ATLANTIC CITY BLACKJACK REPORT─ August 2012
by Frank and Alene Scoblete
Alene Scoblete is the CEO of Paone Press, which sells gaming books and tapes at discount prices. She also writes for www.scoblete.com. Her husband, Frank Scoblete, is the #1 best-selling gaming author in America. Frank’s books and tapes have sold over a million copies. For a free brochure call: 1-800-944-0406 or write: Frank Scoblete Enterprises, Box 446, Malverne, NY 11565. Frank’s websites arewww.goldentouchblackjack.com, www.goldentouchcraps.com and www.scoblete.com.
Don’t Fly With Me
(I decided to share with you my latest Vegas adventure. The AC blackjack report will follow.)
Las Vegas sucked.
Not to brag (okay, to brag); most of my extended trips find me winning a little, or a medium amount, or a lot of money. Go ahead and ask my pals and fellow writers Skinny or Stickman, who have been with me on so many trips to Atlantic City and Vegas and know the truth of how I have been doing. (You can ask the editor of the BJI, Henry Tamburin, as well.)
No bragging this time.
I played for only three days and lost all but two sessions, doing four sessions per day of craps, taking the dice three times per session, and also playing one or two sessions of Pai Gow, using an advantage-play strategy. One craps session win was spectacular --- fourteen dollars. I had my fellow "Five Horsemen" to thank for that win. The other winning session was 10 times that much.
My smallest loss was 10 times that "big win" and my biggest loss was totally disgusting; enough to make a grown man (meaning me) cry out, "What the hell is going on?"
I played Tuesday and Wednesday with Skinny as Stickman had to go to a family reunion, and Dominator and Nick@Night had to go home to get ready for their 4th of July vacations. Those are the members of the Five Horsemen, our craps team.
So last night I came home a complete and total loser.
How was my shot? It was good. There was one stretch where I was hot --- I made a monstrous bet on the six, hit it immediately, and thought I was on my way to a fabulous win. I sevened out right after that and slowly proceeded to get my buttocks kicked on my next two rolls.
But Vegas sucked not because I lost. I have lost before. Losing comes with the advantage-play territory. No, what got me was everything else. Nothing went right; nothing at all. It was a horror show. Now follow me on this.
After three days of getting creamed, Skinny and I headed for McCarran Airport. As I was bending over to take off my sneakers on the security line, I ripped a fart. I tried to cough to cover it up but to no avail. A little kid pointed to me, exposing me as the culprit.
Skinny and I had a nice talk about this and that. One point we both pointed out was the point that no matter how good a player you become, a beating can always happen.
Then I got on the plane. I take Jet Blue, an airline I have come to love. I get those extra leg-room seats in the first six rows. I take flight 190, the flight where the pilot went berserk several months ago; the flight just before the flight that went bonkers because it had lost its hydraulic system and circled Vegas for four and one half hours in order to burn its fuel before landing. That flight was called the "vomitorium."
Everyone got on the plane and the doors were shut. The middle seat in my row was empty, and a really fat guy, far fatter than I ever was, had the window seat. I said hello. He said hello and put his headset on.
Then the pilot announced, "We are going to leave right on time and get to New York about twenty minutes ahead of schedule."
We backed out of the gate. The plane stopped abruptly. The pilot got on the loudspeaker, "I am sorry but we have engine trouble and we need the mechanics to look at it and make sure everything is all right."
I started to close my eyes. I wanted to take a nap and…oh, for god’s sake, the guy in the window seat just took off his dirty sneakers and discolored socks and he was now wiggling his hideous looking toes! His feet were filthy. I looked askance at him but he was too busy digging into his god-awful feet and he had no idea that I was shooting daggers at him.
I thought about telling the flight attendant but the one up front was quite uptight. She glared when she looked at you. I decided to just close my eyes.
About 20 minutes later, the pilot got on the loudspeaker, "Good news! Everything is fine and we’ll be taxiing to the runway now. We are about third in line. We should still be able to get to New York on time."
The pilot said on the loudspeaker, "We are now number two."
Then some moron ploppy, moron jackass, ploppy idiot, cretin jerk gets up and walks to the bathroom; opens the door, closes it, and locks it. The flight attendant with the sour face says on the loudspeaker, "We cannot take off until everyone is in their seats with their seat belts on." She waits a few moments. "Maybe someone hasn’t heard me. We cannot take off until everyone is in their seats. Does everyone hear me?"
A round of "Jesus Christs" rings throughout the plane.
The sour flight attendant is now beside herself. "We cannot take off until everyone is in their seats. We cannot take off until everyone is in their seats. We cannot take off until everyone is in their seats!"
Another flight attendant comes up front and speaks to the sour flight attendant, "He is okay. He just has to do a number two."
"Jesus Christ," say the three men in the seats in front of me, seats in the first row. These three guys were now trying to flirt with the sour flight attendant, who seemed to enjoy the attention.
The other flight attendant smiled and announced to the passengers, "When that guy comes out of the bathroom, let’s all give him a round of applause."
