ATLANTIC CITY BLACKJACK REPORT─JUNE 2014
by Frank and Alene Scoblete
Alene Scoblete is the CEO of Paone Press, which sells gaming books and tapes at discount prices. Her husband, Frank Scoblete, is the #1 best-selling gaming author in America. Frank’s books and tapes have sold over a million copies. For a free brochure call: 1-800-944-0406 or write: Frank Scoblete Enterprises, Box 446, Malverne, NY 11565. Frank’s website iswww.frankscoblete.com. Befriend Frank on Facebook.
We thank many of our readers for helping us to stay as updated as possible. There may be some disagreements in ratings among our correspondents but all these reports are based on individuals’ experiences. A word to the wise: it’s always best to check out the casinos for yourselves.
As homage, I will now put in all the casinos from all the years of Atlantic City’s existence. Why? Because as AC starts to become a semi-ghost town it might be nice to know which ghosts are floating over the waves.
In addition, I decided to give you a rundown of what the casinos did this past April against what they did in April of 2013. And to give you what they have done in the year to date. Keep in mind that for more than half a decade now Atlantic City --- by and large --- has been declining month after month, year after year, from previous months and years.
Also keep in mind a casino could have been blasted for several years so an increase in revenue does not necessarily mean the casino is recovering nicely. It could be experiencing its last breaths.
***** = Excellent
**** = Very Good
*** = Good
** = Fair
* = Poor
General rules:Atlantic City casinos basically have the same rules – on occasion this or that casino might change how many splits you can do or offer those horrible 6-to-5 blackjack games. Sometimes casinos will offer surrender (a rarity). Just about all casinos have gone to the H17, although most will have some games where dealers stand on soft 17 (high roller rooms). The best games in terms of penetration and number of decks are invariably found in the high roller rooms. Players can double on any first two cards; they can split two or three times (make sure you ask about this or read the signs on the table); aces can only be split once and each ace receives one card (the standard rule all across the country). You can usually play up to three hands but most of the casinos will let you play all the spots if you make arrangements beforehand – obviously the casino is looking for high roller action in such a case. Check out the new wording on many of the layouts – amazingly wordy and almost totally BS as opposed to BJ.
ATLANTIC CLUB:From dust thou art…
BALLY’S PARK PLACE:Down 12.2 percent from April 2013. Year to date: down 14.5 percent. Cuts of about 70 percent. All 8-deck games except for the high roller room action. The hitting on soft 17 is now a sad fact. Crews are friendly. Craps games are quite good. High roller minimums can go as high as $200. Casino has redesigned itself and looks good. Two and one-half stars: * * ½ *
BORGATA: Still going strong in this market. Its revenue was up 12.8 percent. Year to date: up 3.1 percent. The hottest place in AC bar none. The 6-deck games are now almost everywhere again and the penetration has gotten quite good. A mixture of S17 and H17 were found but the H17 is starting to dominate. Sometimes these tables are right next to each other so – obviously – read the layout to see which of the two games you prefer to play. This is a happening place and caters to a swinging 30-something crowd. You’ll enjoy the night clubs and the beautiful people. This is still a decent casino for blackjack. Not a good casino for craps. Three stars: * * *
CAESARS:The single best Caesars (Harrah’s) casino in Atlantic City. Up 17 percent from April 2013. Year to date: up 1 percent. This is quite a nice casino. However, we are seeing a big decline in the number of blackjack games open midweek. The main floor of eight-deckers has some of the upper-limit tables ($25 and $50) with no mid-shoe entry. All the games in the high roller pit are also no mid-shoe entry with $100 and higher minimums. Six-deck games in high roller room have 75-80 percent penetration just as most of the regular floor does. High roller room is S17; the main floor is H17. The craps games here are good with 12-foot tables. The tables are high so smaller controlled shooters should wear their "special shoes." Three stars: * * *
CLARIDGE:…to dust thou shalt return.
