ATLANTIC CITY BLACKJACK REPORT – September 2007
by Alene and Frank Scoblete
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. His websites arewww.goldentouchblackjack.com, www.goldentouchcraps.com and www.scoblete.com.
When We are Right; We are Right: Atlantic City is Hurting Real Bad!
A few issues back we made a prediction that Atlantic City was in serious trouble due to two factors:
Low and behold, we were right. The latest statistics from AC are actually shocking. Here the Newark Star Ledger reports:
"The Atlantic City casino industry is facing its most difficult economic times since the inception of casino gaming," Tony Rodio, regional president of the two casinos [Resorts and Hilton], told The Star-Ledger of Newark in a story posted on the newspaper's Web site.
"Increased competition in Pennsylvania, New York, and other nearby states, coupled with the devastating impact of a 75 percent smoking ban in the casino are factors which has the industry on pace for its first-ever year of revenue decline," Rodio said. "In fact, we estimate that this partial smoking ban has resulted in $1 million in lost revenue per month at Hilton and Resorts combined."
The Newark Star Ledger continued:
The partial smoking ban began April 15. Earlier this month, Donald Trump, whose company has three casinos in the city, urged that the City Council repeal the ban. Casinos were excluded from a statewide ban on smoking in public places that took effect last year, prompting the council to enact a local ordinance.
Gross operating profit, which excludes interest, taxes, depreciation and other charges, is considered a better comparison between casino properties than net income.
Interestingly enough, the very personnel of the casinos who so vociferously advocated the smoking ban for various health concerns are now whining over the fact that many of them are or will be losing their jobs. You can’t have it both ways unfortunately.
Adding to Atlantic City’s woes is a new ordinance that will increase what bus companies must pay to shuttle players from various East Coast cities and towns. Some bus companies have threatened to reduce or eliminate their services because they can’t make enough money to support continuing them.
"Costs are just prohibitive for us to do business," said Dugan, who is president of the New Jersey Motorcoach Association. "It's just easier for the companies to go to other destinations."
If Atlantic City can resolve its bus crisis, can it actually lure more players or get their regular customers to come more often? The answer is a qualified yes. Their slot machines have to start paying off at the 95 to 98 percent range so that slot players slowly begin to realize that they have a better chance to win in AC than they do in Pennsylvania.
The table game players should be given more favorable rules and also lower limits to attract new players and to entice regular players to come more often. As one boxing promoter said when told how many seats a certain arena had: "It’s not how many seats you have; it’s how many asses I can get into those seats."
Atlantic City should also get cracking on building an "international airport" so players can fly directly into AC without having to land in Philadelphia which is almost 60 miles away. Make AC a real tourist destination with about 50,000 new rooms.
And what about the smoking ban? End it. However, put extremely powerful upward vents so that when "John the tobacco fiend" smokes, the nasty poisonous fumes go straight up and out onto the Boardwalk, hopefully killing those nasty seagulls that use your head and your shoulders as their personal toilets.
Our Readers Write
Dear Frank and AP:
Stay away from Tropicana. My recent visit was almost scary; there were so many "street types" all over the place that I was afraid I’d be mugged. It seems there have been a lot of layoffs and security seems really lax. The rooms too were not clean either. The place has really deteriorated in my opinion. I won’t be going back there any time soon.
Dear Frank and Alene:
Showboat? I can’t believe this place. The blackjack is not so good anymore and the whole casino is really just a slot parlor now. The craps games have tables that are like trampolines and some of the players were so drunk and so low class that I left and went over to Resorts which was much better.
Warn people about Showboat. It used to be a great casino.
Claridge - 5 x odds here also. But, here's the kicker – on both Friday night and Saturday night they had $5 tables! I asked the pit boss – apparently it was really slow so they changed the odds to attract business. So, if everyone rushed over there, then it would be a $10 table. If it’s slow, then they are willing to run a $5 on a weekend in the summer. The table itself was 12 ft I think – there was really only room for six people on a side. Finally, the $5 table was also 5x odds. When they got busy they only bumped the limits to $10 so it’s still worthwhile to hike over there and take a look. It was $5 from at least 10:30 pm to 1:30 am on Friday, and from 8:45 pm until 10:40 pm on Saturday. I left each time when the limits went up to $10.
I have been using Speed Count for blackjack now with great success for almost a year. I am curious about your thoughts about playing this advantage method for a living. I have limited myself so far to four fairly good sized casinos near my city. I think with some frequent travel to Vegas, AC, and other larger gaming areas a good living can be made.
My concern comes with banning. I have had absolutely no issues with camouflage, but I wonder how casinos will track and see winnings long term. I have losing sessions as anyone, but overall I am up on all four casinos. These are often part of corporate casinos, such as Harrah’s. Do most casinos track a player across all their properties or is this cared for at the site for the most part? If I took good wins for 2-3 years then laid off a big casino and even gave them a year of some loss before winning again the following year would this be sufficient cover do you think?
