Can Spirits Help You Win at Gambling? A Las Vegas Field Test

August 25th, 2008 by Steve Pavlina

If you haven’t concluded by now that I’m totally nuts, this post should push you over the edge. ;)

Several people have asked if I’m still able to connect with my recently departed friend Ron who died in a car accident on August 14th. The answer is yes. He’s been hanging around often. The connection is so strong that I don’t have to meditate or anything. I just think of him and can instantly converse with him. I’ve never experienced such a strong connection before.

I’ve also been in contact with two other friends who’ve been sensing Ron’s presence around them. I’m not going to share their stories publicly, so I’ll just say that this whole thing has been rather fascinating.

While I’ve often connected with non-physical entities over the past several years (I was deep into it in 2002 and 2003), this is the first time I’ve had such a strong connection with someone I already knew as a human being, let alone someone I can trust and who has a communication style I’m already familiar with. That’s a rare opportunity, so I wanted to use it to learn more about the other side. Ron was a very logical, left-brained guy, so I figured if anyone could tell me what was going on over there and try some interesting experiments, he’d be the one to do it.

In his living life, I’d have never pegged Ron as the type of guy who’d be able to communicate so clearly and crisply from the other side. After all he was a Republican… hehehe. He was a very generous, giving guy, so maybe his giving nature somehow bestowed him more power on the other side. His energy comes through very strong and upbeat now, so he’s well past the initial shock of being dead.

Blackjack revisited

Due to what was basically an “accident,” I did a re-test of the blackjack experience with Ron last Thursday morning. Same casino as before. If you can’t handle weird, don’t read this.

As I wrote in a previous article, in our first field test, we won $580 in 90 minutes. All of that money was donated to the Ralph C. Smedley Memorial Fund to help support Toastmasters International, a non-profit organization.

On Thursday morning I was driving to the gym as usual, but I got distracted and made a wrong turn by mistake. There’s a lot of road construction near our house right now (building a new freeway overpass), so I have to take a detour for certain trips (like picking up the kids from summer school) but not for others (like going to the gym). I went the detour route by mistake, which was okay because it still sent me in the general direction of the gym, but it also meant I’d be driving right past the casino.

While driving I began to notice how sore I was feeling. I’m sore because I changed up my exercise routine recently. So I decided it would be better to take a walk and allow a little more recovery time instead of doing another gym workout. The casino is an okay place to walk indoors– even early in the morning it’s pretty hot outside in Vegas — so I parked and went inside. This early in the morning (just after dawn), the place is pretty much deserted.

As soon as I walk in the door of the billion-dollar structure, Ron shows up and suggests we try the blackjack thing again. I didn’t really want to play, so I just put him off with a noncommittal maybe. I said I wanted to walk a bit first, and then after that we’ll see.

I walked about two minutes, and Ron comes back again and insists, “Let’s play now. There’s a good table available.” My curiosity gets the better of me, so I acquiesce and head towards the tables.

I notice two blackjack tables open. There are lots of tables but most are closed this early in the day. The first table is under a cloud of smoke from the smokers that are playing, so I cash in for $200 at the second table and push out my $10 bet.

The table is only half full, and I sense that the energy of the other players seems a bit down. A little chit chat reveals they’ve been losing.

Then one of the other players lights up a cigarette. Since I normally avoid playing with smokers, I’m about to get up and leave, but Ron insists, “Stay put.” Ron was a non-smoker too by the way. Fortunately the smoke drifts away in the opposite direction and doesn’t bother me.

My fate is no different than the other players. The hands I’m dealt are total garbage… virtually nothing but 13s, 14s, 15s, and 16s. I bust most of them, and even when I don’t bust, the dealer is hitting 20s and 21s.

After losing 5 hands in a row, I’m about to give it up and leave, but Ron keeps repeating, “Don’t worry.” He says it will turn around. Then he adds half-jokingly, “Well, maybe not this shoe!”

My $200 dwindles to $80 within the first 15 minutes at the table.

I notice that every time I started to worry that things are going downhill, Ron pops in and says, “Don’t worry.” I felt he was hinting that my own energy was making it harder for him to help… that my attachment was practically generating a field of bad luck. I worked on raising my energy and becoming more detached. That wasn’t too difficult because at this level of betting, the money doesn’t mean anything to me, but I still prefer winning to losing. I began to feel better about losing, but the cards were still bad.

