ATLANTIC CITY BLACKJACK REPORT
By Alene Paone and Frank Scoblete
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.goldentouchblackjack.com and www.scoblete.com.
FROM LAST ISSUE: "Put down May 20 in your mental calendar because that is the date that Frank Scoblete will play blackjack at the Sands. His last outing there was over two years ago when the pit personnel mistreated him (he was only allowed to bet a single $100 bet, play one hand, and they cut the shoe in half). Weíll see what happens this time. Youíll discover that in the next issue."
FROM FRANK SCOBLETE: On Thursday, May 20th, I returned to the Sands. If you read the description of my previous visit to the Sands (in my book The Craps Underground), youíll understand why I took so long to return to a casino that I used to frequent all the time when the Captain of Craps and his high-rolling Crew played there.
I decided to play in the afternoon. I gave in my playerís card, took out a marker, and waited. The floorperson, Frank, came over and immediately introduced himself and we shook hands. "You wonít be mistreated as you were last time but I have to say, you do what youíve gotta do and Iíll do what Iíve gotta do. Weíve been waiting for you to show up. Youíre a man of your word."
It seems Frank and others at the Sands read this newsletter.
I decided to bet small. I wanted to give the Sands every opportunity to allow me to play unscathed. I would bet $15 and go to $150 in their six-deck game. My normal bets are usually $50 to $1,000 (two hands of $500 each). I figured if I bet small, Frank would allow me to play without a blink and I would write up a good review of the Sands. After all, having 6-deck games with good penetration and great craps games with 10X odds does merit a good report.
It wasnít to be. Towards the end of the first shoe, I had a $150 bet out Ė which I lost three or four straight times. The shoe ended, with me behind, and on the next shoe Frank came over and cut out about half the cards from play. Thatís not a good game to play obviously and so I stopped playing. I was surprised that he cut off the cards since my betting was small but I didnít complain. I thanked him for being friendly and I went over to play their 10X odds game at craps. But I was disappointed. Why half-shoe me like that when it canít possibly help the cause of getting more people into the Sands to play their blackjack game? With 13,000 subscribers to this newsletter, I would think the Sands would want me falling all over myself singing their praises for letting me play undisturbed.
There was no song to be sung.
Then at the 10X odds craps, I discovered a remarkable thing. With a huge sign over the craps pit announcing 10X odds, the two craps tables that were open were 5X odds and 2X odds. There were no 10X odds games! I asked the boxman at the table, "Where are the 10X odds games?" He said, "We open one on the weekend."
In none of the advertising (Iím looking at a Sands letter sent to me right now) was there any mention that the 10X odds game is only on the weekends.
So Iím short shoed at blackjack and I donít even have a chance to play a superior craps game. The gaming at Sands just wasnít what I had wished. Far from it. Yes, the casino has the right to cut out half the cards in blackjack but can it advertise a craps game that it doesnít actually have except on weekends without telling the public the truth of the matter? I would think that is false advertising.
But at least I was RFB, which meant I could eat, drink and be merry and not have to pay for anything. I went back to my room Ė a drab affair with cigarette burns on the old carpet on the bedroom floor and a used toothpick from a previous guest on the bathroom floor Ė and called the high roller desk and asked for a reservation for their Italian restaurant.
"Itís closed," said the woman.
"Well, what gourmet restaurant is open?"
"The steak house," she said.
"Dinner for two at the steak house at 6:30 will be great."
"We donít have any openings until 9PM," she said.
"I am RFB arenít I?" I asked.
"But I canít get a reservation until 9PM?"
"We only have that one restaurant open."
"Never mind," I said. I hung up.
I called my buddy Howard "Rock Ďn Roller" Newman, who was staying at the Taj, and we made restaurant reservations there for 6:30. I then took a shower Ė it was ice cold! There was no hot water in my room!
