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BLACKJACK INSIDER NEWSLETTER #14

In the last issue of the Blackjack Insider Newsletter some of the data presented in the table in Fred Renzey’s article "How to Manage the ‘Magnificent 7’ Hands in Blackjack" was misaligned. This caused a lot of confusion with readers. We apologize and decided to rerun Renzey’s informative article again in this issue.

Renzey’s "Magnificent 7" shows you how to deviate from basic strategy for 7 "close" hands and reduce the casino’s edge. In a separate article, Renzey will show you in his "Ace/10 Front Count" how to gain a slight advantage playing blackjack without learning a full-fledged card counting system. The strategy used for the "Magnificent 7" is different then the "Ace/10 Front Count" so you have a choice to learn one or the other. If you are a recreational player, either strategy will raise the level of your playing skills and in the long run you will win more compared to a basic strategy player.

Captain John, our Las Vegas reporter, gives an excellent report on the current blackjack playing conditions for all the Station Casinos in Las Vegas including some valuable tips for card counters. We’ll also answer some interesting questions ("Why is splitting a pair of 4's vs. a 5 or 6 the best thing to do?"), tell you where you can gain a monetary edge in Las Vegas with basic strategy, and give you the latest schedule of blackjack tournaments from around the country.

Ready, set, lets go ….

Henry Tamburin

Editor

Abbreviations used to describe playing rules and conditions

h17 = dealer hits soft 17

s17 = dealer stands on soft 17

das = double down after pair splitting

rsa = resplit aces

ls = late surrender

d4 = double down on first four or fewer cards

d9 = double down only on two card 9 or more

d10 = double down only on two card 10 or more

nrs = no resplits

penetration = The fraction of cards in a pack that the dealer will deal before reshuffling.

Rule of 6 = In single deck blackjack games, 6 – n rounds will be dealt to n players.

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HOW TO MANAGE THE "MAGNIFICENT 7" HANDS IN BLACKJACK

BY FRED RENZEY

NOTE: This article is now part of the Best of Blackjack Insider e-book publications. CLICK HERE for more information on our new e-book containing this article.

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GAINING THE EDGE WITH THE ‘ACE/10 FRONT COUNT’

BY FRED RENZEY

AS mentioned above, blackjack is quite simply a "high card/low card" game. Knowing your basic strategy is fine but if you're serious about winning, you absolutely must realize that the key is having at least some awareness of the current supply of high vs. low cards. Yet most avid blackjack buffs balk at the thought of card counting because you have to keep this tedious mental running total in your mind all the way through a six or eight deck shoe. That exceeds what most people are willing or able to contend with. If you fall into that category, then the "Ace/10 Front Count" might be just what you need. With it, you count all the 10's and Aces; but only part way into the shoe.


Here's how it works. We'll use the 6 deck game for our example. You must begin at the top of a fresh shoe. The only cards you pay any attention to are the 10's, Jacks, Queens, Kings and Aces --- that's it. Now, each 52 card deck contains 16 Tens and 4 Aces, making a combined total of 20 "Ace/Tens" per deck. All you do is add together all the 10's and Aces that were dealt in the first two decks --- no further! Do this by starting your total at "zero", and counting forward with each 10 or Ace that appears.

ONCE TWO PLAYED DECKS ARE IN THE DISCARD TRAY, YOU STOP COUNTING ALTOGETHER AND BET THE REST OF THE SHOE ACCORDING TO HOW MANY "ACE/10's THERE ARE IN THE FOUR DECKS THAT REMAIN!

Now, how hard can that be? This is an effective thing to do since it's exactly the same as the dealer putting in a fresh four deck pack at this point and informing you that it contains "so many" 10's and Aces in it, rather than the normal total of 80. What you're doing is properly tailoring your strategy according to just how many Ace/10's that four-deck shoe has. Just be sure to begin at the top of a fresh shoe and make your minimum size bets while counting those first two decks. In shoe games, things usually don't get very far out of whack before that. For example, suppose the very first round of cards is:

4 - 10 - 8 - Q - 2 - 5 - A - K - 3 - 9 - 7 - 5

That's four Ace/10's that have been played so far. If the second round is:


J - 8 - 5 - 4 - 3 - Q - A - 2 - K - 6 - 2 - 10

your front count is now up to "9". By the time you get through the first two decks, you'll often see about 40 Ace/10's, leaving 80 of them in the remaining four decks. That would be perfectly normal. But sometimes fewer Ace/10's will come out leaving a valuable surplus in the shoe. That's when you should bet bigger the rest of the way through while making unusual plays with some of your hands. Other times there'll be an Ace/10 shortage and you should bet small or not play at all. It's that simple. More specifically;

