ATLANTIC CITY BLACKJACK REPORT─ October 2009
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 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 arewww.goldentouchblackjack.com, www.goldentouchcraps.com and www.scoblete.com.
Is Atlantic City Blackjack Dying a Slow Death?
We can remember going to Showboat in the 1990s and there were seemingly acres of blackjack tables. Same held true for every casino in Atlantic City. While there was always non-blackjack tables spread out here and there, if you said "table game," invariably you would be referring to blackjack.
Now as you walk the somewhat empty floors where those hundreds of blackjack tables used to vie with one another for supremacy, you note dozens upon dozens of "new" table games such as Let It Ride, Caribbean Stud, Three-Card Poker, Four-Card Poker, Casino War, Pai Gow Poker, mini-baccarat, Texas Hold’em Bonus, and others.
True, the slot machines have essentially defined American casino gambling ever since 1984 when both Vegas and Atlantic City made more money for the first time from the machines than from the table games.
But now blackjack is being squeezed by the other table games. Some of this could be due to the disgust of traditional blackjack players with many of the new rules – these folks may have walked away from the game or reduced their playing time. But the current generation of players seemingly doesn’t want complicated basic strategies; they want easy games that are much more the equivalent of slot machines than they are of blackjack.
As long as casinos can make money from their tables, it doesn’t matter to management whether the players are playing blackjack or Three-Card poker. There is no sympathy or sense of tradition in the executives’ offices. If blackjack is being slowly replaced by other games…well, that’s the way it is.
No doubt blackjack is still the number one table game but its days of reigning supreme in the non-slot areas are slowly diminishing. Just take a walk through the Atlantic City casinos and you can see for yourself.
Blackjack could become the Titanic.
Our Readers Report
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
Dear Frank and Alene,
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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 TouchSpeed Count DVD is available!
All the ratings of casinos are based on the blackjack games.
Here are our ratings for October 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 from last issue. Not a premier place any more. 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. Crews are friendly. Hotel has declined a lot. Two stars: * *
BORGATA: No change from last issue. The casino where Patricia DeMauro had her spectacular 154-number craps roll. Penetration is around 70 to 75 percent on all games, including the six deckers which still make up most of the casino. 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 ducking out of the way or if you see Patricia DeMauro at the table. 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. Okay casino for Golden Touch Blackjack. Three stars: * * *
CAESARS: Down, down, down the BJ games go as well. All the tables hitting soft 17 now. 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. Cheerful place and worthy of the name it bears. Hotel/casino rating is A. 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. Six-deck games in high roller room have 75 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: Penetration is now better and the BJ crews are friendlier. Penetration is about 70 percent. There are early mornings when no blackjack tables are opened. Two and one half stars: * *
HARRAH’S: No change from last issue. One of our correspondents calls this company "the evil empire." Maybe it is. Harrah’s has ruined more good casinos in this country than hoof-and-mouth disease has ruined more things having "hoofs" and mouths. In Tunica it took the best casino in the country, the Horseshoe, and made it mediocre; did the same for the Grand in Tunica and Rio in Vegas. All Harrah’s properties are slot machine heavens – for slot players, and table game hell for table-game players. 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 slot customers and all their casinos tend month after month to be adding more machines. One star: *
HILTON: No change from last issue. Wild swings in penetration on blackjack and many more eight-deck games. Penetration getting worse even as you read this. Place is in trouble. The hitting of soft 17 brings this place down a peg as well. 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 70 percent. For craps, we are dealing with 14-foot tables and a couple of 12 footers. Two stars: * *
RESORTS: No change from last issue. Might be going, going, gone before you know it. Getting a little better with blackjack though. But more tables are hitting soft 17. Not really worth playing. Two stars: * *
SHOWBOAT: Another Harrah’s disaster. Great rooms; good restaurants and that about sums it up. One star: *
TROPICANA: Falling down. Two stars: * *
TRUMP MARINA: No change from last issue. Okay, mixed reports. Rooms are clean; hotel is well kept, with great restaurants. On blackjack they are hitting soft 17 on main floor, but not in the high roller room. Six-deck games in high roller room and eight-deck games on the main floor have penetration at 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 six-deckers but you can jump in and out on the eight-deckers. Hitting on soft 17. Craps tables are 12-footers with 5X odds and good crews. Two and one half stars: * * ½ *
TRUMP PLAZA: Blackjack is all eight decks now. The penetration is 75 percent. No mid-shoe 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. Two and one-half stars: * * ½ *
TRUMP TAJ MAHAL: Now they are hitting soft 17 except in $25 or higher games. 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 with barbed wire. Great hotel and great restaurants and great entertainment. Also, generally great dealers and pit personnel. Too bad it isn’t the place to play any more. Two stars: * *
WILD, WILD WEST: No change; no gold-rush either. The silver rush is over too. This place is over as well. Seems like more often than not on "off" hours there are no table games in this place. Another Harrah’s wipe out! 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 fool’s 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
The Best Craps in Atlantic City: Bally’s
The Best Hotel/Casino in Atlantic City: Borgata / Taj Mahal
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