ATLANTIC CITY BLACKJACK REPORT─OCTOBER 2014
by Frank and Alene Scoblete
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.
Going, Going, Gone!
The great New York Yankees broadcaster Mel Allen used to scream this when a ball was leaving the park. Well, plenty of casinos are leaving Atlantic City, although their departure is a strikeout rather than a home run.
Atlantic City is folding into itself; like that house at the end of the movie Poltergeist.
Come with me on a Boardwalk tour, starting at ACH, the southern end of the casino area, then going north. I’ve put those that have already closed in red; those that might close in blue and those that have a chance in good old black --- which is what they want their ledgers to be.
ACHis gone. It had gone through many names: Golden Nugget, Bally’s Grand, the Grand, the Hilton and ACH.
Tropicana (once called Tropworld) seems to be doing fine. It is getting big players. Probably will survive.
The World’s Fairis long gone. What had once been the Playboy casino has not seen a bunny in many a decade but probably has seen rats scurrying in its empty lot. What’s left there? An ugly concrete foundation. A true eyesore.
Trump Plazawas nicknamed the "Trump Dump" the past few years. The casino looked ratty and plenty of ratty looking patrons slunk around in there.
Caesars will hang in there. That’s the word.
Wild Wild West(part of Bally’s) will probably close for most of the winter. I actually think it is ready to be vacated and become a ghost town. Time will tell.
Bally’s will hang in there. Caesars Entertainment closed Showboat to give Caesars, Bally’s and Harrah’s a shot at surviving. We’ll see if it works.
Claridgehas closed its casino and has been sold. This was my favorite casino of all time. Why? I started my life there and my gambling career. That’s where the Captain took me under his wing.
Sandsis an empty lot. You’d never know a casino existed there.
Resorts was the very first casino in Atlantic City. With the closings of the other casinos it might be given new life.
Taj Mahalis a big property, a beautiful property and now the word is this great casino-hotel might just be heading into , and soon after, a closing.
Showboatis based on a New Orleans riverboat. It sunk.
Revelwas going to bring Las Vegas glitz to the Boardwalk. It was heralded as the second coming of Atlantic City, now as a destination resort. The management did everything wrong here. This was a billion dollar property that went bankrupt twice and now is an enormous silver derelict on the shore.
Will the city allow these buildings to become dark masses or will the city’s fathers (mothers) want to keep the buildings lit at night so the Boardwalk doesn’t resemble a tomb interrupted by some lit buildings?
Yes, in the Marina section, three are still operating: Borgata, Golden Nugget, and Harrah’s. No word on whether any of these three are in trouble
One can make a good case that with the closing of so many casinos on the Boardwalk; the other properties can’t help but get better since they will inherit the gamblers from the properties that closed. But there is the problem of the encroaching bad neighborhoods beginning their blob-like outreach to take back those areas of the city that had been gentrified. It is not inconceivable that AC might merely become those three casinos in the Marina district.
Time will tell.
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 think AC is finished. I would not be surprised if only two casinos remain on the Boardwalk, Tropicana and Taj Mahal. Gambling has outgrown its base and that is why so many places are in the red, not just in Atlantic , but in other areas of the country as well.
Blackjack should get better right? They must want to draw in some players. Even though it was summer on my three trips I could tell the city did not have that buzz it used to have in the past. Is it beyond imagination that all the casinos close? This would mean the real end of the Boardwalk empire.
Frank, my man,
Atlantic City can’t compete with Pennsylvania. The blackjack games are far superior and you even get two-deck games when I was last there. Atlantic City is a tired town and the scum seems to be coming out of their holes in the ground to go into the best casinos. I’m telling you I think the summer has shown us that even the warm weather couldn’t stop the decline and fall of this once great resort town.
The problem with Atlantic City is not unique to Atlantic City. America just has too many casinos and more are still coming. Politicians think it is a fast way to make tax dollars. It is also a fast way to collapse.
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 email@example.com. Make sure you send me your address so I can mail the book to you.
