ATLANTIC CITY BLACKJACK REPORT─ March 2010
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.
The More Things Change
The following announcement came to us from the Hilton.
We know you old hands of the Atlantic City blackjack games will probably think the following: "It will be a BS game, pitch or no pitch. All innovations in AC aren’t done the right way and this won’t be either." But, we were surprised when we got the first reports of how these "Las Vegas style" games are being handled. They are far worse than even we expected. The penetration is awful, the worst penetration AC players have ever seen short of shuffling up after every hand; the pits watch the games closely. The lower denominations hit soft 17; the $25 games don’t. There’s no joy in muddville.
The whole experience tells you one thing about Atlantic City…it deserves what it gets economically by offering such garbage to their "guests" and pretending it is some great innovation.
Okay, the 10X odds at craps is good but a lot of AC players sometimes have a hard time finding $5 games so they aren’t about to put $10 on the Pass or Come and back it with $100 in odds. Still, okay, fine, the 10X odds are good.
And what about the video poker that is being trumpeted? Probably a few 9/6 Jacks-or-Better machines in order to come in at 99.6 percent return. Keep in mind that the casino is using the "up to" phrasing which means not all the machines in the bank are at the highest return – just some (or one!) have to be at that level to fall into the "truthful" category of "up to" which is really the equivocation category to make people think they are all the machines. If the casino said that every single one of the machines in that bank are returning 99.6 percent then yes that would be something to brag about.
In Atlantic City, the more things change the more they remain the same. That trite statement has been holding true for decades now.
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: email@example.com
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. I also give them a free subscription to my private web site at www.goldentouchcraps.com.
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.
Bubba from Boston Report
Dear Frank and Alene:
Took a trip to Atlantic City last week and I will give my observation after spending three nights.
We stayed at Harrahs. Hotel was very busy Sunday and Monday. They have "Self Serve" express check-in now so it eliminates any waiting. Rooms are nice and workers pleasant and helpful.
Blackjack games still are pretty bad so not a good place to play. They are always sending offers for free rooms but still cheap on comps for food.
Harrah’s table games are not the worst but you can find better so avoid them if possible.
Trump Marina: Decided to give this casino a try because I haven't been there in a while. Still hitting on Soft 17 with machines doing the shuffling. Not a bad place to play if you can hit a run of cards and then cash out. Place is clean but it wasn't crowded. Dealers are nice; no heat and a relaxing atmosphere.
Trump Taj: Games are hand shuffled which I think makes a difference. Dealers were going deep cutting only 1.25 decks out. Good Place for Golden Touch Blackjack. You can still get a good game even though they are hitting on Soft 17 on tables less than $25. Tables that are $25, you have to be selective since players seem to not follow rules and will never hit if they might bust. I always choose $15 tables to avoid the bad play of $25 min players. One of the better places to play in AC. Craps games were also crowded.
Bally's: Games have gotten better. Shuffle machine was not working so dealer had to hand shuffle, which worked out for players. They did bring in a new machine so it didn't last forever. Good place to get on a run then take off – seems the longer you stay cards turn bad.
Revel: New casino ... looks like they have started back working on it. Hopefully, it will bring in old rules such as standing on 17. Such better games might put pressure on other AC casinos to change.
Bubba From Boston
Dear Frank and AP:
I am a new player and I have just started playing in Atlantic City. I go during the week and the casinos are mostly empty. There aren’t that many blackjack games open. I have to play $10 games because I rarely find $5 games. I don’t count cards yet but these games are probably very boring to play and count at the same time. I enjoy this newsletter. You all do a great job.
Want to learn dice control from the masters? Get a copy of our new DVD Golden Touch: Beat Craps by Controlling the Dice! [$299 plus $6 shipping] Call 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.
All the ratings of casinos are based on the blackjack games.
Here are our ratings for March 2010. 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: Some improvement reported; not enough to get crazy about but it pumps up our ratings a half star 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 and one-half stars: * * ½*
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. Good casino for Golden Touch Blackjack. Three stars: * * *
CAESARS: You can expect about 70 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. The craps games here are good with 12-foot tables. The tables are high so smaller controlled shooters should wear their "special shoes." Two stars: * *
CLARIDGE: Some reports say this place is actually "mostly" closed. In the early 1990s we used to love playing here because of the old world feel and the great games. No longer. If they are open when you go there you will find penetration is still about 70 percent. There are early mornings when no blackjack tables are opened. One star: *
HARRAH’S: Blackjack games aren’t worth the time. Harrah’s is now called "the evil empire" by manyy casino players. If you are a slot player there are enough slots to make you go nuts. One star: *
HILTON: The BIG news is that this casino has implemented double deck games. The bad news is that the penetration is a ludicrous 50 to 60 percent. There are some $10 tables with H17 but the $25 table was S17. Thanks for small favors. BJ pays 3 to 2. No mid-deck entry. Wild swings in penetration on other blackjack games and many more eight-deck games throughout the casino. 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 and one-half stars: * * ½ *
RESORTS: The blackjack game has added a new feature – you can play for $2 up to $5 but you have to pay a 25-cent fee per hand. Why not just write the casino a check and forget about playing? Otherwise the BJ games are about the same as they always have been. Two stars: * *
SHOWBOAT: The Showboat should change its name to Titanic. Great rooms; good restaurants and that about sums it up. Blackjack is way below any reasonable standard. Oh, yes, this place is owned by "the evil empire" otherwise known as Harrah’s. One star (for cleanliness and rooms): *
TROPICANA: S17 for this casino. Usually good penetration; sometimes excellent penetration. Good casino for Golden Touch blackjack. Three stars: * * *
TRUMP MARINA: No change from last issue. 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: The pit is paranoid and so hit and run only. That paranoia seems to be a move-over from the craps tables where the casino manager has continuous strokes when good shooters descend on his casino. This place has fairly good games but something has to be done with the dark casino and the low-life scum slithering through it. Six-deck games are back outside the high roller room. 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. The dealers range from professional to friendly. Two and one-half stars: * * ½ *
TRUMP TAJ MAHAL: No change from last issue. Six-deck games in front of high roller room. 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 and one-half stars: * * ½*
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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