ATLANTIC CITY BLACKJACK REPORT – December 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 Blackjack Revolution. His newest DVD is Golden Touch: Beat Craps Using a Controlled Throw!
The Atlantic City Blackjack Debate
Okay, the toughest part about writing about Atlantic City is the fact that the blackjack games really don’t change all that much from month to month, or year to year, and so most of the time we look to find a dealer or two or three who might be going deeper than usual.
Yes, Atlantic City does innovate things – meaning it mimics Las Vegas whenever it can and whenever it can, it usually means the innovation sucks – such as those single deck 6-to-5 blackjack games and the hitting on soft 17 that has been tried in several casinos on their – God forbid! – 8-deck games. Other great innovation-imitations that have come (and usually gone) are Switch Blackjack, Lucky Ladies, Over-Under 13, Spanish 21 and, uh, we have forgotten them all frankly.
But the fact that Atlantic City is a bulwark of mediocre blackjack games does not stop its patrons from having very strong opinions nevertheless. We thought we’d hand over this Holiday Issue for some Christmas cheers and jeers from our Atlantic City correspondents. Here goes:
Dear Frank and Alene:
I keep trying to respond to your Atlantic City Report for Nov. 2006 #82, but have been unsuccessful via other means. Anyway, I disagree with some of the report. Yes, Borgata is great but I prefer Showboat because of the great attitudes of the dealers and pit bosses. Also Showboat has at least six to eight $15 tables all the time, at least every hour of the day I’ve been there.
And Caesars, give me a break! Most of the time the minimum tables are $50. Not to mention the stone faced, unresponsive dealers and pit bosses. I played blackjack four and five hours a day, over the Memorial Day weekend, at Caesars. When I asked if I could get a comp for the coffee shop, I was offered a drink at the bar. Hello! Drinks are still free at the tables. But when I told the pit boss I don’t drink, he advised me "You drink soda, don’t you?" and walked away.
Caesars appears to only want to have blackjack tables for higher type rollers. You better take another look at Hilton too. I met a couple who were playing at least $50 a hand at the Hilton and won a couple hundred, and I mean a couple hundred ($200), total, together. They told the pit boss they were going to take a break and requested a comp for the buffet. They were told they had won money, and could afford to pay for it themselves! Therefore no comps were given. The gentleman told me that he and his friends wouldn’t be going back to the Hilton.
Just my views on a couple of my experiences. Borgata and Showboat are definitely the best bets, but I’ve been favoring Showboat. Thanks for listening.
Dear Alene and Frank:
Since this is around Christmas as I write this I will be kind. You are severely overrating Borgata. There are at least three other casinos with better blackjack games, Taj, Showboat and Hilton. Borgata has the babes but their blackjack games are not the best in the city – at least when I have been there.
Caesars has overrated blackjack as well and they are really not looking for $10 action – you have to be a $25 player to be noticed at Caesars so it is a place just for high rollers. You guys have also overrated Tropicana, which has really crummy penetration.
The worst dealers in the whole town are at Claridge because I think this place is going downhill faster than a sleigh ride. The Taj dealers are okay but not all of them are friendly. It’s a big place so I guess you can expect to get some rude dealers. Borgata dealers are fine. Caesars is a little cold.
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Scoblete:
How you can give any Atlantic City casino three to four stars out of five for their blackjack games is insane. There are no good blackjack games in the whole town. Sure some of the games are better than others and some of the six deck games are playable but the whole city is a joke when it comes to blackjack.
You have a town that is going to impose the hitting soft 17 for God’s sake. Is that a joke or what? The best casino right now is Sands and that is because it is closed. Players are better off saving their money and taking a plane ride to Vegas where there are still some good games. Atlantic City is a gambling town for idiots.
Have a Happy Christmas,
Dear Frank and Alene:
The really great blackjack players and teams prefer to play the 6-deck games and these Atlantic City has in abundance – you just have to have the bankroll to play in the high-roller rooms. I have found that Borgata, Taj, Showboat, Hilton and Trump Plaza all have excellent 6-deck games that can be beaten with reasonable spreads.
There are even times when Tropicana has had some good games but my last visit was disappointing. Too many players, usually low-limit players, think Atlantic City is tough to beat. The fact is if you have the bankroll this is a great town for blackjack. But you have to have that bankroll. Too many blackjack players don’t understand the importance of a good bankroll.
Keep up the good work.
Dear Alene and Frank:
I realize that blackjack reports are subjective. You go to a casino; you see a good game and report that this casino is looking good. I go the next month and the games I see are not very good. Or vice versa. It is good just to have a general idea of where you might find beatable games and we appreciate your reports.
But I have been doing my own little research about comps too. The best place for comps is Harrah’s, followed by Resorts, Hilton and Bally’s. Caesars is so-so and the Trump properties are all about the same – except it’s easier to get comped or discounted rooms at the Plaza.
With the closing of Sands I expect that comps might get a little tighter as some 500 to 1,000 players are now going to go to the other casinos. The Sands had a lower limit crowd but I can see them hitting Claridge and Resorts, which also cater to the lower end.
