LAS VEGAS BLACKJACK REPORT: BOULDER STATION AND ARIZONA CHARLIE'S CASINOS
by KC Brooks
I have been addicted to blackjack ever since reading Revere's "Playing Blackjack as a Business" when I was 15. The art of blackjack is a lifetime endeavor. I went through the learning process backwards, learning Revere's Advanced Point Count first. I found out early that the actual count system is only a small piece of the puzzle. Presently, I travel "my" Devils Triangle (Reno, Wendover, Vegas}, playing mainly single- and double-deck games. Hi Lo is my choice of strategies and "Professional Blackjack" by Wong is my bible. I worship a large spread, and have been known to wong everywhere I go. Thank God I haven't had to register as a wonger yet, but I am sure it is not too far off. I also help fellow AP Nick teach card counting at www.Blackjackclassroom.com.
This month I head east of the Strip to Boulder Highway. My mission: check out the blackjack action at Boulder Station and Arizona Charlie's. Both casinos are located on the north end of the highway. To get there, you take Interstate 515 and exit on Boulder Highway. Boulder Station is on your left and a few blocks south on the same side of the road sits Arizona Charlie's.
Arizona Charlie's - Boulder (4575 Boulder Hwy.)
Arizona Charlie's is a small property that offers all of the gaming you would find in a major hotel but at a much lower cost. It is also one of the few Vegas hotels that offer an RV park.
The RV Park can accommodate a variety of motor homes. There are 200 spaces ranging in various sizes, from 30 feet to 70 feet. On the grounds is a clubhouse with a large-screen television, pool table, fitness equipment, and laundry facilities.
If you prefer to book a room, no problem; there are over 300 rooms in their hotel at very affordable rates (compared to most other casino hotels in Las Vegas). They have a medium sized pool and Jacuzzi at the hotel and a smaller pool at the RV Park. Both pools are open seasonally.
The casino is 47,000 square feet and offers over 840 ticket-in ticket-out slot and video poker machines. They have a race and sports book for you sport's junkies, and Las Vegas' only 24-hour bingo hall. There are a handful of table games that include blackjack, roulette, craps and pai gow poker.
You have four dining options at Arizona Charlie's:
Yukon Grill: A diverse steakhouse menu that won't cost an arm and a leg. Winner of, Open Table Dinners' Choice Award 2016.
Charlie's Market Buffet: Offers variety and value, featuring American and International cuisines.
Sourdough Café: Breakfast, lunch, dinner serving downhome comfort food.
Charlie's Cheesesteak Deli: Breakfast sandwiches, burgers, and a whole lot more. Very affordable.
Now back to the gaming. The casino has one roulette table, and one 12-foot craps table. On my visit, the table limits on craps was $5-$1000 with 10x odds. I believe during the week the minimum bet is $3.
They have four blackjack tables at Arizona Charlie's. One table has Free Bet blackjack with $5-$500 table limits. The game uses one deck, and has a house advantage of 1.18%. There are two double-deck blackjack games; the rules are: dealer hits soft 17, you can double after splitting, and you can re-split aces. The house edge against a basic strategy player is 0.35% on both games and the penetration was around 60 cards (ca. 58%). On my visit, there was a $25-$1000 limit game and a $10- $500 game. During the week the minimum bets drops to $5. The higher limit game offers the Lucky Ladies side bet, and mid entry is not allowed in either game.
Lastly, there is one six-deck shoe game with these rules: the dealer hits soft 17, you can double after splitting, and re-split aces. The table limits are $3-$500, and the penetration is around four decks. The house advantage is 0.56%.
Arizona Charlie's is definitely easy on the pocket book. The good is that they have no 6:5 games; the bad; penetration could be better, the ugly; the Boulder Highway tumbleweed (hookers). Next stop Boulder Station.
Boulder Station (4111 Boulder Hwy.)
Boulder Station, and its sister property Sunset Station, are the biggest casinos on this side of town. Like Arizona Charlie's, Boulder is easy on the pocket book, and best of all, has playable blackjack games.
There are 300 hotel rooms at Boulder, along with a 75,000 square foot casino. There is also pretty much everything here including: a race and sports book; 452-seat bingo room; ten-table poker room; and for the kids, a movie theater.
Food is decent at Boulder; I have had good meals at the Grand Café, which is their 24- hour restaurant. The buffet is above average (as far as buffets go). If you like Italian food, Pasta Cucina is very good. I have not dined at Cabo (their Mexican restaurant,) or at The Broiler (steakhouse). Fast food options include Burger King, Subway, Slices Pizzeria, Winchell's, and Starbucks.
The casino has over 2,800 slot and video poker machines; it's easy to get lost in the maze of machines. There are a variety of table games: Three Card Poker, pai gow, mini- baccarat, and some good double-deck blackjack games. There are three roulette tables scattered about, and three 14-foot craps tables. The table limits for craps was $3-$1000 along with 10x odds.
The blackjack games consisted of one table of Free Bet blackjack, one table of Super F21, ten tables of double-deck, and six tables of six-decks.
The double-deck games are all...
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