By the age of thirty-six Joe Pane had served a full career as a New York City police officer, had been retired due to a severe injury and had all ready started on the career path that would dramatically change his life.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Pane is the first to state that his “New York style” personality is not a good match to the life of a card counter and advantage player. He has discovered that low key behavior is the most successful way of playing a strong game of Blackjack, and that it is difficult for him to do when he is at the tables.
He has succeeded quite well in modifying his behavior however, and has become such an accomplished player that he is banned from the floors of most casinos in Las Vegas; in fact he was even escorted out of one prominent casino’s buffet!
While he is allowed to play games of video poker, or enjoy the facilities that most casinos make available to their guests, such as shopping, movies, entertainment and dining, he is usually prevented from playing Blackjack against the “house”. This applies to tournaments as well, where he may receive an invitation, but upon replying is told that the seats have sold out.
During one casino trip his wife had some money stolen at a craps table, an altercation ensued and Pane sustained a head injury. To this day he suffers from some hearing and memory loss, and this actually has helped him to overcome some casino’s standard reason for ejecting him from play or preventing him from entering tournaments – saying he “takes too long to make a decision or a play”. While many casinos continually use this excuse against known card counters, they cannot use it against someone with a documented head injury and Pane has forced his way into at least one tournament with this argument.
Many casinos in Nevada run up against legal issues where “skilled”, “professional” or advantage players are concerned. They don’t have staff trained well enough to make a distinction between good strategy and cheating, and so players like Pane are flat-out rejected from play.
Pane is unusual in that he relies on a great deal more than card counting to achieve his winning scores. He began playing in tournaments, and had all ready won two, before picking up his first book on casino and tournament strategy. After that he continued to compete and would hang around and watch other players to see their strategies. Eventually he was invited to enter into a team where he was taught the art of card counting. He continued to study strategy books and manuals, talk with other players and develop his own personal tactics.
Pane frequently credits the professional Blackjack community for providing him with a great deal of his education. Calling it their own “sub-culture” of individuals who don’t punch the clock at regular nine to five jobs, and who befriend one another in a spirit of camaraderie. He has worked in teams, teaches others how to play and still works at improving his own skills and knowledge.
Today, however he is generally barred from playing at most casinos so he fills his time teaching others how to beat the “house” and co-hosting a popular radio show in Las Vegas with the 2005 “World Series of Blackjack” winner Kenny Einiger.