ATLANTIC CITY BLACKJACK REPORT─ September
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 www.scoblete.com. 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 isThe 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 www.goldentouchblackjack.com, www.goldentouchcraps.com and www.scoblete.com.
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,s 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, the hitting of soft 17 is spreading like wildfire now: add Harrah’s, Trump Taj, and Hilton to the list. This leaves only three casinos standing on soft 17: Trump Plaza, Tropicana, and Borgata. However, I did not visit Trump Plaza this month, and I suspect that they are hitting soft 17 like their two sister properties are.
One trend with hitting soft 17 has developed. Many casinos are not hitting soft 17 on the entire main floor. Some casinos are not hitting soft 17 on the higher limit ($25 - $50) 8-deck tables outside of their high roller rooms. The following casinos are only hitting soft 17 on part of the main floor: Trump Taj, Resorts, Caesars, and Hilton.
Another trend seems to be the emergence of more lower-limit games. Claridge is offering $10 games 24/7, and Trump Marina had a couple of $5 tables. Not bad for the middle of the summer in AC.
The following is also an article on comps being reduced in AC. http://www.philly.com/philly/business/27323234.html
I visited the following casinos this month. All reviews are of games on the main floor and not the high roller rooms.
Borgata: Six decks and S17. Penetration continues to improve slowly. All dealers seemed to be cutting off really close to 1 ½ decks. Up until recently many were cutting off 2 decks. So I’ll call it 75 percent penetration.
Trump Marina: Eight decks, 75 penetration, H17. Offering a few $5 games now.
Trump Taj: Eight decks, 75 – 80 percent penetration; S17 on 8-deckers outside high roller room, H17 on the rest of the floor.
Resorts: Six and eight-deck games, 75 percent penetration, S17 on six- and eight- deckers outside high roller room, H17 on the rest of the floor.
Tropicana: Eight decks. Penetration continues to improve but varies more from dealer to dealer than any other casino in AC. Still saw a couple dealers cutting off almost three decks and saw one cutting off only 1 ½. I’ll call it 65 – 80 percent penetration, S17 on the entire main floor. Only one of three properties not hitting soft 17 (assuming that Trump Plaza is not).
Hilton: Eight decks, 75 – 87 percent penetration, S17 on 8-deckers outside high roller room, H17 on the rest of the floor. The S17 games cutting off only a little over one deck here are the best in town. This is true for counters only. Basic strategy players are actually hurt by deep penetration.
Hope this helps.
The Herbert Factor
It has been a while since I sent you a contribution, so here is the latest. As usual feel free to use all or some or none as you see fit. Just let me know. More to come later.
Why do we go to casinos? The answer varies from person to person, but excluding professional or semipro gamblers and those who go to meet members of the opposite sex, most of us go to relax, have a good time (as each defines it), and to win some money at our favorite game(s). But here is the rub. Those places where we can relax best do not always correspond to those where we can game the best. This can create stresses, just at times when they should least be present─ vacation and gambling periods. In the final analysis, short of constant travel from one casino to another, some kind of compromise is necessary. The ideal is finding the best combination of all desirable elements. What follows represents my current answer in Atlantic City.
After spending time over the years at a good half dozen or more casinos in AC, starting with the old Golden Nugget, I hit upon Borgata, which seemed an ideal blend of comfort, ambience, good food, and reasonable playing rules. Readers of this newsletter may recall some of my enthusiastic reports from Borgata in past years. Overall, despite a couple of terrific runs at the dice tables thanks to Frank and the Crew, and the ability to play BJ just about even with the house, I surely lost more than I won over time. However, the comps fully made it worth while in my estimation, and my playing partner (she’s a slottie) loved the place. But something kept nagging at me. Frank, in one of his evaluations of conditions in AC, referred quite correctly to the bouncy, long tables at Borgata. Furthermore, conditions often proved difficult with many players crowding the rails (i.e. long waits between turns), and slews of beginners, which slowed the game. Weekends turned into side shows of college kids just hanging out and taking up space, while the noise of the music from the bar next to the dice pits even hurt my old ears.
A year or so ago, I ventured to the Trump Marina. I liked it and decided to explore the place as a more permanent staying stop-over. What follows are my conclusions up to this point.
