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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 You can email Jerry at

Tunica County – delta country – land of endless, flat cotton fields. In the last 14 years Tunica has grown from one casino to a peak of 11 casinos. Today it hosts 10 casinos of varying sizes. Comps tend to be easier in the relaxed Southern climate and the games offered tend to be good. But what about the game we (readers of this newsletter) care about most – blackjack? Over the last couple of weeks I visited all the Tunica casinos and played blackjack at most of them. Here is what I found.

Blackjack rules tend to be the same throughout Tunica. For multiple deck games the standard rules include: dealer hits a soft 17, double down is allowed on any two initial cards, double down after pair splitting is allowed, splitting up to 3 times making 4 total hands is the norm, splitting aces is allowed once with one card drawn to each ace, and surrender is not allowed on any blackjack game. Most single deck games have the same rules except doubling after pair splitting is not allowed.

As is the case elsewhere in the country, a growing cancer is found in Tunica blackjack games. It is identified by the numbers 6-5 – as in "blackjack pays 6 to 5" rather than the normal 3 to 2. While not yet universal for single deck games, about half the casinos are infected at this time – a very ominous trend, indeed. One casino – identified below – even touts 6 to 5 on a double deck game.

Another unfortunate trend is significantly reduced penetration of near 50 percent for single- and double-deck and 60 to 65 percent for six-deck games with a couple of casinos dealing noticeably less than 50 percent on single- and double-deck games. While a skilled player can still obtain an edge in most of these games, that edge is noticeably reduced. Many of the handheld games have automatic shufflers to keep the downtime for shuffles to a minimum offering little incentive for the casinos to deal deeper.

Okay, so much for the generalities of Tunica blackjack – let’s move on to the specifics, starting from the North and working our way South.

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