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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 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 are, and


A Simple Look at How AC Casinos Can Be Destroyed in Blackjack

Alan Krigman, Dan Pronovost, and John "Skinny" (below) have mathematical formulas showing why Don Johnson of Pennsylvania won more than five million dollars from the AC’s Tropicana. They all state unequivocally that the player had the edge for a relatively short while in which to hammer a nice, fat win – and hammer such a thing Don Johnson did.

The key variable in Johnson’s play had to do with a deal he made with the Tropicana; namely, they would give him back 20 percent of his losses. Now let’s take a really simple, simple look at how this win could accomplished. We’ll just use six hands to show how Johnson got his edge. These examples I’m about to show you are nowhere near accurate but it does give you the flavor of how such a simple thing as a 20 percent rebate on losses can aid a player in getting an edge over the house, if the rebates are given after every individual session.

No Player Rebate:

Session 1: Johnson wins $1,000

Session 2: Johnson loses $1,000

Session 3: Johnson wins $1,000

Session 4: Johnson loses $1,000

Session 5: Johnson wins $1,000

Session 6: Johnson loses $1,000

No win for player.


Player Rebate of 20 Percent

Let’s take a look at a second scenario where 20 percent of a loss is returned:

Session 1: Johnson wins $1,000

Session 2: Johnson loses $1,000 ($200 returned)

Session 3: Johnson wins $1,000

Session 4: Johnson loses $1,000 ($200 returned)

Session 5: Johnson wins $1,000

Session 6: Johnson loses $1,000 ($200 returned)

Player wins $600.

Now obviously, my example is so simple that it is somewhat wrong on several levels. The house edge of about one-half percent has to be taken into consideration, as well as how long a session actually lasted. However, a clear picture is being drawn…at least I believe it is.

Now look at this next scenario:

Session 1: Johnson loses $1,000 ($200 returned)

Session 2: Johnson loses $1,000 ($200 returned)

Session 3: Johnson loses $1,000 ($200 returned)

Session 4: Johnson loses $1,000 ($200 returned)

Session 5: Johnson loses $1,000 ($200 returned)

Session 6: Johnson wins $5,000

The win for the player is now $1,000 even though he lost five sessions and won $5,000 in his last session. By returning 20 percent, a push becomes a win for the player.

Final scenario: Johnson loses but still wins:

Session 1: Johnson loses $1,000 ($200 returned)

Session 2: Johnson loses $1,000 ($200 returned)

Session 3: Johnson loses $1,000 ($200 returned)

Session 4: Johnson loses $1,000 ($200 returned)

Session 5: Johnson loses $1,000 ($200 returned)

Session 6: Johnson wins $4,500

Johnson actually lost money here. He lost $5,000 in first five sessions and only won $4,500 in session #6; normally, a loss of $500. However, with the rebate, he gets back $1,000 of his losses, so now – bingo! – he leaves with $500 more in his pocket than what he started with. He lost and won!

Now, what if the casino only gave back 20 percent of the losses at the end of a trip of, say, five days? Would a single trip give the player the edge as I showed above? For that, and for longer playing sessions, I refer you to our three brilliant authors: Skinny, Alan Krigman, and Dan Pronovost.

"Skinny" on Alan Krigman’s Analysis

Alan Krigman is correct about his premise that the edge will go back to the house the longer you play a single session. I concur with Alan that it is around 500 hands at -.40% and 650 hands at -.35%. However, more importantly, he is correct that the longer one plays a single session, you will eventually eliminate most of the advantage of the rebate.

My logic that he is correct is as follows:

What if you played an infinite number of hands. Eventually, the variance would almost be eliminated and the end result would be extremely close to the exact house advantage. In that situation, you would only be getting back 20% of the loss of the house advantage. Your net loss would always be approximately 80% of the house advantage times the amount you bet. If you continued to play in that manner, you would only be reducing the true house advantage by 20%.

However, if you have a large enough bankroll to sustain extreme losing streaks and can play in the game long enough to overcome the variance that occurs naturally, you will still have an advantage over the house.

