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Blackjack Insider Newsletter, August 2003, #43

THE NEW COPA CASINO

www.thecopacasino.com

By CC RIDER

 

CC Rider lives in the Deep South and plays blackjack mostly in the casinos in Mississippi and Louisiana and some in Las Vegas. He has been studying and playing blackjack for 10 years, averages 40-80 playing sessions annually, and has managed to make playing blackjack a lucrative sideline. He uses the high low counting system with an ace side count.

Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl


With yellow feathers in her hair and a dress cut down to thereÖÖÖ

At the Copa

----Copacabana, (At the Copa), Barry Manilow, 1978

 

Okay, so 1950ís Havana and Manhattan itís not, but this smallish casino, with a brand spankiní new renovation is a significant improvement on the old boat that used to be the Copa.

The casino marketing is geared to the locals, and the games are decent to good. If you click on to their website (www.thecopacasino.com) you'll get a $10 match play coupon if youíre NOT a local (out-of-state ID required). Comps appear to be fairly easy, as the PC approached me at the $25 level (no card given) and asked if I needed anything, where I was staying, etc. As I knew the request for ID was forthcoming, I just told him that I was running late and would be continuing my trip to New Orleans.

There appear to be several different blackjack options for the casual as well as the advantage player. I will list each, as I played for a total of two hours, at three different games.

Single deck

Rules: S17, late surrender, double on 10 or higher

Penetration: shuffle card used, and around half a deck, Iíd say.

Tables: 4 or 5 when I was there, all the way to the left when you walk in

Patrons: appeared to be locals and unskilled, as well as uncrowded for a Friday night

Limits: $5 minimums (I was told that they sometimes have $3 tables) to $1000 maximum

Heat: None perceived at 1-4 $25, but only played 40 minutes.

Card: None offered or requested

Buy-in: brought $500 from craps table

House vig: 0.23% for perfect basic strategy

Commentary: The dealers appear to be courteous and skilled. No opportunity this time for dealer errors, holecarding, etc. CWs were attentive and didnít tip hustle. (I had to chase one down to give her a buck!) PCs didnít perch, but did watch play. No EITS calls that I could discern. I did perceive that the PCs watch the SD game significantly more closely than the DD, and DD more closely than the shoe.

Double deck

Rules: S17, late surrender, double on anything

Penetration: shuffle card used, and around half a pack, Iíd say. (one deck)

Tables: 6 or 8 when I was there, right in front of you when you walk in

Patrons: a mix of locals and tourists, somewhat more crowded than SD.

Limits: $5 minimums (I was told that they sometimes have $3 tables) to $500 maximum

Heat: None perceived at 1-6 $25, but only played 45 minutes.

Card: None offered or requested. This is where the PC approached me.

Buy-in: brought $875 from SD game

House vig: 0.14% for perfect basic strategy

Commentary: I like this game. The only negative thing I can say about it is the penetration, which was around one deck. I played at two different tables and didn't see a single player who knew basic strategy, The persistence in offering poorly cut games is costing this casino money. Let me illustrate an example:

If they would cut a 0.7 deck game, they would get about 6-10 more rounds per hour, with a 1-5% advantage over the masses (99.8% of folks). They would lose 1.1% more to me* (0.2% of folks).

6 rounds per hour at a two percent advantage (VERY conservative for this bunch) means they would win an extra 0.12 bets per hour per non-advantage player. Use .99 as the percentage of players that fall into this category, and for every 100 players playing at the casino, the casino would win .12 X 99 = 11.88 bets per hour. They would lose from me an extra 1.1%. Assuming I average $60/hand spreading 1-6 green and get 60 hands per hour, I would win an extra $40 an hour.

If the 99% of ploppies average but $10/hand, they are leaving $118.80/hour in the pockets of ploppies to keep from paying me my $40! When are these guys going to get it?

I had some terrific positive standard deviation at the DD game, which did create a little unwanted attention from the PC. As I recall, I won EVERY 6 unit bet hand I put up, and got BJ twice. The packs were poorly cut, but seemed to run positive nearly every time. As a result, I managed a sweet $1112.50 win in the 45 minutes I was there. As I was walking, he did offer to "back up my play if you give me your driverís license", but I told him I was running late and would catch him next time. I watched after I left the table and there was no phone call to EITS for rewind and rehash.

6 Deck Shoe Rules

S17, late surrender, double on anything

Penetration: shuffle card used, and around a deck and a half, Iíd say.

Tables: 6 or 8 when I was there, right in front of you when you walk in

Patrons: mostly ploppies, crowded

Limits: $3 minimums to $500 maximum

Heat: None perceived at 1-6 $25, but only played 15 minutes.

Card: None offered or requested. This is where the PC approached me.

Buy-in: brought $500 in green from the DD (kept ~$1500 in pocket)

House vig: 0.33% for perfect basic strategy

 

Commentary: Not much to say about this game, as itís the basic standard 6D game on the MS Gulf Coast. I had to leave quickly as I saw the PC that I had just told I had to leave the DD because I was running late relieve another in this pit. He didnít see me, fortunately.

CC Riderís Summary:

Try this place. Go to the web site and get your $10 match play coupon (value almost $5) and play aggressive short sessions. Heat appears to be tolerable; I have not heard of any real problems here. Do NOT overstay your welcome. See if you can nudge the pen up with a few tokes. Pump the PCs for comps. I think they are relatively easy, certainly easier than the Beau Rivage, which, for table players, is becoming impossible, unless you are a clueless ploppy.

I rank the Copa games in the top three on the coast for low limit play, and in the top six for green action. I do not think they would handle black action as well as other places.

I really do have to get on down the road to New Orleans and check out the new DD game at Harrahís. I suspect it may be a counter trap, but weíll see.

Until next time, good luck, good cards, good pen, and may every max bet be followed by dealer stiffs and busts.

CC Rider

 





----- footnotes ----

*Blackjack Attack, 2nd edition, Don Schlesinger, Table 10.36, page 214

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