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by Riverboat Flyer

Riverboat Flyer is a low-stakes blackjack player who usually uses a small bet spread to reduce sort-term risk but takes advantage of casino comps. 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 include:

Gold Strike





It was once again time for my annual New Year’s Eve holiday trip to Tunica. There were four of us on this trip, me, my blackjack-playing friend Louie, and our wives.

In the Tunica casinos, almost all the games I encountered had the same rules: dealer hits soft 17, double after split, re-split pairs up to four hands, double after split, and re-split aces up to four hands. Surrender was not available. On the shoe-dealt games, the cut ranged from 1 to 2 decks. The single- and double-deck games cut from 0.4 to 0.9 decks.

After driving ten hours, we arrived at the Gold Strike Casino, where for the most part the dealers are friendly and professional. The Gold Strike uses a notch in the shoe to determine the cut. Even so, the cut varies by dealer, between one to two decks. We had one hour to play before dinner so I tried a $10 six-deck game. Spreading 2 to 6 betting units, the cards fell my way and I came away with an 11-unit win. The trip was starting on the right foot.

Dinner at the Chicago Steakhouse at Gold Strike, as always, was excellent. The servings are always larger than I can finish. They give you a steak knife, but the steak is so tender you could probably cut it with a butter knife.

After dinner, I hit the six-deck games again. This time the cards did not fall my way. I dropped 11 units spreading 2 to 5 units. I quit during a high count as the lingering effects of a cold I had were effecting my concentration.

Day 2

I started the day with an early morning session at the Gold Strike. The tables were relatively empty. Things went poorly at first and I found myself down 40 units. I switched tables and hit a high count with one other player at the table. I spread to two hands, betting up to 7 units per hand. After the shoe was completed, I did not want to stick around because I felt that dropping my bet would be too obvious; therefore, I quit, up 35 units.

After a break, I tried another six-deck game. Penetration was more varied than the night before, ranging from...

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