ANY TIME 36 OR FEWER Ace/10's COME OUT IN THE FIRST
TWO DECKS, YOU'LL HAVE AN EDGE OVER THE HOUSE

This last part; estimating two decks, is important! How will you do it accurately? Look at the discard tray. Learn to recognize what a two-deck stack of cards looks like. Get two decks of "Bee" cards, stack them together and focus on their thickness. Next, add another deck or two, and then try to cut off exactly two decks. Test yourself repeatedly. You must consistently fall between 100 and 108 cards, or you're not accurate enough. So practice eyeballing two decks! Get it down cold! Now, here's what to do with your information;
If your two deck front count is "36" or ("35"), bet two units the rest of the way through the shoe, win or lose and make the following modifications to your basic strategy:
A) DOUBLE w/ 9 vs. 2

B) DOUBLE w/ 11 vs. Ace

C) STAND w/ 16 vs. 10

D) DOUBLE w/ Ace/8 vs. 5

E) DOUBLE w/ Ace/8 vs. 6

If you front count is "34" or ("33"), bet four units the rest of the way through and make the following modifications in addition to those above:
F) DOUBLE w/ 8 vs. 6

G) STAND w/ 12 vs. 3

If your front count is "32" or lower, bet six units the rest of the way through and make the following modifications in addition to all those above:
H) DOUBLE w/ 9 vs. 7

J) STAND w/ 12 vs. 2
K) TAKE INSURANCE

You must keep betting the prescribed number of units regardless of whether you're winning or losing! Remember that you're betting according to your chances to win the NEXT hand -- not whether you've won or lost the LAST one.


Now let me put your mind at ease about straying from your normal basic strategy. Understand what the basic strategy is. It gives you your best play assuming that 30% of the cards are 10's. But what's proper basic strategy for Spanish 21? There, you should actually hit 14 against a deuce! Why? Because in Spanish 21, only 25% of the cards are 10's! It has it's own proper basic strategy!


Well, a four deck shoe with 84 or 88 Ace/10's in it (rather than 80) has it's own proper basic strategy too, and it includes the ten plays mentioned above! Let me use play "K" as an example. When your front count is "32", on average, the shoe will contain 34% Tens rather than the usual 30%. That makes Insurance a good bet regardless of what hand you have (since it pays 2 to 1 odds)! Therefore, if you've got blackjack, take even money! If you've got 13, take Insurance! Yeah, insuring a 13 will get some degrading glares from the "pseudo-experts" at your table. I get 'em all the time. But by the end of the year, you're more likely to get the money and they'll get zippity-doo-dah!


Normally, you have a half- percent disadvantage in the game. If your two deck front count is "40", everything is normal and you're still at a half percent disadvantage. But those times when your front count is "36", you have a 0.4% advantage over the dealer. With a front count of "34", your advantage is 0.8% and at a "32" front count, you have a 1.2% edge. By betting more at these times and playing certain hands more efficiently than just following the basic strategy (which was developed for some other deck composition), you can make up for that 1/2% house advantage.


Now here's the bad news.
On only about 25% of your shoes will your front count be "36" or lower. That means 75% of the time you'll still have a disadvantage heading into the heart of the shoe. If you play every shoe all the way through, you'll lose money on most of them. Simply raising your bets on one shoe out of four will only be enough to put you just about dead even with the house. But to play with an edge............


YOU MUST WALK AWAY FROM EVERY FRONT COUNT OF "40" OR MORE!

By doing that, a 1 to 6 betting spread will gain you a quarter percent overall edge using the Ace/10 Front Count. Gaining the upper hand doesn't get any easier than that since you don't keep track of any cards beyond the first two decks! If you're a serious recreational player, you owe it to yourself to do at least that much!

Next issue of Blackjack Insider, we'll tell you about the potential gains and financial risks involved in playing the Ace/10 Front Count, and how to adjust your approach to the 8-deck shoe.

Editors Note: Fred Renzey is the author of the critically acclaimed "Blackjack Bluebook", a highly detailed 188 page strategy manual for casino "21". For your copy, send $16.95 to Blackjack Bluebook, P.O. Box 598, Elk Grove Village, IL 60009

 

LAS VEGAS BLACKJACK REPORT

BY CAPTAIN JOHN

Blackjack conditions in Las Vegas continue to change. Casinos that rented continuous shuffling machines (CSM machines) appear to be taking them out slowly. Casinos that purchased CSM’s do not appear to be putting them in the backroom.

Also, the popularity of Three-Card Poker is growing. Some casinos have as many as four Three-Card Poker games going. Here’s a tip if you decide to try Three Card Poker. Payoffs for these games are different from casino to casino. Therefore know what the pay-off should be and don’t play at any game with a lower pay-off. The extra Ante Bonus should be paid at 5 to 1 for Straight Flush, 4 to 1 for Three of a Kind and 1 to 1 for a Straight. The Pair-Plus Payout should be 40 to 1 for Straight flush, 30 to 1 for Three of a Kind, 6 to 1 for Straight, 4 to 1 for Flush and 1 to 1 for a Pair. In general, the major strip casinos have full payouts.