We finally reach the end of the shoe, so it’s time for a shuffle. The girl next to me cuts the deck. She gets dealt an instant blackjack while I get a 20 and win too. Then I get a blackjack on the following hand and win again. After that my hands are coming up all roses, and I’m scoring some nice splits and double downs. I start to win for a while, clawing my way back to the $200 I started with.

Now this is where it gets weird. :)

I’m sitting at the table with a plastic water bottle that I was going to take to the gym. At some point I realize that the water bottle is labeled with the name of the mortuary where I attended Ron’s service — that’s where I happened to pick up this bottle a few days earlier. I start becoming very self-conscious. I really don’t want to get into a conversation about why I have a mortuary-branded water bottle in a casino. I surreptitiously slide the bottle off the table and into my pocket. (I’m wearing athletic shorts with deep pockets.)

At this point everything seems to stagnate. Now I’m just trading hands. Every time I start to pull ahead a little, I lose a double down or split and drop below $200 again. I’m mostly bobbling around between $170 and $230… getting nowhere.

Then Ron says to me, “Put the water bottle back on the table. It makes it easier for me to see.”

Huh? What kind of insanity is that?

But I give him the benefit of the doubt and return the bottle to the table. I figure that since everything is energy, maybe he has some kind of energetic connection to the bottle because it was pretty much bathed in his energy at the memorial service where I got it.

And wouldn’t you know it? As soon as I return the bottle to the table, I start winning again — fast. The other players at the table all start winning too because the dealer is busting most of her hands. I can feel the energy of the whole table rising.

The woman next to me is landing so many splits, double downs, and blackjacks that she turns $100 into $500+. We both ham it up and start high-fiving each other with every big win. She starts calling the cards that come up with amazing accuracy. It was pretty insane. I probably could have kept going, but I needed to get home, so I cashed out at the end of the shoe with $415, for a net win of $215. I only played about 40 minutes total.

That brings the total win to $795 from about 130 minutes of play with Ron’s assistance.

As I returned to my car, Ron expressed how much he enjoyed this. He acted as if I’d done him some kind of favor, like I was pitching balls to him for batting practice.

Feeling drained

By the end of last week, I began feeling really strange. Physically I felt okay, but I felt like I lost all interest in life. I became totally lazy and unmotivated. I could barely motivate myself to eat — everything seemed way too effortful. I just wanted to sit on the couch and read. That was about all I did on Saturday.

I thought maybe I needed some extra rest, so I tried to take a nap. I lay down for an hour but couldn’t sleep at all. I wasn’t sleepy. I felt like I’d lost all interest in life. I can’t say I felt depressed. I just felt totally empty.

Partly I wanted to go out on Saturday night, figuring that being around other people would help restore my energy and enthusiasm. But I let those plans slide. I thought, “Eh… why bother?” I was totally apathetic. The only thing I felt like doing was absolutely nothing.

Erin noticed that something seemed off with me, so we sat down and talked about it. She suggested that maybe Ron was feeding off my energy to stay grounded to the physical plane. Eventually it drained me dry. That made sense to me because I felt like my spirit had been sucked dry, even though my body felt okay.

I realized this draining didn’t happen suddenly. It came on gradually ever since I started connecting with Ron after he died. As the week progressed, I began feeling more and more disconnected and apathetic about my life.

We did some energy work to help me disconnect from Ron and to encourage him to find another energy source. The details would be too much to insert into this article, but perhaps Erin or I can explore that at another time.

I gradually started feeling better within 24 hours, but I also lost the ability to connect with Ron as clearly as I could before. He seemed more distant, and the messages were coming through very fuzzy. I couldn’t lock in on his signal. It got harder to tell if I was getting a real communication from him or if I was stuck in my imagination or just picking up background interference. Before this energy work, he was always coming through strong and clear. If the signal strength was a 10 before, now it was down to about a 4.

