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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 

The next few months, I will be reviewing the casinos on the south end of the strip, located on Tropicana Avenue. The casinos include; Excalibur, New York New York, Hooters, Tropicana, MGM, and the Orleans. This month I will keep you abreast of the blackjack playing conditions at Hooters and The Orleans.

Hooters (115 East Tropicana Ave.)

Known for the infamous Hooters Girls and chicken wings, the Hooters Casino Hotel is located just one block south of the Las Vegas strip, across from the MGM Grand, at 115 East Tropicana Avenue. Hooters is your not-so-ordinary casino that welcomes you to play, stay, and eat 24/7.

Hooters offer a 30,000 square foot Hooters-themed casino floor, with 354 slot and video poker machines, twenty-four table games, including Blackjack, Roulette, Craps, EZ Pai Gow, Three-Card Poker, and a two-table, live-action poker room.

The poker room opens daily at 2:00 pm. Aces cracked is offered during limited hours; lose with the same color pocket aces and win $200. Lose with different color aces, win $100. There are daily high-hand bonuses; get a royal flush, and win $500.

Hooters have two tropical-themed pools, where the drinks are served cold and the girls are hot. The pools are open 24/7, with a bar overlooking a massive waterfall.

Food options include of course, Hooters and the Mad Onion. Hooters is open twenty-four hours and is now serving breakfast. The Mad Onion is open daily from 5 pm and offers a tasty menu with something for everybody and is easy on the wallet; prime rib can be had for only $9.95.

And now for the gaming; there are two roulette wheels and a craps game that offers 3x4x5x odds with a $5 minimum bet. Outside the entrance to Hooters is a big sign advertising $3 blackjack 24/7, unfortunately it is the worse game in the house, a six deck, hit soft 17 rule game, you are not allowed to double after splitting, and blackjacks are paid at the horrendous rate of 6:5. The table limits are $3-$500. They cut-off close to two decks, and the house advantage is highway robbery at 2.15 %, the price you pay to look at boobs.

The majority of games (over ten tables) are six-deck shoe games. The dealer hits 17, you can double after splitting, and you can re-split aces. The table limits are $5-$500, the penetration is roughly 4.5 decks and the house edge clocks in at 0.56%.

I was surprised to find a single-deck game with the traditional 3:2 blackjack payoff. In a city of 6:5 single deck games, this was definitely surprising. Unfortunately, like most of the 3:2 single-deck games in this town, the penetration is dismal. Playing heads up, you are lucky to get five rounds, which make the game tough to beat. The dealer hits soft 17; you can double on 10 and 11 only, no doubling after splitting, and mid-entry is not allowed. The house edge is comparable to games in Reno, at0 .44%, and the table limits are $10- $500.

Last, but not least, is one table of double-deck blackjack, and probably your best option at Hooters. The dealer hits soft 17, you can double down after splitting, and the table limits are $10-$500. The house edge in this game is 0.40%, and the penetration is good, roughly 65 percent.

Orleans (4500 West Tropicana Ave.

My next stop is The Orleans; just head west on Tropicana Ave. and itís a short distance from the Strip. The Orleans offers 1,886 beautifully appointed rooms and suites featuring the ultimate in luxury and comfort. If you are traveling with kids, this just may be the place to stay. The Orleans has a movie theater, bowling center with 70 lanes, The Time Out Arcade, and Kid Tyme, which is supervised entertainment for kids 3-12. It is open seven days a week, 365 days a year, so if you want to gamble and donít have a sitter, you now have a place to go. Rates run $7 to $8 per/hour per/kid depending on the day.

The Orleans is always...

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