Blackjack newsletter and blackjack strategySubscribe to the Blackjack Insider newsletter

Learn how to play and win from Blackjack Master and BJI Editor, Henry Tamburin, Ph.D.

Ultimate Casino Guide

BLACKJACK TOURNAMENT E-BOOKS BY BJI AUTHOR KEN SMITH!
How to Win EVEN MORE Blackjack Tournaments - Volume II... only $14.95. Ken Smith's second e-book on tournament blackjack contains more of his winning strategies that have made him one of the best tournament blackjack players in the world.

Or, purchase both Volume I and Volume II together for $24.95... over 15% off!

How To Win EVEN MORE Blackjack Tournaments - Volume II
(web ads above removed with paid membership. Click here for advertisement rates)

Friends of Blackjack Insider... great sites from our authors and partners:

$100 off Golden Touch Blackjack Seminar for BJI readers. Master Speed Count, a, simple and new card counting system, in this two day course.

Golden Touch Blackjack

BEST BLACKJACK GAMES IN THE CHICAGO AREA

by John Grochowski

John Grochowski is casino gambling expert and a well-known and respected columnist. His syndicated casino gambling column appears in the Denver Post, Casino City Times, and other newspapers and web sites. Grochowski has written six books on gambling including the "Answer Man" series of books (www.casinoanswerman.com). He offers one-minute gambling tips on radio station WLS-AM (890) and podcasts are available at http://www.wlsam.com/sectional.asp?id=38069Send your question to Grochowski at casinoanswerman@casinoanswerman.com.

Just like players in most of the country, blackjack players in the Chicago area took a hit in the wake of the Great Recession.

With a gaming tax hike as an added factor, casinos on both the Illinois and Indiana sides of the metropolitan area tightened rules, increased minimum wagers, and decreased the number of blackjack tables in favor of more slots and newer table games that are less vulnerable to advantage play.

The best games of yore are gone. I have wistful memories of the Empress Casino in Joliet offering $5 minimums at double-deck blackjack, with dealer standing on all 17s, double down on any first two cards, including after splits, split up to three times, and with late surrender offered. (Sigh.)

You won't find anything like that now. In fact, you'll struggle to find any $5 games at all.

Most games in the Chicago area use either six or eight decks, with a few exceptions. Table minimums are high, especially in Illinois where anything under $15 a hand is a rare treat for a midweek morning. Even Majestic Star, long the last bastion of $5 tables, has gone to $10 minimums except for the sporadic opening of a $5 Blackjack Switch game.

If there's a standard game for the area, it's six decks, dealer hits soft 17, double on any first two cards, including after splits, split up to three times to make a total of four hands except Aces may be split only once, and blackjacks pay 3-2. There are a few 6-5 tables in the area, so beware.

For the most part, that leaves games with a 0.63 percent edge against basic strategy players. That drops to 0.41 percent if the dealer stands on all 17s -- mostly at higher limit tables.

Hitting soft 17 is a major change in the market post-recession. For many years, the only casinos to hit soft 17 were Hollywood Casino in Aurora and Grand Victoria in Elgin, both on the Fox River in Chicago's far western suburbs. In Joliet, southwest of the big city, Harrah's and Empress -- which is now Hollywood Joliet -- had dealers stand on all 17s. Casinos on the Indiana side -- Horseshoe in Hammond, Ameristar in East Chicago and Majestic Star I and II in Gary -- were required by state regulations to have dealers stand on all 17s.

The Indiana requirement was eliminated and the Joliet casinos changed their rules, so that now, nearly all blackjack tables in the area have dealers hit soft 17. Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, Illinois, the region's newest casino, also hits soft 17 on most tables.

Still, there's room for variation. Let's take a look at rules and conditions at each of the casinos within the Chicago metropolitan area.

ILLINOIS

Harrah's Joliet and Hollywood Joliet: The two direct competitors have always tracked each other closely, and both allow players to resplit Aces in addition to standard area rules.

At both casinos, $25-and-up players get...

...enter your member login information below to read this article/newsletter...

Paid Members-Only Article

You have clicked on a link to a Blackjack Insider web page or article for paid subscribers. You must have a paid membership to the Blackjack Insider newsletter to view this content. About 1/2 of the articles in each issue of the Blackjack Insider are for paid members only, while the rest are viewable by everyone. Your purchased membership will allow you to read all Blackjack Insider articles for 12 months.

Enter your user name and password below (they were listed and e-mailed to you after you purchased your Blackjack Insider membership):

User name:
Password: (case sensitive)
Save user name and password in your browser so you don't have to type them again later

Forgot your membership id or password? Click here.

How do I get a membership?

A membership can be purchased online at our secure store with your credit card for only $19.95 per year. You will receive a user name and password immediately by e-mail which you can use to read the all past and future members-only articles for 12 months, as well as the regular free articles.

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE A ONE YEAR MEMBERSHIP NOW... only $19.95

Do I have to buy a membership?

No. Blackjack Insider will continue to be published as a free monthly e-newsletter. But about 1/2 of the articles each month will be for paid members only. Subscribers without a membership can still view and read the non-members articles for free.

What happens after I buy a membership?

Immediately after you complete your purchase, you will receive a unique login user name and password. These are displayed on the final purchase page, and are e-mailed to you. When you click on a members-only article in our web site, you will be prompted for this user name and password (as shown above). Simply enter them, and enjoy the article! Note: make sure you turn on the checkbox above when you login, to save the user name and password so that you don't have to re-enter them every time you view members-only articles.

Why did you switch to paid memberships?

Blackjack Insider is a professional monthly publication with top-notch articles by world-reknown gaming experts. In addition, we have regular reporters that monitor game conditions and tournament schedules throughout North America. We use a partially paid subscriber model to enable us to continue getting the best content for our readers from leading authors on blackjack and gaming.

©2015, DeepNet Technologies. No material to be copied without express permission of DeepNet Technologies.
This site developed by DeepNet Technologies, Ontario, Canada. Contact webmaster @ bjinsider . com if you have problems.
This site is best viewed in a 800x600 graphics mode, or higher.