The Road to $1M Blackjack (and Stories): David and Dusty Part 1

This is Dusty “PinkChip” and David aka “Loudon Ofton”, and I’ve played on teams with these guys for years, and they’re the only card counters I know that are willing to show their faces on the internet. But they joined me and we’re gonna be doing an actual series of videos on card counting where we’re gonna share stories and talk about some of the things we know. So you know, I just wanna start off by asking how did each of you get into card counting? We’ll start with PinkChip. – Actually, my mom caught me playing poker in the basement with some buddies, and it made her really nervous, so I invited her to play with us and taught her how to gamble.

Then they built a casino in my hometown, and she started playing blackjack, of course I wasn’t old enough. So, she started reading books on card counting, and I was like “alright, I taught you how to play poker, you gotta teach me how to play blackjack.” So she did. She taught me basic strategy, which I largely ignored, as you can attest to. Yeah, but I mean that’s how I learned the process of counting, and deck estimation.

– And then as the story went, you trained, you played for the Church Team for five, six years- – Yup. – Won several hundred thousand dollars, had some great stories. – Yup. – Great memories.

So, Loudon, how did you get into card counting? – I was at a desk job, and was probably bored, and was reading things about, I don’t know what- casinos. You could beat the game of blackjack, I read it online somewhere. And so I left work early, and, went and tried it out. At one of the casinos nearby.

I just, I liked the idea, I thought, this is the kind of thing I would like to do. And, unfortunately, I won the first 19 sessions that I played. So I thought, I’d solved it, it worked out.

It was great. – Easy money. – Easy money. Of course, I was betting at the lowest stakes possible.

I’m sure I wasn’t doing anything right. But I did win, and so I was able, the next Sunday to go to church and pay a friend back, who I owed like a hundred buck to. But I was able to pay him with a hundred dollar bill, which always begs a story, like, why are you paying me in a hundred dollar bill? So, it’s like, oh, I’m glad you asked. I’ve been beating the game of blackjack or free online pokies.

– Haha. – And he’s like, oh, well you must know Ben, in my Bible study. I’m like, who is this Ben? What has he ever done?

And he’s like, buying a house, by card gambling. And so, of course I was, then I was nothing again. But I needed it to meet the Ben character. So that’s when I met Ben, who was part of the Church Team.

Another yeah went by before the Church Team actually started, and I had to basically destroy whatever I had learned, and start from the ashes, and build it all over again. – So, for you guys who don’t know, Loudon Ofton has been, her was the winningest player on the Church Team Most hours, most profits, highest dollar per hour. And Dusty, you’re close up there, you know. Maybe he’s second, third? So, we got a couple million dollars of profits between the three of us at this table.

So, good job, guys. – Yea. – You, too. – Oh, thanks. Yeah, so, I thought it would be fun to just talk a little bit about- So, you guys trained, you know, whatever. We’ve got lots of videos on that.

You guys tested out, which I’m sure was, fun, stressful, all of the above. And you guys played, like, you guys seriously played. Lots of hours.

But, you know, that’s all just data. Let’s talk about some of the stories. So, I just thought I’d like to hear from each of you one or two of your favorite stories from your playing days. – Alright. I don’t know if it’s my favorite, but, it’s definitely a story. – The most notorious, at least, among our team, of your stories.

– Yeah. The story, I guess, kinda, there’s a lead-up to it, which is that, I had a great trip at one of those middle-of-nowhere casinos. Which was like a life saver, for this trip, that was just a total bust. And I won a bunch of money for the team, while I was getting in a ton of hours. – So, what was a bunch of money?

– When I asked to get a jackpot winner jacket, I was up, and they told me no. And I was like, but I’ve won a lot of money. And they were like, how much money? And I was like, well, I’m not done yet, but right now I’m up over a hundred thousand dollars.

And they were like, we’ll be- I’ll be right back. – Haha. – So I have a jackpot winner jacket that they only give to slot winners. But- – You were the exception or were you a slot winner? – I was the exception – I was the exception. So, I think I, by the time I left I had like ninety.

– Okay. – So I go on another trip in another state, – Across the country basically. – Yeah, completely across- in the- this is in the mid-west, that one was in California. And I’m playing, everything seems totally normal, and I get the tap on the shoulder, and I’m like, dang it, this is it. I’m getting backed-off.

