Hello to all you advantage players. First, let me introduce myself. Iím a professional poker dealer who deals in a casino in Tunica, Ms. Iíve also been an advantage blackjack player and card counter since 1995. I started counting with a Level 1 system and was successful with it. In 1996 I started studying a Level 2 system, which I currently use. Ok, enough about me for now. Let's get on with this report.
This month I'm going to report on blackjack playing conditions at the Horseshoe Casino. It's probably my favorite place to play and I spend more time on the blackjack tables there than anywhere.
One reason I like playing at the Horseshoe casino is because there seems to be much less heat than at other local casinos. Personally, I've never been backed off at the Horseshoe and Iíve given them red, green, and even black chip action. The pit will watch your play more closely when you play at the green or black chip level but usually black chip play gets most of the floorís attention.
Red chip players at the Horseshoe can spread their bets almost as much as they want with little or no attention. And thatís true in single, double, or six-deck shoe games.
In general, the single deck games get watched the most, and the double deck and six deck games the least. They have the best rules and playing conditions anywhere. This includes pair splitting on all games with up to four splits and double down after splitting allowed in all double and six deck games (you canít double after pair splitting in single deck game). You are allowed to split aces up to four times but only receive one card for each ace. However, one rule that I particularly don't like is that dealerís must hit (rather than stand) on soft 17.
There are several single deck games available. In the main pit area there are six single deck tables laid out in two sections with several tables on each side, with the playersí walkways and play areas on each side and down the middle between the two pits. There is one single deck game on each of the outside rows of tables. These two tables are low limit single-deckers usually set at five or ten dollar minimum betting level. During heavy play the minimum betting level is ten-dollars and during slow times (like early mornings) they are five-dollar minimums. If you happen to be betting at the five-dollar minimum level and they raise the table minimum bet, they will grandfather you and you can continue playing the five dollar bets as long as you stay at that table.
The four single deck tables down the center isle are higher limit tables. During slow times you may find one of them set at ten dollar minimum but they are for the most part, twenty five, fifty, and one hundred dollar minimum bets.
The penetration on single deck games is 60-65% and the number of rounds dealt before shuffling is 2 with 4 or more players, 3 with 3 players, and 4 with 2 players. Heads up play usually gets you 5 or 6 rounds. If a hand eats up a lot of cards they may shuffle sooner. Most dealers main concern is to not run out of cards. Also, Iíve never been shuffled-up on purpose on a single deck game.
Near the back of the casino is a high limit room with more single, double, and shoe games. Itís a private room set off to the side containing seven tables.
Back to the main pit area youíll find six double deck tables. One is located
on one side of the pit and two are located on the other side. These are
usually five or ten dollar minimums. There are three more double deck tables
down the center, which like the single deck tables in that area, are usually
The penetration on the double deck games varies by dealer. Iíve encountered some dealers that cut off almost a full deck, but for the most part the penetration is 65% or better.
One method that has worked for me at times to get better penetration is to make a one-dollar bet for the dealer every time I make a large wager on a high count. Recently, one dealer nearly ran out of cards when I used this technique. Blackjack dealers really appreciate the small bet for them especially if you are winning. The dealers rely on tips for their livelihood so if you want to get on their good side, a small bet for them at opportune times goes a long, long way. For example, if they think you are counting, they are less likely to bring it to the attention of their bosses if you are padding their paychecks with your expertise.
There are twenty-one six deck shoe games in the main pit area. Most of them are
five and ten-dollar minimums but occasionally you will encounter a few twenty five-dollar minimum tables during peak business. But there are always five and ten-dollar shoes available even when the casino is crowded.
The penetration on the six deckers is usually very good with only one deck cut off.
Now and then a dealer will cut off more, but a deck and a half is about
tops. And like I said before, there is little or no attention paid to the
way players bet in these games. So spread your bets all you want to. They do
have a few shuffle machines but no continuous shufflers (hand shuffling predominates).
Comps for the buffet and snack bar are very easy to obtain. Just tell anyone in the pit while you are playing that you would like a comp and they usually give you one without problem. If you play green or black chip, comps to the steak house and free shows are easy to get also. I recommend the Jack Binion Steakhouse. If you get a chance, go there to eat. I guarantee you will truly love it.
The Horseshoe really caters to players. Thatís because Mr. Jack Binion
doesnít sweat the money like other casinos.
I hope this report helps you if you are planning to visit Tunica in the near future. In future reports, I'll summarize the playing conditions in other Tunica casinos as well as provide updates on the Horseshoe. I may also provide reports on my playing sessions.
I welcome any and all feedback to this report. Also, feel free to ask any
questions you have about the playing conditions in this area. Direct any feedback or
questions to me through