The key, as Krigman points out, is to play short sessions. Perhaps you play one shoe at a time and quit. Then you come back later to play one shoe and quit. If the casino considers each one a session and rebates your losses for each of them, you can win over time.

You will be ahead at the end of some shoes and down at the end of other shoes depending on which way the pendulum is swinging. Since you are getting 20% back each time you lose, and keeping 100% each time you win, you still have an advantage. It is just not as big as I originally thought.

Let me use Krigman's figure of -.35% for the house advantage and 650 hands for the player advantage to be eliminated. With a 20% rebate, the player has a +9.685% favorable advantage on the first hand. That positive edge would decrease with each subsequent hand, reaching approximately -0.001% (20% rebate) after 650 hands. It would decrease with each hand played for the first nine hands in the following pattern +9.685%, +4.685%, + 4.685%, +3.435%, +3.435%, +2.810%,+2.810%, +2.420%, +2.420%.

In other words, it would decrease rather rapidly in the first few hands and continue decreasing at a slower rate after that. It would not be a linear decline but rather a curve that is steeper in the beginning and flatter at the end. So even if he played an eight-deck shoe (without counting cards there is no advantage to single deck), for approximately 80 rounds per shoe, he would still have an edge at the end of each shoe. After 80 hands, the player should still have an advantage of around +0.575%.

As long as the player can settle with the house at the end of each shoe and get his rebate, I think this still gives the player enough of an edge that he can win without counting if he plays sound basic strategy.

Krigman has pointed out something that I did not think about in AC. I missed his point that the longer one plays, the more likely the session will end up close to the house advantage and eliminate the big advantage the player has early on in the session. That does not change my mind that a player with a big enough bankroll can overcome that with a rebate on losses agreement.

This is different from saying a player with a big bankroll can stay at the table long enough to overcome a standard house advantage. Gamblers mistakenly believe they can overcome the house advantage by "quitting winners" and using a stop-loss limit. Money management can not overcome a negative expectation game because all the sessions you play become one long session. The sum of those sessions will become the equivalent of the "long run," in which case, the variance is infinitesimally small and the net result is very close to the exact house advantage for the sum of all the sessions.

However, with a rebate offer and a sufficient bankroll, one CAN indeed "quit winners" with a 100% win and stay long enough to overcome the 80% losing streaks.


Weirdness at the New Golden Nugget

One of the best dealers I ever played with worked at Trump Marina, now the Golden Nugget, but he was let go when the Golden Nugget took over. His name is Frank…

What? Huh? How? Why?

I asked other dealers, floor personnel, and some other employees why he and several other absolutely-fabulous personnel were let go. What were the criteria for dumping the best of the best? The universal answer was, "We have no idea." Some of the dealers were quite frank too: "Some of the people they kept are not the best dealers. Some they let go are the best!"

One floor person said, "I think they did it by computer lottery."

However, the new Golden Nugget did it, and boy did they screw up. Rehire Frank and make a serious effort to get rid of the lower-tiered dealers and keep the best ones. My lord, doing it how they did it reminds me how government does things…usually poorly.


More Weirdness: This Time at Claridge

I went on a tour one weekday of all the casinos in AC but the Claridge was closed. I asked a floor person at Bally’s, why? "We don’t open it during the week any more because the place is deserted. Maybe in the summer if people start showing up."

You know AC is hurting when one of its landmarks is closed; if even temporarily.


Resorts Casino Opens Gay Nightclub

From Gayapolis Website (

"Visitors interested in the party scene can head to Atlantic City's first gay casino nightclub, Prohibition, a 1920s-styled nightclub recently opened on the 13th floor in Resorts Casino Hotel…."

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:

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

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

Dear Frank and Alene-


I just recently returned from Atlantic City and I will give you my impressions of the casinos and the city.

But first, just read an article in a national newspaper that Atlantic City wants to add more sex appeal and more strip joints like Scores to attract visitors. I wish they would go back to old days with better rules for Blackjack and crowds will follow.

The Boardwalk is still the main attraction as people flock there day and night.

