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Blackjack Insider Newsletter, Feb. 2005, #61


By Scott Michaels

Scott Michaels writes for Video Poker Player magazine ( and has been an advantage gambler since 1998. He specializes in video poker, live poker and blackjack.  When playing blackjack, he uses the KO count. If you have any comments or questions, feel free to email Scott at

Editors Note: If you are not familiar with video poker terms, Michaels has a glossary at the end of the article.

Having never ventured out into the great unknown of the sparsely populated towns of northern Nevada, I decided to take a road trip to the casinos in the northeast region of the state to see what sort of stories and creatures I could dig up. Our tale begins in Twin Falls, Idaho.

Jackpot was going to be my home base while I was in this region, so I hopped a flight to Twin Falls, ID. I had to connect in Salt Lake City to a Delta Connection puddle jumper into Twin Falls. The flight was very brief and as we taxied to the "terminal" (I use this term loosely) I immediately observed that the Delta flight I was on was the ONLY commercial plane at the entire airport. A trip to the ticket counter while waiting for my bag confirmed this. The airport flight schedule listed five flights in, and five flights out of Twin Falls for the entire day. When the baggage claim door slowly opened and I saw the actual baggage handler tossing bags to the passengers, I got a good chuckle out of it. Twenty paces later, I was at the rental car counter and forty paces after that I was in my Dodge Neon (yes, I’m cheap and the Neon is easy on gas) and on my way to Jackpot.


This was my first jaunt into the ‘high desert’ type of climate and I had an altitude headache by the time I reached Jackpot (altitude of approximately 6000 feet). The drive was very pleasant since I had never experienced high desert geography; lots of plateaus, canyons and, of course, rolling plots of desert. Upon cresting the final hill, I saw Jackpot dead ahead. "Wow", I thought, "Cactus Pete’s (an Ameristar property) appears to be a nice place for literally being in the middle of nowhere." Turns out I was right; they have 300 rooms and are a 4 Diamond Mobil casino resort.

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