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LAS VEGAS BLACKJACK REPORT: SILVERTON, EL CORTEZ, and HARD ROCK

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.

Note: The observations of casino conditions were made in October 2012. The casinos visited in Las Vegas were:

Silverton, 3333 Blue Diamond Road

El Cortez Hotel and Casino, 600 Fremont Street

Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, 4455 Paradise Road

Last month I visited and wrote about three venues that Casino Player magazineís readers voted "Best Blackjack Las Vegas." If you read my article in Septemberís Blackjack Insider, youíll know I didnít necessarily concur with the rankings. As I mentioned last month, people vote the way they vote for various reasons. With election season drawing to a close in our country, I thought Iíd turn the tables and look at some casinos offering good games for the recreational blackjack player in the Las Vegas market. The three casinos I selected are geographically separated, but reachable with minimal effort for visitors and locals alike. There was no voting. These are my opinions and mine alone. Read on and Iíll explain what led me to my selections and why they might be worth your time.

Before we begin, let me take a moment to define "recreational blackjack player" for the purposes of this exercise. This is a player that is not a professional player, not a practiced card counter, but someone that understands and utilizes basic strategy to near perfection and has a modest bankroll. I wonít get into discussions of what constitutes bankroll amounts, but suffice it to say the games in this article arenít for black chip players Ė primarily red with some green action. The recreational player wants a decent chance of walking away with a profit, but also wants to stretch his bankroll to include multiple sessions over a Vegas vacation or multiple casino visits each month. This player wants complimentary drinks with good service, the occasional meal comp, and marketing offers for free or reduced rooms. They want a game that they can play solo or with friends for a pleasurable experience with the items above included and not feel like they are risking the mortgage or Little Johnnieís college fund. With those variables in mind we turn to our first selection.

Silverton, 3333 Blue Diamond Road

Silverton is located about four miles south of Mandalay Bay and the Las Vegas Strip. Take the Blue Diamond Road exit off Interstate 15. You canít miss the sign or the large Bass Pro Shop. You can also travel south down Las Vegas Boulevard and turn right, near the Premium Outlets - South, pass over the Interstate, and itís there on the left.

Silverton caters to locals and visitors alike. I stayed there often the first couple of years it was open, thanks in part to good video poker pay schedules and decent comp and room policies. My play dried up when...

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