Dr. • Asheville

ORGANIZER: Send randallt a kosmail to attend.

1. randallt
2. davehouck
3. Joieau
4. Gordon20024
5. SteelerGrrl
6. SteelerGuy
7. GulfGal 98
8. Otteray Scribe
9. flwrightman
10. people power granny
Mr Audri
Latest diary: [Waiting for linked diary]
Golden Gate Bridge at sunrise with SFKossacks banner treatment
Tuesday, May 13th

SFKossacks Roll Out the Red Carpet for LeftOfYou & Expat Okie

TIME: 11:00 AM, Early lunch!
Rincon Center, 101 Spear St. • San Francisco

ORGANIZER: Send navajo a kosmail to attend.

1. navajo
2. LeftOfYou
3. Expat Okie
4. side pocket
5. Justice Putnam
6. dharmasyd
7. Lorikeet
8. jpmassar
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Wednesday, July 16th

Daily Kos Detroit VA Hospital Service Project

Sara R delivers 65 quilts, hand knit scarves and hats, books, 65 teddy bears, hand made greeting cards, and phone cards from the DK Quilt Guild, WAYWO, the Readers & Book Lovers, IGTNT and individual Kossacks to the nursing home at the Detroit VA Hospital. This is a wonderful project that many people can be involved with even if they don't attend the convention. If you care about veterans in a nursing home this is your project. Please volunteer to help.

LOCATION: Volunteer Office of the Detroit VA Hospital
4646 John R St. • Detroit

ORGANIZER: Send Sara R a Kosmail to participate in making the gifts and/or deliver them.

RSVPs to help deliver gifts:
1. Sara R
Latest diary: DK Quilt Guild: What Inspires You?


Cheers and Jeers logo
Wednesday, July 16th

Annual Cheers & Jeers Dinner to Kick-Off NN14, Kossacks Only

TIME: 6:00 PM
[Address] • Detroit

ORGANIZER: Send Common Sense Mainer a kosmail to RSVP.

1. Common Sense Mainer
2. Bill in Portland Maine
3. navajo
4. Meteor Blades
5. smileycreek
6. paradise50
7. side pocket
8. Mrs. side pocket
9. norm
10. maggiejean
11. Shockwave
12. a gilas girl
13. susans
14. Sara R
15. belinda ridgewood
16. sidnora
17. Mr. sidnora
18. thankgodforairamerica
19. brillig
20. mik
21. K1
22. loggersbrat
23. Dave in Northridge
Latest diary: Connect! Unite! Act! ATTN: DC, Tucson & Seattle Meet-up Info! +Q: Roll Call, Are You Attending NN14?


Plenary Session Tables during the rest of the Convention

ORGANIZER: Send navajo a kosmail to have a seat reserved for you in the main ballroom of the convention center for the big events.

Cheers & Jeers Table:
1. Common Sense Mainer
2. Bill in Portland Maine
3. brillig
4. mik
5. K1
6. sidnora
7. Mr. sidnora
8. loggersbrat
Cheers & Jeers Table II:
SFKossacks Table:
1. navajo
2. Meteor Blades
3. smileycreek
4. paradise50
5. side pocket
6. Mrs. side pocket
7. norm
8. maggiejean
9. Jeff in CA
10. Mrs. Jeff in CA
SFKossacks Table II:
1. a gilas girl
2. belinda ridgewood
3. Sara R
4. thankgodforairamerica
5. DebtorsPrison
6. justiceputnam
Los Angeles Table:
1. Shockwave
2. susans
3. Dave in Northridge
angry marmot
northerntier's SO
navajo maintains the above event list. Kosmail her if you have any diaries
about your event or if you have changes or additions.
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