RENO BLACKJACK REPORT
by KC Brooks
I have been addicted to blackjack ever since reading Revere’s "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 Revere’s 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 haven’t 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 following casinos were visited during April 2013 for this report: Atlantis, Boomtown, Eldorado, John Ascuaga’s Nugget, Peppermill, Siena, Sands Regency, and Western Village.
The drive north on 95 from Las Vegas to Reno at this time of the year is awesome. I had planned to leave early in the morning and make Reno by mid-afternoon; unfortunately, my timing was off by about ten hours. Instead of an early start, I was on the road out of Vegas at four in the afternoon. So much for, "early bird catches the worm."
The colors in the desert in the late afternoon are a sight to behold. The views of the mountains, with their fresh dusting of snow melted away, only increased my aggravation for getting a late start. The seven and a half hour drive seemed to fly by because I used the time wisely, brushing up on my single-deck basic strategy. Since moving to Vegas, I play mainly double-deck games, but I grew up on single deck and make the trek north every few months to play exclusively single-deck games.
The rules for single-deck blackjack in Reno are pretty much the same everywhere: dealer hits soft seventeen, you can only double on 10 and 11, and you cannot double down after pair splitting. The house advantage clocks in at 0.44%. I stay away from the double-deck games because the penetration is usually just 50 percent; so, if you’re only going to get a deck dealt, you might as well play a true single-deck game. What are we looking for, you ask? In a single-deck game, we look at the number of rounds dealt prior to the shuffle, with the more the merrier.
This report reviews the following casinos: Atlantis, Boomtown, Eldorado, John Ascuaga’s Nugget, Peppermill, Siena, Sands Regency, and Western Village. The above playing rules hold true with the following exceptions: Boomtown, Nugget and Western Village have games that you can double on any two cards. The house edge is a mere 0.18 %, damn near an even game to the basic strategy player. The Sands Regency allows you to double down on 9, 10, and 11, which equates to a 0.32% house advantage.
Table limits vary from casino to casino, with most places offering a $5 minimum game. Western Village has a couple of games with a $2 minimum. Eldorado, John Ascuaga’s Nugget, and Siena have $10 tables; whereas, Atlantis has $15 minimum single-deck games. For high-limit players, the Peppermill has the highest betting limit of $5000, Eldorado and Atlantis are next with a $3000 limit, Siena and the Nugget have $1000 limits, Boomtown’s maximum bet is $500, and Western Village and The Sands top out at $200.
When I’m in Reno, I play only...
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