First, and foremost, it is a great place to play dice. The tables are much shorter than Borgata’s, less bouncy, and there is usually space to play. Yes, they do get crowded at peak hours, but no where near comparable to the golden building across the way. The pit crews are experienced and friendly. The pit bosses almost all the same, with clearly more camaraderie between crews and bosses than in most other casinos. Players are generally friendly, although not overly so, which fits my style just perfectly. The same hold true for other table games by the way.
So what about the other things? There is no way to compare the decades old Marina with the almost brand new Borgata; the latter wins hand down for décor and ambience. But the Marina has its solid virtues. The average room at Marina easily equals that of its rival, and the Bay views are nothing short of spectacular, especially in the summertime. The gourmet food is excellent at the Harbor Club, and the café beats the Metropolitan hands down. The Borgata buffet wins hands down, but the fish fiesta on weekends at Marina makes good eating. The towels dry better and the coffee is tastier at the Marina.
One small anecdote can perhaps give a sense of what the hostess meant when she said to me, "We are not a spectacular as other casinos, but we are fuzzier."
After playing one evening, I was on my way to the room. I suddenly realized that I had worked up a monster thirst and stopped at the central bar in the main lobby. I asked the barman for a bottle of water. He said, "You do not want that, I have to charge you $2.75. I can give you a large class of ice water which you can take with you." I nodded in agreement. He served the glass and then refused to take the dollar I had placed on the bar, lifting it up and handing it back to me. Wow, when was the last time you had a barperson refuse to take a tip!!!!
Deciding where to play over the long haul is an important decision for those who do not want to casino hop. It takes time to make, and it takes several visits to experience all the situations that might arise. But based on what I have seen so far, the Trump Marina is a leading candidate for my dollar and my playing time. But time will tell us more and about that later…………
BIG BEN CHIMES IN
Atlantic City wants to be like Vegas, now getting most of its money from crummy games and trying to develop their casinos to be like the beauts in the dessert. It ain’t gonna happen I tell you; it ain’t gonna happen. Those hit on soft 17s in a six or eight deck game, you gotta be kidding me! I’d rather eat hot dogs on the Boardwalk and screw the games.
You would think that with AC hurting (as Frank and Alene predicted before it was hurting) that the big-wigs of the casino companies would wake up. You got to hate these ploppies don’t you?
I wish I could get out to Vegas more because there are still some good games out there, although fewer and fewer. Maybe the world of casino gambling is just heading downhill for the smart gamblers. I think it is.
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You can read about the Golden Touch Craps World records, including the Captain’s 147-roll hand atwww.goldentouchcraps.com/worldrecords.shtml. 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 onwww.amazon.com. 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.
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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 email@example.com.
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 September 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.
***** = Excellent
**** = Very Good
*** = Good
** = Fair
* = Poor.
BALLY’S PARK PLACE: No change from last issue. 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: One of the two casinos that are not hitting soft 17 and thus deserves our respect. Penetration is much better now too. Casino is all six-deck games, which is great – for AC, that is. Penetration is almost 80 percent which is also an improvement. 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. Four stars: * * * *
CAESARS: No change from last issue. 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. The talk is that this place is closing as a casino. One and one half star: * ½ *
HARRAH’S: Hitting soft 17 now. 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 stars: * *
HILTON: The hitting of soft 17 brings this place down a peg. 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 to 80 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: No change from last issue. 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: Not hitting soft 17 and so we go up somewhat in our rating of this casino. Penetration around 70 percent. Two stars: * *
TRUMP MARINA: Trump has sold this place. This place is hitting soft 17. This place’s tone has become somewhat strident. Six-deck games in high roller room and eight-deck games on the main floor have penetration of 75 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. Pit is getting a little paranoid and nutty on the craps games. Foolish ploppies. One star: *
TRUMP PLAZA: No change from last issue. 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: Can you ruin this casino any more? Now they are hitting soft 17. First they screwed up the craps tables so the dice go flying off the table every third roll and now they have decided to give the blackjack games a wicked colonoscopy.
Two stars: * *
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 BLACKJACK IN ATLANTIC CITY: Borgata and Hilton
The Best Craps in Atlantic City: Resorts
The Best Hotel/Casino in Atlantic City: Borgata, Taj Mahal
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