ATLANTIC CITY BLACKJACK REPORT─ December 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. 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.
Government Wants to Take Over Atlantic City
The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, which is a mouthful to say, will be taking over the running of Atlantic City if Governor Christie and the New Jersey legislature get their way. Recognizing that the declining revenues are hurting not only Atlantic City but also the entire state, the politicians are on the move to restructure the state’s relationship with its once cash cow. So move over Nuke Thompson.
The goal is to set up even more shopping areas, clean up more neighborhoods, create a family-friendly environment so folks will want to vacation longer than just overnight or on the weekends. There is even talk of building a mini-Coney Island, far bigger than the steel pier.
While all this sounds good, the fact remains that gambling destinations have to offer good games that people want to play. That includes slot machines, the cash cow of all the cash-cow casinos, and right now, the slot play in Atlantic City is suffering immensely from the new competition in Pennsylvania. Will these slot players want to vacation in AC with the kids or grandkids? We have our doubts.
There is no use decrying the state of blackjack in AC because one could go back a decade and cry the same tune. Except for some decent high-roller-room games, AC blackjack just isn’t a glorious situation. It mirrors the decline of AC – in fact, it heralded the decline.
Our money is on a negative result for Atlantic City. We see several casinos closing their doors in the not-to-distant future, including one of the Trump properties.
Even if the economy has a great upswing, the AC landscape will have a hard time recouping all those players who have found a better deal closer to home. And the government helping out? That is rarer than a single-deck game dealt to the bottom!
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. 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.
Dear Frank and Alene,
Revenues continue to drop in AC casinos. How low can they go? It has has stop at some point but you have to wonder when. AC casinos are reporting increased spending on hotel rooms, food, and other amenities.
Here’s a little news.
Revel (?): Morgan Stanley has now written down their investment even more. They now say that their $1.2 billion investment is only worth 40 million now. Looks like they want to finance the project with junk bonds now. I still can’t imagine that this is not worth it for someone to finish building this casino resort.
Showboat: Offering free $10,000 blackjack tournaments on Saturdays. Their website gives additional details.
Trump Marina, Trump Taj Mahal and Trump Plaza: All three casinos will be offering $1 BJ games with a 25-cent ante. Including Resorts, this means that four AC properties now offer this game.
Ballys: Still cutting the deepest of all the AC properties with 85% fairly easy to find.
Wild Wild West: Still offering a table with 100x odds on craps. $10 BJ tables offered all day.
Tropicana: High limit room boasting that $100 tables have max bet of $50,000. This is a spread of 500 to 1 at big money tables. If anyone is able to get away with this spread, please let me know so I can get in on the action too.
Well that’s it for this month. Hope this helps.
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by Frank Scoblete with Dominator
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by Frank Scoblete
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Here are our ratings for blackjack for December 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: The deepest over all cuts in AC as we write this. Could be a happy holiday season for card counters. This might be a good time to check this casino out. 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. Craps games are quite good. Three stars: * * *
BORGATA: No change from last issue. They have added 8-deck games, although some 6-deck games still remain This is a happening place and caters to a swinging young crowd. Two and one-half stars: * * ½ *
CAESARS: No change from last issue. You can now 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. The craps games here are good with 12-foot tables. The tables are high so smaller controlled shooters should wear their "special shoes." Two and one-half stars: * * ½ *
CLARIDGE: We have fond memories of this place but we have avoided playing here since a pit boss named Francis went animal-crackers on some Golden Touch dice controllers. Maybe we’ll actually play on our next trip. A 20 million renovation is planned for this historic hotel. Casino is now penetrating deep into their 8-deck shoes. Can this place rebound from its recently sad past? Who knows but we are happy with the new attitude. Two and one half stars: * * ½*
HARRAH’S: The dark side of the force. This is Darth Vader’s casino corporation. One star: *
HILTON: No change from last issue. Wild swings in penetration on 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: No change from last issue. Resorts has decided to go with a "Boardwalk Empire" theme for its casino. That means everyone will mimic the roaring 20’s. It might work. Of course, offering great games usually works better. 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: No change from last issue. The blackjack has deteriorated considerably with little penetration – maybe you play 60 percent of the shoe. Go elsewhere. One star (for cleanliness and rooms): *
TROPICANA: S17 for this casino? No more. Now the place is H17. Still has some good penetration, maybe 75 percent; sometimes excellent penetration of 80 percent. Two and one-half stars: * * ½ *
TRUMP MARINA: You now can "buy" your way into a rotten game by paying 25 cents for $1 blackjack. Do they know the meaning of shame? Yes, those low-limit commission fuelled games have arrived. Complete rip-off of blackjack players looking for $5 and under games. 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. Still if you can afford the $50 and $100 minimums, the high roller room’s games are good with S17. They offer surrender which they now advertise – asking for surrender was a trick in the past that Marina used for ferreting out card counters. Floor games are mostly $15/$25 and up, 8-decks, H17. No mid-shoe entry on the high roller room six-deckers but you can jump in and out on the eight-deckers. Craps tables are 12-footers with 5X odds and good crews. Two and one half stars: * * ½ *
TRUMP PLAZA: Same as Marina, you now can "buy" your way into a rotten game by paying 25 cents for $1 blackjack. Do they know the meaning of shame? Yes, those low-limit commission fuelled games have arrived. Complete rip-off of blackjack players looking for $5 and under games. This place has fairly good games but something has to be done with the dark casino and the low-life scum slithering through it. Something should also be done with its ploppy management team. Maybe the time has come to raze the place? 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 down to arrogant and ignorant. Two and one-half stars: * * ½ *
TRUMP TAJ MAHAL: As with Marina and Plaza, you now can "buy" your way into a rotten game by paying 25 cents for $1 blackjack. Do they know the meaning of shame? Yes, those low-limit commission fuelled games have arrived. Complete rip-off of blackjack players looking for $5 and under games. 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: The penetration has gone deeper lately and this is a very, very good thing. Crews are friendly. All games are 8-decks. Two and one-half stars: * * ½*
THE BEST BLACKJACK IN ATLANTIC CITY: Bally’s and then toss a coin but avoid any casino rated under two and one-half stars.
The Best Craps in Atlantic City: Bally’s
The Best Hotel/Casino in Atlantic City: Borgata / Taj Mahal
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