RENO TRIP REPORT
by KC Brooks
I have been addicted to blackjack ever since reading Revere's "Playing Blackjack as a Business" when I was 15. The art of blackjack is a lifetime endeavor. I went through the learning process backwards, learning Revere's Advanced Point Count first. I found out early that the actual count system is only a small piece of the puzzle. Presently, I travel "my" Devils Triangle (Reno, Wendover, Vegas}, playing mainly single- and double-deck games. Hi Lo is my choice of strategies and "Professional Blackjack" by Wong is my bible. I worship a large spread, and have been known to wong everywhere I go. Thank God I haven't had to register as a wonger yet, but I am sure it is not too far off. I also help fellow AP Nick teach card counting at www.Blackjackclassroom.com.
Casinos covered in this report include:
This month I traveled to Reno, the biggest little city in the world. I love going to Reno for a lot of reasons; close to Tahoe, cheap hotel rooms, good food, and most importantly, single-deck blackjack. Most of the casinos in Reno (there are 19) offer single-deck, double-deck, and six-deck shoe games. I play single deck exclusively.
I started my blackjack career back in 1978. I lived in South Lake Tahoe, and would come to Reno at least four days a week. It would take an hour or so depending on which route I took. Blackjack back then was great, no 6:5 games to be found anywhere.
The ride to Reno from Vegas is not as scenic as the trip from Tahoe, but if you go through Death Valley and up 395, you won't be disappointed. It adds a couple of hours to an already lengthy ride. Las Vegas to Reno via highway 95 takes about seven hours and covers roughly 480 miles.
Unfortunately, I had other business to take care of while in Reno, so I was unable to hit all of the casinos I usually visit there. This report will cover the Atlantis, Peppermill, Eldorado, Silver Legacy, Circus Circus, and Sands Regency. I would recommend checking out Boomtown, Grand Sierra, John Ascuaga's Nugget, Rail City, and Western Village if, and when, you come to Reno.
Most of the single-deck games are double on 10, and 11 only and no doubling down after splitting. The house advantage to a basic strategy player is 0.44%. There are a few casinos that allow you to double down on any two cards (Boomtown, John Ascuaga's Nugget, Rail City, and Western Village). The house edge is 0.18% in those games.
Most of the double-deck games allow doubling down on any two cards, you are not allowed to double after splitting nor are you allowed to re-split aces. The house advantage is slightly over 0.5% and penetration is usually one deck. Hopefully, now you see why I stick to playing single-deck games in Reno.
On this trip, I stayed at the Peppermill, Sands Regency, and The Silver Legacy. My favorite place is the Peppermill because it offers luxurious accommodations, great food, and year-round pool access. I was very impressed with the room at the Silver Legacy; and the Sands is my go to spot when I'm on a budget. The Sands is pet friendly, and Mel's diner and the Copa have decent food. I paid 18 dollars on hotwire for the room; unfortunately, the Sands now charge a resort fee of $8.95, but overall it's still a reasonable price.
There are a lot of great places to eat in Reno. As far as meal options in casinos go, the Peppermill, Atlantis, and Eldorado are my favorites. I was very impressed with the buffet at the Peppermill. I'm also partial to Asian food and highly recommend two Vietnamese restaurants; one is located on 5th street behind Circus Circus and the other across the street from Silver Legacy on Virginia Street.
The Sands Regency has a few tables of single-deck blackjack, one table of double deck and a couple of tables of six decks. The betting limits are $5-$500, and the six-deck game has a $3 minimum. The single-deck game allows you to double on 9, 10 and 11, as does the double-deck game. House advantage is 0.32% for the single-deck game, 0.65% for the double-deck, and 0.63% for the six decker. The Lucky Ladies 9 side bet is offered in the double-deck game. Be careful when...
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