Yet another blackjack trial

Last night I decided to pop down to the Strip to give the blackjack test another run. I brought the mortuary water bottle with me just in case it helped. My connection with Ron wasn’t feeling that strong, but I asked if he wanted to have another go at gaming together, and it seemed like he said okay. However, I wasn’t feeling it the same way I was before. I couldn’t hear him as well, and I was getting fuzzy and conflicting messages running through my mind. There was a lot of interference. I played blackjack at the Sahara and lost $135 in 20 minutes. I was able to remain upbeat and detached, but I could feel the connection just wasn’t there like it was before.

While walking down the Strip afterwards, I pondered that maybe Ron needed to connect with my energy to make this work. So I took a risk and told him that he could feed off my energy just for tonight in order to make his work, but after that we’d have to disconnect and let me recharge. I can’t say this was a wise idea, but I was too curious not to try it.

At that point he actually started coming through more clearly, but the signal still seemed weaker than before. It was maybe a 6 on a 1-10 scale. But at least I was feeling better about life and my motivation and enthusiasm had returned.

I popped into the Riviera, found a good blackjack table, and started playing. Ron complained that the continuous automatic shuffling machines were harder for him to work with. He said it was easier for him if the dealer hand-shuffled the decks. He said he would still try, but he couldn’t guarantee anything. I played 20 minutes and won $50. Better… but still down $85 for the night.

My final stop was Treasure Island. More automatic shuffling machines. The conditions were nice though — a friendly dealer and happy-go-lucky 20-something players who were in town for a conference. I coached them on how to play their hands while they downed as many free drinks as they could manage. They still made numerous errors and didn’t win, but at least I helped them make their money last longer, and we all had a little too much fun high-fiving on the big wins. My best hand was when I split 8s four times and won the quad bet when the dealer busted. I played for an hour and 40 minutes and won $125.

I always find it fascinating that people who are new to blackjack almost always play too conservatively. They give an edge to the house largely because they fail to take advantage of all the opportunities for doubling down and splitting. They feel good about winning a single bet, not realizing they could have won double, triple, or more if they played more aggressively. I previously wrote about this in the article Life Lessons from Blackjack. It’s such a great metaphor for how people live their lives. People cling to their small gains, not realizing the bigger opportunities they missed because they settled for less than they could have gotten. When the odds are 60% that you’ll win the hand, you want to push more chips out when you can. Missing such opportunities should be seen as a loss, not a lesser win.

My evening trial ended with a small net win of $40, bringing our total winning streak to $835. I thanked Ron for his help and disconnected from his energy. I didn’t feel energetically drained, but I was tired from being up later than usual. Even after midnight it was still hot outside as I walked back to my car.

Today I feel really good and super happy. My energy and enthusiasm are back up again. I’m going to have to be careful when doing so much connecting with the other side though. I was lucky that Erin was able to help me diagnose this problem.

No card counting

There’s one important fact I forgot to mention earlier. In all of these blackjack experiments with Ron, I was NOT counting cards, even though I know how. I was varying my bets a little, but those variations had nothing to do with the count because I wasn’t tracking the count. I played every hand according to the same basic strategy you’ll find in any off-the-shelf blackjack book.

Why didn’t I count cards? The honest answer is that it wasn’t worth the effort for the low limits I was betting and the very low frequency with which I play. I used to do a lot of card counting when I was in my early 20s, but I didn’t want to make a career out of blackjack. If I play today, it’s more for socialization and fun than because I’m trying to win money. I’d rather relax and chat openly with the dealer and the other players instead of doing mental gymnastics in my head. Card counting can be very mentally draining. After a few hours of it, my brain is mush.

So skill-wise I wasn’t bringing any special edge with me. The edge should have belonged to the house. But that didn’t seem to bother Ron. :)

Is this spiritually legal?

These experiences were rather surprising to me. First, I don’t know why the heck Ron seems to like blackjack, since I don’t recall him ever expressing interest in casino gambling. I asked him about that last week (while we were still strongly connected), and he basically said he’s trying to practice affecting the physical universe from the other side. Fair enough. I can imagine that if I were a spirit trying to influence the physical world, I might also start with games of chance, since it allows for a lot of repetitive practice, and the outcome is measurable. You can also publicly affect reality without overriding anyone’s free will, since skeptics still retain the freedom to dismiss such events as luck or chance; they can also assume you’re lying if they weren’t an eye witness.