And, the guy was like, hey, would you come with me, please? And I was like, oh, I’m getting back-roomed, okay. Even better, should I bring my chips? And he was like, yeah, grab all your stuff there.

I’m like, okay. So I take the stuff and he leads me to an escalator. And we’re not saying anything, and it’s awkward, so I’m like, so, did I win like a jackpot or something? He’s like, no, and he kinda chuckled, and then he lead me to like, not the elevator, but like the freight elevator. – Oh. – And so I’m like, okay, back room, yeah.

Everything still works, everything still jives with like my previous experiences of getting back-roomed. So, I go into the elevator, and there are two security guards in there. And I’m like, hey, how’s it going?

They’re like, fine. And the doors to the elevator close, and I look at them, more closely, and they’re not security guards, they’re police officers. So I’m like, this is like my first hint that something is amiss. And, we get to the back room area, and their- I guess like the casino manager, somebody, was like, do you know why you’re down here? And I said, maybe? – Haha.

– I think that’s the most honest answer, in that situation. Maybe. And it turned out to be, had I said yes I would have been wrong. Because they were like, well, you’re under arrest for stolen property. And I’m like, what? That’s weird.

– Haha. – I didn’t steal anything. And it turned out there had been a rash of bank robberies in the area, so the police had told the casino staff to watch for marked bills. And, they were looking for marked twenties, of course I was carrying hundreds.

But they’re like, those are marked bills. So, they arrested me. – So you took off your ski mask, – Haha.

– And said, I’m not the guy. – Yeah, straight up. – What do you mean they were marked bills? – They were marked. The bills that I had won from this previous trip, turned out- – From a separate state? – Completely different state.

They’re not twenties like they’re looking for in the mid-west. – But you still had, – But I had all these marked bills, this ridiculous number, and when I finally got my stuff out of evidence, after they’d– What do they call the opposite of booking you in the jail? – Processed? – Like, after they let me go- – I don’t know, I haven’t been arrested before. – Haha. Are you a real card counter?

– Dispersed? – Excused? – Haha.

– I was gonna say discharged, but that’s the hospital. – Haha. – We’ll say discharged, it’s from- – Sure discharged. Jail. – Crapped out. – So were you there all night?

– Yeah. And I quit playing blackjack. I was there for 14 hours, they never read me my rights.

Actually until the next morning. When they were questioning me, and they wanted to hang on to the money until the FBI opened, so that they could- and then they set them pictures. They like meticulously photographed all the bills, all the serial numbers.

Sent them to the FBI, and the FBI is like, that’s not what we’re looking for. Like, – Let ’em go? – Let ’em go. So, they let me go, and I had, you know had some serious, you know, time, to think about- – What you’re doing with your life? – What were the sleeping arrangements like? – Not sleeping.

That’s what they were like. That’s how it went. – So you quit? – Completely quit. And then I got the money back, and it turns out that, when I got out of jail I still had rent to pay.

– Yeah. – And I was still on a blackjack trip. And there were still casinos in other states, so I drove like one state away, – And you came out of retirement. – And I came out of retirement. – Haha.

– Yeah. – Is that the shortest, that’s probably the shortest retirement that we had on the Church Team. – It, yeah, it might have been.

As soon as I could get into another casino, I did it. – And did you find out why they were marked from California? – I can only assume that someone successfully laundered money in that casino. – Yeah. – Because, looking back over it, and this is in talking to the detective, he’s like, didn’t that seem like a lot of marked bills?

And I’m like, dude, you see as money hundred dollar bills as I’ve seen, and they all start to look the same. I don’t care what they look like, I just want them all to be there. When I’m counting them. A lot of times, I don’t even look at ’em when I’m counting ‘cuz I’m driving. – Yeah. – Like, which you shouldn’t do, either, in this state, anymore, ‘cuz that’s distracted driving.

But, yeah, going back over it was clear that, like, these bills had been involved in a bank robbery, and the bad guys probably got away. Because they ditched these bills at the casino. – So there’s no lesson to be learned from this, other than, just horrible luck. – Yeah. Always be honest with the cops.

– Yeah. – Oh, that was the other thing, is, I told, I wouldn’t say anything in front of casino security. – Yeah, you didn’t want to admit it, that you were counting cards. – That I was counting cards.

