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Last Updated: June 16, 2017

Wizard Of Odds Weekly Update June 16, 2017



I know I wrote about Dan Lubin already but I think the topic bears repeating. Last week, on June 8, I did the eulogy for Dan at his official funeral mass. This week I would like to share what I wrote to say. What I actually did say went quite a bit off script but I think my written words expresses my thoughts better. Here they are:

First, let me say that I'm very grateful to be asked say a few words about Daniel Lubin. My name is Michael Shackleford. Like many people in the world of eccentric world of Dan Lubin, I worked in the business of new table games. It could not be avoided that Dan I would run into each other as there is a lot of overlap in what we do, helping wide-eyed casino game inventors become the next millionaire in the feast or famine world creating new casino games. A business where a small few have made fortunes but where the vast majority gave it the old college try only to singing the blues and going back to their day jobs. As I recall, I first got to know Dan personally in February of 2012 when I put together a motley crew to make some gambling instructional videos. At the time Dan was a member of my forum at WizardOfVegas.com and as I recall he headed my call for somebody to play the role of the dealer in the videos. Dan kindly volunteered. I explained to Dan that I didn't know how long it would take and renumeration would be based on loosely on time. He seemed to feel uncomfortable talking about money and said that whatever I felt was fair would be fine.

On the morning of the shoot I met Dan face to face for the first time. Dan seemed tired as he was squeezing this gig in between shifts at the casino but was nevertheless enthusiastic and rose to the occasion. In fact, he rose a bit too high. As soon as the cameras were on he quickly upstaged me, who was supposed to be the star. He could have been asked a simple question like how the player should make a Hard Way bet and it would turn into 15 minutes of the etiquette of making every single proposition bet. Yes, Dan could be quite a talker. My editor must have hours of unused footage of Dan explaining the minutiae of craps, pai gow poker, three card poker, and blackjack. He truly loved to help people and delighted in explaining the details of how to play and deal almost any casino game. Dan was not just helpful and verbous in person but also online. He was one of the most active members at my forum at WizardOfVegas.com. There, he could be found expounding all things relating to gambling.

The forum was a magnet for both game inventors as well as advantage players. Dan had a very strong opinion that casino gambling was meant to be fun and recreational for which the player's ultimately paid a price through the house edge. He felt that advanced techniques to beat a game such a card counting or hole carding were cheating because they exploited information the player wasn't intended to know or remember. Suffice it to say that pretty much nobody agreed with this position on the forum. This made him a lightning rod for criticism and often worse. Through the many arguments on such topics, Dan always kept his cool. He never made it personal. He always listened to the other side and fought fair. In his roughly 5,800 posts, only once did he break the rules with a borderline insult, and we police the forum for such rule infractions carefully.

It would be easy to say that Dan was a loyal and good friend to many. In the bizarro world of casino game inventors, Dan was friendly with just about everybody. He was quick to welcome a newcomer with advice on the getting his game from a diagram on a cocktail napkin to the casino floor. In fact, that is the subtitle of his recent book, The Essentials of Casino Game Design. Dan had to know there would probably be a limited interest in such a niche business but that wouldn't have deterred him. He truly liked helping people and appreciated the details of a well-crafted casino game. I'm sure the many people Dan helped started out as strangers to Dan and ended up friends. As far as I know, he never charged for his services and probably disliked even talking about it. Those who Dan helped were also potential competitors, as Dan never stopped inventing casino games himself, hoping lightning would strike twice after his success with EZ Pai Gow Poker.

Dan's endless energy and enthusiasm were often the topic of jokes when he wasn't in the room. Like how he seemed to always wear the same shirt. Or how his hair always seemed messy and overdue for a haircut. Or how he smiled and tilted his head, like Groucho Marx, when finally made his point and gave someone else a chance to talk. But, for as much talking as Dan did, he didn't talk about himself very much. For the benefit of his Vegas friends in attendance, here are the highlights of Dan's life before his moved to Las Vegas in 2005. Dan was born in 1960 in New York City, making him 56 at the time of his death. He went to high school at the prestigious New York School of Performing Arts as an oboeist. As the father of an oboe player, I can tell you it is difficult instrument to sound good. However, Dan was always up for a challenge and I'm sure delighted in mastering one of the more obscure instruments.

Dan then went onto graduate from the Metropolitan College of New York with a degrees in accounting, business, and computer science. After this Dan worked as a high school math teach for a time. He also served in the army reserve as a mathematician. He explained to me that his job was largely to aim long range artillery to hit the desired target. However, he spent most of his pre-Vegas working career as a mainframe programmer in some obscure programming language I never heard of. When Dan's job eventually got outsourced to India, I wouldn't be surprised if Dan saw it as a blessing in disguise. Much like myself, I don't think Dan is a cubicle kind of guy. Although I didn't know him yet, I could see him excited to move to Las Vegas to pursue his dreams creating new table games. Here he would become a character among characters. Easy to imitate but impossible to replace. While here in Vegas Dan married his wife Prapaisri in 2008. In addition to his ventures in the gaming business, he also ran a Thai massage parlor with his wife. I knew Dan for many years before he mentioned being Catholic. He evidently forgot to update his Facebook page as it lists his religious views as "infidel" and his favorite quotes are full of those by religious skeptics.

With Dan's passing we've lost a one of a kind man who left us much too soon. I'd like to close with a quote of Dan's from his Facebook page, "The gaming industry is a great and legitimate industry of very fine people - with a lot of rudeness, fools, and cliques. Obey - but doubt - what the floorman tells you."

I posted on YouTube and my Wizard of Vegas blog my actual eulogy. It wasn’t my best performance but it is what it is.

Until next week, may the odds be with you.