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by Frank and Alene Scoblete


Alene Scoblete is the CEO of Paone Press, which sells gaming books and tapes at discount prices. She also writes for Her husband, Frank Scoblete, is the #1 best-selling gaming author in America. Frank’s books and tapes have sold over a million copies. His newest book is The Golden Touch Blackjack Revolution. His newest DVD is Golden Touch: Beat Craps Using a Controlled Throw! For a free brochure call: 1-800-944-0406 or write: Frank Scoblete Enterprises, Box 446, Malverne, NY 11565. Frank’s websites are, and


Atlantic City Then and Now

Bottom line: The past was far better than the present; far, far, far better.

We started our learning curve in an Atlantic City that had great four-deck games with wonderful rules: surrender, multiple splits, doubling on any first two cards, dealer stays on all 17s and, most important, deep penetration.

Claridge had great games; so did TropWorld (now Tropicana); so did plenty of others. There didn’t seem to be much paranoia either but in those days we were low rollers. Maybe high rollers got some heat.

Today, as you will see by our reports below, the games in Atlantic City have deteriorated considerably. In fact, we have changed our perspective on the venue’s offerings in terms of our ratings. The best casino today would have been only mediocre in the good old days. So dump a star to a star and a half from our ratings to get an idea of how low the City by the Sea has fallen.

It doesn’t seem to matter to the players who happily play single-deck 6-to-5 blackjack games where the dealer hits soft 17. Doesn’t matter to the players who are playing eight-deck games where the dealers hit soft 17.

Today even moderately betting card counters get heat.

In short, change has usually been bad when it comes to blackjack games in Atlantic City and elsewhere in the country. It’s a sad state of affairs.


Guest Column by Peter Ploppy

I go two the Atantlic Zity casnois to halve sun fum end two gambol all ma money intoo the gams of slut masheens, ruelet, jackblack, tree curd porker, le tit bride and carps. My stragety is ezee two undertood end calls for looking for positron trands and negvatived trunds. When I fond toes I gone aftar itall.

Many gambolers dont understrand these sewfistikated wheys to ploy. My saeing is fund a trand moke sun doe!

Thunk you!


Our Readers Write

We have many readers who send us their reports on various aspects of Atlantic City and we do have some that give us reports just about every month – so we have decided to give them the fame and glory (as opposed to "fortune and glory") of their own columns.

You will note that our correspondents tend to have somewhat different views. Always it is up to you to decide which games you want to play by scouting them for yourselves.

The Jon Report

(Jon gives us great reports almost every month when he visits AC. You can use his reports, mix with ours, put a dash of the other letters and you will get a good idea of what is going on in Atlantic City.)

Dear Frank and Alene,
Well another casino is hitting soft 17. Resorts has joined the list of casinos hitting soft 17. They are only doing it on some of the 8 deckers but I'm sure they'll switch them all over soon enough. Sadly, it is now easier to list the casinos not hitting soft 17 which are Harrah’s, Borgata, Hilton, Tropicana, Trump Plaza, and Trump Taj (they are the six that don't hit soft 17).

When I report on what I see in AC, I tend to focus on rules, penetration, number of decks and sometimes crowd conditions. Why rules matters is pretty obvious. Some rules increase the house edge and reduce a player's return. Penetration, number of decks used and crowd conditions all affect one thing; how many hands a player can hope to see when the count if fairly high or fairly low.

It's these times when the count is fairly high that a card counter can get a nice edge over the house. I have been reporting for some time that the Hilton is giving the pest penetration in AC by far. Most 8 deck games in AC cut off at least 2 decks for 75% penetration. Along with hitting soft 17, that makes these games very hard to beat.

