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Kane 'Nascar_1949' Kalas - Risks and Riches

Kane 'Nascar 1949' Kalas Risks and Riches

He’s been living the life he wanted to live for quite some time, but not a lot of people will spark up when hearing the name Kane Kalas. Not yet at least because this 23-year old professional is about a lot more than just high stakes poker. Most online poker players will know him as Nascar_1949, while sports fanatics get chills thinking back of his father’s legendary baseball calls. Harry Kalas, Philadelphia Phillies sportscaster and member of the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame, was Kane’s father and the shoes he’s trying to fill are not by any means small. The young Kalas opened up to PokerReviewList and spoke his mind about an array of topics.

Kane Kalas has appeared on the baseball pitch numerous times performing both the US National Anthem and God Bless America. You can check out his performances online by clicking one of the following links. He performed the National Anthem during the Phillies first home game after his father's passing in 2009. At the Memorial Day Parade in 2009 he read one of his father's poems and in an on-the-field interview he spoke about missing his father during the Phillies' post-season in 2010. During that same post-season series against the San Francisco Giants he also sang God Bless America. During the seventh inning of a Phillies game against the Arizona Diamonbacks he also sang God Bless America in a sold-out stadium.

What have you been up to lately?
Well, I played the LAPC at Commerce Casino and some of the cash games there as well. After that I went off to San Jose for the Bay 101 Shooting Star Main Event. Unfortunately no luck in those places so now I’m back in Malta grinding online.

Let’s just get right into it. I’ve heard stories that you are an avid craps fan. What’s up with that?
Yeah, I enjoy playing a little bit. It’s fun and if you play properly in craps the casino edge is only something like 0.6%. In Vegas you can get free drinks and not give up too much of an edge while you still get very good comps. That makes it not that minus EV to do. Also, you meet so many cool people at the craps table, and the last time I met this big real estate guy from Asia. It’s a pretty social game and I prefer it to blackjack or roulette.

Do you have the optimal strategy figured out?
It’s very easy to learn the optimal craps strategy. Just bet the pass line and take the max odds on your bet, that’s basically playing optimal. Most people play the pass line and don’t take max odds, or bet the hard ways and horn bets. On those the casino has a much bigger edge. If you play the way I play you only giving up .6% on every dollar that you bet so that’s pretty small.

Does a casino not look at the way you play the game? You would almost assume they give bigger comps to players who bet 12 the hard way all the time.
No, they pretty much are just looking at the amount that I’m betting. They are not really differentiating between the players and what I like to do is buy in for a very high amount which I’m not even going to use, let’s say $15,000. That amount gets recorded but I just play the table minimum or at least just very small. When the pit boss comes over, he’s the one who records how much everyone is betting; I start going crazy and bet a lot. I’ve done this for a while and get pretty big comps while I don’t give up too much of an edge.

Can everyone apply this strategy easily or is this something you have to know the casino very well for?
Anybody could do this; you just need to recognize the one who is in charge. He’ll be the guy with the clipboard walking around in between the tables writing down what everyone’s betting. There are lots of tricks I’ve picked up on in Vegas. When you ever go to a bar in Vegas you should never just pay for your drink, just play some Video Poker, order a drink and get it for free. After you get your drink you can just cash out and leave the table. When you buy the drink outright it’ll cost you like $8 while you could also be playing Video Poker for $0.50 per hand.

What’s the biggest comp you’ve ever gotten from playing casino games?
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to accept it, since they only gave me a month to use it. It was five nights in a suite in either The Palazzo or The Venetian, with a steak dinner for one and $700 of free table play. When I actually wanted to go to Vegas I called them up because I wanted to use the comp. They told me it was expired and I could now get three nights in a regular room, $50 in table play and a complimentary muffin! I swear that’s what they said! (laughing). I was like, “I’ll pass on the muffin!”

What’s your biggest win or losing session on the craps tables?
My biggest winning session was $13,200 and my biggest losing session was like $6,000 at MGM. 

So are you a lifetime winner at the craps tables?
Yeah, I’m up at craps but down at blackjack. But lifetime I’m probably up a small amount on table games. Nothing crazy though, I mostly play just for entertainment value and you can get a lot of free drinks and comps out of it. Also, I’ve met quite some interesting people at the craps tables, unlike blackjack. I don’t think I’ve ever met someone at a blackjack table who I’ve kept in touch with.

I’ve heard you’ve got quite some theories on blackjack.
I’m not perfect at counting cards but when I play Blackjack I try to keep track of whether the deck is light or heavy and by how much. I don’t want do that for too long because you can get banned from that by the casino if they think you’re counting. So I make sure, when I’m playing Blackjack, that I play either very short sessions so they never catch on, or I try to go with people who are not doing that and bet a lot more than I do. In that case, if they suspect you are counting cards they will not kick you out because they don’t want to lose the big whale who’s betting thousands of dollars a hand.

So that’s your way of getting around the system?
Pretty much. If you’re a professional card counter I would suggest making friends with big blackjack whales. It’s going to be pretty unlikely for the casino to kick you out when you’re with three guys who are losing more than you’re winning. 

Interview by Remko Rinkema
Remko Rinkema - Interviewer

Remko Rinkema has covered the biggest poker tournaments in the world since 2008, including many WSOP, EPT, Aussie Millions, APPT, MCOP and Unibet Open events. As an in-depth interview and story enthusiast he tries to do things a little differently. Besides the usual writings Rinkema grabs every chance to appear on podcasts, live streams and in the occasional video.

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