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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

In the past year, Boyd Gaming added Aliante casino and the two Canneries; the North Cannery on Craig Road, and the Eastside Cannery on Boulder Highway, to its gaming empire. This month I checked out what Boyd has done at Eastside Cannery (located on Boulder Hwy.), and next month I will give you updated on Boyd's North side acquisitions.

Boyd Gaming owns and operates twenty-four gaming properties in seven states. In Nevada, they own; Aliante, The Orleans, Gold Coast, Suncoast, Sam's Town, California Hotel Casino, Fremont, Main Street Station, and the two Canneries. They also own Jokers Wild, and the Eldorado in downtown Henderson.

As far as blackjack games go, I am not a big fan of Boyd. The penetration in most of their joints is 50%, and that is the biggest reason why I avoid their blackjack games.

The Eastside Cannery, in my opinion, is the nicest hotel and casino on the Boulder Highway. They have a great sports book and showroom, but more importantly the casino is perfect with roulette, craps, blackjack, progressive pai gow games and that's it (no carnival games, and best of all, no 6:5 blackjack in sight, at least not yet).

If you are a low-limit player, their blackjack games are some of the better games around, and I am not sure whether it will be that way for long. They have a lot of break-in dealers, which make for lots of advantages. A couple of dealers definitely flash their hole cards. The penetration varies quite a bit, but a few of the dealers are pitching over 75% of the cards, especially the newbie dealers. (Tuck a 22 or a 23 around here and you might get paid.)

Most noticeable changes so far seem to be the closing of the buffet, the removal of some 300 slot machines, and combining two gaming pits into one. In my opinion, closing the buffet was a good move. Vegas already is sporting enough bad buffets. Rumor had it, that the buffet was losing over a million bucks a year.

Boyd expanded the seating in Snaps, which is the 24-hour coffee shop. I have been told the Chinese food that is served is pretty good, but I have my doubts. The Deli, located by the sports book, has always been very good, and that seems to have stayed the same.

Carve, the steak house, has been changed to Carve the prime rib house. Boyd figured they have a steakhouse across the street at Sam's Town, so what they were lacking was a prime rib house (problem solved). I have eaten at Carve when it was a steakhouse and was unimpressed. I have yet to try it as a prime rib house. I have my doubts, but will give it a try and let you know. (It is not overly expensive; a prime rib dinner is in the fifteen buck range.)

The craps table is one of the longer ones that I have seen in Vegas, measuring around 15 feet. Stick left or stick right are the only place to pitch the dice on this table. Since Boyd took over, the table minimum dropped from $5 to $3, and 10X odds are offered.

The roulette table has a $10 max bet if you play straight up on a number, bet two numbers, three numbers, four numbers, five numbers, and six numbers. At one time, $25 was the maximum bet. The reason I believe the table max on a number was lowered, is that the table was taking a beating, coughing up 4-5 thousand dollars to a few players. Wagers on even money bets have a max bet of $1000, and the 2-1 bet is $500.

The Eastside Cannery definitely sweats the money, as evident by...

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