Howard Grossman is promoting his "Double Fun 21" single deck blackjack game. It is being promoted in some of the Station Casinos. The rules for Double Fun 21 are:

Player may double down on any number of cards, even after splitting and hitting (including aces). Player may split equal valued cards, including aces, up to three times. Player may surrender one half of bet on any number of cards totaling less than 21, even after hitting, splitting or doubling down. Any hand totaling 20 or less with 6 cards pays even money instantly (no instant winners or bonuses on double down hands). Any hand totaling 21 with 5 or more cards pays 2 to 1 instantly (no instant winners or bonuses on double down hands). Any player Blackjack is a guaranteed winner. Blackjack in diamonds pays 2 to 1, any other blackjack pays even money. (Editors note: According to Stanford Wong, the casino’s edge for this game is 1.48% - ouch!).

Look for casino activity to be slow during the next couple of months. Table limits should be at a low, while casinos fight for the limited number of visitors during the off-season. Check your favorite hotel for good bargains at this time.

A special report is provided for Station Casino properties. I hope it will be of value to advantage players.

 

STATION CASINOS

Station Casinos presently has 8 gaming properties in Las Vegas. Their properties cater mostly to the locals, as they have large casino areas and fewer rooms than the major strip casinos. The Station Casinos Boarding Pass allows you to play at any of their casinos and receive credit for rewards at any restaurant at their properties. Station Casinos was awarded "Best Slot Club" in the Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper poll. Facilities provided at some of their properties include bowling, movies, ice skating, swimming and live nightly entertainment. Sports Books are located at all properties.

Station Casinos recently was turned down on a request to build another casino on Craig Road, which is in a rural neighborhood in North Las Vegas. This may be a good thing for Station Casinos, as now it will be difficult for any competing gaming company to build in any rural area in Las Vegas.

Here’s a run down of the Station properties.

Palace Station

Palace Station, the oldest of the Station casinos, is located on Sahara Avenue adjacent to I-15 freeway. Palace has over 1,000 rooms located in the Luxury Tower, or Courtyard area. The hotel is AAA 3-Diamond rated. Live entertainment is offered nightly in the Sound Trax lounge. Palace has five outstanding restaurants featuring Fresh Seafood, Oyster Bar, Italian, Mexican, American and Chinese. The popular Gourmet Feast Buffet is a great place to eat. Palace also provides free airport shuttle service for their guests.

BACKJACK at Palace Station

Palace offers 10 two-deck games with 0.6 penetration and das, h17, and rsa rules and 18 six-deck games with 1.5 penetration and das, h17, and rsa rules. Surveillance at Palace is excellent in observation of the games. You will be observed prior to pit personnel requesting the surveillance. Getting backed-off at Palace is usually not painful. They respect your skill as a counter, but just don’t want you to win too much from them. Palace offers a good game, just don’t play too long.

Boulder Station

Boulder Station, located on the Boulder Hwy, is popular for locals on the East Side of Las Vegas. Boulder has 11 movie theaters and live entertainment nightly in the Railhead. A wide variety of restaurants can be found at Boulder, as well as fast food outlets. The Sports Book is a very good place to view your favorite games, as well as track wagering.

BLACKJACK at Boulder Station

Boulder offers 18 two-deck games with 0.8 penetration and das, h17, and rsa rules as well as 12 six-deck games with 1.5 penetration and das, h17, and rsa rules. Observation of your play by surveillance is only if requested by pit personnel. Your player-rating card appears to be much more important than your bet-spread.

Texas Station

Texas Station, located on Rancho Drive just north of Hi-way 95, has been remodeled to include bowling. Texas has 18 movie theaters, as well as a large casino area. The Armadillo dance hall is one of the popular dance locations in northwest Las Vegas. Parking is very convenient to the casino and theater areas. Restaurants in Texas are very good, providing excellent steakhouse and Mexican selections.

BLACKJACK at Texas Station

Texas offers 14 two-deck games with 0.9 penetration and das, h17, and rsa rules and also 10 six-deck games with 1.8 penetration and das, h17, and rsa rules. The "Double Fun 21" game is also available. Unlike Palace, surveillance will only observe your game if requested by pit personnel, so be observant of them. The CSM games are going away at Texas.