The casinos are a different story:

Taj Mahal: Had some good games but not many tables open so unless you wanted to play in the High Roller Room, you had to move around to find a spot. Casino is so big that even when tables are filled it still seems empty. They are still hitting on Soft 17 but less pit bosses around so you will not get any heat. You can make money here if you hit and run. Rooms are great and restaurants are very good.

Ballys: Good place to play; dealers are friendly and go deep into the cut. The crowd has gone down a little, more low-class wannabe gangsters hanging around. Good place for Golden Touch Black jack.

Hilton: Good games but crowds have gone and place is not busy at all. Quiet so you can concentrate without a lot of distractions. Still hitting soft 17, dealers cut off one and one-half to two decks per shoe. Used to be a great place to play now just average.


I will be making another trip soon will give you more information on other casinos.

Best Regards,

Bubba from Boston






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Here are our ratings for blackjack for July 2011. 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.

Rating system:

***** = Excellent

**** = Very Good

*** = Good

** = Fair

* = Poor.


BALLY’S PARK PLACE: No change from last issue. The deepest cuts in AC as we write this; about 75-85 percent as of a couple of weeks ago. Could be a happy time 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. Crews are friendly. Craps games are quite good. Three stars: * * *

BORGATA: The 6-deck games are now almost everywhere again and the penetration is a decent 75 to 80 percent. When we were there a mixture of S17 and H17 was found. Didn’t see any $5 games; although I was told that one or two tables have such limits during the day during the week. This is a happening place and caters to a swinging young crowd. You’ll enjoy the night clubs and the beautiful people. Three stars: * * *

CAESARS: 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 just as most of the regular floor does. High roller room is S17; the main floor is H17 when we were there. 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: Weirder than weird. We decided to visit the casinos this trip during the week that the Golden Nugget opened. Guess what? Claridge was closed so we have no idea what their games are like. We are guessing they are the same as last time but who knows? So we are leaving this unrated until such time as we can get there or get a report from someone else.

HARRAH’S: Many blackjack folks call this company the Evil Empire, as in the dark side of the force. This is Darth Vader’s casino corporation. They hit on Soft 17 on all games and the penetration is now about 75 percent. The casino is pleasant and the crews are friendly and professional. One floor person at the craps tables was a delight when Frank and his Golden Touch crew went there to play. We are starting to have a change of mind about this property even though it is a part of the aforesaid "Evil Empire." Two and one-half stars: * * ½ *

HILTON: We went in the early morning and there were about five players in the whole casino. Place is in trouble. Wild swings in penetration with more eight-deck games throughout the casino. Penetration is between 70-80 percent depending on the dealer. The hitting of soft 17 brings this place down a peg as well. 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. For craps, we are dealing with 13-foot tables and a couple of 12 footers. Two and one-half stars: * * ½ *

RESORTS: Now going all out for that 1920’s look! The reports are in and out about this casino’s games. Many H17 games on main floor; high roller room is S17. Penetration on all games is about 70-75 percent which is not bad considering this is AC. Decent craps games. New gay nightclub and also sexy cocktail servers. Resorts is giving it the best shot possible. Two stars and one-half stars: * * ½*

SHOWBOAT: They will now be allowing pets into the hotel – one of the more disgusting developments for people who don’t like dogs, cats and gerbils. Slots dominate this place now. The blackjack has deteriorated considerably with little penetration – maybe you play 60-66 percent of the shoe. All games are hit on soft 17. Go elsewhere, especially if Fido is not one of your favorite creatures. One star: *

TROPICANA: Bringing the highest rollers into AC. Now the place is H17 on all games except those outside the high roller room. Still has some good penetration, maybe 75 percent; sometimes excellent penetration of 80 percent. Hey, even if you are a low-roller ask if you can get that 20 percent rebate on losses! Two and one-half stars: * * ½ *

THE GOLDEN NUGGET: So far this "new" casino has continued with the gaming policies of Trump Marina but has, in the blink of an eye, transformed many areas into vibrant, with-it places – a new party pit with sexy dealers (I got to see a sexy young woman interviewed: "Do you know how to deal?" "Yes." "You start tomorrow night!"); the superb restaurant The Chart House went up in three days; and the new rooms are small but beautiful. The blackjack games in the high roller room are excellent with penetration of 80 percent and top rules such as splitting and resplitting; and standing on soft 17. The eight-deck games in the casino are ho-hum and basically the same as all the other casinos in AC. The craps games are excellent and – as always – this place has the nicest and most professional dealers you will find. Give it a whirl. Three stars for a good beginning: * * * (See above article about how they decided to terminate a percentage of their dealers and personnel.)

