ATLANTIC CITY BLACKJACK REPORT – March 2007
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!
Atlantic City Faces Dismal Prospects – Which Might Be Good for You
The day when Atlantic City dominated casino gambling on the upper East Coast has ended. The Connecticut casinos, Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, nipped at the heels of Atlantic City over the years, but the new Pennsylvania slot parlors have already taken a nice bloody bite out of the Queen of Resorts’ leg.
There has been an almost 3 percent decline in overall casino revenue thus far this year and a drastic decline of 7.2 percent in slot revenue. Last year the total increase in revenue was 4 percent – so you can see things are changing.
Three elements make the immediate future somewhat dismal:
Many slot players just want to play slots and the closer to home those machines are the better for them. The only way Atlantic City can combat this is to loosen their slot payout to hurt the new slot options from Pennsylvanians. Whether they do this or not is up in the air. But certainly they will try to lure slot players to come back to AC with comp offerings greater than what they have offered in the immediate past.
The smoking ban is going to hurt the casinos as well. Some people think that smokers will continue to go to Atlantic City and this is true, but the amount of time that they play will be reduced because they will have to go outside to smoke. So they may play for four or five hours, but part of that time will be dead time for the casinos as the smokers go outside for their nicotine fix. This will reduce revenue at the tables (and the machines) still more.
This scenario should be good for the players as a reduction in revenue could be met by offering more comps and cheaper or free stays in the hotel to lower-stakes players. The casinos need players to play, after all. It could also make the casinos offer better table games and far better rules in blackjack, games where players play longer and therefore, smoking or not, their spouses, friends, acquaintances hang out in the bars, shopping centers, etc., of the casino properties.
The third problem is the fact that New York’s Governor, Elliot Spitzer has just okayed the building of an Indian casino in Monticello, New York, a mere 75 miles from New York City proper. While it will take several years for this property to come on-line, so to speak, when it does, it might take away many of the day trippers who go to Atlantic City which is about 130 miles away.
A truth about players and the casino industry is this: Often what’s bad for the casinos is good for the players. When the casinos are booming the games have gotten worse; when the casinos struggle, the games get better.
Write me if the comps and offerings actually do get better (or worse) and/or if the games improve. My email address is email@example.com.
We Get Letters
Hi Frank and A.P.,
Some of my musings about the last trip to Borgies. At least one $5 table existed every night. Pits remain generally friendly but I will report one incident later on. Crowds seemed thin for holiday except for Sat evening. Other players in general seemed to think that the place is cutting back a bit on the frills.
Some specific complaints about comps (not from me). They have restored the $10 black card price at the Buffet, which they took away for a while. The place does seem to respond to patron pressure, I will say. We wanted tickets to the Who in March, $398 each although we could pay with points.
About that incident. There seems to be fewer and fewer Asian dealers and pit people at the Pai Gow tables. Sometimes this works against the players. An Asian gentleman was playing over $100 a hand. The dealer obviously was somewhat new to the game. There was a question about a hand; she called the table person who decided how to play the hand. The dealer then turned the cards of the player who pushed. The pit person rushed over and had her change the way she set the hand, player lost. I think this is most foul (not the hand, but the deed). Several of the others players protested, to no avail. This would not have happened in the recent past.
My wife and I play dice together. She went to your school and we bought a half table plus DVD and practiced. Always did much better at home than at the casino. But, even though we break even or lose a bit, we still do much better than 90% of the others players. And we actually sometimes get a decent run. So it seems your training pays off.
Hope this is of some use.
James T. Hollyweather
Dear A.P. and Frank:
I am a Speed Counter and I use the Optimum Basic Strategy from your book Golden Touch Blackjack Revolution! but because of my business I just can’t get to Vegas to play their great two-deck games. I am stuck in AC.
