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Blackjack Insider Newsletter, June 2003, #41



Captain John lives in Las Vegas and is an experienced blackjack player. He has been studying and playing blackjack for over 30 years including attending classes on how to evaluate different games and how to identify the weaknesses in the pit. He uses a 2-level, advanced card counting system and limits his play to only advantage games. He plays about 30 hours a month and finds that playing blackjack is a good way to supplement his retirement income.

This month Iíll review the blackjack playing conditions at two casinos located at the recently opened Lake Las Vegas, the Hyatt Regency casino and Casino MonteLago and also summarize where the best games in Las Vegas are located. (Editors note: For those that donít know, Lake Las Vegas is a new high end development southeast of the strip in Henderson, NV. It features million dollar homes and villas nestle around a lake, mountains, a golf course, a village, and a beautiful view of the Las Vegas valley. Worth a sight seeing trip. Superstar singer Celine Dion built her home there).

The Casino MonteLago, located on the west side of Lake Las Vegas, recently opened with a big advertising campaign to locals touting their abundant 100%+ return video poker machines. The casino is next door to the Ritz-Carlton hotel and part of the MonteLago Village, which will contain shops and restaurants. Food in the casino is available at the Tappo Sportsbook bar or at the Tenuta 24-hour coffee shop. Currently, Comoís Steakhouse is open in the Village (close to the casino).

The Casino MonteLagoís player club, the Uno Club, offers 1 point per $1 coin in on slots and 1 point per $2 on video poker. Cash redemption is $1 per 200 points earned. Points are valid for only 6 months from date earned. This may not be the best playerís club in Las Vegas, but with all the 100%+ pay-schedules on the casino floor, this may be the best place right now to play video poker in Las Vegas.

Table-player benefits are based on rated casino play. Casino MonteLago offers 6-deck and 2-deck blackjack games. The rules on the 6-deck games are h17, das and rsa with an average penetration of 1.5 decks. Double deck games are available with 0.5 deck penetration, h17 and das. Five-dollar minimum tables are available on 6-deck and 2-deck games. The 2-deck game is good for the advantage player during early morning hours when a table could be available for heads-up play. Most likely the surveillance person, if they have one, is asleep at this early hour. A female-companion for cover can go a long way to extend your playing time at Casino MonteLago.

The Hyatt Regency, at the east side of Lake Las Vegas, has a small casino that is open only from 10 am to 2 am for slots and video poker and 5pm to 1am during the week and 11am to 2pm weekends for table players. The hotel is very nice with all the amenities of any first-class Las Vegas resort.

The Hyatt Regency Casino offers 6-deck games with 2.0 deck average penetration, and s17 and das rules. Tables are $5 minimum. A Regency Players Society card is available for slot and video poker players. Table game comps are based on average bet and length of play.


Currently, youíll find the best blackjack games in Las Vegas for green or black-chip players at Bellagio, Caesars, Mirage, Palms and Treasure Island. Penetration is not as good as it was six months ago but good rules are still available. Advantage players should limit their playing time since pit personnel are aggressively backing off advantage players. Barring at any of the MGM Mirage casinos could result in barring at all MGM Mirage properties. Casino management is also reducing comps for table players, however pit personnel are now required to monitor more games in the pit and have to rely on dealer (and player) input for determining your level of comps. Bet spreads are not as closely observed since pit personnel have a lot of other additional administrative tasks to perform that keeps they occupied. Surveillance personnel at most properties monitor your play only if requested by pit personnel.

The best blackjack games in Las Vegas for red and low green action are at Casino Royale, Fiesta, Four Queens, Golden Gate, El Cortez, Horseshoe, Lady Luck, The Cannery and Las Vegas Club. Hit-and-run play at these casinos is still the best way to get their chips while decreasing your chance of getting barred. But be careful - aggressive red-chip players are being barred at many of these casinos.

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