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Blackjack Insider Newsletter, April 2004, #51


By Alene Paone and Frank Scoblete

Golden craps

Alene Paone is the CEO of Paone Press, which sells gaming books and tapes at discount prices. She also writes for Her husband, Frank Scoblete, is the #1 best-selling gaming author in America and the author of Best Blackjack. Frank’s 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 and

Frank Scoblete is a coward. The news from Atlantic City’s blackjack tables is pretty good, at least as far as the Borgata and Sands go. They both have nothing but six-deck games (which is considered really good for Atlantic City) and the penetration in the past few weeks has been good to excellent at both establishments. These are games that are definitely worth a look and a play. If you are an east coaster and play Golden Touch Blackjack, these two casinos are great places to ply your talents.

So why is Frank Scoblete such a coward? Because he still has not gone back to the Sands to play the blackjack games. Recall he promised to go into the casino and see how he was treated – oh, he promised that about four months ago. Also, recall that on his last playing of blackjack at Sands he was very rudely treated by some suits from the pits – or pitiable suits. Being a sensitive guy, Frank just wrote off the Sands for him and all his friends.

Now, he keeps getting invitations for free stays but he still has found excuses not to go into the casino and play what has now become the top blackjack game in the city. "I just haven’t had the time," he says. This is, of course, a lie. He’s been to Atlantic City many times in the past few months and, while he’s played some craps at Sands, he has not gone near the blackjack tables.

The rest of Atlantic City remains much the same as always, although Resorts is showing great improvement in its cuts, as is Bally’s and Claridge. The word, which we told you about last issue, is now public news – Trump’s properties are in trouble. Even the mighty Taj Mahal is looking at deep red. If Trump’s three properties close…. Well, that’s not a very pleasant thought.

What is a pleasant thought is this – Trump’s properties have lowered the amount required for comps. Call them up, talk to a host, and you’ll see that you’ll probably get incredible discounts. They want you to come to their properties! So give a call and help save Trump – and save yourself some money as well!

Here are our ratings for April, 2004.

Rating system:

***** = Excellent

**** = Very Good

*** = Good

** = Fair

* = Poor.

BALLY’S PARK PLACE: There are $5 games most times in the gaming parlor near the poker room. These are 8-deck games, with about 80-85 percent penetration. Penetration has improved to about 1.2 decks cut off on the six-deck games in the high-roller pit but these games are almost always $100 to $200 minimums. The rest of the casino is the standard AC eight-deck games with penetration that varies but is consistently around the 80 percent mark, sometimes higher. Some tables have been changed to Let It Ride and Three Card Poker. You can resplit for a total of three hands, but aces can only be split once. Multiple Action and Spanish 21 are also available for minimums of $10. Great place for Golden Touch Blackjack. *** ½ *

BORGATA: One of the two places to beat in AC. Aggressive marketing has given it the lion’s share of the BJ market and it has become the place to play blackjack in Atlantic City. All 6-deck games. Penetration is 80 percent, sometimes higher. Great place to play Golden Touch Blackjack. Standard AC rules which means that for basic strategy players it’s a good game. Plenty of $5 and $10 games, especially midweek and you can even get rooms midweek since the hotel has 2,002 rooms raring to be rented! They are aggressively marketing. * * * *

CAESARS: No change from last report. Table game action has improved and that is very noticeable in the blackjack pits. Six-deck games in high roller room have 75 percent penetration as do the eight-deckers on the main casino floor. We’ve seen more $5 and $10 games of late. Good casino for Golden Touch Blackjack. Multiple Action and Spanish 21 available at $10 and up! ***

CLARIDGE: The high-roller action was six-deck games with $50/$100 minimums most days, but penetration about 80 to 85 percent when we visited. You can resplit pairs up to four hands in high-roller room (but no more resplitting of aces). The rest of the casino, all eight-deckers, doesn’t allow any resplitting. Multiple Action and Spanish 21 available for $10 and up. To stay here, you have to make the trek to Bally’s Park Place to register, which is not the best thing for the senior citizen crowd, which really likes this place. Great place to play Golden Touch Blackjack. *** ½ *