Sunset Station

Sunset Station, located in Henderson adjacent to the Green Valley area, provides the locals of southeast Las Vegas with an excellent choice of restaurants, theaters and gaming. Sunset has 460 rooms and suites. Of all Station Casinos, Sunset provides the best variety of restaurants: The Feast Buffet serves American, Chinese, Italian, Mexican and country barbecue. The Sunset Café provides 24-hour dining with many lunch and dinner favorites. Rosalita’s provides south-of-the-border specialties, even a cerveza bar. Sonoma Cellars is Sunset’s famous steakhouse with great wine selections from the restaurant’s redwood cellar. Capori, an Italian restaurant, is casual in the elegance of a lemon tree orchard. Costa del Sol provides a good variety for seafood lovers. Sunset Brewing Company also provides food as well the Best of Las Vegas Microbrewery. In addition to the great restaurants, Sunset has a food court selection of Fatburger, Panda Express, Viva Salsa, Manhattan Bagel, Sbarro, Tom and Jerry’s and Jitters coffee.

BLACKJACK at Sunset Station

Sunset offers 7 two-deck games with 0.8 penetration and das, h17; 2 four-deck CSM games with das, h17, and rsa rules; and 19 six-deck games with 1.7 penetration and das, h17, and rsa rules. They also offer one Spanish 21 game. Table limits are normally $5 to $2,000. Look for the CSM games to go away soon. Two "Double Fun 21" games are available. A little cover will get you a long way playing in Sunset, as pit and surveillance personnel appear either not to care about big bet spreads or are not observant.

Wild Wild West

Wild Wild West, located on Tropicana west of I-15 is the smallest Station property. WWW has a small sports book and a coffee shop restaurant. WWW is very popular with truckers passing through Las Vegas. A small motel is located on the property. WWW employees are very friendly and give a personal touch to service.

BLACKJACK at Wild Wild West

Wild Wild West offers 3 two-deck games with 0.7 penetration and das, h17, and rsa rules and 2 four-deck CSM games. Look for the CSM games to go away soon. Table limits are $3 to $200. If staying under the $200 limit is your game, this is the place to count, spread big, and win. Relax, chat with casino personnel and have a good time at WWW.

Sante Fe Station

Santa Fe Station, previously Santa Fe Casino, is located on north Rancho Drive at Hi-way 95. Santa Fe has a large ice skating arena providing hockey games and practice ice for local players. There is also a 24-hour bowling center where many local teams compete. Station Casinos have made many improvements to the casino and restaurants since the purchase. Santa Fe does not have the variety of restaurants as Sunset, however the quality is considered excellent. The Taos steakhouse provides steak, seafood and Italian selections. Santa Fe has 200 rooms, with present room rates at $49 per night weekdays.

BLACKJACK AT Santa Fe Station

Santa Fe offers 6 two-deck games with 0.9 penetration and das, h17, and rsa rules and 10 six-deck games with 1.6 penetration and das, h17, and rsa rules. The games are not as good as the previous Santa Fe, however playing conditions are better since there are fewer barrings and less observation of your play. Pit personnel are more concerned that you have a player’s card than what your bet-spread is. Surveillance will only monitor your play if requested by the pit.

Fiesta

Fiesta, located across from Texas Station, is one of Station Casinos recent purchases. Fiesta restaurants include: Old San Francisco steakhouse, Garduno’s and Festival Buffet as well as a 24-hour coffee shop, Ice cream Parlor and Panda Express. In the past, Fiesta has been voted as Best Video Poker, Best Paying Slots and Best Slot Club. This year Stations Casino received recognition for "Best Slot Club" and Fiesta got "Best Paying Slots".

BLACKJACK at Fiesta

Fiesta offers 12 two-deck games with 0.8 penetration and das, h17, and rsa rules and 5 six-deck games with 1.8 penetration and das, h17, and rsa rules. Conditions at Fiesta are not as good as the previous Fiesta. Many locals no longer play Fiesta because of the changes implemented by Station Casinos. Advantage players can still win at Fiesta because of the lack of experienced pit and surveillance personnel.

Reserve

The Reserve, located on Hi-way 95 in Henderson, is Station Casinos latest purchase. This African Safari Hotel Casino has Congo Jack’s crashed airplane at the entry to the restaurant. In the treetops on the upper level is the buffet, offering American, Barbecue, Mexican, Mongolian BBQ, Chinese, Italian and seafood. Steakhouse and Italian eateries also are available. Station Casinos has not announced what changes are in store for The Reserve.

BLACKJACK at Reserve

The Reserve offers 10 two-deck games with 0.8 penetration and h17 rules and 8 six-deck games with 1.2 penetration and h17 and das rules. Table maximums are $500. Few tables are open during the day with minimum pit and surveillance personnel. I don’t know what changes are in store for this property, but expect in the future it will be the same as Sunset Station.

