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Gilligan, the Skipper, and The Mad Professor


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I felt like I was on the good ship S.S. Minnow for two months.   We were never marooned on a deserted island.   We didn't have to cooper up washing machines and TV sets using coconut shells, bicycle parts and banana leaves.  And we didn't have to build bamboo huts and eat lizard tails or monkey gizzards, but we sure had some fun island adventures.  The best part was that our own versions of “Ginger” and “Mary-Anne” were BOTH with us, so there were NO lonely nights! 

Back in early March, I was invited by some friends to join them on their boat for a trip in the Caribbean.  What started off as a fifteen-day trip, finally ended after fifty-eight days of sun, surf, sand and sizeable profit. 

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Believe me, I’m not complaining, but it ended at just the perfect twain between being TOO long, and not being long enough.  I’m told women know the subtlety of THAT concept much better than men do.

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We kept deciding to extend the trip because of the great times, good weather, fine cruising, incredible food, camaraderie and outstanding casino profit that we were enjoying.  It was a unanimous decision, and one that none of us have since regretted. 

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Here's a list of where we went; how I did, and a few notes along the way:

Dominican Republic:

The island of Hispaniola is shared by this country and Haiti.   Despite the strife in Haiti, it’s a beautiful lush island that I have spent much time on in the past.  Instead of telling you about past exploits, here’s how I did on this trip:

Jaragua Ramada Renaissance Resort in Santa Domingo, generated a decent profit, but we felt unsafe as we left the hotel quite late at night to make our way back to the boat. Total net win was $1740.  There are about twenty casinos in this nations capital city, but we didn’t have the right “vibe” about staying and playing so we moved on to several less-intense, less-populated areas of the island.

Bavaro Beach Resort near Punta Cana, produced some great profit, and I ran into an old friend from the Trop in Atlantic City who now manages the casino.  Total net profit after hiring a personal driver/body guard for the duration of our time on this island, was $4,600.

Keep in mind that the standard of living here is significantly lower than the United States or Canada.  One U.S. Dollar can be “officially” exchanged for about twelve DR-Dollars.  The “unofficial” or “street” exchange rate is closer to 20-to-1.  The black-market trade of U.S. currency with foreign visitors is the biggest “cottage” trade on the island.

We then spent several days in San Pedro de Macaries.  This is a small city that has produced several major-league baseball players.  We were guests of a former star player for the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team when they won back-to-back World Series.  Still on salary as Vice-President of Player Development for another team, he has built an estate in the middle of what could otherwise be described as Caribbean-jungle, and we LOVED our time there.  Exploring this untamed wild-land fueled our desire for even more jungle adventures down the road.

Coral Costa Caribe Beach Casino was quite small by all standards, as are most of the casinos on this island.   I walked away with a three-day profit of $4,010.

Los Cosquitos Beach Resort was not as profitable over the same three-day period.  In total, I can report a net win of just $830.

Jack Tar Village near Puerto Plata, had a lot of topless and bottomless bathing nearby, and the excellent beaches were an added consolation to the great weather and good craps. Total net win after expenses was $940, and included some shopping at a nearby “straw market” for fruits of the island, some locally caught seafood, and re-provisioning the boat.  There are four other casinos in Puerto Plata, but we weren’t inclined to visit any of them.


The most civilized of the islands we visited; the 700 islands that make up the Bahamas are technically not even in the Caribbean. However, since it was part of the trip, here are the results:

Nassau Marriott Resort & Crystal Palace Casino.  High table minimums, and slow dealers impeded my profit potential here.  We ended up enjoying some great comped dinners, but net profit just barely broke through the $500 mark despite considerable time at the tables.

Atlantis Resort, with it’s 50,000 sq. ft. casino, and 14 pools, lagoons & grottos, this was the second nicest resort that we encountered during our sojourn.  The same story for the Crystal Palace was repeated here, only more so!  High table minimums and slow movement of the dice actually restricted my shooting to two hands of 21 rolls and 29 rolls, respectively.  The dealers were averaging about one roll every two minutes.  I found it frustrating with all the waiting.  Profit was somewhat better, in reaching the $730 mark, but the number of hours that it took, didn’t seem to justify the time while it was happening.  Now, with more perspective, I can say that a $730 profit was very nice, and was definitely worth the time.


If Aruba isn’t the wind-surfing capital of the world, it should be.  There are constant 30 mph. heated winds that waft you along amongst the ocean waves at such a good clip, it’s like no other thrill that I’ve ever experienced.  I spent most of my time here on a sail-board, and not in the casinos.