GOLDEN NUGGET:The words about this casino --- my word and others’ words --- are getting out! Up 40 percent in April. Year to date: up 23.8 percent. The blackjack games in the high roller room are excellent with penetration of 80 percent and top rules such as splitting and resplitting; and standing on soft 17. The eight-deck games in the casino are ho-hum and basically the same as all the other casinos in AC. Crowd is heavily slanted towards carnival games. The craps games are excellent and – as always – this place has the nicest and most professional dealers you will find. Give it a try. Three stars: * * *
HARRAH’S:Down 10.4 percent. Year to date: down 6.3 percent. The blackjack games are so-so with eight decks and penetration of about 70 percent. Good place for craps. Two and one-half stars: * * ½ *
PLAYBOY CLUB / WORLD’S FAIR:A concrete monster next to old Convention Center. This bunny is no longer fair and is long dead.
RESORTS:Up 7 percent from April 2013. Year to date: up 10.7 percent. Casino looks great. There are new restaurants and the entrance on the Boardwalk is pleasing to the eyes. Many H17 games on main floor; high roller room is S17. Penetration on all games is about 80+ percent which is darn good. Decent craps games too. Has opened the first Atlantic City gay nightclub and is courting the gay community, which is a smart move as gay vacation resorts and nightclubs seem to make a good go of it.
Three stars: * * *
REVEL:Scratch my head. Revel is up 55 percent. Year to date: up 37.4 percent. Some games are good and some are bad. Look for the six decks with S17; the eight deckers are hit on soft 17. The six deckers are in the minority and the best are right by those giant escalators. Penetration is about 80 percent on those. These few are damn good games. Whoever decided to originally go with the small comps, highly expensive rooms, and non-smoking did not understand the AC base. This place wanted to become a destination resort and its destination seems to be at the bottom of the ocean. I am rooting for Revel and this increase might presage good things to come.. Actually I am rooting for all of Atlantic City. Revel has now brought in a new group to manage the property and they are aggressively going after players. I wish them the best! But I am guessing (now write this down) that Revel closes before the summer of 2014, at least to be "renovated." (Well, I am going to be totally wrong on this prediction in a few weeks time.) Three stars: * * *
SANDS:Now just an empty wind-blown lot.
SHOWBOAT: Oh, boy, this place seems to be sinking; down 20.1 percent. Year to date: down 7.9 percent. The blackjack has deteriorated considerably with little penetration – maybe you play 60-66 percent of the shoe. All games are hit on soft 17. High roller room is passable with better penetration, about 75 percent, and at some slow times the minimums are $25 – although you won’t see this much in the summer. Pass this place by unless you are walking Fido since they are now the animal friendly hotel – disgusting! One star: *
TROPICANA:Up 6.4 percent. Year to date: up 6.9 percent. This place is bringing the highest rollers into AC. Large Asian rooms --- that’s the room that’s large. Now the place is H17 on all games except those outside the high roller room. Now has excellent penetration, maybe 85 percent. Three and one-half stars: * * * ½* (for penetration)
TRUMP PLAZA:My bet for the casino that closes its doors next. The "Dump Plaza" or "The Trump Dump" went down a monstrous 26 percent! Year to date: down 27.4 percent. It does have fairly good games when those games are open. Craps games were closed in the morning when I went there. The penetration on blackjack was about 70 percent. No mid-shoe entry on games outside high-roller pit but you can find $25 (a few) to $50 minimums on these. Allows resplits, except aces. All tables are $10 and higher. Craps tables are 12-footers. Two stars: * *
TRUMP TAJ MAHAL:Down 18.8 percent; April to April. Year to date: down 20 percent. They are hitting soft 17 except in high roller room. First they screwed up the craps tables so the dice go flying off the table every third roll and now they have decided to give the blackjack games a wicked colonoscopy with barbed wire. Great hotel and great restaurants and great entertainment. Also, great dealers and pit personnel. Too bad it isn’t the premier place to play any more because it is a great place to stay. Two and one-half stars: * * ½*
WILD, WILD WEST:Part of Bally’s percentages. There are no table games here at all. This place could close soon. I thought I saw tumbleweed blowing through it.
