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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 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 are, and

Note: Get a free 60-day subscription to Frank Scoblete’s private, members-only web site and message boards. Just write to Frank at

The Million Dollar Doozey:

Atlantic City’s Golden Nugget Playing Games With Baccarat Winners!

I am sure by now you know some of the story of the Golden Nugget in Atlantic City versus the Asian baccarat players. If not, here is a brief refresher:

  • New pre-shuffled cards are put into play at a baccarat table.
  • Players quickly note that these cards are not shuffled.
  • Players bet accordingly and win over a million and a half dollars.
  • Casino executives take much longer to see what was right in front of their faces and hold meetings and discussions trying to figure what cheating scheme the players were using until one of them said, "Hey, guys, I think the decks weren’t shuffled!"
  • Golden Nugget stops payment on chips even though they paid some players over $500,000 to that point.
  • Casino sues the players trying to get the cash they already distributed by claiming, "The game wasn’t fair" as if casino games are supposed to be fair.
  • Players counter-sue the casino saying, "Hey, you either do or don’t shuffle the stupid cards, don’t blame us if we figured out a way to beat you."
  • Golden Nugget sues the vendor of the supposed "pre-shuffled" cards.
  • One of the Asian players is supposedly prevented from getting into his room and taken into the casino’s idea of "custody" where he was treated as a criminal. He is suing the casino for unlawful "why the hell can’t I leave here" custody.
  • A New Jersey judge decides the casino is looking like spoiled jerks and he says they must pay the players. It is the casino’s job to supervise their cards, not the players’ job.
  • Golden Nugget now starts calling the gamblers trying to get them to give up their lawsuits. Nugget claims the players want to return to play and be treated properly.
  • Players’ lawyer says, "The Nugget is screwing around by trying to contact the players individually to get the case thrown out."
  • Golden Nugget’s lawyers claim the Nugget isn’t doing that and that the players’ lawyer is the one screwing around.
  • Lawyer for the Asian players say the Golden Nugget is being racist by not paying their clients.
  • Case is now on hold and the players who have not received their money won’t receive it until the judge rules again.

And that is where it stands right now. What’s my considered opinion? The Golden Nugget should pay the damn money and put this behind them. I don’t think there is a casino gambler anywhere who thinks the Golden Nugget enhances its reputation by stiffing their players or, if it is true, holding one hostage for a few hours.

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:

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

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.


Dear Frank and AP:

I have been reading your piece on the Golden Nugget in Atlantic City and the mini-baccarat players. I have found the new ownership and some of the new people who work there to be less than bright. The place has become paranoid over players, many of which don’t have skills at blackjack but have just gotten lucky like a friend of mine did a while back. They are showing their true colors by not giving those mini-baccarat players their winnings.

Cecil S.


Dear Frank:

With the arrival of fall you can already see that the uncrowded AC crowd has gotten even more uncrowded. AC will shrivel in the next two years. I am thinking we will see the ACH, Trump Plaza, Claridge (as a casino) go under. Maybe even Wild Wild West.



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Here are our ratings for blackjack October 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.

Rating system:

***** = 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: No change from last issue. 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: Still seems to be a thriving casino, at least on our last visit mid-week. 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]: Could this now be the worst BJ casino in AC? Mid-week did not see too many players. Blackjack games of the "pay 25 cents" so you can bet one dollar have arrived. 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 someday rival Trump Plaza in lowlifes. Two and one-half stars: * * ½ *

RESORTS: The reports are in and out about this casino’s games and the casino’s future. 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: So far this place is a major bust. 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. But whoever decided to go with the small comps, highly expensive rooms did not understand the AC base. 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: No change from last issue. 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: Bad vibes all around since the Asian players were humiliated winning at baccarat. The place looks good but the paranoia at the blackjack games is now tasteable. 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. Two and one-half stars: * * ½*

TRUMP PLAZA: Hasn’t this place closed yet? 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. 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: Last time we visited it was closed. Tumble-weed is blowing through this place now.


Best Craps in Atlantic City: All except: Borgata, Taj Mahal, Showboat and Wild, Wild West.


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