PRIMM 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 visited include:
Whiskey Pete (Primm)
Primm Valley Resort and Casino (Primm)
Buffalo Bills (Primm)
Gold Strike/Terrible Roadhouse (Jean)
This month I left Las Vegas and drove about 40 miles southwest of the Vegas strip to the town of Primm located on the California/ Nevada border. There are three casinos located in Primm: Whiskey Pete's, Primm Valley Resort and Casino, and Buffalo Bills. Since I was driving to Primm from Las Vegas, I also passed through the town of Jean, home to the Gold Strike Casino.
To get to Primm from the Strip, take I-15 south, drive through the town of Jean, and then you'll hit Primm 11 miles later. You can see the large roller coaster attached to Buffalo Bills on the left side of the interstate, and Whiskey Pete's on the right, as you exit the freeway. I stopped at Whiskey Pete's first. The other two casinos, along with the large factory outlet stores, are on the other side of I-15. A sign said "Get even, before Leaving." I was intrigued.
Whiskey Pete's is a western-themed resort; the outside structure is built to look like a castle. In the mid-fifties, it was a two-pump gas station. Now there are over 700 rooms and a 36,400 square foot casino. My hopes were high that I would find some playable blackjack games.
Entering the casino, I was immediately attracted to a display of Bonnie and Clyde's death car. There were photos, along with a video about the life and times of the two outlaws. The bullet-riddled car was proof of their end. Dutch Schultz's 1931 Lincoln, was also on display. A mural on the back wall depicted how the town of Las Vegas began in 1931 when gambling was legalized, and continued with the town's history to 1999 (with Mayor Oscar Goodman). The display and mural are pretty cool.
The gaming area was not at all promising; I saw one player at the craps table and the rest of the pit was deserted. There was one craps table, one roulette table, and about five blackjack tables. The craps table looked to be 15 feet long. The table limits were $5-$500 with 3x4x5x odds.
Unfortunately, the blackjack games are not worth the trouble. I observed one table of double deck, with blackjacks paying 6:5, giving a ridiculous house edge of 1.9% against a basic strategy player. There are three tables of six decks that also pay 6:5 for naturals (no kidding). The house advantage is ... are you ready ... 1.99% for these games. At the opposite end of the casino there were two pool tables, and, I am sorry to say; those two tables had more action than the entire gaming pit.
Dining options are as bleak as the blackjack games: I-Hop, and McDonald's. The sad thing is that there is a Mickey D's in all three resorts, and no, I was not waited on by a one-legged waitress at I-Hop.
As I headed to my car, I knew finding a playable game might be tough at the other casinos, including Whiskey Pete's, owned by Affinity Gaming. (It's not good when all the casinos in town are owned by the same company.)
PRIMM VALLEY RESPORT
Across the way is Primm Valley Resort and Casino. This huge white complex looks like something you might see down south. There are gas stations and restaurants in front of the main building, including a McDonald's and The Mad Greek to name a few. Connected to Primm Valley is the Factory Outlet Shopping Mall, which I avoided.
Primm Valley has 624 rooms, a 46,000 square foot casino, and a 78-seat race and sports book operated by William Hill.
The casino had far more action than Whiskey Pete's but unfortunately, as suspected, only one table was worthy of attention, and that was a six-deck game where the dealer hits soft 17 with double after splitting allowed. Table limits were $25-$1000, and the house edge was 0.63%. The penetration was good, with five decks dealt. All of the other blackjack games pay 6:5 for blackjacks, including one single-deck game and a bunch of six-deck games. There were about three continuous shuffle tables, but they also paid 6:5 for blackjacks.
There are two craps tables and three roulette tables. The craps tables were 15 footers and table limits were $5-$500 with 3x4x5x odds.
Your food options multiply on this side of the freeway: Original Pancake House, Country Club Buffet, and GP's Steakhouse are located inside Primm Valley, along with a food court.
Next door to Primm Valley is Buffalo Bills. The building looks like a 16-story red barn, with a big roller coaster attached to it. Buffalo Bills is definitely family friendly, with the 85 mph Desperado roller coaster and the Adventure Canyon log flume, which takes the rider on a log ride that meanders through the casino floor. Also on the property is a buffalo shaped pool. Hey, what kid wouldn't have a blast here?
Your dining options here include Denny's, a Mexican joint that was closed on my visit, and a food court with the following choices: Panda Express, La Salsa, a pizza joint, and what else but a McDonalds.
The inside of Buffalo Bills is definitely worth checking out...
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