THE BEST BLACKJACK IN ATLANTIC CITY:Any rating of three or more stars.
Best Craps in Atlantic City:All except Borgata, Taj Mahal, and Showboat.
Our Readers Report
If you wish to contribute your reports or observations, I need to receive them by the 18th of the month for the next month. Write to:firstname.lastname@example.org
We have many readers who send us their reports on various aspects of Atlantic City and we do have some that give us reports just about every month – so we have decided to give them the fame and glory (as opposed to "fortune and glory") of their own columns
You will note that our correspondents tend to have somewhat different views. Always it is up to you to decide which games you want to play by scouting them for yourselves.
Will the state of New Jersey allow Revel to close? What a blight that would be on the Atlantic City scene! A huge white elephant and a depressing sight. I think smaller casinos can come and go but the big ones bring character to the town.
Just read your book I Am a Card Counter! It seems we have had parallel experiences although I never had a gun put in my back. Recently the Hard Rock banned Ben Affleck and do you think that stopped the ploppies from gambling? No. Advantage play is often thought of as cheating which it isn’t. I really loved your book. Ben Affleck should read it.
Readers: If you write me a letter that I publish I will send you a free copy of one of my new books, either The Virgin Kiss or Confessions of a Wayward Catholic. Just let me know which one you want. My email address is email@example.com. Make sure you send me your address so I can get the book out to you.
I Am a Card Counter: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Blackjack by Frank Scoblete
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The heart of this book focuses on what it means to be an expert player. Enjoy Frank and A.P.’s amazing true story; a story of phenomenal skill, teamwork, casino intrigue, and fascinating characters and, yes, how the casino bosses angrily reacted to a couple who knew more about winning money than almost anyone who ever challenged a casino. You’ll see what happens when the casino bosses go after Frank and the Beautiful A.P.
You’ll also meet such greats as Ken Uston, Henry Tamburin, the Stickman, Fred Renzey, Howard Schwartz, Edna Luckman, the Dominator, John Gollehon, Marvin Karlins, Walter Thomason, Stanford Wong, the real Rain Man, Joanna W., Silas the Miser, the Wheat Germ Man, and first and foremost, you will meet the man Frank considers the World’s Greatest Blackjack Player ever!
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Avaiable at a discounted price from BJI store. Click here to order.
Bless me father for I have sinned.
Confessions of a Wayward Catholic
Confessions of a Wayward Catholicis a hilarious yet insightful account of Frank Scoblete’s years from kindergarten through grandparenthood as a confused, wayward, seemingly ever-sinning Catholic. Join Frank for an entertaining but possibly hell-bound ride as he attempts to understand what God and religion are all about. Will Frank reach the pearly gates or be banished to eternal damnation?
"I love my husband but there is stuff in this book that is disgraceful and should never have been written!" – Alene Scoblete, wife
"Francis Scoblete has been a major sinner ever since he came to elementary school. I watched him closely at the dances." – Sister Jerome Blake, in charge of making sure girls and boys slow danced a foot apart.
"I don’t know why Jewish kids went to a Catholic school but I’m proud they did well in religion." – Chief Rabbi Sol Bernstein
"I believe that you should love your neighbor as yourself. Luckily, Frank lives in another town and is not my neighbor." – Jesus Christ
"Scoblete says I have no sense of humor. I will afflict him with boils and sores over his whole body, just like I did Job." – God
"Frank Scoblete has been wayward for over six decades. He’s my main man!" – Satan
Price $16.95 + $6 shipping and handling (total $22.95)
Call 1-800-944-0406 for mail order
Checks / Money Orders to:
Frank Scoblete Enterprises
PO box 446
Malverne, NY 11565
Available on Amazon.com and Kindle
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