ATLANTIC CITY BLACKJACK REPORT─ January
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.
Something BIG is Coming to Las Vegas in 2009 – Frank Scoblete’s World Casino Championships! Meet players from all over the country in a fun weekend of tournaments and special events. Go here for more information: http://www.goldentouchcraps.com/wcc_2009.shtml
The New Atlantic City 2008 Ain’t So Hot
Say goodbye to 2008 and, sadly, say goodbye to Atlantic City…except for one glimmer of new hope.
From our correspondents ruminating about 2008:
"Harrah’s properties are landfills for blackjack. They hit dealer soft 17s at all properties. Their comps are nothing to write home about. You’re better off watching a good movie than wasting time playing at these casinos. Harrah’s is a gaming plague right now."
… David Apple
"Trump? Trump? Trump? Where are you? The Plaza needs to be fixed up by exploding the damn thing and starting over. Is this like the hoodlum hangout for AC bums and low lifes? The blackjack is poor and the craps tables are filled with future members of the mentally incompetent. I got nothing against the people who work there but this place needs fast fixin!"…Willie Johnson
"The Marina is still pulling that bullshit thing about asking for surrender and then determining whether you can get it or not. Do that of course and they figure you are a card counter and then they watch you like crazy; which I think they are.. They are so scared you might win seven or eight hundred dollars. What? Do the bosses have to commit suicide if an occasional blackjack player wins? Taj sucks. Nice place, even beautiful, but the games aren’t worth it."…Nick Tedesco
"The Tropicana? Wasn’t that being closed? Now they have the best blackjack in the whole city with four decks and six decks in the whole casino. Can this really continue? Trop used to be on the paranoia list in years past. It will be interesting to see if they become the premier place for all of 2009. I’m betting with the past and say this place goes down the tubes again." … Billy Crandall
"You want to know what is the revue for Atlantic City for 2008? Yes, dealers hitting on soft 17 almost everywhere. Cruddy games. Crappy craps tables with trampoline felt. More and more of those idiotic carnival games. You occasionally see Spanish 21 but it hasn’t really caught on much in AC yet. I don’t care for the slots but I know that the return percentage in AC is what you get from the big three automakers. AC needs a bailout but it won’t be from the slowly vanishing patrons."…Sal Marino
"Atlantic City is losing a lot of business and they are making up for it by giving worse games and rottener comps. These casinos are run by geniuses…not!" …Peggy Ethan
Our Readers Write
If you wish to contribute your reports or observations, we need to receive them by the 24th of the month for the next month. Write to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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 them 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 Tropicana continues to set the new standard. First they are one of three casinos not to hit soft 17 (along with Trump Plaza and Borgata). Then they add four-deck tables with decent penetration (the best games in AC right now). Finally, they convert the rest of the casino to six-decks. The eight deckers are gone! As has been the norm for sometime at the Trop, penetration is all over the place. Some dealers were cutting off 1.25 decks, while others were cutting of 2.5 decks. The four-deckers are all low limit games too, so they are crowded.
I visited the following casinos this month. All reviews are of games on the main floor and not the high-roller rooms. (I'm not even going to mention the greedy places offering single deck 6-to-5 BJ games. Do yourself and the rest of us a favor. Don't patronize these games!)
Borgata: Six decks, 70 – 75% penetration, S17. Offering a $5 game and almost always crowded. This property is all six decks but it’s still very hard to find even 75% penetration here and seats are always hard to come by.
Trump Taj: Eight decks, 75 percent penetration; S17 on eight-deckers outside high roller room, H17 on the rest of the floor.
Resorts: A couple six deckers on the main floor. The rest are eight decks. The row of tables outside the high-roller room stand on soft 17. The rest of the place hits soft 17. 75 percent penetration.
Trump Plaza: Six and eight-deck games on the main floor. The six-deck $25 games are the most abundant. The penetration on the six-deckers is in the 67 – 75 percent range. There is 75 percent penetration, S17 on the eight deckers.
Tropicana: Okay, this place deserves some more props! All six decks now, except for the four-deck games being offered for a limited time. Penetration is all over the place but you can find some nice games. Penetration ranges from 60 to 80 percent. They are offering $5 tables, even during reasonably busy hours. S17 throughout! This place generally opens tables only on an as needed basis, so never a lot of open seats.
Hilton: All eight-deck games on the main floor hit soft 17. However a few six-deck games that stand on soft 17 with decent penetration have been introduced on the main floor outside the high-roller room. Penetration still in the 70 – 80 percent range.
Hope this helps.
THE HOWARD HERBERT REPORT
(Howard is a regular Atlantic City visitor who frequents Borgata although he does move around a lot. He plays both blackjack and craps, occasionally adding other games such as Pai Gow Poker. He will make trips to Las Vegas and Connecticut too.)
Hi Frank and Alene:
Here is my latest from AC.
