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LAS VEGAS BLACKJACK REPORT: RIVIERA CASINO

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. 

The observations of casino conditions were made in January 2012. The casino visited in Las Vegas was the Riviera, located at 2901 Las Vegas Blvd. South.

The following story is true. The names and places have not been changed, well, maybe a name or two. I was out gathering info on the blackjack playing conditions of various casinos in the Vegas area, which, by the way, can be purchased from Stanford Wongís BJ21 site on the internet (i.e., Current Blackjack News). It has valuable information for casinos all over the United States, not just Nevada.

The buzz around town was that the Riviera was now offering a single-deck game with a 3:2 payout. A welcome relief from the atrocious 6:5 blackjack games that seem to dominate Las Vegas. Only a few Casinos, notably El Cortez and Silverton, offer the 3-2 single-deck game. The El Cortez deals their game from a shoe, making for a slower game compared to the traditional hand tossed game found in Reno and Wendover. From the casinos perspective, it eliminates dealer cheating and/or flashing their hole card.

As I have mentioned in my previous articles in the BJI, I mainly played in Reno before moving to Las Vegas. Reno is where you want to go if single-deck games are your preference, although I was appalled the last time I was there (about three weeks ago). I actually set down at a game that paid 6:5. I was staying at the Sands. Annoyed by the slow play, I moved to a table with only one other player. Things were running smoothly until I got blackjack and the paltry 6:5 return on my money. I immediately made a scene, the poor dumb blond dealer was trying desperately to tell me," You can double down on any two cards though, not just ten and eleven." (It seems more and more casinos no longer post the playing rules on their tables.)

I responded with, "Thatís a lame excuse; I would rather only be able to double on those two hands then get ripped off on a natural." I immediately gathered up my money, walked to the cashier, and went to my room. If we donít complain about these abortions, then they will keep shoving them down our throats. If you learn only one thing from me, itís this: Do not sit at a 6:5 game, do not play a 6:5 game, and if you see one complain to the pit critters, and the number one thing you can do is to tell all your friends to avoid playing any 6:5 games.

It amazes me the reasons the casinos give players for basically stealing our hard-earned cash. They actually act as if they are doing you a great favor. The fact of the matter is that the casinos canít stand you. There only concern is your money, and once they have that, they donít want anything to do with you. End of sermon.

Back in Vegas as I was doing my rounds, I came across almost the same reasoning, only this time my voice recorder was on. The following is a word for word conversation I had with a blackjack dealer at the Riviera casino. He was dealing a single-deck game with the following rules: H17, DAS, 6:5, and noRSA.

Me: "How come you guys have one single-deck blackjack game that pays 3 to 2 and one that pay 6 to 5?

Dealer: "Thereís a gimmick...

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