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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 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 February 2012. The casinos visited in North Las Vegas were:

Lucky Club Casino and Hotel, 3227 Civic Center Drive

Cannery Casino and Hotel, 2121 East Craig Road

Jerry’s Nugget, 1821 North Las Vegas Boulevard


This month I ventured out in North Las Vegas to some places somewhat off the beaten path if you are a Vegas visitor or even a Vegas local, depending on what part of the Valley you call home. After January’s adventures at the Western Casino in downtown Las Vegas, I was in the mood to explore some "foreign" places. The targets: three joints in North Las Vegas, two of which I had never set foot in, the Lucky Club and Jerry’s Nugget. I had known about the Cannery casino for many years, but had never visited it until last spring.

North Las Vegas conjures many different images to many people. The city has changed a great deal since its days as Nevada’s answer to East St. Louis. However, like most metropolitan areas it has its less than desirable elements and neighborhoods. According to the 2010 United States Census, North Las Vegas is Nevada’s fourth largest city after Las Vegas, Henderson, and Reno. The city's population was 216,961, a dramatic increase

from the 2000 Census data that reported a population of 115,488 people.

Lucky Club Casino and Hotel (3227 Civic Center Drive)

The Lucky Club was formerly the Speedway Casino. It’s about 9 miles north of the central Strip area (Flamingo Road), and is located immediately off Interstate-15 North at the Cheyenne Ave. exit (Exit 46). It’s an easy drive, but I recommend avoiding rush hour traffic at all costs.

The Lucky Club is nothing like the big joints on the Strip or even downtown at the Casino Center. The interior is like your high school prom, if the latter was held in 1978 inside an airplane hanger, decorated in black. In addition, on this particular Saturday evening, I couldn’t help but notice the Jackson Hewitt Tax Service booth dominating the casino floor space. This was a first for me! Yes, you read that correctly, Jackson Hewitt offers tax preparation service at the Lucky Club!

After the initial tax prep discovery, I made my way across the casino to what appeared to be the Players Club, cashier, and transaction epicenter. Two ladies were operating behind clear Plexiglas – another casino first for me. I inquired if this was the place to apply for a player’s card. A white application form was dropped into a drawer and opened in front of me along with a pen. "Fill that out and drop it back in the drawer along with an ID," the voice said. This was like using the drive up teller window at your local credit union. Plexiglas and other security measures are normally in place for a reason and I was starting to ponder if this was a good idea. In a matter of moments, I had a player’s card and a $5 match play coupon, $5 in machine free play, and a ticket for a free margarita from the machine near the front door. Buy the ticket, take the ride!

The table-game pit was small and offered four blackjack tables, and a craps table with $3-300 limits and 10x odds. I made conversation with a young dealer standing alone behind a six-deck blackjack table. He told me that normally they had three tables in use, two shoe games with $5 minimums and one double-deck game with a $10 minimum. There were no maximum betting limits posted on any of the tables and I figured it wasn’t in my best interest to ask. It was about 7:15 PM and I asked the dealer about the "normal" crowd that frequents the Lucky Club. He said it was all over the place. "Tonight it is pretty tame, but it’s early," he said. "Some nights you literally need a bullet proof vest in here...

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