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NORTHERN NEVADA (AND CALIFORNIA) TRIP REPORT-Part 3

by KC Brooks

I have been addicted to blackjack ever since reading Revereís "Playing Blackjack as a Business" when I was 15. The art of blackjack is a lifetime endeavor. I went through the learning process backwards, learning Revereís Advanced Point Count first. I found out early that the actual count system is only a small piece of the puzzle. Presently, I travel "my" Devils Triangle (Reno, Wendover, Vegas}, playing mainly single- and double-deck games. Hi Lo is my choice of strategies and "Professional Blackjack" by Wong is my bible. I worship a large spread, and have been known to wong everywhere I go. Thank God I havenít had to register as a wonger yet, but I am sure it is not too far off. I also help fellow AP Nick teach card counting at www.Blackjackclassroom.com. 

Casinos covered in this report include:

Boomtown (Reno)

Peppermill (Reno)

Atlantis (Reno)

Win-River (Reading, CA)

Rolling Hills (Corning, CA)

Feather Falls (Oroville, Ca)

Thunder Valley (Lincoln, CA)

For Part 1 of this trip report, click here; for part 2, click here.

Boomtown puts the breaks on my losing skid. It is located about 10 to 15 miles west of Reno, on interstate 80. Whether it is your first stop coming to Reno, or your last stop leaving, you wonít be disappointed. The blackjack rules here are the best in Reno, allowing you to double on any two cards. The House advantage is a mere 0.18 percent. Table limits are $3 minimum and $200 max for most games. Lucky Ladies side bet is also offered. Penetration is usually four rounds for two players, but very dealer dependent, as is it is in most cases.

The casino offers blackjack, three-card poker, craps, roulette, Pai Gow poker and over 600 video poker and slot machines. This morning, two blackjack games are going, with one table empty. I play heads up for about 30 minutes and walk away with a sizeable return. Iím still behind for the trip but it is nice to leave town on a winning note.

The "All you can Eat Lobster Buffet," is offered Friday-Mondays from 3:00 pm to 9:00 pm, a Dennyís restaurant, and the new Asian Noodle Bar round out the dining attractions. The Noodle boom must be the next wave of culinary delights, as they seem to be popping up in many casinos.

I cash in my chips and grab some drinks for the road. I head west on 80. My playing friend Billy has to head back to L.A so he goes south. We plan to meet back in Vegas in a few weeks, if all goes as planned. I have a meeting in Redding, and for the next few days have garnered information from the following casinos: Win-River in Redding, Feather Falls and Gold Country in Oroville, Rolling Hills in Corning, and Thunder Valley in Lincoln.

Win-River Casino

It was a beautiful clear day, as I made my way over Donner Summit; occasional patches of snow were the last evidence of a recent storm. I have been over this pass many times in my life and the views are never tiring. Some two hundred and twenty miles later, I make my way to Win-River Casino, in Redding, California. The casino offers Pai Gow poker, Three-Card 21, three- and four-card Poker, and six-deck and single-deck blackjack.

The six-deck game had a continuous shuffle machine, h17, and no double after splitting. Blackjacks pay 3-2. The single deck looked promising; double any two cards double after split ... and then I observe that blackjacks pay 6:5, No wonder only two players were playing. I watch for about fifteen minutes. The dealer is sloppy, the penetration miserable. I decide to save my money and did not play.

Rolling Hills Casino

I head south on interstate 5 for about an hour and arrive at Rolling Hills in Corning, California. Other than Thunder Valley, this is as close to Vegas style casinos as you will get north of Sacramento. Buffet dining, a fine steakhouse, and an excellent John Daly designed golf complex. One drawback: they only offer a six-deck shoe game. The penetration is four and a half decks with h17 and double after split rules.

I highly recommend the...

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