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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 April 2014. The casinos visited in North Las Vegas include:

Cannery Casino and Hotel, 2121 East Craig Road

Aliante Casino + Hotel + Spa, 7300 Aliante Parkway

April is a month of contrasts. Temperatures begin to climb; however, there are plenty of cool nights and foul weather across the land. Cries of "Play Ball" ring out and the Major League Baseball season is underway. Yet traditional winter sports such as basketball and hockey begin their playoffs. Thereís Spring Break reveling and this year, Easter represented a different kind of celebration.

April in Las Vegas is no different. There are hot, 90F days and gusty, howling winds up to 40 miles-per-hour; even a few raindrops. There are nice wins and brutal losses; six-card dealer 21ís after youíve split four times and doubled-down, to flopping deuces in video poker. April is a month to be reunited with old friends like Mother Nature and Lady Luck. In the Las Vegas Valley, they are both fickle and on display in April.

In keeping with the "contrast" theme, this monthís featured properties are located in North Las Vegas Ė a city of marked contrasts. It conjures many different images to many people Ė some positive, some quiet negative. Some of the North Las Vegas joints Iíve written about in recent months arenít for everyone, but they have presented a variety of options for gaming, dining, entertainment, and more. Sometimes itís good to venture out of oneís comfort zone and shake things up. This month we visited two of the larger, more popular casino properties in Nevadaís fourth largest city.

Cannery Casino and Hotel, 2121 East Craig Road

The Cannery is a recent Las Vegas Review Journal (LVRJ) Best of Las Vegas 2014 winner in the "Best Local Casino" category. These awards are doled out each year based on poll responses from LVRJ readers and staff. The property is located about five miles west of Nellis Air Force Base. If you are using Interstate-15, take the Craig Road exit (Exit 48). Itís about 1.5 miles west of the highway exit on busy Craig Road.

The Cannery features one large table games area in the middle of the casino that includes 15 blackjack tables, two craps tables, a roulette table, and three Pai Gow Progressive Poker tables. The blackjack offerings consist of up to 11 double-deck tables, two six-deck shoes, one six-deck game dealt from an continuous shuffler (CS), and one table of single-deck Super Fun 21 (technically not blackjack).

Iíve played the double-deck game at the Cannery many times and it holds up well when compared to other blackjack games in the Las Vegas market. Player blackjacks at the Cannery pay 3:2; dealers hit soft 17 (H17); doubling down on any first two cards is permitted (DOA); as is doubling down after splits (DAS). Aces may be split once to form two hands, unless you are playing a six-deck game, then re-splits up to four hands are allowed. Surrender is not available on the double-deck games, but is allowed on the six-deck version. The rules are the same for the double-deck and six-deck shoe games, with the noted exception of splitting Aces and the surrender option.

If you like six-deck games and plan to play these games at the Cannery, Iíd recommend confirming...

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