 

BLACKJACK NEWS

In the last issue of Blackjack Insider, we reported that the Las Vegas Club in Nevada switched from a 6-deck to a 2-deck game, which gives the basic strategy player a slight edge with their liberal playing rules. It turned out the casino threw everyone a curve ball. It looked like a 2-deck game because the dealer was dealing from 2 decks in her hand. But as pointed out in Stanford Wong’s Current Blackjack news (www.bj21.com) and Anthony Curtis’ Las Vegas Advisor (www.lasvegasadvisor.com), it turns out the casino was using a shuffling machine that was shuffling all 8 decks and delivering 2 decks at a time to the dealer to deal with. In essence this is like playing an 8-deck game with 6 decks cut out of play. The casino maintains a tiny 0.14% edge in this liberal game.

I also received several reports from locals in Vegas about the electronic Blackjack Blitz game, which is showing up in several casinos with liberal rules. The Rio is reported to have one that uses a single deck, dealer stands on soft 17 and a player can double on any two cards. Even though the casino still has a tiny edge (0.03%), you can gain the monetary edge by racking up points on your player card. I will be in Vegas in mid-April and plan to check this out.

 

Editor Note: If you have any tips on good blackjack games that you wish to share with readers, send them to www.bjinsider.com.

 

READERS QUESTIONS & ANSWERS

"I have had a lot of success splitting tens in the right situation. Is it ever OK to do it?"
It is never correct to split tens unless you are a card counter and know that the remaining undealt cards have a high ratio of high to low cards. The bottom line – if you are a basic strategy player, don’t split 10’s!

"Why is splitting a pair of 4's vs. a 5 or 6 the best thing to do? Whenever I do that I get plenty of funny looks from other players, and even most of the dealers seem surprised that I want to split instead of double down. The casinos that I go to in Indiana allow doubling after a split, so I know that splitting is the correct play. I would sincerely appreciate your explanation, so I am better prepared to defend my correct action to other players who think I'm crazy".

In a single deck game you should double down on a pair of 4’s when the dealer shows a 5 or 6. In multiple deck games the better strategy is to split the 4’s when the dealer shows a 5 or 6 (with DAS). The reason that pair splitting isn’t as profitable in single deck games is because of the fragile effect of card removal. In a single deck game the 4, 5 and 6’s are important cards for the dealer to make his hand and not bust when he has a stiff. By removing the 4’s (and 5 and 6) from the deck, the dealer’s chance of busting increases therefore doubling becomes a profitable play. It could also be that your fellow players are confused on single vs. multiple deck strategy for this hand.

"If a casino dealer places the dealt cards into a shuffling machine after each hand, is there any advantage to a player in using a card counting system?"

There is no advantage for the counter. However, these automatically shuffling machines also cause the average player to lose more because more hands are dealt per hour (avoid them if you can). You may also want to check out Michael Shackelford’s analysis of these machines in Blackjack Insider #8 at www.bjinsider.com/newsletter.shtml.

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BLACKJACK TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE

Editors note: If you are new to tournament blackjack and want to learn the basics check out the article on tournament blackjack by Andrew Glazer in Blackjack Insider #7 at www.bjinsider.com/newsletter.shtml.

 

MINI-TOURNAMENTS

Most mini-tournaments (also known as fun tournaments) have entry fees of $50 or less and nonnegotiable tournament chips are used for betting. Player entry fees are pooled and returned as prizes to players.

Casinos that offer mini-tournaments do so on a regular basis (mostly weekly). The following is a summary of mini-tournaments offered by casinos throughout the US for each day of the week. Call the casino for tournament times and entry fees.

If you know of recent changes made by the casino in their tournament schedule, please pass them along to www.bjinsider.com so we can update the information in our schedule.

 

Monday

Las Vegas, NV: Longhorn Casino (1-702-435-9170); Speedway Casino (1-702-399-9291)

Mesquite, NV: SiRedd’s Oasis (1-800-621-0187)

Reno, NV: Sundowner (1-800-648-5490); Atlantis (1-888-551-7007)

Sparks, NV: Baldini’s (1-800-845-7911)

Pahrump, NV: Terrible’s Lakeside (1-888-845-7911)

Laughlin, NV: Colorado Belle (1-877-460-0777); Pioneer (1-800-634-3469)

Gulfport, MS: President Casino (1-800-624-3000)

Biloxi: Palace: (1-800-725-2239)

Dubuque, IA: Diamond Jo (1-800-582-5956)

Tama, IA: Meskwaki (1-800-728-4263)

Hinkley, MN: Grand (1-800-472-6321)

Prior Lake, MN: Little Six (1-800-548-8536)

Walker, MN: Northern Lights: (1-800-252-7529)

Kansas City, MO: Station (1-800-499-4961)

Tuesday

Kenner, LA: Treasure Chest (1-800-298-0711)

Las Vegas, NV: Longhorn (1-702-435-9170); Silverton (1-800-588-7711)

Laughlin, NV: Avi (1-800-284-2946); Colorado Belle (1-877-460-0777); Pioneer (1-800-634-3469); Regent Las Vegas (1-877-869-7777).

