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by "Reload" Joe Freda

Joe Freda has been an avid gambler and writer for the past two decades, covering casino and sports wagering. His efforts include several years of articles at Sportsbook Review and Don Best Sports, while enjoying trips for blackjack and poker throughout North America and the Caribbean. Freda can be reached at or through Twitter (@ReloadSports).

After June's excursions to Oxford Casino in Maine, I chose Mohegan Sun in Connecticut for this blackjack report. A pair of visits to the Uncasville monstrosity in July and August had opposite results, while lifting me back up the comp chart after a long hiatus.

Glory Days in Uncasville

Driving into Mohegan Sun's entrance for the first time in over a decade had me thinking back to the early days of the property, with my gambling stakes rising sizably over several years. I was issued one of the earliest Sachem's Club player's cards, leading to marquee memories of second-row seats to KISS' Farewell Tour, and ringside boxing as Zab Judah was reaching his prime.

Eventually, I shifted gears over to Mashantucket for blackjack action and also got more involved with offshore sports wagering. Mohegan Sun remained a world of unfinished business for me, with its share of challenges still looming today.

Blackjack conditions in nearly all pits consist of six-deck shoes, the dealer standing on soft 17, surrender is offered, and doubling down after any splits. Unlimited re-splitting is allowed, with the exceptions of Aces (only one initial split is permitted) and 10-value cards (these cannot be split at all). A new ‘Super 4 Progressive' side bet recently began, featuring bonus payouts if the dealer has blackjack.

The key hurdle to success on Mohegan Sun's felt is with penetration, which mostly ranges a subpar 65-70 percent. Casino psychology is also apparent throughout the venue's design, with its dark blend of colors and cedar-like aroma keeping your mind in the betting zone.

The ‘Sky' Is Falling

My first return to action at Mohegan Sun came in July, with the trip having setbacks throughout a lengthy 16-hour night of play. I began my visit in the "Casino of the Earth" and its "Bow & Arrow" pit, playing two spots and spreading bets from $50-150 on each. While it was a lively environment to get the feel back, unfortunately, the shoe games were a costly icebreaker.

After dropping two ‘pumpkins' worth of ammunition, I took a break in the Sachem's Lounge for VIP's. Mohegan Sun's comp system grants a variety of "choice credits" to be used for entry to these areas, while "Momentum Dollars," also earned with your betting action, are available for spending throughout the property.

I resumed my play in the "Casino of the Sky" high-limit area with more unfortunate losses at several tables. The evening's highest ‘count' resulted in a $500 wager being doubled down for a loss of a ‘dime,' while the following hand saw a $600 bet connect for a $900 blackjack.

Preparing for a Comeback

After a long drive home, I determined my four-figure loss resulted in only 275 "Momentum Dollars." This kept me in the property's lowest comp tier of "Core," which is a hard feeling after previously being at the top of the freebie mountain.

However, it became obvious that some favorable offers outside of the "Players Club" system itself were entering into the fray. I quickly received many show-ticket invitations, including higher-end acts like Motley Crue and Rob Thomas. The online reservation system's calendar also showed free rooms available for me through the next pair of months, including suites from Sunday-Thursday.

I decided on making my comeback as part of a "Triple Status" day in August, while also reserving a 1050 square foot "Sky Suite" for the occasion. The promotion would allow for "status points" to be earned at three times their normal amount, which would help accelerate me back into higher tiers.

The "Triple Status" Triumph

Part of my success with comps in earlier years with the property was playing all six spots at a private $100-minimum blackjack table. This allowed for higher $600-700 betting averages to be factored for comps, while slowing the action down more than 1-2 hands of heads up play typically takes. I took the following numbers into account, sensing that four hours of six-spot betting in "Triple Status" mode would get me just where I wanted...

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