South Carolina Adventure Travel

British Adventure Traveler Claire believed that she might enhance her adventure vacation by planning it with the help of someone who lived at her target destination. On previous trips, Claire either cooperated with a local tour company or she hired a local guide upon arrival. For her trip to South Carolina in the United States, she tried something different. Through BritishExpats.com, she made contact with countrymen who live in Charleston, South Carolina.

With their help, she determined to fly over for the final week of Charleston’s Spoleto Festival and one of the expats that she contacted offered to guide her while she vacationed in Charleston. She also suggested that Claire break up her trip, to experience “Chuck town,” (Charleston) on the front and back ends of her holiday by renting a car for a trip upstate to get at a Carolina peach, freshly harvested from the orchard.

The Carolinians consider the Spoleto festival as a kickoff to tourist season, and while many of the events directly connect with the Italian celebration of the same name, the festival means party long and well. For the well-heeled, Spoleto Charleston provides opera, Shakespearian plays, and opulent balls. For Claire, an open-air jazz festival, dirty dancing in the street, and fireworks juiced her interest in American pub-style fun. She booked her flights with Aer Lingus after she learned that she could get a seat on one of their flights mostly occupied by Spoleto-bound revelers. As she hoped, that group adopted her during the flight, welcoming her to join them to experience as many of the Charleston events that she wanted.

Claire got little sleep in the first few days of Spoleto. She enjoyed a sumptuous dinner before a street party every evening, followed by a main event and fireworks. Up early the following day for a grand southern American breakfast with lots of coffee, Claire toured old town Charleston by carriage and she traveled by boat to Fort Sumter in the harbor. Claire power-napped whenever she could to “recharge her batteries,” not wanting to miss anything. During her nap on the boat ride back from Fort Sumter, her sleepy head rocked over onto the shoulder of a British Navy Officer who had also traveled to Charleston on the Aer Lingus flight.

Gallantly, he did not wake her until the boat docked. After treating Claire to coffee, he invited her to join him for a tour of a visiting British warship at the Charleston Navy Base. At lunch aboard the ship with the officers and their wives, Claire mentioned her plan to go get a peach, and they all got into that too! Two days later, they whisked her away in a convoy of four cars as the British Navy Couples drove on a “staff ride” to the King’s Mountain Battlefield in upstate to pay their respects to Major Patrick Ferguson and his men, British casualties in the American Revolutionary War.

But, for Claire, their stop at a peach orchard in York set the stage for the high point of her holiday. There, for the first time in her life, Claire took a big bite into a dead ripe freestone peach. The incredibly sweet juice exploded in her mouth! It splashed onto her cheeks, dribbled down her chin, and onto her dress! Surrounded by cheers and the laughter of her newfound friends, Claire experienced the signature moment in her latest adventure travel. #TAG1writer

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Blackjack Card Counting, Will It Work for You? It’s Not Easy, Here’s Why

The purpose of Blackjack card counting is to know when the shoe decks at the table contain cards that are favorable to you, the player, thereby knowing when to make a larger bet.

Many casinos now use continuous shuffle machines (CSM’s), where the cards are automatically shuffled after each hand. It is impossible to count when these contraptions are used.

The movie 21, Starring Kevin Spacey, is a dramatization of a true story about a group of six MIT students that beat Vegas casinos for millions by mastering card counting techniques while playing blackjack. It gives a pretty good account of how the system works. The movie is based on the book, Bringing Down the House, by Ben Mezrich.

The Objective of Card Counting

As per the aforementioned, the objective is to know when the decks contain cards that are favorable to you, the player, thereby knowing when to make a larger bet.

You would do this by mentally assigning a point value to the cards being dealt and keeping track. Even if you are math skilled and are able to hold a running count in your head, there is still no guarantee. If the shoe is favorable, it may be the other players at the table or even the dealer, who are dealt the better cards.

Contrary to what most people think, card counting is not illegal. However, if caught you will be asked to leave the casino. Their personnel, advantaged by the eye in the sky view, pit bosses, floor persons, and dealers are all trained to spot counters.

Count Strategy

A simple strategy works like this: Assign the following point value for reach card dealt: any 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 are (+1). 7, 8, 9, are considered neutral, so do not count them. 10, J, Q, K, A, are (-1). Do the mental tabulation. If the count is +4 or higher, it means that lower value (unfavorable) cards have been dealt and higher (favorable) cards remain in the shoe. The opposite is true when the count is below +4 or in the minus field. Mentally continue the accumulative running count after each hand until the next shuffle. This many sound easy, but the rapid pace can be confusing. One mistake could blow the count in the wrong direction. If you still think you would like to try your hand at counting, here are some helpful tips:

First learn simple basic strategy. Without it counting is meaningless.

Practice. Practice. Practice. Try it at home with multiple decks first. Try counting in groups of 3 or 4 cards each to represent individual players. Tabulate up to 20 to 30 cards to simulate a full table of seven players per round. Speed is important.

When you’re ready, choose the right table. Look for the slowest dealer, a table with favorable rules, and a shoe game with the least number of decks. Sit down to buy in at a fresh shoe immediately after the shuffle. Note that some casinos do not allow mid-shoe entry into a game.

Favorable rules for the player are: Blackjack pays 3/2, split any pair, double down on any two cards, double after split allowed, and dealer stands on all seventeen’s.

Don’t get greedy. Keep your bet spreads low, to a range of 5 times the table minimum. For example, at a $10 table, never bet more than $50 on a favorable count. If you keep jumping from $10 to $100, you will get caught.

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