Mesquite, NV: Eureka (1-702-346-4600)

Stateline, NV: Harveys (1-800-553-1022)

Minden, NV: Carson Valley Inn (1-877-783-7711)

Reno, NV: Peppermill (1-800-648-6992)

Verona, NY: Turning Stone (1-80-771-7711)

Biloxi, MS: Imperial Palace (1-800-436-3000); Treasure Bay (1-800-747-2839)

Greenville, MS: Jubilee (1-800-946-6673)

Tunica, MS: Sam’s Town (1-800-456-0711)

Clinton, IA: Mississippi Belle II (1-800-457-9975)

Harris, MI: Chip’s-In Island: (1-800-682-6040)

Cass Lake, MN: Palace (1-800-228-6676)

Morton, MN: Jackpot Junction (1-800-946-2274)

Prior Lake, MN: Mystic Lake (1-800-262-7799)

Walker, MN: Northern Lights, MN: (1-800-252-7529)

Riverside, MO: Argosy (1-800-270-7711)

Tokio, ND: Dakotah Sioux (1-800-946-8-238)

Greenbay, WI: Oneida (1-800-238-4263)

Turtle Lake, WI: St. Croix(1-800-846-8946)

Toppenish, WA: Legends (1-877-726-6311)

Quebec, Canada: Casino de Hull (1-819-772-2100)

Lincoln City, OR: Chinook Winds (1-888-244-6665)

Toppenish, WA: Legends (1-509-865-8800)

Marysville, WA: Tulalip (1-888-272-1111)

Wednesday

Las Vegas, NV: Longhorn (1-702-435-9170)

Laughlin, NV: River Palms Resort (1-800-835-7904); Colorado Belle (1-877-460-0777)

Henderson, NV: Lake of Las Vegas (1-800-564-1603)

Mesquite, NV: Si Redd’s Oasis (1-888-346-4055)

Reno, NV: Atlantis (1-888-551-7007)

Incline Village, NV: Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe (1-775-832-1234)

Gulfport, MS: Grand (1-800-946-7777)

Biloxi, MS: Casino Magic (last Wed. each month) (1-800-562-4425); President (1-800-843-7737)

Philadelphia, MS: Silver Star (1-800-557-0711)

Bettendorf, IA: Isle of Capri (1-800-724-5825)

Fort Madison, IA: Catfish Bend (1-800-372-946)

Tower, MN: Fortune Bay (1-800-992-7529)

Onamia, MN: Grand Casino Mille Lacs (1-800-626-5825)

Morton, MN: Jackpot Junction (1-800-946-2274)

Prior Lake, MN: Little Six (1-800-548-8536)

Walker, MN: Northern Lights (1-800-252-7529)

Thief River Falls, MN: River Road (1-218-681-4062)

Mahnomen, MN: Shooting Star (1-800-453-7827)

North Bend, OR: Mill (1-800-953-4800)

Anacortes, WA: Swinomish (1-360-293-2691)

Gardena, CA: Normandie (1-800-994-6637)

Quebec, Canada: Casino de Montreal (1-800-665-2274)

North Bend, OR: Mills (1-800-953-4800)

Quebec, Canada: Casino de Montreal (1-800-655-2274)

Thursday

Las Vegas, NV: Longhorn (1-702-435-9170); Vacation Village (1-702-897-1700)

Henderson, NV: The Reserve (1-888-899-7770); Sunset Station (1-888-808-7717)

Laughlin, NV: Avi (1-800-284-2946); Colorado Belle (1-877-460-0777); Pioneer (1-800-634-3469)

Mesquite, NV: CasaBlanca (1-800-459-7529)

Sparks, NV: Silver Club (1-800-905-7774)

Stateline, NV: Lake Tahoe Horizon (1-800-322-7723)

Pahrump, NV: Terrible’s Lakeside (1-888-845-7911)

Rock Island, IL: Casino Rock Island (1-309-793-4200)

Fort Madison, IA: Catfish Bend (1-800-372-2946)

Suttons Bay, MI: Leelanau Sands (1-800-922-2946)

Carlton, MN: Black Bear (1-888-771-0777)
Granite Falls, MN: Firefly (1-800-232-1439)

Walker, MN: Northern Lights (1-800-252-7529)

Red Wing, MN: Treasure Island (1-800-222-7077)

Keshena, MN: Menominee (1-800-343-7778)

Shreveport, LA: Harrah’s (1-800-427-7247)

Biloxi, MS: Boomtown (1-800-627-0777)

Lula, MS: Isle of Capri (1-888-330-5825)

Lincoln City, OR: Chinook Winds (1-888-244-6665)

Friday

Las Vegas, NV: Longhorn (1-702-435-9170)

