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LAS VEGAS BLACKJACK REPORT: BINIONíS, CALIFORNIA, D LAS VEGAS, AND EL CORTEZ CASINOS

by KC Brooks

I have been addicted to blackjack ever since reading Revereís "Playing Blackjack as a Business" when I was 15. The art of blackjack is a lifetime endeavor. I went through the learning process backwards, learning Revereís Advanced Point Count first. I found out early that the actual count system is only a small piece of the puzzle. Presently, I travel "my" Devils Triangle (Reno, Wendover, Vegas}, playing mainly single- and double-deck games. Hi Lo is my choice of strategies and "Professional Blackjack" by Wong is my bible. I worship a large spread, and have been known to wong everywhere I go. Thank God I havenít had to register as a wonger yet, but I am sure it is not too far off. I also help fellow AP Nick teach card counting at www.Blackjackclassroom.com.

The observations of casino conditions were made in December 2012.

The next three reviews are going to concentrate on twelve downtown casinos on or around Fremont Street. Februaryís report will consist of Binionís, California, D Las Vegas, and the El Cortez. March will include the Four Queens, Fremont, Gold Spike, and Golden Gate. April will conclude this three-part series with The Golden Nugget, Main Street Station, and the Plaza.

Binionís

Binionís was opened by Texas gambler Benny Binion in 1951. The Horseshoe Club as it was named, were the first real Gambling Hall and Saloon in Vegas. As she stands today Binionís Gambling Hall and Hotel takes up one full block of Fremont Street.

The Horseshoe Club is responsible for making poker famous, and the birthplace of the World Series of Poker, although it is no longer held there.

It would be interesting to see what blackjack games were available back in the day. The rules, how deep the penetration and such, compared to what is available today. Unfortunately, there is only one game that I would venture playing, and that is the single-deck game with H17, double on 10 and 11 only. Table limits are $10-$1000, and the house advantage is .44 percent. Penetration was averaging between three and four rounds with two players.

There are five tables of single deck with the dreaded 6:5 pay-out for blackjack that carry a house advantage of 1.57 percent, and table limits are $5-$1000. Two double-deck games with H17 and 6:5 blackjack payouts have a house edge of 1.90 percent. Table limits are $5-$500, definitely games to avoid.

The shoe games are eight decks and six decks with $5-$1000 table limits and H17. In the eight-deck game, you are allowed to double after splitting and can re-split aces. Penetration is about five and a half decks. The six deck games use a continuous shuffle machine, and you cannot re-split aces. The house advantage for the eight deckers is .59 percent and .63 percent on the six-deck games.

California Hotel and Casino

Next in line is California Hotel and Casino. The majority of blackjack games are double- deck games with H17. You cannot double after splitting, nor are you allowed to re-split aces. The table limits are $2-$1000, and the penetration is barely over a deck. You are only allowed to play a maximum of two hands. The house advantage for these games is .53 percent.

There are a couple of tables of...

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