The dealers at the Hilton routinely cut off only 1 or 1.5 decks. This is huge for card counters. This means that when the count is running high you are far more likely to see those high cards come out and have a real edge over the house.
So, does offering deeper penetration mean the Hilton is shooting itself in the foot? Are they losing more money? I don't think so. In fact I think they are making more money by offering deeper penetration! How can this be? If AC were filled with card counters, then the Hilton would be making a poor decision. However, card counters are VERY few and far between. In all my time playing I have only ever seen two or three other people moving their money with the count. The money lost to card counters has to be a drop in the bucket, and I mean a very small drop in a very big bucket. 99.9% of the players are just basic strategy players. Deeper penetration increases the house's win rate over basic strategy players for two reasons:

  1. The 1st reason that deeper penetration increases the house edge is fairly obvious; more hands are played before the shuffle. This means fewer shuffles per hour and more hands played per hour. More hands played equals more money for the house.
  2. The 2nd reason that deeper penetration costs basic strategy players is not as obvious, but just as real. Deeper penetration means more hands are played with a high or low count or when an excess of big or small cards remain in the deck. Basic strategy is a list of all the correct playing decisions for a neutral deck. If there is an excess of high or low cards in a deck, basic strategy actually gives you bad decisions at times. Here are a couple examples. Let's say the count is low or there is an excess of low cards in the deck. Basic strategy says to double down on your hand of 10 versus a dealer 9, or your hand of 9 against a dealer 3, because it is a profitable play. However, if the count is low, these decisions are actually unprofitable. If the count is low you should also hit 12 against a dealer 4, 5 or 6. When the count is high or there are an excess a big cards remaining, basic strategy gives bad plays again. When the count is high you should stand on your 12 against a dealer 2 or 3, and stand on 16 versus a dealer 10. 25% of a card counters edge comes from varying his play as the count changes. Deeper penetration causes greater changes in the count and therefore decreases the effectiveness in basic strategy.

In short, I believe the Hilton is making a sound business decision by offering deeper penetration. The additional money won from basic strategy players more than compensates for the occasional counter that walks through the door. My advice is that counters head to the Hilton. Good rules and best penetration in town. Basic strategy players head to Tropicana. Good rules and worst penetration in town.
I visited the following casinos this month. I’m going to keep my review of this month’s blackjack games to the point again. All reviews are of games on the main floor and not the high roller rooms.

Revel Casino: Took a peak this month. Looks like they have structure about 6 or 7 stories tall now. Still no blackjack games yet though.
Trump Taj
: 8 decks, 75 – 80% penetration, S17
: 6 and 8 deck games, 75% penetration. Just started hitting soft 17 on some of their eight-deck games.

Claridge: 8 decks, 75% penetration, H17. They have ads all over the place that you can play $10 games here 24/7. If you're looking for a low limit game during peak hours, this is the place to go. They've also moved the table games up a couple floors.
8 decks, 75 – 80% penetration, H17, tables are usually pretty crowded.
Wild Wild West
: 8 decks, 75% penetration, H17
: 8 decks, 75 – 80% penetration, S17 and H17
Trump Plaza
: 6 and 8 deck games, 75% penetration, S17 – The 6-deck games here seem to be offering better penetration than Borgata’s games. As much as it pains me to say this, these could be the second best main floor games in town now.

Tropicana: 8-decks, 75% penetration, S17. Some dealer still cut more than 75% all the way up to three decks.

Hilton: 8-decks, 75% to 87% penetration, S17. The games cutting off a little over a deck here are the best in town. This is true for counters only. Basic Strategy players are actually hurt by deep penetration. Best place to play Golden Touch Blackjack.




I just recently returned from a trip to Atlantic City and will give you some information. I stayed at Harrah’s for two nights and the hotel and staff are very pleasant and helpful. The pool is worth it, no screaming kids, just adults and very relaxing; a definite place to stay. The buffet is great, but make reservations cause it gets crowded!

Casino ratings:

Harrah’s is hitting soft 17 even though they have more tables open so it is not the best place to play due to the rules.

Bally’s is hitting soft 17 on all their tables and is now a place to stay away.

Taj Mahal has also changed their rules to hitting soft 17. I did not realize this at first and played for a while winning, but in the long run the H17 rule is a killer.

Hilton still is the best place to play. The only negative thing at the Hilton is that the pit boss comes by ever 15 minutes and does a visual to see if players are winning. I think they are a little paranoid.


I hope the Atlantic City casinos go back to the S17 rule because this was the first time during the summer that I visited in the last 10 years that the casinos were not that crowded. Their business is getting hurt and they need bring in better games!


Best Regards,

Bubba from Boston 



Don’t get upset ladies but Vegas has more beautiful women than does Atlantic City. I am not saying that all the women in Atlantic City are dogs, but there are more absolutely beautiful women in the desert than by the sea. You walk along the beach in Atlantic City and maybe 50 percent of the gals are worth taking a second look at, but in Vegas it is more like 75 percent of the ladies are stunning at the pools of Hard Rock, Mandalay Bay, Caesars, Bellagio, Wynn and some others.