Laughlin, NV: River Palms Resort (1-800-835-7904); Colorado Belle (1-877-460-0777); Pioneer (1-800-634-3469)

Boulder City, NV: Hacienda (1-800-245-6380)

Mesquite, NV: Si Redd’s Oasis (1-888-346-4055); Virgin River (1-800-346-7721)

Sparks, NV: John Ascuaga’s Nugget (1-800-843-2427)

Stateline, NV: Harveys (1-800-553-1022)

Shreveport, LA: Harrah’s (1-800-427-7247)

Biloxi, MS: Isle of Capri (1-800-843-4753); Treasure Bay (1-800-747-2839); President (1-800-624-3000)

Alpine, CA: Viejas Casino & Turf Club (1-800-847-6537)

Saturday

Las Vegas, NV: Longhorn (1-702-435-9170)

Laughlin, NV: Colorado Belle (1-877-460-0777)

Sparks, NV: Baldini’s (1-800-845-7911)

Crystal Bay, NV: Tahoe Biltmore (1-800-245-8667)

Deadwood, SD: Miss Kitty’s (1-800-668-8189)

Alpine, CA: Viejas Casino & Turf Club (1-800-847-6537)

Palm Beach, Aruba: Radison Aruba Resort (1-800-333-3333)

Sunday

Las Vegas, NV: Opera House (1-702-749-8801); Silverton (1-800-588-7711)

Mequite, NV: Eureka (1-702-346-4600)

Laughlin, NV: Colorado Belle (1-877-460-0777)

Robinsonville, MS: Hollywood (1-800-871-0711)

Biloxi, MS: Treasure Bay (1-800-747-2839)

Fort Madison, IA: Catfish Bend (1-800-372-2946)

St. Ignace, MI: Kewadin Shores (1-800-539-2346)

Saulte Ste. Marie, MI: Kewadin (1-800-539-2346)

Deadwood, SD: First Gold Hotel (1-800-274-1876); Silverado Gaming (1-800-584-7005)

Lincoln City, OR: ChinookWinds (1-888-244-6665)

 

 

MAJOR TOURNAMANTS

We’ve expanded our schedule to include tournaments through August 2001. This will give you plenty of time to plan ahead. Some tournaments offer top prizes in the $50,000 to $75,000 range so check them out. The table lists the date, the name, and location of the sponsoring casino, the fee for entering the tournament, the number of decks of cards that will be used during play, the total prizes that will be offered including the amount for finishing first, and a telephone number to obtain more details.

Note: The entry fee for most tournaments includes a free or discounted room and meal(s) – check with the sponsoring casino for details. The prizes listed below included the total to be given out followed by the amount of money that can be won for finishing first (e.g. $40K/$20K means a total of $40,000 will be given away with $20,000 going to the first place winner). Tournaments that are starred (*) are by invitation from the participating casino. Check with the casino tournament director if you could still qualify.

Date Location Entry #Decks Prizes More Information

 