– So, like, I had to go to the bathroom really, really bad. And so, they finally let me go to the bathroom, and like four cops squeezed into the stall with me, and while we’re in there, I was like, Hey, by the way, guys, I’m counting cards. And I don’t, just, don’t tell the casino that I’m doing it, but, that’s why I have all this money. And I’ve got phone numbers of my managers, you can talk to right now. – Yeah. – And they’ll like corroborate my story, We’re all on the up-and-up.

But I just don’t want to tell THEM about it. So, they told them about it, and as they were dropping me off, they were like, Yeah, by the way, you’re banned from blah-blah-blah stupid casino. – Haha. – For life, because of this. And I’m like, – Thanks, thanks guys.

Alright, so, Loudon, I will call you Loudon, you’ve played more hours than me, you’ve played more hours than like, I think, pretty much anyone I know. What are some of your, maybe your more memorable experiences at casinos? – One of my favorite, if you had to boil it down to a particular moment at the tables, one of my favorite moments, I was playing at a tribal casino.

And, it was time, finally time, to put out max bets, – Which was what? – At this casino it was 500 dollars. – Okay. – So, I was excited to put out my max bet. I proceeded to get hard 17, against the dealer face card.

My chances aren’t great. But I see, that there’s been some kind of mistake, and in the shoe for the next card, is face-up. – Okay. – And it’s a four. – Haha. – And so, I, double down.

– Yeah. – And of course, this is a big joke, like, they’re either gonna stop me, they’re gonna, you know, arrest me, I don’t know what they’re gonna do. But they’re probably not going to allow it. If I double down looking at the dealer, like, isn’t this a funny joke?

Let’s see if I get away with this. And the dealer’s like, doubling down on a hard 17, pit boss just kinda looks at it. So I pull the card out, don’t even need to flip it over, – Haha. – Just slide it right into my hand, 21! So, and I got it. I won it.

That was one of the moments where I was proud of, you know, you’re always ready to use the information you’re getting, at any moment. And sometimes there are a little bit, there are few surprises, along the way. And if you can work ’em to your advantage, yeah, then, do it. I guess, so that one worked to my advantage, that was one. – I’ve hit hard 17, against an ace, if the count, I think, is negative four or lower.

I’ve never doubled down on a hard 17, so – Right. There was one time I was at a casino, east coast, and, you know, as a card counter you’re always trying to play kinda under that radar, you don’t really want a lot of attention, with your big bets and things. I was at a table, it was kinda full, and they were really pressing me to get a player’s card. Which is something I’m often not interested in. I don’t want to give my ID, I’m not, unless I’m looking for comps, I don’t want to be in their system.

This was later in my career. You know, they kept offering, kept offering it. Finally at some point I’m like, you know what? If I want a free hotdog, I’ll ask for a free hotdog.

So next to me, there’s this guy and his girlfriend. He’s been watching me really close. He’s kinda got a tie, kinda dressed nice but with a backwards hat.

Real east coast frat guy. Harvard, probably Harvard educated, but like reads the, you know, horse racing pages at the blackjack table. This kind of guy.

– Yeah. – And he has a, you know, really beautiful girlfriend with him, and she’s just, she’s just along for the ride. She’s not even, you know, betting a spot. And he has taken, started taking great attention to me.

He’s like, oh my God, look at this guy. Look at what he’s betting! This guy’s got BALLS! – Haha.

As he’s turning to his girlfriend he’s like, Look at this guys, he’s got bigger balls than me. You should with him. So, anyway, I’m trying to like, eh-eh, keep it quiet. But at this moment where I’m like, Yeah, I don’t want a player’s card, if I want a hotdog I’ll ask for a free hotdog. He suddenly decides he wants to take up the case, and be my defender, and he stands up, he’s like, yeah, if he wants a fuckin’ hotdog.

– Haha. – I’m just like, thank you, no thank you. I, you know, and he, he’s arguing my case, and meanwhile me and the girlfriend are kinda, like, exchanging glances, like, she’s like, yeah, I’m with him.

And I’m like, yeah, I hear him, too. Just like, the exact opposite of what you want is to be called out at what you’re doing. In the middle of a shoe. – Alright, so that is just part of a full series of interviews with David and Dusty.

To watch more of those videos, you can go here. And if you want weekly card counting updates, you can subscribe below.