Bring your bathing suits boys and in Vegas you don’t have to worry about those annoying jellyfish.



* * * *

You can read about the Golden Touch Craps World records, including the Captain’s 147-roll hand at Want to learn dice control from the masters? Get a copy of The Golden Touch Dice Control Revolution! [$16.95 plus $5 shipping] by Frank Scoblete and Dominator or get a copy of our new DVD Golden Touch: Beat Craps by Controlling the Dice! [$299 plus $6 shipping] Call FRED at 1-800-944-0406.

Frank’s new book, The Virgin Kiss and Other Adventures! is now available by mail order (1-800-944-0406) or on Frank says, "This is the best book I have ever written!" Get one and see for yourself.

The greatest, and easiest, advantage-play method ever developed for beating blackjack – SPEED COUNT – can be found in Frank Scoblete’s new book, Golden Touch Blackjack Revolution! Book comes with a CD so you can practice. $24.95 plus $5 for shipping.

* * * *

We’ve decided since many of our Golden Touch Craps dice controllers are now Speed Counters subscribing to this site; we are going to give a quick rundown of the craps games as well. We haven’t played in all the casinos in AC so we would appreciate it if you could email Frank with the table minimums, the odds bets, and anything else you think we might want to use (table lengths very helpful – if you just say "big" we will assume 14-feet as they are at Borgata). If you send us info we will give you a free month on our members-only board that has over 5,000 paid members. Email address is

All the ratings of casinos are based on the blackjack games.


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Or buy our new book The Golden Touch Blackjack Revolution! and learn the easiest advantage-play method ever developed for blackjack.


Here are our ratings for August 2008. We thank many of our readers for helping us to stay as updated as possible. There may be some disagreements in ratings among our correspondents but all these reports are based on individuals’ experience. A word to the wide: it’s always best to check out the casinos for yourselves.

Rating system:

***** = Excellent

**** = Very Good

*** = Good

** = Fair

* = Poor.


BALLY’S PARK PLACE: This place is packed with fewer blackjack tables than in the past. A lot of carnival game players here. This used to be a premium property but it now seems to be a Harrah’s after thought. No mid-shoe entry in high roller room and on a few of the main $50 tables in casino. Mixed reviews about how deep the penetration is but we found it in the 75 percent area. All 8-deck games except for the high roller room action. For craps players, this is a good casino for the game. All tables are now 5X odds, with a range of minimums. Crews are friendly. Tables are somewhat high so short shooters get your platform shoes. Some correspondents disagree with this statement but we are guessing they are all over 6-feet tall! There are many more carnival games than ever before. Looks like Three-Card Poker rivals blackjack! Hotel has declined a lot. Two stars: * *

BORGATA: No change from last issue. Limits have steadily moved higher. The $5 table has largely vanished. Penetration is now somewhat spotty too. Casino is all six-deck games, which is great – for AC, that is. Penetration varies between 70 and 75 percent which is worse than ever before. Craps has long tables, 14-footers, and very bouncy, and not worth playing unless you like to see dice flying off the tables or gaze upon beautiful cocktail servers. Go elsewhere for craps, except for Taj which has mimicked Borgata’s craps tables. This is a happening place and caters to a swinging young crowd. Good casino for Golden Touch Blackjack. Three stars: * * *

CAESARS: More tables with hitting soft 17 now. That brings this casino down a big notch. Directly across from Caesars is The Pier, which is a pleasure to walk through – a must see attraction in AC with some of the finest restaurants and views. Caesars itself also has excellent restaurants but you have long walks to find them. Cheerful place and worthy of the name it bears. Hotel/casino rating is A. They are going deeper at blackjack too but that H17 detracts from this somewhat. You can expect about 75 percent penetration with most of the dealers. The main floor of eight-deckers has some of the upper-limit tables ($25 and $50) with no mid-shoe entry. All the games in the high roller pit are also no mid-shoe entry with $100 and higher minimums. Table game action has improved and that is very noticeable in the blackjack pits – which are all 8-deck games. Six-deck games in high roller room have 80 percent penetration, as do the eight-deckers on the main casino floor. The craps games here are good with 12-foot tables and friendly crews. The tables are high so smaller controlled shooters should wear their "special shoes." Two and one-half stars: * * ½ *