There are two main casino areas on this tiny island which is only two miles across at it’s widest point.  On J. E. Irausquin Boulevard, there are nine casinos that are practically side-by-side or across from each other.  The other area is L.G. Smith Boulevard, where there were three other casino resorts, that are spread out in a seaside-village type arrangement.

We spent quite a bit of time exploring all of them.  Although I have been here many times in the past, my cohorts have never been on this windswept island, where even the divi-divi trees are fully bent-over to pay homage to the constant tropical breeze that only blows in one non-stop near-equatorial direction.  In a lot of cases, the trees are so bent that you can string a hammock from the top of the tree branches down to the trunk, and rest quite comfortably while the ocean sounds lull you to sleep.

Here’s a short summary of our “bon bimi” exploits:

Casino Masquerade @ Radisson Aruba Caribbean Resort.  Limited playing time brought $210 into my pocket, where we left after a short session.

Palace Casino @ Americana Aruba Beach Resort.  This was one of the few places where I experienced a loss.   Despite my own rolling, I still managed to lose $83 in another short session.

Casablanca Casino @ Wyndham Aruba Beach Resort.  What I lost at the Palace Casino, I more than made up for the next day in this 12,000 sq. ft. house.  Net profit eclipsed the $1700 point in just twenty minutes of play.  I rolled it all myself, and left for a shipboard lunch with my companions.  I intended to return that evening, but we got side-tracked with three other couples who had discovered a hot Voodoo Lounge-type nightclub in Oranjestad.  We partied until 6:00 am, and we were in no shape to play at all the following day.  Many hours of in-the-sun relaxation and “de-pickling” was called for.

The Palm Casino @ Aruba Palm Beach Resort gave us a small profit on some extremely choppy tables.  There was no discernable pattern, rhyme or reason to what was happening.  I was happy to walk away with a $30 profit after two hours of play.

Grand Holiday Casino @ Holiday Inn Aruba Beach Resort.  This “resort” is in serious need of renovation.  We were unhappy with the food, the service and the general atmosphere.  It actually reminded me of the El Cortez in Las Vegas.  Again, choppy tables were the rule rather than the exception.  A net profit of $15 after an unforgettably bad meal was all I managed to leave with.  I was happier with the profit than I was with the gut-wrenching child-birth-type cramps that followed from the food-poisoning we all received courtesy of the restaurant. 

Copacabana Casino @ Hyatt Regency Aruba Beach Resort.  Located on Palm Beach, about 5 miles from Aruba’s capital of Oranjestad, this 11,000 sq. ft. casino provided some excellent shooting opportunities for our entire gang.  My lovely female partner actually shot even BETTER than I did.  A rare occurrence like that has to be milked to it’s fullest, and you can bet that I did!  But I was a little slow off the mark, to take full advantage of her good fortune.  Although I was on her roll from the beginning, I didn’t begin to aggressively press my bets until she had gotten past 15 rolls.  It was then that I realized that we were in the middle of a genuine hot roll.  I ratcheted up my bets, by doing “double unit”, then “triple-unit” presses on every other hit.   All the Place numbers were already covered, and the Press action quickly maxed out the table limit, and filled my racks to the over-flowing point.  Total rolls during her hand were 71, which equated to a net profit of $19, 480!  That session alone made the entire trip all the more enjoyable for everyone, especially her!

Alhambra Casino is the only casino on the island that doesn’t have a hotel attached to it.  When we visited it, the craps tables were not open.  In fact, no other table games were open, only the slot machines.  This was at 2:00 pm on a Thursday afternoon.  The ladies played a little bit of slots while I wandered around the nearby outdoor-market area.  I ran into some fellow craps players that we had befriended during my girlfriend’s epic roll at the Hyatt two nights earlier.  They invited our entire group to join them for dinner that evening at the Aruba Marriott.  They said that with the winnings from the other night, their entire trip was paid for, together with enough money to fully pay for their two children’s college education.  They said the least they could do was to buy us dinner out of gratitude, and I happily agreed on behalf of our shipmates.

Stellaris Casino @ Aruba Marriott Resort.  After a wonderful dinner with ten people including our new-found friends, we started play in this futuristic-styled casino.  A few hours later, there were a few hundred dollars more in my pocket than what I started with; $470 to be exact.

Crystal Casino @ Aruba Sonesta Resort at Seaport Village.  We played at this resort for a couple of days because our boat was moored right at the foot of the hotel, and the convenience couldn’t have been better.  We liked the ambience, we liked the food, we liked the people, we liked the dealers, and I especially liked the PROFIT.  For two and-a-half days, profit peaked at $3,100.