April 9-12 Stardust $625 * two $136K/$75K 1-888-271-1777

Las Vegas, NV

April 10 Sunset Station free six $3K/$1K 1-888-808-7717

Henderson, NV

April 11 Grand free * six $12.2K/$10K 1-800-946-7777

Gulfport, MS

April 11 Rivieria $200 six $28K/$12.5K 1-800-437-7951

Las Vegas, NV

April 13-14 Atlantis $1000 six $60K/$60K 1-888-551-7007

Reno, NV

April 13-14 Plaza free * six $15K/$7.5K 1-800-634-6575

Las Vegas, NV

April 18 Ameristar $20 six $1K/$1K 1-877-462-7827

Council Bluffs, IA

April 25 Grand $75 six $12.5K/$5K 1-800-626-5825

Onamia, MN

April 27-30 Harrah’s free * six $43K/$20K 1-800-392-9002

Las Vegas, NV

April 28 Trump’s Plaza free * six $25K/$25K 1-800-677-7378

Atlantic City, NJ

April 28-29 Jackpot Junction $200 four $50K/$25K 1-800-946-2274

Morton, MN

May 4-5 Chinook Winds $100 single $10K/$5K 1-888-244-6665

Lincoln City, OR

May 4-6 Bally’s $500 six $125K/$50K 1-800-382-2559

Robinsonville, MS

May 6 Sunset Station free * six $3K/$1K 1888-808-7717

Henderson, NV

May 7 Turning Stone $25 six $8.4K/$2.5K 1-800-771-7711

Verona, NY

May 7-10 Stardust $375 * two $90K/$50K 1-888-271-1777

Las Vegas, NV

May 11-12 Colorado Belle $20 six $15K/$5K 1-877-460-0777

Laughlin, NV

May 12-13 Kewadin $75 four $5K/$1K 1-800-539-2346

Christmas, MI

May 16 Shooting Star $65 six $9.5K/$3.7K 1-800-453-7827

Mahnomen, MN

May 18-20 Sundowner $150 single $3K/$3K 1-800-648-5490

Reno, NV

May 20 Mystic Lake free * six $26.3K/$15K 1-800-548-8536

Prior Lake, MN

June 4 Turning Stone $25 six $8.4K/$2.5K 1-800-771-7711

Verona, NY

June 5-7 Sam’s Town $300 two $40K/$20K 1-800-456-0711

Robinsonville, MS

June 8-9 Casino Magic free * six $20K/$9.5K 1-800-624-425

Biloxi, MS

June 8-10 Grand $1000 six $250K/$125K 1-80-946-4946

Robinsonville, MS

June 10 Sunset Station free * six $3K/$1K 1-888-808-7717

Henderson, NV

June 17-19 Edgewater $129 single $20K/$10K 1-800-289-8777

Laughlin, NV

June 22-25 Harrah’s free * six $43K/$20K 1-800-392-9002

Las Vegas, NV

June 22-24 Pioneer $200 single $25K/$11K 1-800-634-3489

Laughlin, NV

June 22-24 Imperial Palace $150 six $25K/$10K 1-800-436-3000

Biloxi, MS

July 8 Sunset Station free * six $3K/$1K 1-888-808-7717

Henderson, NV

July 9 Turning Stone $25 six $8.4K/$2.5K 1-80-771-7711

Verona, NY

July 13-15 Tropicana $500 six $50K/$25K 1-800-545-4989

Las Vegas, NV

July 22 Mystic Lake free * six $26K/$15K 1-800-548-8536

Prior, MI

July 22-23 Turning Stone $200 six $50K/$20K 1-800-771-7711

Verona, NY

July 25 Grand $75 six $12.5K/$5K 1-800-626-5825

Onamia, MN

Aug. 5 Sunset Station free six $3K/#1K 1-888-808-7717

Henderson, NV

Aug. 6 Turning Stone $25 six $8.4K/$2.5K 1-800-771-7711

Verona, NY

Aug. 6-8 Imperial Palace $300 six $47.5K/$20K 1-800-351-7400

Las Vegas, NV

Aug. 10-12 Bally’s $25 * six $100K$50K 1-800-634-3434

Las Vegas, NV

Aug. 15 Riviera $200 six $28K/$12.5K 1-800-437-7951

Las Vegas, NV

 

Tip: Only play in blackjack tournaments in which all the player’s entry fees are returned in prizes. If unsure, ask the host casino if this is the case.

*************************************************************************************

BLACKJACK INSIDER EXPERT REPORTERS

Alene Paone is an East Coast expert blackjack player that frequently plays in Atlantic City. She is the CEO of Paone Press and the publisher of Frank Scoblete’s

magazine The New Chance and Circumstance. Alene has contributed chapters to

The Experts’ Guide to Casino Games and 109 Ways to Beat the Casinos, both

edited by Walter Thomason. Her Q&A column, Just Ask AP, appears in several

magazines. Paone Press sells gambling books and tapes at discount prices.

For a free catalog call: 1-800-944-0406 or write to: Paone Press, Box 610,

Lynbrook, NY 11563.

Captain John lives in Las Vegas and is an experienced blackjack player. He has been studying and playing blackjack for over 30 years including attending classes on how to evaluate different games and how to identify the weaknesses in the pit. He uses a 2-level, advanced card counting system and limits his play to only advantage games. He plays about 30 hours a month and finds that playing blackjack is a good way to supplement his retirement income.

LV Pro is a serious recreational player who started with basic strategy in 1996 and learned the Silver Fox count by the end of 1998. Has been counting since early 1999, starting with a 2K bankroll, and slowly building it with red play over the last 150 hours of actual casino play. He started playing a low green spread on the last few LV trips. He gets to LV 4-5 times a year and has some limited team experience.

Michael Shackelford, a.k.a. "The Wizard of Odds", has twenty years of computer programing experience and thousands of hours of casino gambling experience. His mathematical analysis of casino games is accurate and reliable. He has also extensively reviewed blackjack offerings on different Internet sites. His "Wizard of Odds" column appears monthly in Casino Player Magazine and he hosts the popular Internet site for casino players at www.wizardofodds.com. Shackelford has written a book "May the Odds Be With You". His game of choice is blackjack and his gambling philosophy is to bet big when he has the edge and small when he doesn’t.

Henry Tamburin is a popular casino gambling writer and author of 6 books including "Blackjack: Take The Money & Run". For over a quarter of a century, he has been playing and winning at blackjack and teaching the masses of blackjack players how to do the same. His over 600 articles on casino gambling have appeared in dozens of publications, hosts the blackjack page on www.bjinsider.com and has his own web site at www.smartgaming.com.

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