ATLANTIC CITY BLACKJACK REPORT – June 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 at www.goldentouchblackjack.com!
Summer in AC
Summer is here but this spring has been very cold with many cloudy, rainy days. The beach crowd is getting antsy to start their surf and sand, beer and leer time. You will find that the casinos are particularly crowded now and the game minimums are quite high. You are very hard pressed to find any $5 games and $10 games are in low supply as well. Weekends are killers for small bankrolls. You are better off not playing than playing with a short bank.
Atlantic City wants $15 and $25 action from most players on the weekends and the casinos get it because (for some reason) players are loony with wanting to play. You are better off saving your money and developing a fat bankroll than playing undercapitalized. Card counters know that those 6-deck and 8-deck games usually need almost double dynamite to beat them. What is double dynamite, you ask? You have to increase your bet to twice the number of decks to have a decent edge at the games during high counts. That’s 1-12 in 6-deck games and 1-16 in 8-deck games. So with $25 as the minimum bet in an 8-deck game, you’d have to go to $400 in high counts.
That’s a lot of money. You’d need a very big bankroll to sustain that level of action. Dan Pronovost’s Blackjack Audit software (www.handheldblackjack.com) can give you accurate figures of how much you need to have in your gambling bankroll based on your personal risk of ruin temperament.
Last issue we wrote: "The best games are still at Taj Mahal and Borgata, for 6-deck shoes, but Tropicana is now utilizing many 6-deck games as well and their penetration has recently been reported as around 75 percent, which is not bad at all." Nothing has changed to change that quote this issue.
If you really feel the need to go to AC and you are short bankrolled, team play is the best answer. Get together with four very honest (repeat: very honest) card counters and you’ll have a better shot at the city by the sea.
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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. Go to www.goldentouchblackjack.com. Call 1-800-944-0406 to sign up or for more information.
Here are our ratings for June 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: Comps are somewhat tight here because the hotel is always crowded. The youth like this place and its newness attracts the throngs and thongs. Hotel/casino rating is A. Good news is 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. The $5 games are somewhat harder to find. 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. Caesars is a 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 – which are all 8-deck games. 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 are a little high so smaller controlled shooters should wear their "special shoes." * * * ½ *
CLARIDGE: Rivaling Sands for "dump capital" of Atlantic City. Hotel/casino rating is now C1. Some of the pit personnel have become notorious for their bad manners – one now has the nickname "the Talking Mule" for his nastiness and stubbornness. The Claridge blackjack games have deteriorated as well. However, you can find plenty of $10 games – all 8-deckers. 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. Personality makes a shift and those morning bosses need help.
HARRAH’S: No change from last issue. 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. High roller room is 6-deck action, the rest of the casino was 8-decks. 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: No change from last issue. Just spent some time in this hotel, which used to be our favorite a long, long time ago under Steve Wynn. Hotel/casino rating is now a B- due to darkness of casino and also what look like halogen lights on some of their slot machines. Very off-putting. 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 on occasion. 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 14 foot tables and a couple of 12 footers which were closed during the times we spent there. * * *
RESORTS: Resorts has bought properties all over the country and is now becoming a big player in the American casino world. That’s fine because more competition is better for the players. The casino is still 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. New annex is nice. Hotel/casino rating A-. Some 6-deckers on main floor with no mid-shoe entry, usually $25 minimums. Most games are 8-deckers. 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-deckers. 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 that were open on the weekend. * * *
SANDS: No change from last issue. Six and 8-deck games are mediocre; dealers are nice, blackjack pit can be overly paranoid. Casino is decaying; and the hotel might implode. Good craps tables and crews. *
SHOWBOAT: Excellent blackjack in high roller room and sometimes the game is just $25 minimums. The penetration is about 80 percent now. A game worth looking at. Rooms are all full-sized and spacious; suites are great. Hotel/casino rating is A. 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 find $25 games in high roller room at those very good 6-deck games. 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. All the tables are now 12 footers. There are 5X odds on all tables. * * * ½ *
TROPICANA: No change from last issue. Hotel/casino rating is A. Blackjack games have actually improved here. The main floor now has 6-deckers with mid-shoe entry allowed on almost all of them. High roller room is 6-decks with no mid-shoe entry. Penetration is about 75 percent on all games. Big improvement here. Craps tables are 12-footers. * * *
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. We spent some time in this casino on our last trip. The place is going downhill In the center of the boardwalk Plaza is a black eye. That’s how one former patron of the Plaza characterizes the place. Needs serious renovations. Hotel/casino rating is now C+. 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. High roller room is 6-deck games. Craps tables are 12-footers. Very friendly crews. * *
TRUMP TAJ MAHAL: People listen up: Trump is doing something right here. 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 – although a couple of craps dealers are a little too antsy and bossy from recent reports. Good game with 75-80 percent penetration (even saw some 85 percenters!), dealer dependent. You can find 6-deck games with $25 minimums right outside the high roller room. In the high roller room all games have $100 minimums. 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: No change from last issue. All 8-deck games. 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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