I know for someone trying to make a good living at blackjack in this day of tracking players, these are challenges as much as getting the edge in the game. I think your book is sensational and I am now interested in the ins and outs of professionally using it. These are the professional tricks and lessons outside of the counting system itself. I welcome your feedback and look forward to attending your Golden Touch blackjack class in Vegas sometime in the coming year to further improve my skills.
Many casinos do track across their properties and I think Harrah’s is one company that does this. I don’t know whether this tracking also alerts other Harrah’s casinos to your card counting ability (once you are caught). The way to avoid all tracking is to forget about getting comps. Just go into various casinos, play for a half hour or forty minutes, then leave and go elsewhere. This is good advice even if you aren’t a professional player.
However, my advice is not to think in terms of being a professional blackjack player because you need to make fairly substantial bets and you will experience tremendous downs (as well as ups). You must have a very large bankroll to finance yourself. Remember with Speed Count your edge will hover somewhere around the half percent mark. That’s great for a recreational player but it can be hard on a professional.
You can figure out from the book or from using the CD for Speed Count what your betting level must be to earn the living that you want. You must put in what you want to make and how much of a risk of ruin you can endure. My risk of ruin is a fraction of a percent because I can’t tolerate the thought of losing all my money.
I hope this helps.
All the best in and out of the casinos!
Editor’s note from Henry: I can add to Frank’s response that Harrah’s does bar card counters across all their properties. So it behooves you to play carefully at any Harrah’s owned property or you might be 86’d from all their properties.
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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 $5 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.
The greatest, and easiest, advantage-play method ever developed for beating blackjack – SPEED COUNT – can be found in Frank Scoblete’s new book, Golden Touch Blackjack Revolution! Book comes with a CD so you can practice. $24.95 plus $5 for shipping.
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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 that has over 5,000 paid members. 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? The Golden Touch Blackjack class 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. Next class is October 20&21 in Las Vegas. 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 September 2007.
***** = Excellent
**** = Very Good
*** = Good
** = Fair
* = Poor.
BALLY’S PARK PLACE: High minimums now in effect. Rumor is that Harrah’s is looking to dump this three-casino property – one of the top 20 biggest casino properties in the United States. 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. All tables are now 5X odds, with a range of minimums. Crews are friendly. Tables are somewhat high so short shooters get your platform shoes (letter above disagree with this statement). There are many more carnival games than ever before. Looks like Three-Card Poker rivals blackjack! Two and one-half stars: * * ½*
BORGATA: This is still a superior venue in Atlantic City and still number one for blackjack. Always at least two $5 tables available and there are seats as well! Summer is bringing higher limits throughout the casinos, so you might have to play very early in the morning if you are a low roller. 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 80 and 85 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. This is a happening place and caters to a swinging young crowd. Great casino for Golden Touch Blackjack. Four stars: * * * *
CAESARS: Directly across from Caesars is The Pier, which is a pleasure to walk through – a must see attraction in AC with some of the finest restaurants and views. Caesars itself also has 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 at blackjack too. 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 and higher 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: One star for old times sakes. Craps game got a recommendation, see letter above. A creepy pit boss seems to have been given a promotion so he isn’t seen as often. That is the Peter Principle at work (you get promoted to a level where you are incompetent and stay at that level). One star: *
HARRAH’S: No change from last issue except that the minimums are higher. 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 is 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: Laying off people and severely limiting comps. 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: Laying off people and limiting comps, although Resorts wants to start to compete with the big boys of AC. 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. The new hotel addition is clean and serviceable, but not luxurious. Two Stars: * *
SHOWBOAT: Had been one of the best and now is the worst blackjack casino in AC. Craps is also bad according to our correspondents. No stars.
TROPICANA: Gangs away! Blackjack games are now decent and so is the new "Quarter" shopping area. But bad reports have come in about the level of service, cleanliness and security throughout this hotel-casino. 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. Two and one-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: Is this place coming on or going out of business? Some of our Golden Touch craps players love this place. The eight-deck games have penetration at 80 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: Say it ain’t so, Donald! The best national casino-hotel at one time is no longer even in the top 10. Ouch! We were there recently and the 6-deck games outside the high roller room are gone. Lucky Ladies bet now available, no thanks. Good game with 75-80 percent penetration, dealer dependent, throughout the casino. In the high roller room all the 6-deck games have $100 minimums. Now the worst casino to play craps in all of Atlantic City with incredibly bouncy and high tables. The crews spend half their time scooting around looking for the dice that have jettisoned off the tables. Good casino for Golden Touch Blackjack. Three stars: * * *
WILD, WILD WEST: No change from last report. Lacking the spark it used to have. All 8-deck games with about eight tables now offering H17 games – insane. This is a part of Bally’s Park Place and Harrah’s is looking to sell this complex like a pan of gold. 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: Resorts
The Best Hotel/Casino in Atlantic City: Borgata. Taj Mahal
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