MISSISSIPPI GULF COAST AND TUNICA TRIP REPORT - PART 2
by Riverboat Flyer
Riverboat Flyer is a low-stakes blackjack player. 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.
Casinos visited in this two part report include::
Beau Rivage (Biloxi)
Isle of Capri (Biloxi)
Treasure Bay (Biloxi)
Silver Slipper (Hancock County)
Gold Strike (Tunica)
Editor’s Note: I recommend at least a 1 to 8-10 aggressive betting spread for card counters playing a six-deck game and at least a 1 to 4-5 spread in a double-deck game in order to get a healthy advantage. Some low-stakes counters, including Riverboat Flyer, prefer a more conservative betting spread. This decreases the bankroll swings but at the expense of a lower edge over the house.
Note: The playing observations mentioned in this report were made in June 2011.
Part 1 of this report appeared in the July issue of BJI. We pick up with Riverboat Flyer in Tunica.
I started the day with an early morning session at Gold Strike casino before the tables filled up. I sat down at an empty table. The dealer was at the end of his shift and could hardly stay awake. Unfortunately, he did not have to be very awake to beat me. It seemed like he beat every hand I had by one. My first ten hands were all stiffs, most of which I wound up busting. Somehow, I hung in there for an hour, betting mostly table minimums, during negative shoes. After 90 minutes, I found myself down 30 units, getting my butt kicked by the relief dealer. I switched to another empty six-deck table and hit a hot streak. The count stayed mostly neutral, but I kept winning hands and hitting doubles and splits. I came almost all the way back, losing $1 for the session. Even though it was not a win, it felt good coming out of a deep hole.
The next stop was the Fitz. As I entered, there was a display outside the front entrance with a pontoon boat and a sign, which was spray painted on a piece of 4 x 8 plywood, that read, "Welcome to Fitz Island, pop 33". Inside the door, they had a display of flood pictures, which looked extensive. The casino looked unaffected by floodwaters. A dealer explained to me what happened. It seems that 33 employees stayed behind with the floodwaters rising all around. They built a temporary dam, with materials they had to have delivered by helicopter. The casino and hotel literally became an island with water on all sides. The boat was used to ferry in people and supplies. The workers put up the sign, which then became their rallying point. They stayed on their island for a month until the floodwaters subsided. The dealer also told me that he and the other employees were paid for the month the casino was closed. The only visible damage was that the parking garage elevator, which was out of service. I assumed the floodwaters either ruined the motor or electronic controls.
I noticed some blackjack changes at the Fitz....
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