ATLANTIC CITY BLACKJACK REPORT – March 2005
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. Frank’s 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! For a free brochure call: 1-800-944-0406 or write: Paone Press, Box 610, Lynbrook, NY 11563. His websites are www.gamblersjamboree.com, www.goldentouchblackjack.com, www.goldentouchcraps.com and www.scoblete.com. And don’t forget to find out about our new blackjack method, Golden Touch Blackjack!
A Little Story About Fluctuations by Frank Scoblete
This story didn’t happen in Atlantic City but it is instructive nevertheless. I was playing a great two-deck game at a casino I shall not disclose. This was just three days ago as I write this. At my table were Henry Tamburin and Dominator. We were all using Speed Count, which is very hard for the casinos to detect since it operates somewhat differently than a normal card counting system.
The dealer was cutting off maybe 12-16 cards and we were the only three players at the table. We were laughing and joking and showing everyone that these three "boys" were having a very good time.
My bet spread was 1 to 6 – with a starting bet of $50. The casino we were in is not known for big action so even when I went to a $300 bet I made it with green chips to look as if I was a progressive player just adding to the pile.
In about 20 minutes I lost 18 of 20 hands – and all of my big hands. I’d put up $300 and the dealer would have a "bust hand" she’d hit for a 21. Or the dealer would show a 7 and I’d hit my 13 (I owned the 13) and I’d bust. It was ugly and even the dealer seemed upset by my wipeout. She kept apologizing to us for being "so hot."
At the very same table with the very same Speed Counts, Henry merely lost $20 in that time period. He was able to make his big hands and that saved him from a beating. You have to realize that those cards are in some kind of order and my seat got the crap and Henry occasionally got some good hands. Poor Dominator lost his entire buy-in and was also in a state of shock. His response: "Jesus, I haven’t had my head handed to me like that in a long, long time."
Now mathematicians and statisticians and the emotional stone-men of blackjack just chalk all that up to fluctuations. This is true but bloodless. The human being who is having his head fluctuated is often in a state of shock. I was. I hadn’t taken such a beating in about five years. I stopped playing because I had lost all the money I had brought with me to play with. That’s an excellent money-management system by the way – quit playing when you lose it all.
Now, Fred Renzey, who writes for this newsletter, would not be upset. He has ice for blood that guy. On the other hand, I have hot blood and I was stunned. In 20 years of card counting I have never gotten used to losing. Call me emotional. Call me whatever you want but I expect to win every time I play. Of course, I don’t win every time I play but I rarely take the kind of beating I did on this particular night either.
Now this brutal beating will not stop me from playing blackjack at that casino or with that great dealer. But those awful nights let it be known that even with an edge, the game of blackjack can be harrowing.
Damn, I hate to lose.
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We’ve decided since many of our Golden Touch Craps dice controllers are now Speed Counters subscribing to this site, we are going to give a quick rundown of the craps games as well. We haven’t played in all the casinos in AC so we would appreciate it if you could email Frank with the table minimums, the odds bets, and anything else you think we might want to use (table lengths very helpful – if you just say "big" we will assume 14-feet as they are at Borgata). If you send us info we will give you a free month on our members-only board. Email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
All the ratings of casinos are based on the blackjack games.
If you’re 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. Learn Speed Count and the new basic strategy in this class. We’ll be having upcoming classes in 2005. Go to www.goldentouchblackjack.com. The cost is a mere $895. Call 1-800-944-0406 to sign up or for more information.
Here are our ratings for March 2005.
***** = Excellent
**** = Very Good
*** = Good
** = Fair
* = Poor.
BALLY’S PARK PLACE: No change from last issue. This property needs some serious upgrading. The casino is getting dingy. The darkness is powerful. The hotel rooms really need refurbishing, as do the elevators and hallways. There are magnificent views from the Tower but all those views are on the outside! Hotel/casino rating is a B-. The 8-deck games on the main casino floor have about 70 to 75 percent penetration. Penetration is about 1.8 decks on the six-deck games in the high-roller pit and these games are almost always $100 to $200 minimums. 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. No mid-shoe entry in high roller room and on a few of the main $50 tables in casino, otherwise you can usually Wong here if you wish. For craps players, this is a good casino for the game. There is one 5X odds table, usually a $25 minimum; the rest are 2X odds. Crews are friendly. Tables are somewhat high so short shooters get your platform shoes. * *
BORGATA: According to my great source E.M. who has spent several days at this casino, things are looking up. The place is lovely but the rooms are not the best rooms in AC. They are clean and new and the beds are great, however, and your views are spectacular of city and bay. Hotel/casino rating is A. Good news is the return of an all 6-deck casino. Penetration is now 75 to 85 percent. High roller room is 6-decks with no mid-shoe entry. Plenty of $10 and $15 games in the main casino. Craps has long tables, 14-footers, and very bouncy, although there is talk of two smaller tables - somewhere. Great casino for Golden Touch Blackjack. * * * *
CAESARS: No change from last issue. Great property; bright casino; well-attended rooms and suites. Excellent restaurants. Cheerful place and worthy of the name it bears. Hotel/casino rating is A. They are going deeper. You can expect about 80 percent penetration with most of the dealers. The main floor of eight-deckers has some of the upper-limit tables ($25 and $50) with no mid-shoe entry. All the games in the high roller pit are also no mid-shoe entry with $100 minimums. Table game action has improved and that is very noticeable in the blackjack pits. Six-deck games in high roller room have 80 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! The craps games here are good with 12-foot tables and friendly crews. The tables we saw were all 2X odds. * * * ½ *
CLARIDGE: No change from last issue. There have been attempts in the past to upgrade the Claridge but the place is going downhill. They closed the best restaurant in the Bally’s-Claridge complex, Luna, which is a sign of bad things to come. Hotel/casino rating is C+. Nothing but bad reports coming from the casino. Remember when this was advertised as "the friendly casino"? Their blackjack games have deteriorated as well. However, you can find some $5 and plenty of $10 games. The high-roller action was 6-deck games with $50/$100 minimums most days, with penetration at 70-75 percent. No mid-shoe entry on the high roller action. You can resplit pairs up to four hands in high-roller room (but no more resplitting of aces). The rest of the casino, all 8-deckers, doesn’t allow any resplitting but does usually allow mid-shoe entry. Multiple Action and Spanish 21 available for $10 and up. New craps tables make this the same as most AC casinos. Good craps bosses evenings. Stay away from the morning and afternoon games – crews are nice, but those pit bosses or shift managers are real downers.
