ATLANTIC CITY BLACKJACK REPORT─SEPTEMBER 2015
by Frank Scoblete
Frank Scoblete, is the #1 best-selling gaming author in America. For a free brochure write: Frank Scoblete Enterprises, Box 446, Malverne, NY 11565. Frank's website iswww.frankscoblete.com. Befriend Frank on Facebook.
The Rumors Are Flying
Atlantic City will be easing out of summer soon and although the fall season is usually a good one for this oceanside resort town, this year...well, this year and every year for almost a decade has seen Atlantic City's casinos hammered the way those great nor'easter storms hammer the shore from fall through early summer.
The economic hammering has been so bloody that casinos, such as ACH, Trump Plaza, Claridge, Showboat and Revel, have shuttered their doors. They are now the skeletons of the seashore.
The good news is that in the summer of 2015 no casinos have closed up shop. You still have Tropicana, Caesars, Bally's, Resorts and Taj Mahal on the Boardwalk, along with Borgata, Golden Nugget and Harrah's in the Marina district.
If the state of New Jersey remains stagnant in terms of casino expansion and development, then these eight Atlantic City casinos have a decent shot of hanging around through to next summer. However, if the New Jersey legislature allows other New Jersey communities to build casinos then --- as they say --- all bets are off. In fact, if new casino venues come to the Garden State then Atlantic City might become "weed world" by the water.
And such a movement (for good or ill) has already begun. The talk now is that three casinos might be built near the Meadowlands. This would undoubtedly drain a vast number of players from Atlantic City. You'd have everything there; a racetrack, football games, mega concerts by megastars with New Jerseyans, New Yorkers and a host of other states' men and women lining up for fun in and out of the Trinity of casinos.
The streets will be paved of gold --- or so the thinking goes. And the future of Atlantic City? Ugh!
Such a situation would probably see Taj Mahal and Caesars fold their tents fairly fast. It is conceivable that Harrah's would crumble fairly fast too.
Small hints are out there that Caesars is in trouble. Subtle headlines in the press bear this out: "Caesars Doomed!", "Goodbye Nero!", "Bankrupt Brass Bailing on Caesars!", "Caesars Going Bust!"
Reading between the lines of such headlines shows us that Caesars may even collapse without help from a Meadowlands Trinity. A big rumor has it that Tropicana, which is holding its own during these tough times, might just buy the Roman Empire if the price is right. Rumor has gone so far as to suggest that Tropicana might try to grab Harrah's as well.
Non-casino hotels in oceanfront communities might also want to get into the casino business. All of this rides on the movers and shakers of New Jersey.
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 (if they want such) when they report.
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.
The summer in AC was fun. The beachfront and on-the-beach bars had decent action. It did not seem as if the town was going out of business wholesale. Yes, the empty buildings were somewhat depressing but after a while you kind of don't look at them. Selective blindness I guess you'd call it.
Atlantic City blackjack is mediocre but midweek some casinos such as Tropicana and Resorts, tend to have decent penetration of about 75 percent. These are marginally playable eight-deck games for a card counter. Just about every game, except maybe in the high-roller rooms which I don't play in, hit on soft 17. If you are a blackjack player this is about the best you can expect.
Tropicana has decent games if by decent you figure eight-decks with hitting on soft 17. But some of the afternoon dealers go to about 80 percent penetration but at night you get some real stiffs only going about 66 percent into the decks. By the way, I play a lot but I have not seen a single card counter except for me at the tables. I seriously don't think there are many card counters playing the Atlantic City games.
Readers:I will be happy to send you a free copy of my new book I Am a Dice Controller: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Craps! I will also include a copy of The Virgin Kiss! My email address is email@example.com. Make sure you send me your address so I can get the books out to you ASAP.
All my books are available at Amazon.com, Kindle, Barnes and Noble and bookstores.
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.
***** = Excellent
**** = Very Good
*** = Good
** = Fair
* = Poor
General rules:Atlantic City's 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.
BALLY'S:They have redone their casino and it looks good. BJ has cuts of about 70 percent. All 8-deck games in this place, except for some in the high roller room. The hitting on soft 17 is now a sad fact. Crews are friendly. Craps games are quite good; they even have 10X odds on a couple of tables when I last visited. Two and one-half stars: * * ½ *
BORGATA: The hottest casino in AC. The 6-deck games can still be found and the penetration is decent. 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. 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 the venue. Three stars: * * *
CAESARS: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: * * ½ *
HARRAH'S:The blackjack games are eight decks and penetration is about 70 percent. Good place for craps. Two and one-half stars: * * ½
RESORTS:Casino looks great. 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:* * *
TROPICANA:It is bringing the highest rollers into AC. Blackjack is H17 on all games except those outside the high roller room. Has excellent penetration, maybe 80-85 percent. Three stars: * * *
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 (10X odds on one table) and - as always - this place has the nicest and most professional dealers you will find. Give it a try. Three stars: * * *
TRUMP TAJ MAHAL:Great hotel and great restaurants and great entertainment. Also, great dealers and pit personnel. But depression has set in. Too bad it isn't the premier place to play any more because it is a great place to stay. Blackjack is mediocre, at best. Two and one-half stars: * * ½*
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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