BEST TWO-DECK GAMES IN LAS VEGAS
FOR CARD COUNTERS
By Henry Tamburin
Henry Tamburin has been an advantage blackjack player for some 30 + years. During this time he also has taught more players how to be successful at card counting in his courses and seminars then any other instructor living or deceased. He currently teaches Speed Count in weekend classes, edits/publishes this newsletter, runs a book publishing company with his wife Linda, and writes the Total 21 column and Blackjack Magic columns for Casino Player and Midwest Gaming & Travel Magazines respectively. He is a prolific writer with over 700 published articles and a dynamic speaker that motivates his audiences. He also teaches advantage video poker classes in Las Vegas. After all these years, he still enjoys playing blackjack mostly in casinos in Las Vegas and Mississippi.
Casinos covered in this Report:
Las Vegas Hilton
Note: Special thanks to LVBear who reviewed this article prior to publication. Iíve included his comments in the report.
Ever try to hit a moving target? Thatís what it felt like trying to write this report. I had played two-deck games in nine different Las Vegas casinos over a three-week period this summer and I no sooner started to write this report when several casinos changed their games. It was back to the drawing board but after I finally got confirmation from some of my moles as to what changes were made, I am now able to publish this report. But be forewarned Ė playing conditions, especially in two-deck games, can change in a Las Vegas casino at anytime.
What makes two-deck games profitable for card counters? The most important variable is the penetration or percentage of the cards that are played before the dealer shuffles the cards. Youíll find many casinos in Las Vegas offer two-deck games where only one-deck is played (50% penetration). These games are a waste of time for card counters. You always want >50% penetration in two-deck games.
Playing rules also ran the gamut. Ideally, the best rules in a two-deck game are s17 and das. Unfortunately, most casinos offer h17 and das (a few with rsa) and some just s17 (no das). Games with these rules can be profitable as long as the penetration is > 50% (ideally 60-70%). The worse two-deck games I ran across only offer h17. Then there were the ridiculous two-deck games with 6-5 payoffs for blackjacks Ė please donít even consider playing these games.
All the two-deck games that I played used a shuffle card (some casinos in LV donít use them). Likewise the cards in some of the games were dealt face up from a shoe whereas in other casinos the cards were pitched by the dealer face down (my preference is pitch with a shuffle card). (note: LVBear questioned why I prefer a pitch game with cards dealt down rather than a faster shoe game with cards dealt up. He is right Ė a shoe game would be faster and my hourly win rate would increase. I guess Iím just old school and like those old fashion pitch games that I use to play all the time in Vegas)
Then there is the issue of bet spread. For two-deck games I recommend a 1-5 bet spread (LVBear commented my spread is to "tame". He plays a 1-16 spread, $25 to $400 or 2 x 200 in some casinos. If you feel you can get away with a much bigger bet spread than 1-4, be my guest, but be sure to check your ROR). I often will spread to two hands on high counts especially during the next to the last round (to squeeze out another round before the shuffle). I only spread to two hands two or three times per session and after the last hand spread, win or lose I leave (in general I keep my playing session short, no more than an hour in one casino).
In Las Vegas, your betting limits also determine what type of two-deck game youíll find. There are better options if you are a green chip or higher player compared to a red chip player.
So here is my list of the best two-deck games that I played in no particular order, which is current as of early September...
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