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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.

Casino visited include:


Isle of Capri



Everything's Up to Date in Kansas City

By my records, it has been almost a year since I provided an update on the Kansas City casinos. So, in keeping with the above sub-title, an updated report is provided.

As I mentioned in my previous report (BJI #175), just because a card counter cannot be banned for card counting in the state of Missouri, this does not mean that the blackjack games are terrible. In fact, the conditions are even a little better for double-deck games than noted in my last report.

In this trip report, I cover three of the four Kansas City, Missouri casinos: Ameristar, Isle of Capri, and Harrah's plus the Hollywood casino located in Kansas City, Kansas.

Kansas City Logistics

There are actually six casinos in Kansas City: two are located in Kansas, the Hollywood and 7th Street casinos. I do not believe 7th Street casino offers blackjack. Hollywood is on the far western part of the metro adjacent to the Kansas Speedway. Three of the four casinos are fairly close on the northeast side of the metro area: Isle of Capri, Harrah's, and Ameristar. They are not within walking distance but less than 5 minutes apart by car. Argosy is located in Riverside about 10 miles west of the main cluster.

Ameristar (3200 N. Ameristar Dr.)

This is the largest of the Kansas City casinos. On the main floor, you can find a few six-deck games with standard rules: H17, DAS, RSA and no surrender allowed for a house advantage against a basic strategy player of 0.56%. Penetration is decent at around 4.8 out of 6.0 decks. However, the six-deck games on the main casino floor seem to be usually crowded; therefore, table hopping is not that easy. They have recently added two lower minimum ($15) double-deck games with poor rules (no DAS and D9-11 only). House advantage is about 0.65%, and the penetration is about 1.2 out of 2.0 decks.

In the high-limit area, there are usually at least two or three double-deck games with the following rules: H17, DAS, no RSA, and no surrender for a house advantage of about 0.40%. Penetration is good and varies by dealer but is typically about 1.2 or better out of 2.0 decks. Table minimums are $25 or $50 and the maximum is higher than I would ever bet (at least $2000). There are also a few six-deck games in the high-limit area with the same conditions as in the main pit.

As I mentioned earlier, a card counter cannot be banned for counting. Ameristar will take countermeasures that consist of reducing the penetration to 50% or 25% depending upon a number of factors that do not seem consistent or logical to me. A few pit bosses will instruct the dealers to preferential shuffle on card counters that place bets, but that is not the norm.

Overall, Ameristar is a good place for the card counter looking for a decent double-deck game.

Harrah's (One Riverboat Dr.)

In the high limit area, there are typically at least two double-deck games and one six-deck game. Conditions are summarized below:


  • H17, DAS, no RSA, and no surrender for a house advantage of about 0.40%
  • Penetration 65-75%
  • Table minimum $25 up to $100
  • Table maximum greater $2000 on every table


  • H17, DAS, RSA for a house advantage of 0.56%
  • Penetration about 4.5 decks dealt out
  • Table minimum $25 in high limit
  • Table maximum $ 2000 in high limit

While the conditions are good in the high-limit area, there is nothing worth playing in the main pit. There were only a few other tables and they are all eight-deck games with penetration of less than 6.0 decks out of 8.

On my most recent visit to Harrah's, I was able to play a short stint without any countermeasures; however, the countermeasures that I have observed make the double-deck game unplayable. Usually, the dealers are instructed to deal two rounds and shuffle (the equivalent of about 20% penetration).

Overall, a great place for a double-deck game if you can avoid the countermeasures.

Isle of Capri (1800 E. Freemont St.)

There are two or three double-deck games with the following rules:

  • H17, DAS, RSA, and no surrender for a house advantage of about 0.35%
  • Penetration about 70-75%
  • Table minimum $25
  • Table maximum $1000

This is a low roller place where any black action stands out and countermeasures are taken quickly. Countermeasures consist of lowering the table maximum to $25 and/or reducing penetration.

Unlike me, if you have a clean name and can avoid countermeasures, this is a good place to play.

Hollywood (777 Hollywood Casino Blvd., in Kansas)

On the main floor, you can find a few six-deck games with the standard rules: H17, DAS, RSA, and no surrender for a house advantage of 0.56%. Penetration is around 4.5 out of 6.0 decks. They usually have one double-deck game with the following rules:

  • H17, DAS, no RSA, and no surrender for a house advantage of about 0.40%
  • Penetration about 55-60%
  • Table minimum $25
  • Table maximum greater $1000

In the high-limit area, there are usually at least two or three...

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