Blackjack in Atlantic City is not as bad as many people think. It’s pretty good if you know what to look for and if you have a sufficient bankroll to weather the storms of ups and downs. The eight-deck games are tough to beat, even if you have a miniscule edge, which I do, so I look to play the six-deck games, which are in the high-roller rooms. I use a one to twelve spread at these games but I do not jump my bets more than three times. So I go from 2 units to 6 units but I won’t jump up to 8 or 12 units because that is very noticeable. If the count changes just a small bit into my favor I usually double my bet.
You can find many games where the penetration is 75 percent or even better. These are the games you must exclusively play.
I really enjoy your articles in this newsletter and also elsewhere. I’ve read most of your LIBRARY of books too. BJ Insider is a great newsletter and all of the people involved should tale a bow.
Frank and Alene,
Casino Killer Advantage Weekends
In 2007, Frank Scoblete’s Casino Killer College is opening – and our first advantage play weekend of seminars will be in April in Tunica and in October in Las Vegas taught by some of the biggest names in casino gambling. There are slightly different formats for the two venues as follows:
The Tunica Weekend on April 21 and 22
Advantage Slot Machines and Video Poker, Other Good Machines, Maximizing Cashback and Comps: This class is given by two experts in the field – gaming columnists Jerry "Stickman" and Street Dog. They will explain which slot machines can give players an edge over the house and which are the best video poker machines to play – and what optimum strategies to use. They will also discuss the best non-advantage slot and video poker machines that are close contests between the house and the player. Includes excellent information on maximizing cashback and comps. Class is two hours, from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM on Saturday, April 21. Cost is $199. Call FRED 1-800-944-0406 to sign up. Limited seating.
Advantage Pai Gow Poker: Many players don’t realize that Pai Gow Poker is a beatable game – if the players know what they are doing – playing the right games with the right strategies. This class will teach you how to expertly play your hands and how to use the banking element of the game to get the edge over the casino. The instructors of this course are Frank Scoblete and Dominator. States Frank Scoblete: "This class will be hands on instruction. Pai Gow is a great game and it can be beaten." Class is two hours, from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM on Saturday, April 21. Cost is $199. Call FRED at 1-800-944-0406 to sign up. Limited seating.
Golden Touch Dice Control Class: The only way to beat craps is to learn how to control the dice. Learn how to do this from the World’s Greatest Dice Control Experts in a two-day class that teaches you the art of Golden Touch dice control taught by Frank Scoblete, Dominator, Stickman, Rock ‘n Roller, Mr. Finesse, Chip, Billy the Kid, No Field Five, Street Dog and other great GTC instructors. Class is from 9AM to 4:30 PM on Saturday, April 21 and from 9 AM to 3 PM on Sunday, April 22. Two price packages available. Call DOM at 1-866-SET-DICE or FRED at 1-800-944-0406.
The Las Vegas Weekend on October 27 and 28
Saturday, October 27
9AM to 11:30AM:
Winning at Casino Poker, Low-Limit Tournaments and at Internet Poker with Bill Burton and Dominator. Two instructors who have made the final tables over 20 percent of the time when they play. These guys are winners and know what it takes to make you a winner. Let them teach you their methods. This seminar is 2 ½ hours long and will show you how to win in all versions of today’s Texas Hold’em games. $295. Call FRED 1-800-944-0406 to sign up. Limited seating.
12Noon to 2:30 PM:
Winning at Blackjack with New Advantage Techniques with Henry Tamburin and Frank Scoblete. Yes, Henry he’ll talk about Speed Count, the Optimum Basic Strategy and several other advantage techniques to help you improve your edge over the house. Frank will show you his "big fingers" technique that he used for several years to hammer the MGM-Mirage properties at face-up two-deck games. This has never been revealed before! Seminar is 2 ½ hours long and is $295. Call FRED 1-800-944-0406 to sign up. Limited seating.