Fifteen minutes later, the guy comes out of the bathroom. The entire plane erupts into applause. The guy, a true dimwit, starts clapping too! He has no idea that we were all clapping for his idiocy.
I slept most of the flight, that uncomfortable plane sleep, but every so often, I’d catch a glimpse of the fat guy picking at his bare feet. I turned and looked across the aisle. There was this girl all wrapped up in a sweater and woolen hat. She was skinny as could be.
We finally landed in New York, about 20 minutes late. Not so bad.
I left the Jet Blue terminal and looked for my ride. It wasn’t there. Car after car came to pick up passengers. But no car came for me. Finally, I called the limo service and told them I was waiting for them at Kennedy airport.
After four hundred years, my car arrived. I was driven home, tired, unhappy, but truly glad to be home. I could get back to working on my novel.
I went up the porch to open the outer door, the door I do not have a key to, the door the Beautiful AP must leave open for me to get in, now at 8:45 at night, the night she works the late shift in the library – and the damn door was locked; she had forgotten to unlock it. I couldn’t get into my house, my home, my refuge from the horrors of a losing trip to Las Vegas; the horrors of the plane ride, the guy with the filthy toes, the guy who went to the crapper, and the lateness of my car ride. The damn door was locked!
I had a choice. I could sit out there for an hour and wait for her to come home, which would mean being eaten alive by mosquitoes, or I could call her and impress upon her that if she didn’t leave work early and open the damn door for me, I would go on a rampage.
She came home post haste.
I finally got into my house. I looked at my beautiful wife and said, "I lost. This is the worst trip I have had in the last ten years."
"Let’s go to bed," she said with that wonderful smile.
"My pleasure," I said. "My pleasure."
All the awfulness was gone.
Our Readers Report
If you wish to contribute your reports or observations, we need to receive them by the 18th of the month for the next month. Write to: firstname.lastname@example.org
We have many readers who send us their reports on various aspects of Atlantic City and we do have some that give us reports just about every month – so we have decided to give them the fame and glory (as opposed to "fortune and glory") of their own columns. I also give them a free subscription to my private web site at www.goldentouchcraps.com.
You will note that our correspondents tend to have somewhat different views. Always it is up to you to decide which games you want to play by scouting them for yourselves.
Wild Wild West has been closed for well over a month (as well as Virginia City Buffet), yet you still refer to it (July Issue) as though it were still open??????
(Thank you for your comment. See our summary of playing conditions in A.C. casinos, which follows.)
The Golden Nugget only gets worse!!!
Golden Nugget, now a much prettier place, has so much heat! Was fooling around on a single 6/5 deck game. The floor was called. Dealer was yelled at for not cutting deck in half. Next, a press bet from $15.00 to $35.00 caused a shuffle up called by the floor. What a joke this place has become!
The Borgata is worse. They were cutting three decks on an eight-deck game with auto shufflers. Hitting soft 17 tables are almost everywhere.
Taj changed its room tax to $10.00 a night from $5.00. Telling no one; it just appears on your bill. I guess they write the laws. This is a tax that now robs the customers. All games on the floor hit soft 17. Blaaaaa!!!!
Yes, AC is hurting. Wild Wild West has totally closed its table games. They closed the buffet on 7/1. Wild West and Bally's are using Caesars buffet.
I'm staying in PA where the games are better. Surrender is offered everywhere!
The AC Angel
Dear Frank and Alene:
With Revel not doing as expected, you can see Atlantic City losing maybe four or five properties. AC is making the games worse, which also discourages players. Why take a trip to AC when you have casinos closer by if you live in Pennsylvania?
New York is also finding that its slot casino at Aqueduct raceway has brought in more money than any casino in America, including Foxwoods. I think New York is not far from bringing in casinos all the way.
Atlantic City is heading downhill fast.
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Here are our ratings for blackjack August 2012. We thank many of our readers for helping us to stay as updated as possible. There may be some disagreements in ratings among our correspondents but all these reports are based on individuals’ experience. A word to the wise: it’s always best to check out the casinos for yourselves.
***** = Excellent
**** = Very Good
*** = Good
** = Fair
* = Poor
BALLY’S PARK PLACE: No change from last issue. I am getting used to the hitting on soft 17 and my ratings are starting to change as I take this fact for granted. That is not a good thing. Good cuts of about 80 percent. Could be a happy time for card counters. This might be a good time to check this casino out. All 8-deck games except for the high roller room action. The hitting on soft 17 is now a sad fact. Crews are friendly. Craps games are quite good. High roller minimums can go as high as $200. Three stars: * * *
BORGATA: In a fight to the death with Revel, actually Revel having some problems in the casino area. They are the eighth casino in gambling revenue. The 6-deck games are now almost everywhere again and the penetration is starting to look like the old Borgata, if you can call a relatively new casino "old." A mixture of S17 and H17 were found but the H17 is starting to dominate. This is a happening place and caters to a swinging 30-something crowd that Revel is trying to attract. You’ll enjoy the night clubs and the beautiful people. We’ll see what happens. This is still a decent casino for blackjack. Not a good casino for craps. Two and one-half stars: * * ½*
CAESARS: No change from last issue. The main floor of eight-deckers has some of the upper-limit tables ($25 and $50) with no mid-shoe entry. All the games in the high roller pit are also no mid-shoe entry with $100 and higher minimums. Six-deck games in high roller room have 75 percent penetration just as most of the regular floor does. High roller room is S17; the main floor is H17 when we were there. The craps games here are good with 12-foot tables. The tables are high so smaller controlled shooters should wear their "special shoes." Two and one-half stars: * * ½ *
CLARIDGE: Closed every time we’ve stopped by. This is an historic hotel. If it weren’t, we think it would be torn down and be another empty lot across from the empty lot that used to be the Sands.