A Little Learning Is a Dangerous Thing
I am shooting dice in AC at one of the few tables that do not bounce the cubes off the green. I notice that the person next to me is using the grip 5:2 on top with 4:3 bottom and then the 5:4. It must be one of Frank’s people I thought to myself. So I make a comment, "Oh, you read Scoblete’s book too?"
Nothing. Blank stare.
I have a modest run which includes four points. The dice come around again. He craps out quickly. I shoot again and have another modest run. He says to me "I like the way you shoot."
I say to him, "Thanks, but it is the same grip that you use.." Well we get talking. It turns out that he practices on a home-built table every day. He finally admits he bought Frank’s book and learned from it.
"So do you win?" I ask. He says sometimes but mostly not. I then notice another thing. He plays all the shooters. Did he really read the book? It is very clear, do not play on random rollers with normal stakes. Moral: Do the math, read the book, and take from it. I tried to reason with him, but he did not want to hear although he did say that he would consider enrolling in a class if he could get the same results. And yes, my third roll produced another modest four or five points. I then left.
When Rome Burns
I recently spent six days in AC. The city is hurting, the casino business and everything else. Taxi drivers all complained of no business. They asked me if I knew of any convention coming to town so that they could line up at that site. I went to several different casinos.
Early in the AM there were a half-dozen players (at most) at all the tables, and perhaps another two dozen at the machines. Several establishments have shut down restaurants, no buffet, curtailed services, etc. I talked to some players and they all agreed that they would go with those casinos which offered more to get them and not cut down on services. It works all the way from the top to bottom. Bad lox at the buffet stinks.
And then the piece de resistance. I normally spead 1-6 or 1-8 on blackjack at the table. Although it is not much of an advantage, I play with other players as it helps me hide. I am playing at one of the prestigious sites. I do ok and then a suit arrives. And then another. And then another. A convention. "Sir, step away from the table" When I finish playing, he says: "Do not accept any more bets from this customer." Cops arrive. I have no choice. "We are not accepting any more bets from you for 24 hours and please do not come back." Yes, counting is legal in AC but if they do not accept your bets how can you count?
Has anyone else experienced this?
BIG BEN CHIMES IN
Give a sale when things are going rough? Or jack up your prices; lower your service and treat the customers like crap? That is the choice right now for the hurting AC casinos. But the AC dorks seem to have followed the dark road IMHO. More casinos are becoming stingy and losing even more customers.
All my love,
* * * *
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 in the BJI store. 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. $22.45 plus $5 for shipping.... click here to order.
And now: Golden Touch Speed Count DVD is available!
* * * *
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 January 2009. 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 wise: it’s always best to check out the casinos for yourselves.
***** = Excellent
**** = Very Good
*** = Good
** = Fair
* = Poor.
BALLY’S PARK PLACE: No change. Night time is not the right time if you wanted to play at Wild Wild West – they now send you over to Bally’s. 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. The hitting on soft 17 is now a fact all over the place. 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. One and one half stars: * ½ *
BORGATA: Penetration is much better now too. Casino is all six-deck games, which is great. 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. Down, down, down the BJ games go. So many more tables 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 [see our main article in this issue]. 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 stars: * *
CLARIDGE: Dump. One star: *
HARRAH’S: No change from last issue. Harrah’s has ruined more good casinos in this country than hoof-and-mouth disease has ruined more things with "hoofs" and mouths. 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. 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. One and one-half stars: * ½ *
HILTON: No change from last issue. 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: Getting a little better. But more tables are hitting soft 17. Not really worth playing. Two stars: * *
SHOWBOAT: This used to be a great hotel-casino. Now it is a great hotel and forget the casino. Another Harrah’s disaster. High roller room got some good reports but the rest of the casino is becoming one big slot machine. Harrah’s has changed this 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: Numero Uno in AC! Not hitting soft 17 and so we go up somewhat in our rating of this casino. Also is offering four-deck games. This is now an excellent place to play in Atlantic City. Penetration is now around 75 percent percent, sometimes more depending on the dealers. Four and one-half stars: * * * * ½ *
TRUMP MARINA: This place is hitting soft 17. 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 six-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: Ugh! Major disappointment in the center of the Boardwalk. Blackjack? Paranoid. Craps? Paranoid! I don’t think the management really understands their games or what it means for the casino to have an edge. Big Ben said it a few issues ago; 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 six-deck games with somewhat low penetration of 70 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. Two stars: * *
TRUMP TAJ MAHAL: Used to be the best casino in AC and now isn’t even close. In fact, for blackjack and craps it has gone downhill to the bottom. 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. Great hotel and great restaurants and great entertainment. Too bad it isn’t the place to play any more. One star: *
WILD, WILD WEST: All eight-deck games with H17 – 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: Tropicana
The Best Craps in Atlantic City: Resorts
The Best Hotel/Casino in Atlantic City: Borgata, Taj Mahal
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