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WENDOVER TRIP REPORT

by JPB

JPB has been playing blackjack and counting cards part-time since 1996. He plays throughout the country but primarily in Missouri. He has been a Green Chip member of BJ21.com for four years and one-time winner of the Post-of-the-Month. JPB is a professional engineer with three engineering degrees and works as a consulting engineer.

The trip to Wendover was taken in Nov. 2011. Casinos visited include:

Pepermill

Montego Bay

Rainbow

Red Garter Inn

Nugget

When I purchase a new issue of Current Blackjack News (CBJN) every few months, I take a quick look at locations/casinos that appear to offer really good blackjack for card counters. Month after month, the one locale that stands out as "too good to be true" is Wendover, Nevada. Lots of real single-deck tables that pay 3:2 on blackjacks, offer reasonable minimum and maximum bets, and a miniscule house advantage of 0.15%. How could single-deck blackjack that pays 3:2 be so plentiful in Wendover, when it is virtually extinct throughout the rest of the country?

In November 2011, I had the opportunity to visit Wendover and confirmed that their blackjack games, like many things in life that seem to be too good to be true, is in fact too good to be true ... at least if you are a blackjack chip card counter like I am.

Logistics

Wendover, Nevada is located just west of the Utah-Nevada state line on I-80. It is located about 90 miles west of Salt Lake City (an easy, all highway drive from Salt Lake City). Five casinos offer blackjack in Wendover ... three Peppermill properties (Peppermill, Montego Bay, and Rainbow); Red Garter Inn, and the Nugget. Red Garter is on the west side of town. Nugget is on the east side. The three Peppermill properties are in the middle. The town is well laid out- at least for getting from one casino to the next. Parking (at least when I went) was convenient and easy.

Peppermill, Montego Bay, and Rainbow

As far as blackjack conditions, these three casinos are essentially identical.

  • Rules are: H17, RSA for house advantage of 0.15%.
  • Majority of tables are single deck.
  • Excellent single-deck penetration of about 60%.
  • Table minimums ranged from $5/10-$500.
  • About 10-15 tables per casino, although there were only 2-4 blackjack tables open per casino when I visited on a weekday.

At the first one of these properties I visited, I cashed in for $1000 and started out betting $100 or $200 on the first hand out of each deck, and then betting a maximum of $300. I dropped my bet down to $50 on negative counts so technically I was using a 6-1 spread. I was hoping that they would look at my off-the-top bet and decide I was a big better and not a card counter. I think all that I accomplished was...

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