I knew Trump from U of P. He was a rich, big city playboy type. In our one common Wharton School class, International Finance, he rarely showed up. When I inquired about that, I discovered out he was paying a classmate to do his work for him, and that his dad was a big contributor to Penn. I was told “don’t worry about Donny”. I still remember those exact words. It felt like I was out of my league. I was a sophomore, when Donny was a senior. We all knew his dad was very rich. I got into Penn on a scholarship. Not sure if my dad could have afforded it without that. But paying for homework is a form of cheating, is it not?
I moved back home after college. Margate was a sleepy Jersey shore town until casinos got approved in 1978. I met Trump again, seven years later in 1985, when he opened his first AC casino. He remembered me from Penn. We said “hi”.
Blackjack and Trump
In the 1980’s, I was a very skillful blackjack player. I still am. Given the chance to play fairly, I could usually emerge with a small win. I was not a high-roller, but I got into Penn for high math scores. I can still memorize 52 cards, a skill I developed from playing gin rummy at my Penn fraternity with Leonard A., now a well-known, wealthy, retired ex-bank owner. Lenny was always a step ahead of me at gin. But he gave me a chance to get even by dealing me single-deck blackjack. We played for pennies. I used my gin rummy brain to make the right moves at blackjack. This was before card-counting was a well-known thing. I did not count, but memorized. And it worked like a charm.
In the 1980’s, 2-deck blackjack games with mid-shoe entry were common. One could choose to enter a game when things were favorable, play a few hands, and get up or sit out bad hands. Those were the rules. And the Trump Plaza had mirrors on the ceiling. I was young, fast and had excellent eyesight. I could see 3-4 tables with those mirrors. So I could quickly go to the table that started best, play for a few bets and move on.
Now let me go through some blackjack math for you here. The average loss for a good player is about 2% per hand. When things are favorable there might be as much as a 2% advantage for the player. That means that if I bet $100, I was actually earning $2 per bet in the long run. And, I would be very lucky to find more than 6-10 bets per hour that were favorable, even with the mirrors. So that is $10-$20 an hour max.
I owned a few businesses in AC back then. So my time was better spent at my shops. An hour or two per day was max optimal playing time. And unlike Vegas, there were no laws in AC that allowed casino to throw people out for skilled play. The most I was going to win was maybe $200 a week. Fun money. Nothing serious. And there were five casinos to play at so no casino saw me more than 4 hours a week.
But no casino came down harder on skilled players than Trump’s Plaza. They told the cocktail servers not to serve the card-counters any drinks – not even water! They used to make up stories about me, saying I was using foul language, so they could throw me out. The Trump Plaza security staff accidentally killed one card counter when they “tazed” him and he had a pacemaker. I have forgotten that counter’s name, but I am pretty sure a local AC lawyer, Thomas Duffy, who was also a counter, remembers.
Trump was willing to do anything to keep anyone from beating him for even $50. When they invented no mid-shoe entry, about 1987, it ended my ability to jump in and play only winning hands. After that, I stopped playing at the Plaza. And I had to learn new ways to survive the game of blackjack. There’s more here for another day.
Anyone who owns a gambling casino, and is not willing to win and lose by the rules of the game, is a game cheater and a bad sport. They are willing to win but not lose. The term Trump often uses, “losers”, he learned from his casino-owner days. Trump had to be the winner and everyone else was a loser. If someone could win, he fixed the game or threw them out. That’s how Trump still sees people. People are just objects to milk dollars from. The casino-owner mentality was never a good idea for being a US president.
But Trump’s willingness to cheat to win took his casino profit dollars on a trek to Russia and the Russian Mafia. One thing leads to another. Those chickens are now coming home to roost.
And so, Donald Trump was very willing to cheat to win the 2016 election. That would have been nothing new to him. And hopefully, that election cheating will soon be exposed. We will see.
But Trump is still trying to cheat to win. He asks Congress to help him get off Russia. That’s Trump trying to cheat justice. It’s why they call it obstruction of justice. I don’t think Congress as a whole will help Trump obstruct justice. He may have dragged some congressmen into the Russian scheme to win,, but there are over 600 congresspeople. He can’t drag them all down. And the generals won’t go there. They have had their own gig here for 250 years. They won’t let Trump spoil that, and they shouldn’t. It feels like the truth will come out. We will see.
Donald Trump has been cheating to win his entire life. He even warned us in the campaign with“what does it all matter if I don’t win?” That is a quote.
But had Trump not cheated in the 2016 election, and if he had still won fairly, he would have had no need to fire Comey, which begat Mueller. Had Trump not cheated in the 2016 election, Russia would not be on his mind nearly every waking moment. He might actually had a chance to be a decent president, if only he had not cheated to win. But cheating to win has been Trump’s modus operandi … for his entire life.
And now, he has absolutely no chance at all to be a decent president or man.
And we all know that. Even his base knows this down deep. People are not stupid. People are not losers.
Donald. It’s not the media. Its not Congress. It’s not your enemies. You have been a lifelong cheater. It started young. The best thing that could happen to you, your family (and us) is that you actually get caught for cheating, fess up, leave the office of president and pay something for your crimes. Then you can redeem yourself and perhaps rededicate your life to a noble cause. Consider becoming a philanthropist, like Bush, Gates and Bill Clinton are now, at least to some degree. You will still have plenty of money left. You will be fine. Really. It might even feel good. I say that with love for a fellow traveler on this earth.
Or just make a deal to step down and not get caught. That’s OK too. You can say your feet hurt again. Pardon my sarcasm. You can think of a health reason.
Everyone has to eventually be honest with themselves. There is only one real truth. That’s why the word one hides inside the word honest. And no one feels inner peace while hiding lies. No one feels inner peace until they are honest.