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by Riverboat Flyer

Riverboat Flyer is a low-stakes blackjack player who usually uses a small bet spread to reduce sort-term risk but takes advantage of casino comps. He plays the southern Ohio riverboats along with frequent trips to Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Tunica, and occasionally Lake Tahoe. He has been counting cards for over ten years, using the Hi-Op, High Low and currently the half-count system.


New Casino in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia

There is a new casino at the Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. To appreciate the "Casino Club at the Greenbrier," you must first have an appreciation for the Greenbrier Resort. At most American casinos, the resort is built around the casino, which is the core business. However, at Greenbrier Resort, The Casino Club is just one of many amenities that they offer on the property (others include golf, tennis, horseback riding or falconry). The Greenbrier is first, and foremost, a world-class resort that has been in business serving customers since 1858.

The Greenbrier Resort

Luxury and personal service is the hallmark of the Greenbrier Resort. As you drive up to the resort, a security guard at the guardhouse stops you to determine if you are permitted on the property. If he admits you, he will issue you a parking pass that has your name on it, which you leave on your dashboard. From that point forward, every staff member you interact with will refer to you by name.

As you drive up the long flower-lined driveway, a valet will rush to your car and greet you by name. If you are checking in, he will immediately summon a bellman, who will escort you to the front desk, and let the front-desk attendants know who you are and that you are checking in. You will then be offered a complimentary glass of wine, and whisked through the check-in process.

When you check in, you are issued a room key with your name and check-out date stamped on it. At the Greenbrier, cash is frowned upon. Almost everything is charged to your room and you settle the bill upon checkout. Whenever you present your room key for anything, the staff member will read the card and refer to you by name. The hotel and rooms are luxurious with an old school charm. If you removed the flat panel TV from your hotel room, you could easily imagine it is 1910 (instead of 2010).

The Casino Club at Greenbrier

The uniqueness of the casino starts with its entrance policy. It is only open to registered resort guests. A guard will stop you at the casino’s entrance and ask for your room card. Your name and check-out date are printed on the card, which allows him to call you by name and determine if you are eligible to enter the casino.

The entire resort, including the casino, is non-smoking. There are some outside patios that discretely allow smoking, but there is no smoking indoors.

My wife and I checked in to the Resort in mid-afternoon and immediately headed down to the casino. Our first stop was the Players Club. The Casino Club gives player cards to their guests and offers comps based on your play. At the players club, I made an inquiry as to the location of the credit desk. The player club representative came around the desk and walked me to the credit desk and then made sure someone in credit was aware who I was and that I had a question. This was a reoccurring theme at Greenbrier. If you ask an employee for information or directions, he or she will probably drop whatever they are doing and personally escort you to whoever it is that can take care of your needs.

The casino is open from 11:00 am to 3:00 am. There is a dress code; no jeans, and gentlemen are expected to wear a jacket after 7:00 pm. If you did not bring appropriate clothing, you can go to the Players Club to borrow appropriate clothing while playing.

The casino is tastefully decorated, spacious and smoke free. They offer 37 table games, of which 18 are blackjack, and 320 slot machines. The slot machines are well spaced in a non-crowded arrangement. The blackjack games have six player spots. The high limit room has eight six-deck tables and the main casino has ten eight-deck tables.

The playing rules are; dealer stands on all 17s, double down on any two cards, one card to split aces, and doubling allowed after splits. Surrender was not available. Limits were $50 to $3,000 in high limit and $15 to $1,000 in the main casino. Most dealers cut off about two decks. Other table games include Roulette, Craps, Baccarat, Mini-Baccarat, Pai Gow Poker, and Three-Card Poker. There were two standard poker tables, which were not open on the weeknight that I was there. The video poker offerings were sparse. The cocktail waitresses wear evening gowns and the floormen wear Tuxedos. Empty drink glasses are quickly whisked away. You’ll find no dirty ashtrays.

Almost all the dealers are locals who are new to dealing. The floormen and management are experienced casino managers. At 5:00 pm, hors d’oeuvres are served. Every half hour starting at 9:00 pm the "Springhouse Dancers", a troop of young dancers and singers, put on a 5 to 7 minute show on an elevated dance floor in the middle of the casino. We were there on a weeknight and the slots were virtually empty. My wife reported that she could get any machine she wanted. The tables filled up after the dinner hour (around 8 pm), but were never crowded.

The floor person’s main concern seemed to be to insure that all the players were comfortable and having a good time. I am sure they could spot a counter...

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