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Blackjack Insider Newsletter, March 2002, #28

A WORD FROM HENRY

We begin this month’s issue with a humbling experience that happened to our Gulf Coast blackjack reporter, CC Rider, who was backed off from a blackjack table while playing at a local casino. CC Rider describes the event and the lesson learned so that, hopefully, you will avoid making the same mistakes. Captain Jack, our expert Las Vegas player and reporter, concludes his two part series on double deck games in Las Vegas with solid advice on how to gain the advantage in these games. His information is priceless if you are, or planning to become, an advantage player. Alene Paone updates the blackjack playing conditions in Atlantic City (it ain’t getting any better) and LV Pro’s latest trip report summarizes his most recent solo jaunt to Sin City. Pay special attention to how and where LV Pro uses "blackjack coupons" to extend his edge when he plays. You’ll also find the updated schedule of mini- and major blackjack tournaments and answers to more reader’s questions about blackjack.

Ready, set, let’s go ….

Henry Tamburin

Editor

Abbreviations used to describe playing rules and conditions in the BJ Reports

h17 = dealer hits soft 17

s17 = dealer stands on soft 17

das = double down after pair splitting

rsa = resplit aces

ls = late surrender

d4 = double down on first four or fewer cards

d9 = double down only on two card 9 or more

d10 = double down only on two card 10 or more

doa = double on anything

nm = no mid game entry

nrs = no resplits

csm = continuous shuffle machine

pen = penetration = The fraction (or percentage) of cards in a pack that the dealer will deal before reshuffling. Usually the pen is designated as a percentage (for example a game in which the dealer deals 4.5 decks out of 6 decks has 75% penetration). Sometimes, however, the penetration is stated as just the deck(s) of cards that are not put into play. For example, "a 0.8 penetration in a 2-deck game" means 1.2 decks are played out prior to shuffling and the penetration is 60%.

EV = expected value. The amount (expressed in dollars or percent) a player should win (or lose) based on the player’s statistical advantage (or disadvantage).

Rule of 6 = In single deck blackjack games, 6 – n rounds will be dealt to n players.

Wonging = A term to indicate back counting and playing only when the count is favorable.

ANATOMY of a BACKOFF –"I SHOULDA KNOWN BETTER"

BY CC RIDER

NOTE: This article is now part of the Best of Blackjack Insider e-book publications. CLICK HERE for more information on our new e-book containing this article.

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LAS VEGAS BLACKJACK REPORT

BY CAPTAIN JACK

Many Las Vegas casinos are now offering single deck blackjack. Now don’t get too excited because these games have an approximate 1.5 percent house advantage because the casinos have altered the payoff on a blackjack from the standard 3 to 2 to the ridiculous 6 to 5.

In order for the advantage player to obtain a 1.5 percent edge, he/she would have to be playing a very good single or multiple-deck game with excellent playing conditions. And even if he/she found such a game more than likely they would be barred because they are "greedy". What’s good for the casino isn’t obviously good for the player.

Here’s some changes to playing conditions on the Strip that are noteworthy.

Aladdin Casino has cut back on the number of blackjack games, offering only 6-deck, 8-deck and CSM games.

Venetian has changed most of its CSM games to 8-deck shoe games.

Currently the casinos have been busy with the many sports bettors wagering on the NCAA basketball playoffs. Table limits have been set higher, and with the crowded conditions good games are hard to find.

Double Deck Blackjack in Las Vegas - Part 2

In Part I (Blackjack Insider Newsletter #27), I rated the Las Vegas double-deck (DD) games by penetration, rules, and table-limits. Part II will identify specific methods and offer advice for advantage play in these games.

The casino sets the rules for the games and this determines the casino advantage over the player. Penetration (placement of the shuffle-point card) is very important to the advantage player and it may vary when it is not controlled by pit-management or mechanically by a slot cut in the discard rack. Poor penetration (dealer cut-off 1 deck or more in a DD game) will provide approximately 9 hands dealt at a single-player table per shuffle, whereas with good penetration (dealer cuts-off 0.5 to 0.75 deck) can provide 13 hands dealt per shuffle. With good penetration, there is much more opportunity for larger spreads.

