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Blackjack Insider Newsletter, Dec. 2003, #47

The Tunica Gamblers Jamboree: The Good, the Bad, the Beautiful by Alene Paone

 

Golden craps

Alene Paone is the CEO of Paone Press, which sells gaming books and tapes at discount prices. She also writes for www.scoblete.com. Her husband, Frank Scoblete, is the #1 best-selling gaming author in America and the author of Best Blackjack. Frankís books and tapes have sold over a million copies. For a free brochure call: 1-800-944-0406 or write: Paone Press, Box 610, Lynbrook, NY 11563. His websites are www.goldentouchcraps.com and www.scoblete.com.

November 14, 15, and 16 marked a first for Frank Scoblete and me. It also marked a first for our longtime friend and your publisher Henry Tamburin and a first for the Tunica, Mississippi market and, really, a first for the player side of the casino gambling equation.

It was the Frank Scoblete Gamblers Jamboree (hey Frank holds it, he names it after himself!), one of the biggest gambles Frank ever took with time and money, which brought together some of the biggest names in the gaming business (player-side that is) such as the Queen of the Comps, Jean Scott; John Grochowski author and gaming columnist for the Chicago Sun Times; Casino Player and Strictly Slots columnist Frank Legato; video poker expert and author John Robison, Dr. Don Catlin, mathematician and author of The Lottery Book: The Truth Behind the Numbers; Walter Thomason, author of Twenty-First Century Blackjack; as well as dice expert Billy the Kid, Dominator with the Golden Touch Craps dice control crew (Howard "Rock Ďn Roller" Newman, Bob "Mr. Finesse" Convertito, Jerry "Stickman" Stich, Daryl "No Field Five" Henley, Bill "Street Dog" Robbins, Randy "Tenor" Rowsey, Arman "Pit Boss" Pirim, Don "Word Slayer" Wheeler, and Jake from Pitt), and, of course, Henry and Linda Tamburin and also Dave and Annette S., members of the Captainís original crew, a couple Frank wrote about in Beat the Craps Out of the Casinos: How to Play Craps and Win!

The Jamboree was sponsored by TunicaCasinoResorts.com, a website devoted to the Tunica casinos and the Memphis/Tunica attractions, and they negotiated to have the event held at The Gold Strike Casino Resort, which has approximately 1200 rooms.

Frank rented four banquet rooms, rented the video and audio equipment we were to use, paid the salaries of everyone working and speaking at the event as well as paid for their room and board and, for some, transportation to and from Tunica, and advertisements in over 10 magazines devoted to casino gambling and then he sat back andÖprayed to God he wasnít going to lose our shirts! (And pants and underwear.)

Originally the break-even number would be around 100 attendees but as time and money started to fly by and out the window respectively the break-even mark started to creep up until it hit a shade over 200.

But could we pull 200 people into Tunica when most players had no idea that Tunica, and itís relatively good blackjack games, its excellent craps games, and its decent slot and video poker machines, existed? Or would we take a beating and a bath?

Making matters worse, the Gold Strike Casino management seemed singularly uninterested in holding the event and the few times Frank attempted to contact management to ask for things such as buffets or other prizes to give out to the winners of some of our contests, or plastic Gold Strike logo bags so people could carry the books they were receiving as a part of their entrance fee, the answer was either "no" or no one returned his calls. Poor Frank; he was unloved and unwanted.

In fact, even during the Jamboree, when Gold Strike casino executives came to the seminars to check out what the speakers were teaching about card counting, tournament play, dice control, video poker, poker, player safety and comp chasing, all but one of the execs were stone faced and decidedly unfriendly. Some didnít even say hello to us when we made it a point to say hello to them!

And the craps pits were the pits. Craps players complained to us that when they attempted to take care with their rolls, the casino personnel harassed them and told them that their arms were not allowed to go past the stickmanís position or the C&E line. Two players were actually hit on the hands by the stickmen! Instead of fighting to cross the C&E line just about all the craps players crossed the street to Horseshoe where their action was welcomed with friendly smiles. Yes, even when Dominator had a half-hour roll Saturday night and then Frank followed with a one-hour monster, the Horseshoe crews and pit personnel were cheerful and cheering right along with the players.

But, you know what, it didnít matter one whit that Gold Strike acted boorishly. By the time the Jamboree began on Friday evening, we had 341 attendees Ė Iím told that was the biggest player turnout for an event ever in Tunica Ė and they came to have fun and to learn. And, of course, to play in the casinos. Of the 341 attendees 171 had never been to Tunica before.

And learn they did. Frank scheduled three seminars to run at once (the more popular ones to run a second day as well) and each had great participation. Between seminars, in the "Jamboree Room" players were able to get one-on-one instruction from Henry in blackjack, Bill Burton in Texas Hold Em poker, John Robison and Jean Scott in video poker, and the Golden Touch Crew in dice control.

Frank gave out free copies of his newest books, The Craps Underground: The Inside Story of How Dice Controllers Are Winning Millions from the Casinos! (Hardcover $24.95) and Casino Gambling: Play Like a Pro in 10 Minutes or Less (Softcover: $14.00).

Frank was especially pleased that Jean Scott, Henry and Linda Tamburin, Don Catlin and some of the other gaming writers were able to see controlled shooting at craps in action when the Golden Touch Crew took to the casinos. Not only did Frank and Dominator have great rolls, but so did all the other Crew members. The Horseshoe was jumping all night long for days and when Frank had his monster roll people were four deep at the craps table cheering him on.

Frank and Henry many years ago discussed a vision for holding player events such as this Jamboree; how to organize them; what kinds of seminars to hold and how to make them a success. Over the years they had been speakers at many of the ones thrown by either the casinos or various gambling publications. One thing I know about Frank that makes him a man to be reckoned with Ė he learns from his own mistakes but, more important, he learns from the mistakes of others. The Jamboree went off without a major hitch, glitch or problem.

As I write this, Frank is holding another Jamboree Ė in fact, on December 6 at Isleta Casino Resort in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Unlike the Tunica Jamboree, the Isleta Casino Resort executives are fully behind the event and the casino itself is sponsoring it. The very first thing Frank asked for, he got. The casino changed all its games. Thatís right, one of the best, if not the best, double-deck blackjack game in the country (stand on soft 17, liberal rules, good penetration, relaxed pits) is now found at Isleta, as is the best overall craps game (20X odds, buy bets on 4, 5, 9, 10 with vig only paid on the winning wager!) and also the "certified" loosest slots in that market (some at 99 percent). Frankís philosophy is that good games are not only good for the players; they are good for the long-run health of the casinos. Henry agrees with this philosophy and the two of them are attempting to get other casinos to see the light.

If the Isleta Jamboree is half the success of the Tunica one, they are hopefully on their way to realizing their dream: good games and great events held in the casinos for savvy players!

(Editors Note: The (Isleta Gambler's Jamboree in Albuquerque, NM was also successful with 304 attendees).

Time will tell. Frank is looking into the possibility of holding a Jamboree in late March or early April in Alantic City but the "nut" in AC is much higher than it was in Tunica. He is looking right now to get casino sponsorship. If he decides to go ahead with one, members of this newsletter will be among the first to know. What are the odds that Frank can get Atlantic City to change its games?

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