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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 is Befriend Frank on Facebook.


Too bad we are not playing the game of Monopoly because then going bankrupt is not so bad. I mean it is just a game. In real life, well, bankruptcy stinks.

I am not going to tell you that Atlantic City casinos are experiencing contraction. There is actually good news on that front as Carl Icahn now owns the Trump Taj Mahal free and clear. (Let's hope it can make a big comeback this summer.) Borgata is expanding its resort by adding a new nightclub, some restaurants, and redesigning many of its areas and it has (along with some other casinos) won "the right" to reduce its taxes - a major blow to the city's coffers.

And that city is going under. The "Boardwalk Empire" is sinking into the ocean as Atlantic City has made horrible judgements concerning wages and projects. In short, the Democratic government of Atlantic City has been --- to be kind --- rotten. It has spent more money than its revenue (think of our nation's almost 20 trillion-dollar debt) and no city (or individual person for that matter) can do that indefinitely.

Atlantic City is barely on a respirator as Governor Chris Christie (R) wants the state to take over the city, rewrite the municipal employees' contracts (tough nut to crack there), and right the economic oblivion the city is heading for - and, I guess, has actually hit. Christie is willing to compromise with the AC City Council to find a solution. The bet is he will and then - boom Atlantic City goes down anyway.

The City Council, composed of the very ploppies who have brought Atlantic City to its knees, wants another try at saving everything. Right now Christie and the Council are in "negotiations" looking for a compromise. I have no idea of what they are negotiating about. If the city of Atlantic City collapses what happens? The city probably rots the way it was rotting before Resorts Casino opened its doors.

Regular patrons of Atlantic City, those who actually walk around outside and have their eyes open in the casinos have this to say:

Ramon: The ghetto, sorry for using that word, is coming in and squeezing everything. More crooks, drug addicts and low people are in the casinos that remain. We are going back in time when the casinos had to push the ghetto back. I know most of the people in the ghetto are good people; that's where I lived as a kid but you can't have a resort if people are afraid of leaving the casinos.

Julie P: If you just stay in the casino, although you will see more "street people" around, you are safe. But I can tell the city is hurting. You walk on the Boardwalk and the closed casinos and other businesses are not pretty. It is kind of destitute.

How will it end? Bankruptcy has the edge.



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.

Rating system:

***** = 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, number of decks and rules 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: BJ has cuts of about 70 percent. All 8-deck games in this place, maybe some six-deckers in high roller room. The hitting on soft 17 is now a sad fact. Crews are friendly. Two and one-half stars: * * *

BORGATA: Still the hottest casino in AC. A few 6-deck games can still be found with decent penetration of about 75 percent. A mixture of S17 and H17 but the H17 dominates. You'll enjoy the night clubs and the beautiful people. This is still a somewhat decent casino for blackjack. Continues to be the number one casino in AC despite the horror of the city on the edge of bankruptcy. Three stars: * * *

CAESARS: The upcoming summer will seal the fate of this casino. 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 Asian room has two sh*theads working there, one dealer and one floor person who should row themselves out to sea and say sayonara. Two and one-half stars: * * *

HARRAH'S: Eight decks and penetration is about 75 percent. Two and one-half stars: * * *

RESORTS: One of the few casinos doing well based on what I have seen midweek during the day. Many H17 games on main floor; high roller room is S17. Penetration on all games is about 80+ percent which is darn good. 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 go of it. Three stars: * * *

TROPICANA: The place seems to be hopping even mid-week. It is bringing the highest rollers into AC. Blackjack is H17 on almost all games. 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. You can even ask for surrender but supposedly this is a trap for card counters. I doubt it. I haven't seen many card counters in AC the past few years. The eight-deck games in the casino are ho-hum and basically the same as all the other casinos in AC. Crowd loves to play carnival games. The craps games are excellent and - as always - this place has the nicest and most professional dealers you will find. Give it a try. Three stars: * * *

TRUMP TAJ MAHAL: Icahn the Magnificent! Maybe this place will really pick up because my last two trips here were sad. The place was empty. I am talking midweek during the day but right next door Resorts was hopping. Great hotel and great restaurants and great entertainment. Also, great dealers and pit personnel. 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: * * *

THE BEST BLACKJACK IN ATLANTIC CITY: Any rating of three or more stars.


Frank Scoblete's new books are I Am a Card Counter: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Blackjack!, I Am a Dice Controller: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Craps! and Confessions of a Wayward Catholic! Both available on, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, and at bookstores.


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