ATLANTIC CITY BLACKJACK REPORT – June 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 books are The Golden Touch Blackjack Revolution and The Golden Touch Dice Control Revolution, co-authored with Dominator, the great dice controller.
You Say Tomahto, I Say Tomayto
Jay [not his real name] is a professional blackjack player of some note. I met him last month on my last trip to Las Vegas. He has won several big tournaments. He lives in Vegas and plays blackjack five or six days a week. He’s been on television. He’s known and respected in the blackjack world.
His blackjack playing strategy is simple, "I play until I win $300 or until I lose $200. Every day. That is how I play."
Now most advantage blackjack players would look at that statement and think Jay is stupid, uninformed, or a product of my imagination. After all, when you have the edge shouldn’t you play for as long as you can as long as you are not making mistakes? Isn’t that the way to make truck loads of money?
Well yes and no. As many Vegas advantage blackjack players have come to realize, it isn’t easy making a living in the casinos because the casinos don’t want you to make a living at their games. The longer you hang around today the better the chance you won’t be allowed to hang around much tomorrow.
So that is one reason to keep sessions somewhat short. While your win expectation is limited, your lifetime playing expectation is extended by not playing too long in any given casino on any given day.
There is a second reason for playing as Jay does. He’s not comfortable playing any other way. Many advantage blackjack players want others to play the way they want these others to play – even if playing that way makes their fellow blackjack players uncomfortable. Jay does not like to spend too much time at the blackjack tables. He wants to hit and run. Of course, unlike the recreational gambler who plays every so often, Jay hits and runs almost every day.
Naturally, Jay’s comfort is Jay’s business. If you prefer to hit for longer periods of time or until they throw you out the door, that is your business too. While the emotions of a human being do not affect the actual blackjack game per se, they do affect the human being. Even though blackjack is a game of math and skill, your emotions do count. Being unconfortable while playing might be reason enough to play a different way.
Of course, it all boils down to different strokes for different folks. I find that I cannot give myself a bankroll Rate of Ruin of 5 percent, which is a typical percentage for many advantage-play blackjack players. I need to have an almost virtually zero chance of losing my bankroll because I have discovered through experience that losing feels more rotten than winning feels good. Also, some 20 years ago in my first foreray into advantage blackjack I lost my whole bankroll. Yes, it was only $5,000 but five thousand is five thousand. I never forgot that experience.
I never want that to happen again so I have made my total bankroll so big in relation to my betting that it would take the Armageddon of bad streaks to do me in. It isn’t going to happen.
Is this the smartest way to play? For me it is. For you it might not be.
Yes, in blackjack it is all about skill and math but it is truly also about your emotions.
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. You’ll learn it in 10 minutes, practice for two days, and be able to go into the casino and have a verifiable edge! Learn Speed Count and the new optimum 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 2006.
***** = Excellent
**** = Very Good
*** = Good
** = Fair
* = Poor.
BALLY’S PARK PLACE: No change from last issue. 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: My reporters say there is always at least one $5 blackjack table no matter what the time of day or day of the week. Excellent news if you are a small stakes player. Of course, you may have to wait forever to get on the table since every small stakes player in AC wants to play this game. Borgata is back to the number one casino in Atlantic City. Hotel rating is an A. 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. 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: Received some emails agreeing with the rating of Claridge as one of the two worst casinos in AC. The blackjack games are all 8-deckers with some 6-deck games in the high roller room. Penetration is 70 percent and some of the pit personnel are antsy.
One Star: *
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 75-80 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: No change from last issue. 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: We like this hotel-casino but it is more and more a slot-playing place – as is Harrah’s way. Thus, the table game area has shrunk considerably. 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: 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: No change from last issue. 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: No change from last issue. 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: No change from last issue. 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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