TRUMP PLAZA: Trump Resorts should have sold this place instead of the Marina. You now can "buy" your way into a rotten game by paying 25 cents for $1 blackjack. This place has fairly good games but something has to be done with the dark casino and the low-life scum slithering through it. Maybe the time has come to raze the place? Six-deck games are back outside the high roller room. The penetration is 70-75 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. Went there mid-week and no craps tables were open. Not a good sign – or maybe it is. 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. Now they are hitting soft 17 except in high roller room. 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, great dealers and pit personnel. Too bad it isn’t the premier place to play any more because it is a great place to stay. Two and one-half stars: * * ½*

WILD, WILD WEST: Midweek visit; place was almost deserted. The penetration has gone deeper lately and this is a very, very good thing – you might find 80 percent. Crews are friendly. All games are 8-decks; mixture of H17 and S17 from latest reports. Three stars: * * *


THE BEST BLACKJACK IN ATLANTIC CITY: Look for three starred casinos (we now have a few).

Best Craps in Atlantic City: All except: Borgata, Trump Plaza, Taj Mahal, Showboat and Wild, Wild West.

The Best Hotel/Casino in Atlantic City: Borgata / Taj Mahal /Tropicana


Frank Scoblete and Dominator’s

Golden Touch Advantage-Play Friday!

In Las Vegas on Friday, October 21st

Winning is the most fun! Learn exciting advantage playing methods that will give you a real mathematical edge at slots, craps, blackjack, and Pai Gow Poker. Learn these simple methods that turn the house edge in your favor – for real! Learn from the finest players/instructors: best-selling authors Frank Scoblete, Henry Tamburin and Dominator, plus renowned gaming columnists Jerry "Stickman" and John "Skinny." Call 1-866-SET-DICE for more information or to reserve your seat. Seating is limited. Here are the classes and times:

10AM -11AM: Introduction to CRAPS and DICE CONTROL with best-selling authors Frank Scoblete and Dominator (1 hr, $89) 

Craps can be beaten but you have to know exactly what elements are necessary to do so. In an analysis of and discussion about proper betting and dice control, best-selling author Frank Scoblete and the world’s greatest dice controller Dominator will go step-by-step through the elements that can make you a winner. They will teach you the right way to play too! Comes with the book: Casino Craps: Shoot to Win! by Frank Scoblete with Dominator.

11:15AM -12:15PM / Also at 4PM – 5PM: ADVANTAGE SLOTS: Get a REAL Edge with gaming columnist Jerry "Stickman" (1 hr, $99)


This class explains which slot machines can actually be beaten and the exact strategies needed. Then you will learn exactly where these machines are located in Las Vegas so you can play them after class. Comes with the book: Slots Conquest: How to Beat the Slot Machines! by Frank Scoblete.

12:30 PM – 1:30PM: PAI GOW POKER: Get a REAL Edge with gaming columnist John "Skinny" (1hr, $99)


Pai Gow Poker is a fun card game. But many players don't realize they can get a real edge over the casino if they play the game properly. Learn how to do so. Pai Gow can also yield good comps for the player with far less risk than most other games. Learn everything you need to know to get a real edge at this enjoyable game with John "Skinny," the Pai Gow king!

2PM – 3:30PM: You Can Beat BLACKJACK with best-selling author Henry Tamburin (1.5 hrs, $149) 


In one hour of practice with the new, easy-to-learn and master Speed Count, you can nail down a real mathematical edge over the casinos. Once you know this simple method, Henry Tamburin will tell you which casinos in Las Vegas are the best places to play Speed Count this weekend! Comes with the book Beat Blackjack Now: The Easiest Way to Get the Edge! by Frank Scoblete


Beat Blackjack Now! by Frank Scoblete

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