ATLANTIC CITY BLACKJACK REPORT─AUGUST 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.
Atlantic City Hits Old Age
Atlantic City has hit old age. What once had been a vital shore town for gamblers has become a creaky, broken-down, senior citizen on life support. Not dead yet, but terminally ill.
Atlantic City in the late 1980s was a gambling town in its teenage years. New casinos were being built; old hotels were being renovated. There was vibrancy in the casinos, the hotels, and along the shore and Boardwalk.
By 2006 those teenage years were long gone. The adult years came to a close at that point too. Atlantic City has probably lost half of its business from that year to this moment. Old age has settled in and even those with the most upbeat attitudes can’t really believe Atlantic City will ever return to its former glory.
The casino explosion in neighboring states has crippled the Queen by the Shore. It has profoundly crippled others as well.
There is a human element to the death, and potential death, of so many establishments – over 5,000 workers will be laid off. True, some dealers might find jobs in newly opened casinos in other states; some other workers might be able to transition into similar jobs in other businesses. Still, the majority of workers will confront that long, dark night of the unemployed soul.
Casinos love losers. They have now joined them.
Atlantic City won’t be coming back.
Here is the story in a nutshell. The following casinos have closed or will be closed by the end of 2014:
Might Be On the Way Out:
Those That Seem Okay (for now):
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.
I just returned from a trip to Atlantic City. The trip was fun and we were treated well but the rules for the blackjack games have changed and it’s harder to make money in Atlantic City.
First, the boardwalk and Tanger Outlets are a good take. Both were packed during the week and you can get some good bargains at the shops.
The bars on the Boardwalk are a good stop, with a lot of people watching and most have good specials.
The Revel is set to close by September and if this happens it would be a shame. The casino is very nice and it is also huge. I hope someone will buy it because I think it can make money if they change a few things.
The blackjack games are good. I found the ones that stand on soft 17 by the escalator but only a few players playing there decided to play other area and did well.
I hope it doesn't close because I think it can be saved and it is a clean well-kept casino
Showboat: It used to be a great place to play and win but things changed. Decided to go back and play before it closes. It surprised me but the BJ games were pretty good. Still hitting on soft 17 but cutting deep into decks and I can make money at these games.
I talked to a dealer for about an hour and they are hoping someone will buy it because it does make money and it is still clean and not run down. People that work there are friendly and I hope it will be saved. Worth playing there if you can before it closes.
Ballys: Games are all being moved to Wild West. Closed Simulcast and poker room, and move poker to Wild West. Very crowded … seems to have a lot of conventions and shows. Average games, didn't play very long; too crowded.
Borgota: Very nice rooms, plenty of places to eat. Packed with all different types of people. Games are good. dealer cuts only 15% off decks. Plenty of tables to play offer pretty good comps. Worth it to play at this casino.
Maybe a reduction of casinos is what Atlantic City needs. But closing the Revel will be a white elephant. Also, closing Trump Plaza may be the only option but it sits right at the end of the A/C Expressway and it will become a huge eye sore.
The New Mayor of Atlantic City praised the construction of the Bass Fishing Outlet store, which is nice, but he needs to find a way to keep the Revel, Showboat, and Trump Plaza from closing or find a way to get someone to buy these casinos.
I hope this helps,
Bubba from Boston
I don’t feel sorry for Showboat. No slot casino is going to drive Atlantic City any more unless the returns are outrageously high. Showboat’s slot paybacks were no better than any other casinos in AC. The blackjack games, what were left of them, were not so hot either. Most days only one craps table was open. The place looked clean but it was just make up.
I stopped going to AC a few months back. It was depressing. Most of the dealers were down. A lot of them are worried about their futures. The blackjack games, except in some high roller rooms, suck --- to put it bluntly. I wouldn’t be surprised if only Borgata and Taj Mahal remain standing.
AC is dead. Nuff said.
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 or I Am a card Counter: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Blackjack. 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.
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.
***NOTE: It is possible that the bosses won’t give a damn that you are counting now that they face losing their jobs. It’s a thought.
***** = 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:They have redone their casino and it looks good. BJ has cuts of about 70 percent. All 8-deck games except for the high roller room. The hitting on soft 17 is now a sad fact. Crews are friendly. Craps games are quite good. Low-lives have found a home in this place as they seem to be moving from Trump Plaza with the word that Trump is going into the dump. High roller minimums can go as high as $200. Two and one-half stars: * * ˝ *
BORGATA: Still the hottest casino in AC, bar none. The 6-deck games can still be found and the penetration has gotten quite good. A mixture of S17 and H17 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. Continues to be the number one casino in AC despite the horror of what’s happening to other casinos. Three stars: * * *
CAESARS: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 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." Two and one-half stars: * * ˝ *
CLARIDGE:…to dust thou shalt return.
HARRAH’S:No change from last issue. The blackjack games are so-so with eight decks and penetration of about 70 percent. Good place for craps. I must say this without equivocation, players like Harrah’s. On a recent walk-through mid-week there were plenty of players around the place. Two and one-half stars: * * ˝ *
PLAYBOY CLUB / WORLD’S FAIR:A concrete monster next to old Convention Center. Closed long ago.
RESORTS:Rumor has it this place is on the fence about closing; may be up for sale. Still every time I’ve been there midweek the business seemed fairly brisk. 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:Oh, boy, the dragon is looking to burn this place to the ground and throw its carcass into the ocean --- can Revel make it to Christmas? Most prognosticators say "no way." Look for the six decks with S17; the eight deckers are hit on soft 17. The six deckers are in the minority. Penetration is about 80 percent on those. These few are damn good games. This place wanted to become a destination resort and its destination seems to be at the bottom of the sea. I am rooting for Revel. Actually I am rooting for all of Atlantic City. I am like a Cubs’ fan. Three stars: * * *
SANDS:An empty wind-blown lot.
SHOWBOAT: It sunk.
TROPICANA:This place is bringing the highest rollers into AC. Now the place is H17 on all games except those outside the high roller room. Has excellent penetration, maybe 85 percent. Three and one-half stars: * * * ˝* (for penetration)
THE GOLDEN NUGGET: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: * * *
TRUMP PLAZA:Will probably close in September. Don’t bother going here.
TRUMP TAJ MAHAL:Same as last issue. 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: * * ˝*
WILD, WILD WEST:There are no table games here. This place could close soon.
THE BEST BLACKJACK IN ATLANTIC CITY:Any rating of three or more stars.
Best Craps in Atlantic City:All except: Borgata, Taj Mahal.
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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.
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"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
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