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by Stu D. Hoss

Stu D. Hoss is a retired Air Force officer and aviator. He has visited and served in over 40 countries including flying combat missions in the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Horn of Africa. Most of it under the guise of keeping the world safe for democracy, better blackjack, and for a few other personal reasons. He has been playing blackjack for over 20 years, and cut his teeth on the tables of South Lake Tahoe during flight training in Northern CA. Mr. Hoss uses basic strategy and the HiLo count method to give himself a chance against the house edge. He currently resides in NV and is weighing his options for a second career.

Note: The observations of casino conditions were made in January 2014. The casinos visited in North Las Vegas include:

Jerry’s Nugget, 1821 North Las Vegas Boulevard

Silver Nugget, 2140 Las Vegas Boulevard North

Opera House Saloon & Casino, 2542 Las Vegas Boulevard North

There is another Las Vegas that many readers and even residents of the Las Vegas Valley aren’t familiar. It’s actually another city, North Las Vegas. With a population of over 215,000, its Nevada’s fourth largest city after Las Vegas, Henderson, and Reno. North Las Vegas is home to multiple casinos which offer varying degrees of gambling, dining, and entertainment options. This month we ventured north on Las Vegas Boulevard, far from the luxurious confines of Strip properties like Aria and Cosmopolitan, which I profiled in the last issue of Blackjack Insider, to check out three casinos within two miles of one another. I was met with a pleasant new discovery, a disappointment, and "more of the same."

Jerry’s Nugget, 1821 North Las Vegas Boulevard

Jerry’s Nugget is about five miles north of the LVH (formally the Las Vegas Hilton) on Las Vegas Boulevard from the Sahara intersection and through downtown Las Vegas. This route passes the Neon Museum, the Las Vegas Natural History Museum, and Cashman Field (home of the Las Vegas 51s, currently the AAA affiliate of Major League Baseball’s Toronto Blue Jays). Jerry’s is a historic property and is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Located just north of the downtown Casino Center area around Fremont Street, Jerry’s was once the primary casino to the north between downtown and Nellis Air Force Base. It’s considered a locals casino.

If you win big at Jerry’s Nugget, the Palomino Club (strip club) is right across the street next to Jerry’s overflow parking. Other neighbors across the street include Chicas Bonitas (another strip club) and a pawn shop. As I’ll touch on later in this article, this portion of Las Vegas Boulevard and its environs is a far cry from the Strip. To the east of Jerry’s, the property values and neighborhoods tend to degrade rather quickly. Stick to Las Vegas Boulevard, especially after dark.

These days Jerry’s Nugget is probably best known for Jerry’s Famous Coffee Shop....

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