ATLANTIC CITY BLACKJACK REPORT – May 2006
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 newest book isThe Golden Touch Dice Control Revolution, co-authored with Dominator, the great dice controller.
And don’t forget to find out about our new blackjack method, Golden Touch Blackjack!
Back and Forth with AC Players
We have great AC players who keep us informed up-to-the-minute on conditions at the games and in the casinos. We want to thank all of them. We have received a lot of emails this issue, some of which we want to respond to, so here they are:
I couldn't help but to laugh when I read about your experience at Taj Mahal in the last issue. A similar thing happened to me when we got a room there that was supposed to be comped only to be told that they had no record of it and were completely booked.
Also it seems that Taj is no longer comping me for some reason as I must have played there for about 6 hours and did not receive a single cent. They tried to tell me some BS that the reason why I didn't get any comps was because I had used the free room comp that they had sent in the mail. I just might believe that except for the fact that my friend who was playing with me didn't get any either despite us giving them our cards. Needless to say I wasn't happy.
Also I don't know if you're aware of it or not but I see a dangerous precedent starting at Bally's and Wild Wild West. I went there this past Saturday and it seems that they have some 8-deck tables where the dealers are now hitting on soft 17's. From what I understand, this increases the house edge there by 50%! It's bad enough that Atlantic City has gone from being mostly 6 decks to now 8 decks with $15 minimums for the most part, but this really is going to be cutting into our pockets.
In addition, I played for 11 hours there with an average bet of $25 and only received $15 in comps. Just last year I used to be able to play at a $10 table for 5 hours and get $10 in comps. Oh well, I guess times are changing.
You aren’t alone. The Taj received a lot of bad emails after I wrote that article in the last issue. One host in particular was hammered. Seems the guy doesn’t do his job and doesn’t really give a damn – even concerning players who bet on average over $200 per decision. That was the host I (and about eight Golden Touch Craps players) used on that last trip. One of our players is a $600 average bettor and he was really angry with Taj.
So with all the anti-Taj reports, this casino is going down in the ratings this issue. The crews are still great but when you visit a casino-hotel, you do expect to be treated properly.
Now with the H17 rule going into effect, the ratings for AC will go down. It’s not as if they are giving you something in return.
Dear Alene and Frank,
I see so many people come up to the table play a few hands and walk away. There are table hoppers at Borgata too. So many other places eliminate this freewheeling gambling. Reducing the freedom must cut down on dollars played at the tables in other casinos! The Borgata also has only 6 seats per table instead of the standard 7. All things considered I believe the Borgata is the best blackjack casino in AC.
We received a lot of great emails about how good Borgata is and some of the writers think we should re-evaluate our ratings. And we have done just that.
AC has become worse in comps, not just in the summer months, but throughout the year. Remember the casinos won’t comp if they don’t need to comp to get the players in. I think AC makes about 1.3 million per day from blackjack. That’s a lot.
Alene and Frank
Dear Frank and AP:
Well, here is my 2 cents worth on the Taj. When I checked into the Taj I had RFB on my reservation and I thought that never having played there that I would have to play the hours they need and with the dollars they want to see.
I contacted the host and requested a meeting. He did come down and we sat in an office to discuss what we all thought were slights to our whole group. Heck, I even told him he did not call Dominator and Frank to say thanks for the gift that they sent him earlier. He claimed he never received the gift even though Dominator personally gave it to the host’s secretary.
Dinner was great and believe it or not we were able to take over a table at the Taj and play for hours having some great rolls and a wonderful time with all of our cool Jersey friends. Well now it's 2:00 AM and we are dragging ourselves back to Resorts and while passing the cage No Field Five says, "Hey, lets check on our match plays."
We handed in our players’ cards and viola, the match plays started to appear. This is great except in bold print on the coupon it says good only on date issued. OK what is the date? hmmm lets see it's Sunday no wait it's Monday the 20th now and stamped right on the coupon it says..... 3/19/06. But it’s the 20th I say, yes but it's the 19th for our cage friend since he came to work on the 19th. Well that's gorilla math if I ever heard it and no amount conversation or complimentary bananas, was making this guy believe it was in fact the 20th of March. We were told that we had to use them before 6:00 AM. when it was officially the first day of spring, using of course the revised casino calendar.
Last summer I had some problems with [host’s name] also screwing up reservations and such. I said the hell with it and went elsewhere. My son and I like to play at the Taj but I don't need the other aggravation.
Dear AP and Frank:
I once called [host’s name], and he gave me a quick brush off. Normally I take that as a challenge and would try to get the rooms in spite of the host, then call him and tell him what a schmuck he his. But work being what it is and not having time, I just called a friend in Chicago who set me up with a great Harrah's host who in turn set me up for a weekend in AC at Harrah’s.
