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by JPB

JPB has been playing blackjack and counting cards part-time since 1996. He plays throughout the country but primarily in Missouri. He has been a Green Chip member of for four years and one-time winner of the Post-of-the-Month. JPB is a professional engineer with three engineering degrees and works as a consulting engineer.

In late April 2013, I returned to Vegas after over a year gap. At one time, when I was getting attractive offers (free tournament entries, large cash back coupons, and free concerts), I was making at least two trips to Vegas per year. This was also before I was blacklisted from the major casino properties and the consolidation of properties into Harrah’s and MGM. Over the last few years, I have only made a few trips to Vegas do not plan to return in the next year.

One of the best tips I got from the message boards was this: "If you are trying to preserve your longevity, stick to 6-deck games and avoid the double-deck games." The casinos, especially in Vegas, are much quicker to assume a wide bet variation means a player is counting cards- especially when the bets approach or exceed $500.

If you are a serious card counter trying to log many playing hours in Vegas, do as I say not as I did. On this trip, I decided ahead of time that I was going to play double-deck games exclusively and live with the consequences. Since I do not frequent Vegas, the consequences are not that punitive. I tried to keep my sessions short and get out before the casinos were able to confirm my bet spread was coinciding with the percentage of high cards left in decks. As I tried to keep my sessions short, I was able to visit and sample a bunch of double-deck games. In this three part series, I summarize the double deck games I played and split into three parts:

1. Vegas Strip

2. Downtown

3. Off Strip

I’ll cover the Vegas Strip first. Note: I only covered the portion of the Strip from Mandalay Bay (on the south side) to Treasure Island to the north. I did not venture any further north, and although I did visit South Point on the far south side of Las Vegas Boulevard, I lumped South Point with the "Off Strip" casino.

Double Deck on the Vegas Strip

Mandalay Bay

When I played Mandalay Bay in the early 2000s, I do not believe they offered double deck. Mandalay appears to be one of the few casinos that has added, rather than removed, double-deck tables. When I visited, there were at least three open double-deck tables. Table minimum was $25.00 in the main pit, and the penetration was very good, around 65-70%. I was able to play heads up against the dealer on both of my visits. The games in the main pit were H17. In the high limit pit, the games were S17, DAS with a posted table limit of $200; however, the pit boss let me play at a $100 minimum in the morning. Overall, this is one of the best places on the strip to play double-deck games.


Among the many tables, there was only one double-deck table with excellent rules and penetration: S17, DAS with 65-70% penetration. The table minimum was $100. When a casino offers only one double-deck game among many 6/8-deck tables, it should be assumed the double deck is...

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