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Blackjack Insider Newsletter, June 2003, #41

CC Rider lives in the Deep South and plays blackjack in the casinos in Mississippi and Louisiana. He has been studying and playing blackjack for 10 years, averages 2-8 playing sessions each month (40-60 sessions annually), and has managed to make playing blackjack a lucrative sideline. He uses the high low counting system with an ace side count.



I was asked to report on the blackjack conditions at Harrah’s in New Orleans. Following several short sessions, I am sorry to report that the conditions are not very good for players of any type, whether you are a novice or advanced card counter.

All Harrah's 8 deck games (35 of them) have a midshoe maximum of $100. There is no midshoe entry on any game that is $10 and up. So, wonging is pretty much out of the question here. The 8-deckers appear to cut almost 2 decks with the shuffle card. Table limits are $5 (rarely seen at night) to $1000. There are 6 four-deck continuous shuffle machines which have a slightly lower house advantage for the basic strategy player, but the lack of shuffle time allows the non-advantage players to lose at a level at least as great as the shuffled shoes.

There are no handheld games here.

The best game, albeit more closely watched, is the 6-deck shoe, which is S17, DAS, no LS, no RSA. The vig for the house with perfect basic strategy is ~0.4%, or a pretty mediocre game from a rules standpoint. Pen seems to be about 1.5 decks, but is dealer variable. Minimums are $25, $50, and $100 in the Salon Privee’. They have recently redesigned the pits around the Salon area and (what else?) took out some BJ tables and replaced them with more slots. Now they only have 38 million slot machines there (slight exaggeration).

I have spoken with some advantage player (AP) friends who have been tossed from Harrah’s, but so far I have evaded heat. I attribute this to short sessions and infrequent visits. The marketing department is quite active, and getting room comp offers in the mail are easy.

Without much to offer the AP player or the tourist, I can’t give this place my highest recommendation. The games in Biloxi (one hour away) are better for the basic strategist, tourist, and ploppie, as well as the advantage player, although APers may get some heat there. I’d recommend the games there over Harrah’s.

Ah, but New Orleans….. if Harrah’s would offer a better game, one can only wonder why people would bother to go to Biloxi. A recent poll of 2,000 frequent gamblers in the New Orleans area showed that 43% choose the Mississippi Gulf Coast as their preferred gambling venue. With New Orleans ambiance, world class food, entertainment, excellent gaming facility in a prime location, why would people travel over an hour to go there?

Easy. They feel like they’re getting a better shake. Smell the roses, Harrah’s management. Make the games world class (LV strip, MS Gulf Coast) and your facility may soon follow.

CC Rider

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