Seaport Casino @ Aruba Sonesta Beach Suites at Seaport Village.  This is a totally different casino than the one mentioned above.  The comps were generous to a fault.  Collectively, our group won more than $14,000 here.  My share was a decent $4,870 of that total.

Royal Cabana Casino @ La Cabana Beach Resort on Eagle Beach, was easily my favorite place to play while we were in Aruba.  I didn’t get to play here as long as I wanted because we had other commitments elsewhere.  Despite that, I felt the most comfortable, focused and relaxed in this casino.  It was also home to some very decent sessions.  I threw a range of 18 to 48 rolls per hand during my various turns, and I never felt tired or under pressure at all.   The profit picture wasn’t too shabby either.  I made $5,770 in total net profit during all of my sessions.  This place made me consider coming back here on my own, or with a smaller group (ie. one other person) to fully experience it again.


Divi Flamingo Beach Resort saw limited playing time, and a $110 profit.


Princess Beach Resort also saw limited playing time, and generated a $40 profit.

St. Maarten

This is my favorite island.  The combination of Dutch hospitality on the one side of the island, with the food of the French from the other side, combined with a Caribbean flavor, added up to one totally enjoyable experience.

Princess Port de Plaisance Resort & Spa was the home of the triple parlay Midnight bet as discussed in the You Had To Be There (Part I) article.  My own profit was a little over $1600, but my friend Dave’s profit derived from my rolling was in excess of $72,000.

Divi Little Bay Beach Resort was the casino where I followed up with my own Midnight parlay as chronicled in my You Had To Be There (Part II) article.  My fortunes swelled from a bet that I had not usually made on my rolls up until that time.  For that “astute” move, my bankroll picked up almost $17,000, mostly made up from that parlayed Big Daddy in the Rice-Paddy “12” action.

Pelican Key Resort & Casino was over-crowded when we got there.  The crowd had not thinned after a leisurely dinner and some dancing in their nightclub.  Fatigued after a full-day of snorkeling, we retired from this casino without even getting close to the craps table. 

Puerto Rico:

Our time here was mostly spent as tourists.  Again, my girlfriend and the rest of our shipmates had never been here before.  For that reason, most of the time was spent sight-seeing.  I like the historical architecture of the entire island, especially the old forts together with some of the early Spanish-Colonial designs that are found in the non-tourist sections of this beautiful island.  So here are the results of that rather abbreviated playing time.

In San Juan, we played at:

El San Juan Hotel, which is one of the island’s oldest casinos, is currently operated by the Wyndham chain, and gave me a tidy sum of $320 for a short session on our first afternoon there. 

Condado Plaza Hotel was the high-point of our second day, and it garnered $780 for the effort.

We missed playing at the Inter-Continental San Juan Resort, the Radisson Ambassador Plaza, and the San Juan Marriott because of doing the “tourist thing.” 

Hyatt Regency Cerromar Beach Resort in Dorado is unquestionably one of the most beautifully landscaped vacation properties that I have ever seen anywhere in the world.  Excellent food, excellent staff and excellent winnings of $2,390 made this place a winner for me.

The Weston Rio Mar Beach Resort in Rio Grande has a golf course where I tortured a few balls, cursed at the golf-gods, and generally enjoyed myself.  We spent our 19th-hole time in the casino, where I fared better than I did on the fairways, to the tune of a $630 profit.

El Conquistidor Resort in Las Croaba is also operated by Wyndham, and their huge casino filled my pocket with a not-so-huge total of $240.

Wyndham Palmas del Mar in Humacao has a high-end ambiance, which we all enjoyed.  One of our best resort meals was enjoyed here.  Total net profit after buying dinner for everyone (I only had comps for two), was $945. 

As they say, that was that.  We played at more than thirty casinos, and I made about $74,000.  While it’s true that my friend Dave made as much off of my one hand at the Princess Resort in St. Maarten as I did for the entire trip, you have to understand that he GAMBLES when he plays.  On the other hand, I like to engineer as much risk as possible out of the game.  I’m happy with my winnings, and I am truly grateful to Dave and his lovely wife Sherri, for inviting us along on their trip.

To restore a bit of equilibrium and balance to my life, I immediately joined with an intrepid group of like-minded adventurers for a nearly three-week journey up the Amazon River and into the jungle rainforests of Brazil, Peru and Ecuador.   A non-gaming holiday is exactly what I needed to restore the perspective, stability and symmetry to my soul.

I have an abundance of fond memories, some great gaming stories, and a treasure chest full of casino loot. Gilligan, the Skipper and Ginger have already invited the Mad Professor along for their next ship-bound escapade.

Good Luck & Good Skill at the Tables…and in Life.

By: The Mad Professor

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