HARRAH’S: No change from last report. They are making a concerted effort to keep their players in the face of Borgata’s onslaught. Very friendly dealers and pit personnel. Penetration now ranges close to 70-80 percent. This place is improving gradually over time. Resplitting allowed except aces. No midshoe entry. Play here and at Showboat and your play counts all across the nation. For those of you who like to go to Vegas you can get some good comps for AC action in the desert! A room that would be discounted for $80 in AC would be free in Vegas based on the same play – this is not official but based on our calculations of the offers we’ve received. ***

HILTON: No change from last issue. Still a solid place to play blackjack in AC but no longer the best. Resplitting allowed except aces. High roller room is 6-decks, rest of the casino is 8-decks. Pits have been quick to jump on suspected counters, so be wary. High table minimums, especially on weekends, a lot of $25 tables, rare $10 tables. Penetration about 75-80 percent. The Multiple Action and Spanish 21 also have okay penetration for $10. Great place to play Golden Touch Blackjack. *** ½*


RESORTS: Great penetration has arrived. Now in its 25th year of operation, Resorts looks better today than it did when it opened and it is undergoing major renovations. Resorts has cut back on the penetration on both six and eight-deck games, to about 85 percent or more. Most of the $5 games have become $10 games, even midweek, but this is still a bargain by AC standards. Resplitting is allowed at all tables. Casino also offers multiple-action blackjack and Spanish 21 at $10 minimums. Great place to play Golden Touch Blackjack. Pits are friendly. *** ½ *

SANDS: Okay, this place went from a table-game dump to the elite, tied with Borgata in blackjack and, for craps players, offering 10X odds. Now offers the highest limits in AC. You can bet up to $50,000 on a single hand. So hurry, hurry and get down there! The penetration is at 85 percent on its 6-deck games and the whole casino is now 6-deck games. You can also resplit up to three times. A great place to play Golden Touch Blackjack – and Frank Scoblete swears he’s going back to play here! ****

SHOWBOAT: No change from last report. Six-deck games in the high roller room have standard penetration of about 75 percent. Resplitting now allowed up to three hands. Eight-deck games have 80 percent penetration. Can now occasionally find $25 games in high roller room. They announce them with a big sign during slow times. You can get great deals in other venues by using your card as it’s a part of the Harrah’s Total Rewards program. Good place to play Golden Touch Blackjack. ***

TROPICANA: No change from last issue. Slot city. Slot heaven. Slot madness. Ignore this place. *

TRUMP MARINA: No change from last report. The joint is losing money. This place has a big youth clientele -- and youth is fickle -- because of all the rock bands that play here. So if you like the high energy of often-dimwitted young folks loudly having a good time, this is the place for you. Six-deck games in high roller room and eight-deck games on the main floor have penetration of 75 percent mark, but you won’t find any dealers going much deeper. Games are mostly $15/$25 and up, especially on weekends. **1/2*

TRUMP PLAZA: No change from last report. Six-deck blackjack games in high limit area are about 75 percent penetration with $100 minimums – sometimes the dealer will now go even deeper. Sometimes when it’s slow, they will honor a request for $50 minimum. The eight-deck games have penetration ranging from 70 percent to 75 percent on all, depending on the dealer. No midshoe entry on eight-deck games outside high-roller pit but you can find $25 (a few) to $50 minimums on these. Allows resplits, except aces. Most eight-deck tables are $10 and higher. Good place to play Golden Touch Blackjack. ***

TRUMP TAJ MAHAL: No change from last issue. Has now been officially eclipsed by Borgata as the big kahuna casino in AC. Decent game with 75 percent penetration, dealer dependent. Multiple Action, Double Exposure and Spanish 21 are still available at $10/$15 minimums and up. Good place to play Golden Touch Blackjack. ***

WILD, WILD WEST: Penetration has deteriorated in the last couple of months to slightly under 75 percent on all games. Still a good place to play, atmosphere wise. ** ½ *

THE BEST BLACKJACK IN ATLANTIC CITY: Sands and Borgata; then Bally’s, Claridge and Hilton.




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