HARRAH’S: The more things change the more things change but there is no change for this issue. The blackjack games are so-so with eight decks and penetration of about 70-75 percent. Good place for craps. Two and one-half stars: * * ½ *
ACH [formerly the Hilton]: This place is going for low rollers. The gourmet restaurants are only open on weekends. Wild swings in penetration with more eight-deck games throughout the casino. Penetration is between 70-80 percent depending on the dealer. The hitting of soft 17 brings this place down a peg as well. High roller room is 6-decks; rest of the casino is 8-decks with a few $25/$50 6-deckers on occasion. No mid-shoe entry on the six-deckers. For craps, we are dealing with 13-foot tables and a couple of 12 footers. The casino is now actively promoting to the locals and if by local they mean the baggy pants worn under the buttocks folks laundering their drug money, this place may rival Trump Plaza in lowlifes. Two and one-half stars: * * ½ *
RESORTS: No change from last issue. They have ghosts of the past and a new theme that goes back even further. Resorts is now going all out for that 1920’s look! The reports are in and out about this casino’s games. Many H17 games on main floor; high roller room is S17. Penetration on all games is about 70-75 percent which is not bad considering this is AC. Decent craps games. Has opened the first Atlantic City gay nightclub and is courting the gay community, which is a smart move as gay vacation resorts and nightclubs seem to make a good go of it.. Two stars and one-half stars: * * ½*
REVEL: Not really producing in the gambling revenue department. But it is new and it is spectacular and certainly worth a visit. The theme of the new place is simple, "Kick Borgata’s ass!" Some games are good and some are bad. Look for the six decks with S17; the eight deckers are hit on soft 17. The six deckers are in the minority. Penetration is 75 percent at most. You’ll meet a lot of dealers who left previous casinos in AC. That should help you get acclimated. Two and one-half stars: * * ½ *
SHOWBOAT: Slots dominate this place now. The blackjack has deteriorated considerably with little penetration – maybe you play 60-66 percent of the shoe. All games are hit on soft 17. High roller room is passable with better penetration, about 75 percent, and at some slow times the minimums are $25 – although you won’t see this much in the summer. Pass this place by unless you are walking Fido since they are now the animal friendly hotel – disgusting! One star: *
TROPICANA: Starting to really look like a top-notch property. This place is going in the opposite direction from Trump Plaza and ACH by bringing the highest rollers into AC. Now the place is H17 on all games except those outside the high roller room. Still has some good penetration, maybe 75 percent; sometimes excellent penetration of 80 percent. Three stars: * * * (for penetration)
THE GOLDEN NUGGET: The place look good but the paranoia at the blackjack games is now tasteable. You might want to skip this place by. The blackjack games in the high roller room are excellent with penetration of 80 percent and top rules such as splitting and resplitting; and standing on soft 17. The eight-deck games in the casino are ho-hum and basically the same as all the other casinos in AC. The craps games are excellent and – as always – this place has the nicest and most professional dealers you will find. Give it a whirl but again, the report is blackjack paranoia now reigns supreme here; just ask a suit named Michael. Two and one-half stars: * * ½*
TRUMP PLAZA: It is now called "Dump Plaza" or "The Trump Dump" but it does have fairly good games when those games are open. Still something has to be done with the dark casino and the low-life scum skulking through it. Maybe the time has come to raze the place? Six-deck games are back outside the high roller room. The penetration is 70-75 percent. No mid-shoe entry on games outside high-roller pit but you can find $25 (a few) to $50 minimums on these. Allows resplits, except aces. All tables are $10 and higher. Craps tables are 12-footers. The dealers range from professional and friendly down to arrogant and ignorant. Some days the place is practically empty. Two and one-half stars: * * ½ *
TRUMP TAJ MAHAL: No change from last issue. Now they are hitting soft 17 except in high roller room. First they screwed up the craps tables so the dice go flying off the table every third roll and now they have decided to give the blackjack games a wicked colonoscopy with barbed wire. Great hotel and great restaurants and great entertainment. Also, great dealers and pit personnel. Too bad it isn’t the premier place to play any more because it is a great place to stay. Two and one-half stars: * * ½*
WILD, WILD WEST: Closed. Tumble-weed is blowing through this place now.
THE BEST BLACKJACK IN ATLANTIC CITY: Bally’s and Tropicana
Best Craps in Atlantic City: All except: Borgata, Taj Mahal, Showboat and Wild, Wild West.
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