As it turns out, maintaining consistency with the skeptics’ version of reality is pretty important. According to Ron, it is NOT spiritually permitted to override a skeptic’s freedom to choose their beliefs; in practice this means that skeptics always have to have an out. Either they can’t be there to see what would shock them, or they have to be able to dismiss such reports as false, exaggerated, pure luck, etc. A skeptic cannot be shown proof of what they doubt.

During our first blackjack test, Ron and I were playing for charity, but for these last two trials, it was understood that I was just playing for myself. Partly I wanted to know if this would still work if I was playing for individual gain. I was very curious about that. The limits I was betting weren’t going to make a serious dent in my finances or the casinos’, but still — if Ron is doing something from the other side to help me win, doesn’t that break some kind of spiritual rule?

So I asked him, “Ron, shouldn’t this be spiritually illegal or something? Doesn’t it violate some kind of ethereal law to do this sort of thing? Playing for charity is one thing, but should you really be helping me win extra cash for myself? Is this going to come back to bite us later?”

His answer actually made me laugh. He said, “Don’t worry. I can see that you have karma points to spare.” Then he showed me what looked like an energy meter that revealed a full positive karma supply. He suggested that I’d earned a lot of positive karma because of the work I’ve done with my blog. He seemed to be half-joking as he said this, as if he found my original question amusing.

To my recollection that was the first time he communicated visually with me since he crossed over. Apparently he’s gaining new skills.

In some follow-up exchange (also last week while we had a strong connection going), Ron shared the opinion that what we did was mostly okay because my intention was to help him and to satisfy my curiosity, not because I really wanted/needed the money. Ron suggested that if my intention had been the latter, this wouldn’t have worked… or if we found a way to make it work, it would have incurred some kind of karmic debt for both of us. Hmmm…

As I looked back, I realized he was right about my intentions. I really wasn’t focused on winning money. Even when I was losing, I was more concerned that Ron might be failing in his efforts. Ron implied that my lack of attachment to the money was very important.

Imagine if you ran a similar test by playing one-penny blackjack, limiting your buy-in to 20 cents total. Hopefully this amount of money won’t make or break you, so you can detach from worrying about the financial impact and just play for fun and curiosity. That’s how I felt about the amount I was risking. Win or lose, it’s not going to impact me either way.

Ron’s answer makes sense to me. If we could all get rich by enlisting non-physical entities to help us win at gambling, there wouldn’t be any gambling because the casinos would go broke. It seems like that would also defeat the purpose of living in a reality where money is used as a medium of exchange. So however this works from a spiritual perspective, it has to be consistent with what we’re already experiencing. Even so, it sounds like those rules have some flexibility, although there may be unforeseen negative consequences to pushing the boundaries. It felt okay to do this as a short-run experiment, but it wouldn’t feel right to me to do this with a long-term profit motivation.

The role of polarity

I asked Ron what role polarity plays in this (still last week while we were strongly connected). He said that since we’re both on the same side intention-wise, we can work together on cross-bridging experiments like we just did, but it’s still not easy because we now exist primarily in different frequency ranges, so we must both stretch in order to communicate. This can drain us both if we don’t disconnect and recharge now and then.

Ron said that he doesn’t really know what the darkworker side can do because he hasn’t looked into it. He did tell me, however, that he can’t do anything that would interfere with human free will, mainly because the nature of reality prevents it. He was able to connect with me because I invited him to and because I’m already open to such experiences. If I didn’t believe we could connect, he wouldn’t have been able to come through at all because that would have violated my freedom to choose my beliefs. We talked extensively about free will, so I may have to write a follow-up article on that topic. It’s quite fascinating.

Please take note that I’m just sharing my experiences as they come. I’m not trying to convince you of anything here. You’ll surely filter my reports through your own belief lenses, and that’s fine. I totally understand if these kinds of stories are too much for some people to handle. I’d never have believed this myself 20 years ago, so if you don’t believe me or if you think I’m making this up, I can’t fault you for that. I respect your ability to choose your beliefs, regardless of how that impacts our ongoing relationship.

Please also be aware that I’m committed to sharing my growth experiences as they occur, so if you ask me to stop writing on such topics simply because these ideas conflict with your current understanding of reality, I have to decline because otherwise I’d be holding back way too much. As I see it, if you and I agree on absolutely everything, we can’t help each other grow. It’s only by exploring our differences that we can learn from each other.


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