So the denouement of the Sands is this. Dirty carpets in the hall on my floor; ancient, stained rug in the room where I stayed; a chewed toothpick in my bathroom; ice cold water; no gourmet restaurant available until 9PM and no 10X odds game at craps as they advertised. And half-shoeing a small bettor. Ugh!
I will say unequivocally that Frank the floor man was pleasant and nice, and I wish I could give Sands a hearty slap on the back for doing the right thing by me. I canít. Itís a major disappointment. Maybe Iíll visit in another three years or so and see if there are any improvements. Then again, maybe I wonít. Thereís something about a chewed toothpick in the bathroom that turns my stomach!
The really good news is that Golden Touch Blackjack came to Atlantic City on Saturday and Sunday, May 22 and 23. This revolutionary new advantage-play method premiered in Vegas in April. The 32 players who took the course in Atlantic City enthusiastically received it and are now using this great advantage-play method in the casinos. Yes, even at the Sands, our students are playing and winning! Hereís a simple question to ask yourself: If youíre going to play blackjack, why not play with an advantage? Golden Touch Blackjack will give you the easiest method for getting an advantage at the game. Weíll be having upcoming classes in June in Chicago, July/August in Tunica, Mississippi, September in Las Vegas and October in Louisiana. The cost is a mere $895. Call 1-800-944-0406 to sign up or for more information.
Here are our ratings for June 2004.
***** = Excellent
**** = Very Good
*** = Good
** = Fair
* = Poor.
BALLYíS PARK PLACE: The 8-deck games have 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. *** Ĺ *
BORGATA: The best overall game in AC as every table is 6-decks. Aggressive marketing has given it the lionís share of the BJ market and it has become the place to play blackjack in Atlantic City. Penetration is 80 percent, sometimes higher. Great place to play Golden Touch Blackjack. Standard AC rules which means that for basic strategy players itís a great game. Plenty of $10 games and some $5 games as well. Great place for Golden Touch Blackjack. * * * *
CAESARS: No change from last issue. 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. Good casino for Golden Touch Blackjack. Multiple Action and Spanish 21 available at $10 and up! ***
CLARIDGE: No change from last issue. The high-roller action was six-deck games with $50/$100 minimums most days, with 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, doesnít allow any resplitting. Multiple Action and Spanish 21 available for $10 and up. To stay here, you have to make the trek to Ballyís 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. *** Ĺ *
HARRAHíS: They are making a concerted effort to keep their players in the face of Borgataís 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 Ė this is not official but based on our calculations of the offers weíve received. Good place for Golden Touch Blackjack. ***
HILTON: Has fallen a bit in terms of penetration. 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 percent throughout the casino. The Multiple Action and Spanish 21 also have okay penetration for $10. Good place to play Golden Touch Blackjack. ***
RESORTS: New tower is up and by the time you read this, it is probably opened to the public. Casino is fresh and bright. 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 increased 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. *** Ĺ *
SANDS: A major disappointment in terms of amenities, cleanliness, and accommodations; also seriously misleading advertising in craps; and, sadly, paranoia in the blackjack pits. The penetration is at 80 percent on its 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. ***1/2*
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 itís a part of the Harrahís Total Rewards program. Good place to play Golden Touch Blackjack. ***
TROPICANA: Slot city. *
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 wonít 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 Ė sometimes the dealer will now go even deeper. Sometimes when itís 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: We are becoming patrons of the Taj. In the past few months the friendliness of the pit crews and dealers is winning us over. Good game with 80 percent penetration, dealer dependent. Multiple Action, Double Exposure and Spanish 21 are still available at $10/$15 minimums and up. Great place to play Golden Touch Blackjack. *** Ĺ*
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. ** Ĺ *
THE BEST BLACKJACK IN ATLANTIC CITY: Borgata
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. Frankís books and tapes have sold over a million copies. His two newest books are: The Craps Underground: The Inside Story of How Dice Controllers Are Winning Millions from the Casinos! and Casino Gambling: Play Like a Pro in 10 Minutes or Less!
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