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LAS VEGAS BLACKJACK REPORT: LUCKY DRAGON AND STRATOSHERE CASINOS

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.

Coming off a month long hiatus, I would like to wish everyone a belated Happy New Year. Hopefully, you have hit a table or two and started the New Year on a positive note.

On New Year's Eve, I was working the floor and had a customer who was drunk and becoming very obnoxious. After a few issues with his actions (i.e., topping his bet after the start of the deal, and taking his bet back after receiving cards), I finally had enough, and cut him off from the free drinks, and finally from playing. He continued to sit at the table long after his last bet, and was basically minding himself. A bit later, he tried to buy in at the roulette table, throwing his money inside of the spinning wheel. (No kidding!) My dealer was taking the money out of the wheel asking how many chips he wanted, when I informed him that he was done. He gave me a look that I perceived as a thank you, and staggered away. The good news, he left the keys to his car on the blackjack table that he had just left.

This month, I hit the north end of the Strip to check out the blackjack action at the Stratosphere and the new Lucky Dragon casino.

Lucky Dragon (300 Sahar Ave.)

Las Vegas' newest casino is the Lucky Dragon, which is located near the Stratosphere and SLS casinos (north end of the Strip). Unlike Wynn and the Venetian, who court the high rollers from Asia, the Lucky Dragon is aiming to win over China's growing middle class. This boutique-style casino resort has a nine-story hotel with 203 rooms, a 27,500 square-foot casino, and five Asian-inspired restaurant concepts.

Smack in the middle of the casino is an eight-sided bar, which in Chinese is considered lucky. Suspended over the bar is a spectacular glass dragon chandelier. Around the bar are four gaming pits, and off to the side of the main casino is the Emerald Room, which is the high-limit room that has six baccarat tables.

The casino itself is very well lit and bright. A balcony on the second floor overlooks the gaming areas below. I really loved the design and feel of the Lucky Dragon.

If you want authentic Chinese cuisine, you've come to the right place because all of their restaurants feature Chinese cuisine.

Bao Now: Located adjacent to the main gaming floor. 24-hour eatery featuring dim sum, soups, rice noodles, congee, and a diverse offering of teas and coffees.

Dragon's Alley: Cuisine inspired by the best street foods of Asia.

Pearl Ocean: Lunch and Dinner featuring live seafood, and exquisite delicacies.

Phoenix: Boasts a menu of cutting-edge culinary trends found throughout modern China.

Cha Garden: Features an extensive list of tea sourced directly from generations-old tea farms throughout Asia. You can sip tea in the tranquility of a Feng Shui designed garden, accented with mosaic sculptures and a waterfall.

Gaming at The Lucky Dragon caters to the Asian gambler, so you will find mostly baccarat and Pai Gow tables. You are shit-out-of-luck if you hoping to shoot craps because there aren't any craps table in this casino. What you will find are: two roulette tables, four Pai Gow tables (two are no commission), two Three-Card Poker tables, seven EZ Baccarat games, and four tables of baccarat that take a commission. There are also six tables of commissioned baccarat in the Emerald Room. (Note: EZ baccarat does not take a commission.)

Blackjack at the Dragon consists of...

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