3PM to 5:30PM:
Winning at Video Poker and the Cashback and Comp Game with Jean Scott and Henry Tamburin: Video poker is beatable. Even if the game might slightly favor the casino on some cases, with comps and cashback you can do to the casinos what they are doing to all the other players who don’t have the winning edge. Two giants of casino gambling will teach you the ins and the outs of how to get the edge at Video Poker. Seminar is 2 ½ hours long and is $295. Call FRED 1-800-944-0406 to sign up. Limited seating.
Sunday, October 28
9AM to 11:30AM:
Advantage Slot Machines, Other Good Machines, Maximizing Cashback and Comps with Frank Scoblete, Stickman and Street Dog: Strictly for slot players looking to get the mathematical edge or to maximize their expectation through good machines, comps and cashback. This class is given by three experts in the field – gaming writers Frank Scoblete, Jerry "Stickman" and Street Dog. Read Tunica information above. There is added material for special Vegas slot machines in this seminar, which is 2 ½ hours long and $295. Call FRED 1-800-944-0406 to sign up. Limited seating.
12Noon to 2:30PM:
Advantage Pai Gow Poker: Yes, certain Pai Gow games can be beaten. Advantage play taught by Frank Scoblete and Dominator. See Tunica info. Seminar is 2 ½ hours long and $295. Call FRED 1-800-944-0406 to sign up. Limited seating.
3PM to 5:30PM:
Best Strategies and Money Management for Roulette, Let It Ride, Three Card Poker, Caribbean Stud, Four-Card Poker with best-selling author and radio show host John Grochowski: Even though these games can’t be beaten, you don’t have to have your head handed to you when you play them because there are optimum strategies to cut the house edge and increase your comp worth to the casinos. Seminar is 2 ½ hours long and $295. Call FRED 1-800-944-0406 to sign up. Limited seating.
The class costs for Vegas are as follows:
If a person takes 1 class = $295
If a person takes 2 classes = $495
Every class over 2 is $100 for each additional class.
Call FRED at 1-800-944-0406 to sign up.
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You can read about the Golden Touch Craps World records, 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 $4.05 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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Want information on most of the craps games in the country? Go to:http://www.goldentouchcraps.com/CrapsComparison.htm.
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 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 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 (www.goldentouchblackjack.com).
Here are our ratings for March 2007.
***** = Excellent
**** = Very Good
*** = Good
** = Fair
* = Poor.
BALLY’S PARK PLACE: No change from last report. Seems to be going downhill now – getting very bad reports about the actual hotel rooms. All 8-deck games except for the high roller room action, which is always $100 to $200 table minimums. For craps players, this is still 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: Read letter above. The best casino for blackjack in Atlantic City. Always at least one or two $5 tables available and there are sometimes seats at these as well! Hotel rating is an A. Penetration is good. 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. This is a happening place and caters to a young crowd. Great casino for Golden Touch Blackjack. Four stars: * * * *
CAESARS: No change since last issue. 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 little high so smaller controlled shooters should wear their "special shoes." Three stars: * * *
CLARIDGE: The regulars that I know are beginning to flee this casino. The blackjack games are becoming fewer and fewer. Penetration has improved to 75 percent. Does anyone play here anymore? Two stars: * *
HARRAH’S: No change from last issue. Harrah’s Atlantic City properties are excellent but what will happen when the new owners take over? 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: No change from last issue. 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. We have always liked this casino and it is still a great place to stay and play. Here’s praying the new Harrah’s management doesn’t ruin it. 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 are 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. Some good reports starting to come in on this place. Is it a fluke? Time will tell. We didn’t see any real change on our visits but who knows? 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: No change from last issue. 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: No change from last issue. The mighty has fallen. Really bad reports coming in about the blackjack games but all reports about hotel and restaurants continue to be good. Those great six deckers outside of the high roller room are a thing of the past; now they are eight-deck games with so-so penetration. 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. Still a good casino for Golden Touch Blackjack. This is still 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 stars: * * *
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
The Best Craps in Atlantic City: Taj Mahal
The Best Hotel/Casino in Atlantic City: Borgata and Showboat
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