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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

This month I went back to the famous Las Vegas Strip to check out the blackjack playing conditions at Caesars Palace and Planet Hollywood.

Caesars Palace (3570 Las Vegas Blvd. S)

The Roman-themed resort contains pools, top notch entertainment, exquisite dining, and mega shopping. It is located on Las Vegas Boulevard across the street from the Flamingo casino. (Caesars is on the west side of the Strip between Bellagio and the Mirage casinos).

Caesars Palace first opened in 1966 (50 years ago!) and is one of Las Vegas's largest and best-known landmarks. Owned and operated by Caesars Entertainment, the hotel has 3,960 rooms and suites in six towers. Caesars is home to the first-ever Nobu Hotel, which has 181 rooms. The Nobu Hotel and Restaurant were designed by award winning New York designer David Rockwell, chef Nobu, and actor Robert DeNiro. It was named Best Boutique Hotel by Vegas Seven.

Caesars has everything anyone could ever need or want. There are over 160 restaurants and stores in the famous Forum Shops, a Roman-themed mall. Eight Roman-style pools make up the Garden of the Gods pool complex, and for entertainment, they have big-name headliners, such as Jerry Seinfeld, Elton John, Celine Dion, just to name a few.


Caesars was voted 2015's Best Variety of Restaurants, by Casino Player magazine. Here's a list of their top-notch restaurants:

  • Bacchanal Buffet: features more than 500 items prepared by a team of master chef's in nine globally inspired open kitchens.
  • Nobu Restaurant: unique cuisine of celebrated chef Nobu Matsuhisa
  • Old Homestead Steakhouse: Fine dining inspired by the original Old Homestead, one of NYC's most historic restaurants.
  • Gordon Ramsey Pub and Grill: Authentic English pub experience by celebrity chef and star of Hell's Kitchen, Gordon Ramsey.
  • Rao's: Voted one of the best Italian restaurants in Vegas.
  • Mr. Chow: Internationally renowned restaurant, one of seven locations.
  • Mesa Grill: Bold flavors of celebrity chef Bobby Flay.
  • Searsucker: New American cuisine from celebrity chef Brian Malarkey.
  • Beijing Noodle No. 9: Northern Chinese cuisine.
  • Serendipity 3: Whimsical entrees and delectable deserts.
  • Payard Pattisserie & Bistro: Upscale bistro and a chocolate and pastry shop.
  • Brioche by Guy Savoy: Savory brioche shop offers delectable tastes of this flaky pastry.
  • Restaurant Guy Savoy: French cuisine at its finest.
  • Café Americano: 24 hour café.

Additionally, The Forum Food Court offers some quick dining options that include; Smash Burger, Phillips Seafood Express, Earl Of Sandwich, Tiger Wok & Ramen, Difara Pizza, La Gloria Street Foods of Mexico, and Romaine Empire.


The casino at Caesars is 129,000 square, and offers a variety of table games which include blackjack, Caribbean Stud Poker, Craps, Keno, Let-it-Ride, Pai Gow Poker, Roulette, Baccarat, Wheel of Fortune, MegaBucks, and Super Megabucks.

The casino is basically three main pit areas (or casinos). There is the Forum Casino, Colosseum Way, and the Palace Casino.

I entered Caesars from the self-parking garage, which is in the Forum Casino area. When you enter the casino, you will see their large live- poker room, the sports book along with one 12-foot craps table and two roulette tables. There were 14 blackjack tables all with the 6:5 blackjack payoffs written on the layout. On my visit, the Forum Casino was closed (thankfully) as none of these blackjack games are worth playing.

The poker room has 16 tables, and on my visit there were about seven games in progress.

Continuing on past the sports book, you follow Colosseum Way where you will find four roulette tables, and thirteen blackjack tables, two Free Bet Blackjack games, and one Three-Card Poker table. All the blackjack games in this area paid blackjacks at 6:5, except for the Free Bet Games. The rules on Free Bet Blackjack are as follows; H17, six decks, four and a half decks dealt, $10-$2000 table limits and a house advantage of 1.04% against a basic strategy player. The 6:5 games consisted of three single-deck games, with house advantages of 1.84%, double on 10, and 11 only, and nine tables of six decks, where the dealer hits soft 17, and you can double on 10 and 11 only. You are not allowed to double after splitting and the table limits are $25-$2,000. The house edge is 2.30% and penetration is a little less than five decks.

Moving on you will come to the Palace Casino area. Here you will find seven 12-foot craps tables with $10-$5000 betting limits and 3x4x5x odds. There are four roulette tables and 16 tables of six-deck shoe games. The rules for the latter are as follows: dealer hits soft 17, you can double after splitting, and late surrender is offered. The table limits are $10-$10,000 and the penetration is a little over 4.5 decks. The house advantage is slightly over 0.5%.

There is only one double -game and it is...

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