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by Jerry "Stickman"


Jerry "Stickman" has been an advantage blackjack player for over two decades. He used the High-Low Count for most of that time. Currently he uses Speed Count. Although sacrificing some advantage, Jerry states the simplicity of Speed Count made blackjack a fun game for him to play once again. Craps (dice control) and full pay video poker are also in his arsenal of advantage play tools. He is currently an instructor for Golden Touch Blackjack and Golden Touch Craps. For more information go to or

My wife, Terri, and I normally spend New Year’s Eve with my former sister-in-law, Mary, and her husband, Dennis. One of us will make the 5-hour trip by car to visit the other and we usually spend a relatively quiet time ushering the New Year. I am not terribly fond of crowds and neither is Terri so when we each received an invitation for a fully comped New Year’s weekend including three nights and a "Gala" New Year’s Eve party, we thought long and hard.

We had never been in Las Vegas for New Year’s Eve and I thought it might be fun. Terri agreed to go only if Dennis and Mary would join us. To our surprise, they agreed. They also invited another couple, Dick and Judy, that we all knew and enjoyed having around. Dick and Judy accompanied Dennis and Mary the last time they went to Las Vegas, which was, however, in 1970. At that time the Landmark Casino was in operation, Elvis sang at the International (now the Las Vegas Hilton) and $1 single-deck blackjack games – dealt to the bottom – were common. Today, sadly, all three are distant memories.

Knowing that the rest of the group would want to spend a lot of time seeing all the new attractions that Las Vegas now boasts, and figuring that we would need to be their tour guides along the way, Terri and I decided to arrive a couple of days before them and do some "normal" activities before they arrived on the scene.

We flew in on the Tuesday after Christmas, arriving late afternoon. We waited the standard 30 minutes at baggage claim for our checked luggage to arrive. If only I could figure out a way to convince Terri that she didn’t need anything more than would fit in carry-on, I could get an additional blackjack session each trip.

The luggage finally arrived and we grabbed the rental car shuttle, picked up the car and headed downtown – straight to Main Street Station. We like to stay there. They have decent rooms, fairly liberal comps, a classically designed casino, an excellent buffet, and one of the best microbreweries around. They also have playable blackjack, as well as great video poker and craps.

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