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by Riverboat Flyer

Riverboat Flyer is a low-stakes blackjack player, who usually uses a small bet spread to reduce sort-term risk while taking advantage of casino comps. He plays the southern Ohio riverboats along with frequent trips to Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Tunica, and occasionally Lake Tahoe. He has been counting cards for over ten years, using Hi-Op, High Low, and currently the Half-Count system.

This trip occurred in Jan. 2013. Casinos visited include:

Gold Strike

New Years Eve in Tunica

My traditional New Year’s trip to Tunica included my wife, and my friend Louie and his wife. I track cards using the High Low half system and Louie uses the KO system. In Tunica, just about all the casinos use the same rules: hit soft 17, split any pair up to three times for four hands, double after split, re-split aces, and double any two cards. Single-deck games do not allow doubling after splitting.

Day #1

We arrived on Friday and headed to the Gold Strike casino, which has single-, double- and six-deck games. Surprisingly, there were low-limit tables available. I played a six-deck game with about 1.8 decks cut off. The table remained full for 3.5 hours, causing frequent shuffles. Spreading 1 to 5 this session ended with a 19-unit loss ... not a good start.

Day #2

At an early morning session, it was just me and another player. Penetration was better than last night, at about 1.7 decks cut off out of six decks. This made the high counts last longer. This time my splits and doubles with large bets were working. In 1.5 hours, I finished ahead 37 units.

Next stop was the Horseshoe, which has single-, double- and six-deck games.

The Horseshoe in Tunica is the only Harrah’s property that I like. They have only five player spots at the tables, which make them less crowded and smoky. They also always seem to have plenty of tables available. Betting limits were $5 to $10,000. Penetration was good, with around 50% on single- and double-deck games, and 1 to 1.7 decks on the six-deck games. There is no mid shuffle entry in the high-limit room.

I sat down at a six-deck game that had excellent penetration, down to one deck. It was a good session. I was winning hands with big bets out. The dealer was busting when basic strategy dictated that I stay on low totals. Spreading 1 to 7 units, I won 32 units in 1.5 hours.

I strolled over to the Tunica Roadhouse, not expecting to find much. The Roadhouse met my expectations. On a Saturday afternoon, they had eight players at the four blackjack tables that were open. The single-deck games have 6 to 5 natural payoffs. The double-deck games have both 6 to 5 and 3 to 2 natural payoffs. Throw in some continuous shuffle machines and you have a real grind joint. It is difficult to understand why they offer blackjack at all. The carnival games and slots were dead as well.

After lunch we drove over to Hollywood, where they offer a game that you do not see very often...

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