CLARIDGE: Has many $10 games; otherwise a D-U-M-P. One and one half star: * ½ *

HARRAH’S: No change from last issue. One of my correspondents, Scan, thinks this is the most underrated casino in AC. In the casino you will find very friendly dealers and pit personnel. Penetration now ranges somewhat below the 75 percent area. Resplitting allowed except aces. No midshoe entry in the high roller room of 6-deck action, with the rest of the casino being 8-decks. Play here and at Showboat and your play counts all across the nation. For those of you who like to go to Vegas you can get some good Vegas comps from your AC action! A room that would be discounted for $80 in AC would be free in Vegas based on the same play – this is not official but based on our calculations of the offers we’ve received. But we must warn you; this is a big slot place. Sadly, Harrah’s properties in Las Vegas and in Tunica are getting awfully bad reports about how some of the boxmen treat customers who practice a careful shot at craps and there is overwhelming paranoia at the blackjack games as well. So beware when outside AC. Harrah’s prefers their slot customers and all their casinos tend month after month to be adding more machines. Two and one-half stars: * * ½*

HILTON: Si, numero uno! Many great reports on the games here. This is still number one in all of AC. Resplitting allowed except aces. High roller room is 6-decks; rest of the casino is 8-decks with a few $25/$50 6-deckers on occasion. No mid-shoe entry on the six-deckers. High table minimums, especially on weekends, a lot of $25 tables, rare $10 tables. Penetration about 75 percent or higher. Good casino for Golden Touch Blackjack. For craps, we are dealing with 14-foot tables and a couple of 12 footers. Four stars: * * * *

RESORTS: Just so-so after a good start a while back. Now some tables hitting soft 17. Not worth playing. Two stars: * *

SHOWBOAT: No change from last issue. High roller room got some good reports but the rest of the casino is becoming one big slot machine. We used to like this casino but Harrah’s has changed it into a slot joint. Where are the table games? Had been one of the best and now is one of the worst blackjack games in AC. Great rooms; good restaurants and that about sums it all up. One star: *

TROPICANA: This is the Titanic that almost sank. Jon makes good point above that this is a good casino for Basic Strategy players. One star: *

TRUMP MARINA: Trump has sold this place. This place is giving good comps from some reports and the game is okay. Six-deck games in high roller room and 8-deck games on the main floor have penetration of 75 to 80 percent mark, but you won’t find any dealers going much deeper. Games are mostly $15/$25 and up, especially on weekends. No mid-shoe entry on the 6-deckers but you can jump in and out on the eight-deckers. Craps tables are 12-footers with 2X odds. Two stars: * *

TRUMP PLAZA: Blackjack? Paranoid. Craps? Paranoid! I don’t think the management really understands their games based on our experience in the past two months. Big Ben said it; seems every lowlife street creep now parades with his baggy under-the-ass pants through this place acting tough. Who needs that when you have a lot of cash on you? Just about all 6-deck games with somewhat low penetration of penetration of 70-75 percent, depending on the dealer. No midshoe entry on games outside high-roller pit but you can find $25 (a few) to $50 minimums on these. Allows resplits, except aces. All tables are $10 and higher. Craps tables are 12-footers. Very friendly crews but a dark casino with a real smattering of low-lifes. Good casino for Golden Touch Blackjack. Three stars: * * *

TRUMP TAJ MAHAL: Recent reports indicate that the casino is moving up again in terms of blackjack. Good game with 75-80 percent penetration, dealer dependent, throughout the casino. In the high roller room all the 6-deck games have $100 minimums. Two stars and one-half stars: * * ½ *

WILD, WILD WEST: No change from last issue. Smoke gets in your eyes. Lacking the spark it used to have. All 8-deck games with most offering H17 games – insane. This is a part of Bally’s Park Place and Harrah’s is looking to sell this complex like a pan of gold. Penetration is about 75 percent on all games. For craps this is a fun place to play with one 5X odds table and one 2X odds table. I remember when this place had many more tables. Crews are very friendly. One star: *


The Best Craps in Atlantic City: Resorts

The Best Hotel/Casino in Atlantic City: Borgata, Taj Mahal

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