Dear Frank and AP:
I love Borgata. I have never had a problem with any hosts there and my reservations are always made. You might consider Borgata on your next trip to AC.
Dear AP and Frank:
I like Showboat of all the casinos in Atlantic City. While small I have found the service to be excellent and the dealers to be friendly. Their high-roller blackjack game is excellent as well.
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 email@example.com.
All the ratings of casinos are based on the blackjack games.
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Here are our ratings for May 2006.
***** = Excellent
**** = Very Good
*** = Good
** = Fair
* = Poor.
BALLY’S PARK PLACE: Say it ain’t so! They are now hitting on soft 17 at many of the tables. With all other things being the same as last issue – this stinks! 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. Mixed reviews about how deep the penetration is. 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. There are many more carnival games than ever before. Looks like Three-Card Poker rivals blackjack!
Two stars: * *
BORGATA: Back to the number one casino in Atlantic City. Hotel rating is an A. Penetration is not as good as in the past, which now puts this casino into the runner up category. Penetration on all the 6-deck games varies between 75 and 80 percent so you can get some good games here. Craps has long tables, 14-footers, and very bouncy, although there is talk of two smaller tables - somewhere. There is always at least one $5 game available. Great casino for Golden Touch Blackjack.
Four Stars: * * * *
CAESARS: No change from last issue. 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. 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."
Three and a half stars: * * * ½ *
CLARIDGE: No change from last issue. AC regulars are all sad about this place and I feel their pain. This was the "friendly" casino and now it is anything but. This was once the Captain’s favorite casino in Atlantic City and it was once ours as well. Maybe it will recapture its glory days again? Blackjack games have about 70 percent penetration. The rumor is that the casino is going to be closed so those glory days might not be coming back.
One Star: *
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 75-80 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.
Three and one-half Stars: * * * ½ *
HILTON: No change from last issue. A place to look at when you are in AC. The blackjack games here are getting good reports from some of our correspondents but you must pick the game based on the dealer because the penetration is dealer dependent. 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. High table minimums, especially on weekends, a lot of $25 tables, rare $10 tables. Penetration about 75 percent, sometimes up to 80 percent. Good casino for Golden Touch Blackjack. For craps, we are dealing with 14-foot tables and a couple of 12 footers. Casino is dark. This place needs a buffing.
Three Stars and a half stars: * * * ½ *
RESORTS: Resplitting is allowed at all tables but penetration barely makes it to 75 percent now. 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. 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.
Two and one half stars: * * 1/2 *
SANDS: No change from last issue. The El Cortez of Atlantic City with apologies to El Cortez, which does occasionally have good blackjack games.
One Star: *
SHOWBOAT: No change from last issue. The table game area has shrunk considerably. Good casino-hotel. 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, although there is not that many tables available. We remember when this place had great table-game action. 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 too. All the tables are now 12 footers. There are 5X odds on all tables.
Three and a half stars: * * * ½ *
TROPICANA: No change from last issue. The biggest moneymaker in AC. 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 in all areas of play. Craps tables are 12-footers. Good casino for Golden Touch Blackjack. Three Stars and a half stars: * * * ½ *
TRUMP MARINA: No change from last issue. 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.
Two Stars: * *
TRUMP PLAZA: This place is doing better and better now that it is cleaning its act up. Some of our Golden Touch craps players love this place. There’s a multi-million dollar renovation going on to make this a prize casino-hotel again and it is starting to get back its old glamour. The 8-deck games have penetration at 75 percent, 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. Good casino for Golden Touch Blackjack.
Three stars: * * *
TRUMP TAJ MAHAL: We are patrons of the Taj because their dealers and crews are so friendly and professional. Unfortunately we have gotten numerous reports of screwups in other areas and this has hurt the property as a whole. Too bad. Good games with 75-80 percent penetration. 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. Excellent casino for Golden Touch Blackjack. This is the best casino for craps in AC as well. All 5-X odds tables. 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. Three and one-half stars: * * * ½ *
WILD, WILD WEST: Hitting on soft 17? Nuts! All 8-deck games too. Double nuts! This is a part of Bally’s Park Place. Penetration is about 75 percent on all games. For craps this is a fun place to play with one 5X odds table and one 2X odds table. I remember when this place had many more tables. Crews are very friendly.
Two Stars: * *
THE BEST BLACKJACK IN ATLANTIC CITY: Borgata
The Best Craps in Atlantic City: Taj Mahal
The Best Hotel/Casino in Atlantic City: Borgata and Showboat
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