We’d like to thank all of our readers for their support and we are hoping that 2007 becomes your very best year at casino gambling ever. Of course, if you are a smoker, 2007 might mean you won’t be able to smoke in the casinos anymore. Although ending smoking in casinos cuts down the take by 10 to 19 percent, the AC legislature wants to protect everyone from second hand smoke. We wished they would also protect us from second hand politicians.
In 2007, Frank Scoblete’s Casino Killer College is opening – and our first advantage play weekend of seminars will be in October, 2007, taught by some of the biggest names in casino gambling. We’ll be giving two and one-half hour seminars in the following areas: new blackjack techniques, video poker (with comps and cashback), advantage slot machines (with comps and cashback), advantage Pai Gow poker, and advantage poker in the casinos, online and in tournaments. Look for announcements in the coming months.
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You can read about the Golden Touch Craps World records, including the Captain’s 147-roll hand atwww.goldentouchcraps.com/worldrecords.shtml. Want to learn dice control from the masters? Get a copy of The Golden Touch Dice Control Revolution! [$16.95 plus $3.50 shipping] by Frank Scoblete and Dominator or get a copy of our new DVD Golden Touch: Beat Craps by Controlling the Dice! [$299 plus $6 shipping] Call FRED at 1-800-944-0406.
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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 email@example.com.
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 towww.goldentouchblackjack.com. Call 1-800-944-0406 to sign up or for more information.
Or buy our new book The Golden Touch Blackjack Revolution! and learn the easiest advantage-play method ever developed for blackjack.
Here are our ratings for December 2006.
***** = Excellent
**** = Very Good
*** = Good
** = Fair
* = Poor.
BALLY’S PARK PLACE: People say the comps here are pretty good. 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 but we found it in the 75 percent area. All 8-deck games except for the high roller room action. 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 and one-half stars: * * ½*
BORGATA: Several readers want us to definitively state that the prettiest women can be found at this casino. Is this true? We have no idea. Always at least two $5 tables available and there are seats as well! Hotel rating is an A. Penetration is pretty good right now. Casino is all six-deck games, which is great – for AC, that is. Penetration on games varies between 75 and 80 percent so you can get some good games here. Match the Dealer bet is available on many tables. Craps has long tables, 14-footers, and very bouncy, although there is talk of two smaller tables - somewhere. This is a happening place and caters to a young crowd. Great casino for Golden Touch Blackjack.
Three and one-half stars: * * * ½ *
CAESARS: Getting some disturbing reports about Caesars – they are looking for high rollers and not low rollers. We didn’t think that would surprise anyone. Excellent restaurants but you have long walks to find them. 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 stars: * * *
CLARIDGE: The rumors are getting strong that Claridge is going to close – not the hotel, just the casino portion, to make way for shopping, restaurants and a very big theatre. The blackjack games are becoming fewer and fewer. Penetration has improved to 75 percent. Two stars: * *
HARRAH’S: Harrah’s Atlantic City properties are excellent. Hotel/casino rating is A. In the casino you will find very friendly dealers and pit personnel. Penetration now ranges in the 75 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. We haven’t played there but reports are good. But we must warn you, this is a big slot place too. However, Harrah’s properties in Las Vegas are getting very bad reports about how some of the boxmen treat customers who practice a careful shot. Three Stars: * * *
HILTON: Is this the worst place for comps in AC? Some reports say it is. We’ll wait for further reports but a word of caution is advised. Those 6 to 5 blackjack games are now here as well. 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. Three Stars: * * *
RESORTS: No change from last issue. Match the dealer bet has been added to some of the tables. 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. Avoid the single-deckers that pay 6 to 5 for blackjacks. Excellent place for craps. Mostly small tables, with some games 5X odds. Two Stars: * *
SHOWBOAT: No change from last issue. 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: Hotel/casino rating is A. Blackjack games are now decent and so is the new "Quarter" shopping area. Those main-floor six-deck games are now gone. 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: * * *
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 might be going out of business. It also might be torn down if the partnership between Steve Wynn and Donald Trump comes to fruition. Gee, it was just renovated. Getting good reports on this property’s face lifting too. Some of our Golden Touch craps players love this place – they will be unhappy to see it go. The eight-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 six-deck games. Craps tables are 12-footers. Very friendly crews. Good casino for Golden Touch Blackjack. Three stars: * * *
TRUMP TAJ MAHAL: Six deckers outside of the high roller room are a thing of the past. Lucky Ladies bet now available, no thanks. Good game with 75-80 percent penetration, dealer dependent, throughout the casino. Some writers have said that the Taj staff – one floor woman in particular – are a little paranoid. That would be a sign of insanity on the part of this woman! 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 in our experience. Tables are all 12-footers. Three and a half stars: * * * ½ *
WILD, WILD WEST: No change from last issue. All 8-deck games with about eight tables now offering H17 games. 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, Taj Mahal, Showboat
The Best Craps in Atlantic City: Taj Mahal
The Best Hotel/Casino in Atlantic City: Borgata and Showboat
Alene Scoblete 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 is The Golden Touch Blackjack Revolution. His newest DVD is Golden Touch: Beat Craps Using a Controlled Throw!
For a free brochure call: 1-800-944-0406 or write: Paone Press, Box 446, Malverne, NY 11565. Frank’s websites arewww.goldentouchblackjack.com, www.goldentouchcraps.com and www.scoblete.com.
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