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by JPB

JPB has been playing blackjack and counting cards part-time since 1996. He plays throughout the country but primarily in Missouri. He has been a Green Chip member of for five years and one-time winner of the Post-of-the-Month. JPB is a professional engineer with three engineering degrees and works as a consulting engineer.

Note: H17 = Dealer hits on soft 17; S17 = Dealer stands on soft 17; DAS = Double after split allowed; RSA = Resplit Aces allowed (RSA not allowed unless noted); Penetration = number of undealt decks located behind the shuffle determining card; # of Tables = the number of double-deck tables open when I played; CSM = Continuous Shuffling Machine.

Editor's Note: JPB's main focus on this trip were the double-deck games in Las Vegas.

In Part I of my article that appeared in BJI #182, I described the casinos I visited on the Strip and on the west side of Las Vegas. Although I found a number of casinos with excellent conditions (DD, S17, DAS), and several of these with good penetration, these Strip-casino DD games are somewhat of an illusion (at least for me).

Most of the casinos I visited with S17 and DD are MGM properties (Aria, Bellagio, MGM, New York New York, and Monte Carlo) that all use the same player card system. One problem arises when a player betting black chips declines to give the dealer and/or floor supervisor a player's card. This is an instant red flag. Why would a player making big bets decline the opportunity to get comps, such as room and meals, cash back, and in some cases, concert and tournament offers? (Other than he has already been identified as a card counter and blacklisted at least at one sister property.) Any sessions at these DD tables need to be brief or a skilled card counter should expect a quick exit. Another issue is that these casinos are not particularly close together. I spent about as much time walking as I did playing on the Strip. The final issue is that once a player gets identified as an undesirable at one of the MGM properties, he will most likely have his photo emailed (faxed in the old days) to the other MGM properties. Then it is game over - at least for DD games on the Strip.

Because of these issues with DD on the Strip, I took a fresh look at the blackjack games in the downtown casinos and gained a new appreciation of downtown Vegas in the process...

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