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Part III- Off the Strip/ Not Downtown

by JPB

In Part I of this series ( BJI # 161), I covered the Vegas strip casinos where I found there are still some casinos that offer good double-deck (DD) games, particularly if you can afford table minimums of $100. In Part II (BJI #162), I covered the downtown casinos, where I discovered the conditions are horrible for DD. In Part III, I cover the off-the strip/not downtown casinos, where I discovered more decent opportunities for double-deck games that have low table minimums and good penetration. Unfortunately, many of the places with good DD are under the same company ownership; therefore, if you are told "no more blackjack" at one casino, you will likely have a problem at the sister properties.

South Point

Technically, this place is located on Las Vegas Boulevard, but to me, the strip unofficially ends at Mandalay Bay on the south and somewhere around Circus Circus on the north. Therefore, I grouped South Point (SP) with the off-strip casinos. This is the second time I have played at SP in the last few years and the second time I was told, "No more blackjack". Conditions were decent. There were about four DD tables when I visited. Rules were H17, DAS, with about 60% penetration. Tables were empty or had only one player. SP is a decent place to play, except it appears any newcomer is watched like a hawk, and they have no tolerance for any bet spread by a knowledgeable player.

Las Vegas Hilton (aka LVH)

This casino was a big disappointment. At one time, they offered DD with surrender. I donít think penetration was ever great there but I remember 55% penetration (and I was expecting 55% or greater), and H17, DAS, based on my slightly outdated issue of CBJN. However, the few DD tables I found were H17 with no DAS, and they only allowed doubling on hard 9, 10, and11. Penetration was only 50%. Because of the bad playing conditions along with poor penetration, makes this place not worth playing or returning.

Terribles (Note: Since my visit, Terribles has changed ownership and is called Silver Sevens)

This was a decent low roller casino to play with the exception of trying to cash out. I played at the lone DD table where the rules were H17, DAS and penetration of about 55% (and maybe a little more). The table always had at least two or three other players. My black action stuck out like a sore thumb and got the pit boss scrambling for the phone as well as rummaging through a three-ring binder (fortunately, he did not find me). I kept the session short and moved on. My only complaint was waiting at least 10 minutes to cash out. What was frustrating was there were plenty of employees in the cage but only two windows were open.

Hard Rock

I did not see any DD in the main pit, but in the high limit pit, I found the DD, S17, DAS table that I was looking for. It was $100 minimum but the table was empty and based on the sparse afternoon crowd, I expected it to stay that way. Penetration was excellent at 70% or better. I remember getting a playerís card here a few years ago and I was certain it was "clean." I thought I had played a short-enough session that I had a clean slate. Therefore, when the pit asked me if I wanted a card, I said that I thought I had one a few years ago. I offered my drivers license and after less than 10 minutes, I was told...

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