It is always best to check out the games for yourselves. Time of day, type of dealer, table minimum, number of decks can influence the most important ingredients in a good game for a card counter --- penetration. The second most important things are the rules. Most Atlantic City casinos allow doubling on the first two cards, splitting of pairs (once or twice), doubling after splits, three-to-two payouts on blackjacks (except those awful one-deck games). Sadly most of the casinos are hitting soft 17, except in the high roller rooms. For non-card counter you want shallow penetration and good rules and a full table!
Our reporters have somewhat different takes on the various casinos. Again it is always best to do a quick tour of the one(s) you plan to play at.
Okay, for nostalgia’s sake I am including the ghosts of casinos past. It is hard for me to think of Atlantic City shriveling up and dying.
Four stars: * * * * = superior game
Three stars: * * * = worth playing
Two stars: * * = look elsewhere
One star: * = seriously don’t you have something better to do?
No stars: 0 = are you that hungry to lose your money?
ACH: Even though he is still alive, does the future ghost of Steve Wynn walk this place? There was a time when this was the hottest casino in Atlantic City. Now it is a burnt out husk.
BALLY’S:Decent games. Eight decks in the main casino, hitting on S17, typical rules. Penetration about 75 percent. High roller room has six-deckers, about 80 percent penetration. Casino has been redesigned. Some of the riff-raff from Trump Plaza has made its way to Bally’s. Not a good sign. Can’t people launder their drug money somewhere else? Rating: * * *
BORGATA:The "in" place in all of Atlantic City. Young sexy folks abound. If all the casinos collapse this place will probably keep chugging along. Decent games. Eight decks on main floor with some hitting soft 17 and some standing on soft 17. Good penetration (about 80 percent) and some six-deckers throughout the place. Crummy craps tables. Rating: * * *
CAESARS:I expect this property to take off. It has everything, good restaurants, a great shopping / dining pier just across the Boardwalk. How can it lose? Blackjack is fine with eight deckers in main casino, hitting on soft 17, decent penetration of about 75 percent. This place is supposed to get the fallout from Showboat’s patrons. If so, it will markedly improve its economic performance. Rating: * * ˝ *
CLARIDGE:I bow my head to the late Captain.
GOLDEN NUGGET:It looks as if this casino is making it. It is not a rip-roaring success but it has survived a very tough time for Atlantic City. Blackjack games are so-so in main casino, eight decks with hitting on soft 17. Penetration about 75 percent at most. High roller room has six-deckers with penetration of 75-80 percent. Great craps games. Great crews. Rating: * * ˝ *
HARRAH’S:A slot palace but the blackjack games are far better now than during my last visit. If some of the Showboat crowd migrate here it should help improve their bottom line. Eight deck games with hitting of soft 17 throughout. Penetration of 70 percent – which is great for this place. Rating: * *
RESORTS:The place looks great. I still think they have to brighten the lighting in the casino but the place is clean and a nice casino in which to play. Blackjack games are decent; 75 percent penetration, eight decks with hitting soft 17. No one was in the high roller room when I checked this place out. It was a very early morning. Rating: * * ˝ *
REVEL:The biggest white (silver) casino elephant ever.
SANDS:I saw Sinatra and Dean Martin here. They even played in the casino. Those were the days.
SHOWBOAT:The book to be written about this casino is titled: Life Under the Mississippi.
TAJ MAHAL:I hope this place hangs in there. I’ve always liked it but left when their craps tables became trampolines. Main floor eight-deck blackjack goes from good games with 80 percent penetration to poor games with 65 percent penetration. I guess it all depends on the dealer and the floor person working a particular pit. All games hit soft 17. High roller room gets some good action. They stand on soft 17. About 75-80 percent penetration. Rating: * * ˝ *
THE WORLD’S FAIR(formerly Playboy Casino): Are there any Playboy clubs anywhere anymore?
TROPICANA:They are gunning for big play. There are huge Asian crowds with more Asian games than I’ve seen elsewhere. It is a strong casino with plenty of good games. Eight deckers in main casino, all eight-decks, hitting soft 17, with 75-80 percent penetration. High roller room has six-deckers with 80 percent penetration, sometimes even better. Rating: * * *
TRUMP PLAZA:Won’t miss this place.
WILD WILD WEST: I wonder if Bally’s is going to keep this joint open? When I last came here there were no table games. I will admit that was a few months ago. None of my reporters even bothered going here in the last couple of months. Oh, well.
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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.
"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
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