* * ½*
HARRAH’S: Excellent property, good rooms, good views, good staff in all areas. As a corporation Harrah’s is doing something right! Harrah’s has maintained a great corporate image and deservedly so. Hotel/casino rating is A. In the casino you will find very friendly dealers and pit personnel. Penetration now ranges in the 75 percent area. 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 from your 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. Good casino for Golden Touch Blackjack. Friendly crews and decent tables at craps. We haven’t played there but reports are good. But we must warn you, this is a big slot place too. * * *
HILTON: Hotel/casino rating is B+. The blackjack games are good and bad now – all depending on the dealer you get. Resplitting allowed except aces. High roller room is 6-decks, rest of the casino is 8-decks with a few $25/$50 6-deckers. No mid-shoe entry on the six-deckers. 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 casino for Golden Touch Blackjack. For craps, we are dealing with 12-foot tables and 2X odds. We haven’t played here in years. * * *
RESORTS: No change from last issue. The casino is extremely dark, though upgraded, and while the rooms in the main hotel are small (as fits the standard of the 1940s), they are bright and clean. Hotel/casino rating A-. Some 6-deckers on main floor with no mid-shoe entry, usually $25 minimums. Resorts penetration is about 75%. Resplitting is allowed at all tables. Casino also offers multiple-action blackjack and Spanish 21 at $10 minimums. But Resorts has brought in those single-deck zombie-fied blackjack games too. Avoid the single-deck scam. Good casino for Golden Touch Blackjack. Excellent place for craps. Mostly small tables, with some games 5X odds. Last we were there, the high roller room had two 10-foot craps tables. * * *
SANDS: The Titanic. But it hasn’t sunk completely yet. *
SHOWBOAT: No change from last issue. Excellent place to stay, bright casino, fun atmosphere. Rooms are all full-sized and spacious; suites are great. Hotel/casino rating is A. Six-deck games in the high roller room have standard penetration of about 75 percent. Resplitting now allowed up to three hands. No mid-shoe entry. Eight-deck games have 80 percent penetration and allow mid-shoe entry. Can now occasionally find $25 games in high roller room. 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 casino for Golden Touch Blackjack. Craps is fine here. There is one 14-foot table, usually the one open in the morning, but around noon the other 12-foot tables open. There are 5X odds on all tables. * * *
TROPICANA: Starting to get some good reports on this place. Mornings seem to be good for penetration. Going on the upswing with the new Quarter. Many rooms have been redecorated (awful colors however) and the pedestrian traffic seems large now. Hotel/casino rating is A. Blackjack games have actually improved here. The main floor has eight-deckers with mid-shoe entry allowed on almost all of them. High roller room is 6-decks with no mid-shoe entry. Still the low man in the city but any positive movement is a good thing. Craps tables are 12-footers. * * ½ *
TRUMP MARINA: No change from last issue. Small may not be better any more and this place is somewhat small. The casino seems cramped and the slots are backing right up on the table games. The hotel rooms, while clean and well appointed, are small as well. Hotel/casino rating is B+. Single-deck monsters are here, too. Six-deck games in high roller room and 8-deck games on the main floor have penetration of 70-75 percent mark, but you won’t find any dealers going much deeper. Games are mostly $15/$25 and up, especially on weekends. No mid-shoe entry on the 6-deckers but you can jump in and out on the eight-deckers. Craps tables are 12-footers with 2X odds. Haven’t played here in years. * *
TRUMP PLAZA: No change from last issue. In the center of the boardwalk is a black eye. That’s how one former patron of the Plaza characterizes the place. Needs serious renovations. Hotel/casino rating is B. The 8-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. Craps tables are 12-footers. Very friendly crews. * *
TRUMP TAJ MAHAL: The best casino in Atlantic City and the best hotel too. Rooms are all clean and well attended; the building and casino are light and spacious. The staff in all areas is terrific. This is the place to stay. Hotel/casino rating is A+. Despite the fact that they have brought in those 6/5 single-deckers, this place is now tied #1 for blackjack (with Borgata) in Atlantic City as well. We are becoming patrons of the Taj because their dealers and crews are so friendly and professional. Good game with 75-80 percent penetration (even saw some 85 percenters!), dealer dependent. Multiple Action, Double Exposure and Spanish 21 are still available at $10/$15 minimums and up. Excellent casino for Golden Touch Blackjack. This is the best casino for craps in AC as well. All 5-X odds tables and one 20X odds table. The crews have been universally pleasant. Tables are all 12-footers. In our estimation, this is the number one craps and blackjack casino in Atlantic City. * * * *
WILD, WILD WEST: This is a part of Bally’s Park Place. 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. For craps this is a fun place to play with one 5X odds table. Crews are very friendly. ** ½ *
THE BEST BLACKJACK IN ATLANTIC CITY: Taj Mahal and Borgata
The Best Craps in Atlantic City: Taj Mahal
The Best Hotel/Casino in Atlantic City: Taj Mahal
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