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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 

Note: The observations of casino conditions were made in Jan. 2016. The casinos visited this in Las Vegas month were:

The Cromwell casino (3595 Las Vegas Blvd. S)

Caesars Palace casino (3570 Las Vegas Blvd. S)

This month I check out the blackjack action at The Cromwell, and Caesars Palace. Both are located on the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Flamingo Road along with the Bellagio and Bally's casinos.

Parking on the Strip these days is basically crazy, and now with the MGM planning to charge customers for parking at their properties, utter chaos should replace crazy. I try to avoid traffic hassles whenever possible, so I opted to park at the Casino Employment center just a few blocks east on Flamingo, next to Bally's. Across the street sits The Cromwell, my first destination.

The Cromwell

Location, location, location - it doesn't get much better than this, right smack in the heart of the Strip. Almost all of the major hotels in Vegas have both pool and night clubs, but only The Cromwell offers both on their rooftop. Along with Drai's Beach Club and Night Club high above, there is also Drai's After Hours below ground. You can basically party at The Cromwell around the clock.

There are 188 rooms and suites at the Cromwell. The rooms are small, roughly 360 square feet, and dark, mostly offer no views, but hey, who wants to sit in your room all day anyway in Vegas.

There is only one restaurant at The Cromwell, and it is a gem. It also happens to be the first restaurant by chef and Food Network TV star Giada De Laurentiis. This 10,000 square-foot eatery is located on the second floor and has a patio that showcases spectacular views of the Bellagio fountains, and the Strip below. If you have seen her cooking show on TV then you know we are talking Italian cuisine. Giada's is open for breakfast lunch and dinner.

The casino is 40,000 square feet with 66 table games and 440 slot machines. There is a high-limit room and a reserved gaming room called the Abby. There are four roulette and four craps tables along with a variety of carnival games. The craps tables were roughly 12 feet long and had table limits of $10-$5000, and offered 3x4x5x odds.

The majority of blackjack games at The Cromwell are eight-deck shoe games that pay 6:5 for naturals. The house edge in these games is almost 2.0% and should be avoided like the plague. Along with the twenty tables of 6:5 games, there were about seven eight-deck 3:2 games. The house advantage is 0.58% against a basic strategy player for these games. The rules are as follows: dealer hits soft 17, you can double after splitting, and late surrender is offered. The betting limits are $25-$2000, and the penetration is about 6.5 decks.

There are three tables in the high-limit room, one double-deck game and two six-deck games. The dealer...

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