LAS VEGAS BLACKJACK REPORT:
Gold Coast, Palms, Tuscany, and Westin
by Stu D. Hoss
Stu D. Hoss is a recently retired Air Force officer and aviator. He has visited and served in over 40 countries including flying combat missions in the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Horn of Africa. Most of it under the guise of keeping the world safe for democracy, better blackjack, and for a few other personal reasons. He has been playing blackjack for almost 20 years and cut his teeth on the tables of South Lake Tahoe during flight training in Northern CA. Mr. Hoss uses basic strategy and the HiLo count method to give himself a chance against the house edge. He currently resides in NV and is weighing his options for a second career.
The observations of casino conditions were made in December 2011. The casinos visited in Las Vegas include:
Gold Coast Hotel and Casino
Tuscany Suites and Casino
In last month’s issue of Blackjack Insider Newsletter, I reviewed conditions in some very contrasting properties. This month’s article is a continuation on that theme. In many respects, Las Vegas in December is a city of contrasts. During the first ten days of the month, Las Vegas hosts the National Finals Rodeo and the whole town seems to grab its boots, belt buckles, and cowboy hats. Country Western music fills the air and the casinos are awash with visitors. This is followed by a period of quiet, cold, and darkness. Things begin to pick up with college football’s Maaco Las Vegas Bowl prior to Christmas, and really get rousing as revelers from near and far celebrate the coming of the New Year ... Vegas style. Amidst the contrasts of December, I filled my saddlebags with cash and player’s cards, hitched up the blackjack wagon, donned my spurs, and headed west down Flamingo Road to explore four off-Strip properties.
Gold Coast Hotel and Casino, 4000 W. Flamingo Road
Owned and operated by Boyd Gaming, the Gold Coast is big with over 86,000 square feet of gaming area that draws a heavy locals’ crowd. The table games area is centrally located in the middle of the casino near the Race and Sports Book and features four pit areas with almost 50 tables. The largest area has 14 baccarat tables, three Pai Gow Poker tables, and a game called Asian Poker. These games are popular with the Gold Coast’s many Asian patrons since the property is located very near Las Vegas’ Chinatown. The bulk of the blackjack tables are located in another large pit area where there are nine double-deck games, one six-deck shoe game, two Super Fun 21 tables, and two roulette tables. and a few tables of Three Card Poker and Ultimate Texas Hold ‘Em. Two smaller six-table areas are home to five more double-deck blackjack games and two six-deck shoe games, as well as, two additional roulette tables.
There are no single-deck games at the Gold Coast, and the double-deck and six-deck games pay the traditional 3:2 for blackjacks. Players are allowed to double on any first two cards (DOA), double after splits (DAS) and split Aces only once to form two hands, even on the six-deck game (I was told the latter by a floor supervisor). Dealers hit soft 17 (H17) and surrender is not allowed. Table minimums and maximums ranged from $5 or $10 to $1,000, and $25 to $2,000.
Some of the Gold Coast blackjack games offer...
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