When playing the Las Vegas double deck games I recommend the following:

  1. When possible, play at casinos that offer the best rules.
  2. When possible, play at tables with the best penetration.
  3. When possible, play heads-up or no more than one other player at the table.
  4. If your play is being rated and the game has good rules and penetration, bet two units off the top of each shuffle. Pit personnel will observe your two-unit bet as the dealer shuffles and will credit you with a higher average bet. It also allows you to get a one-to-eight spread whereas the pit personnel remember a one-to-four bet spread.
  5. Limit your playing time, per pit, to no longer than 30 minutes or quit after an aggressive spread.
  6. Use small (10-unit) buy-ins. Frequently use "money-play bets" if necessary to give the appearance to the pit management that you are losing and chasing your losses.
  7. Expect to get surveillance observation of your game if playing in the high-limit pit.
  8. Don’t be the big fish in the pond. When possible, play at tables with players whose unit-bets are larger than yours.
  9. Use player cards only where you stay, or if necessary, to be rated for comps. Keep your identity to yourself since many casinos now share information on players. If you are asked for identification, and you do not want to show it, just leave. You are not required to show your ID unless cashing out for more than $10,000.
  10. Leave at the next shuffle after a maximum bet.
  11. Make bets look similar in size when possible: 3 or 4 reds, 3 red plus 1 green, 2 reds plus 2 greens and 1 red plus 3 greens. The average fixed eye-in-the-sky will not pick up the differences, unless the dealer breaks down the stack on payoff.
  12. Block 1st or 3rd base from new players entering the game by playing the adjacent spot while sitting at 1st or 3rd base. A new player will play in the middle if entering the game.
  13. Be aware that some casinos offer a hand-held 2-deck game, which is really an 8-deck game dealt from an automatic shuffler.
  14. If the dealer call out "Checks Play" and the pit observes your action, leave at the next opportunity. If you get no observation from the supervisor, play on.
  15. Conceal some winnings when leaving the table. Pit personnel will verify the color-change at the end of your play and normally judge your win or loss by the value of the change-of-color.
  16. With bad penetration and/or bad rules, use an aggressive betting spread (1-12 or greater) but then leave (win or lose) after using it (ie. don’t stay and play after betting your max 12 unit bet).
  17. Increase your bet, and spread to two hands at the same time, only if you know you are not being observed.
  18. Be very careful about being barred from casinos sharing player information or offering good rules and penetration. Don’t get aggressive or greedy. Enjoy any good playing conditions and keep your welcome open.

General Observations:

  1. A $100 minimum-bet advantage player using a 1 to 4 or greater spread playing 1 hour or more sessions will be barred at most Las Vegas casinos.
  2. A $5 or $10 minimum-bet advantage player using a 1-10 spread playing 1 hour or less sessions will not be barred at major strip casinos; however the player may be barred at the smaller or downtown casinos.
  3. A $25 minimum-bet advantage player using a 1-6 spread playing short sessions at tables with one or more $100 minimum-bet players will not be barred at most strip casinos.

Editors Note: Michael Shackelford reported in the last issue of Blackjack Insider newsletter that a casino in Las Vegas changed their payoffs on a blackjack from 3 to 2 to 6 to 5. This increases the casino’s edge to over 1%. Captain Jack now reports several casinos have introduced single deck blackjack games where blackjacks pay only 6 to 5. This includes Bally’s, Caesar’s, Flamingo Hilton, O’Shaes, and Paris. What’s worse is that Captain Jack reports that these tables are crowded with players!!! I would strongly recommend you avoid playing at any single deck game that only pays 6 to 5 on a blackjack – the odds are stacked way too much in the casino’s favor.

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ATLANTIC CITY BLACKJACK REPORT

BY ALENE PAONE


SPRING HAS SPRUNG ON THE COAST
The Northeast has had a very dry winter. There have been no storms, little snow, and almost no rain. If there aren’t any April showers, the East Coast may have to go into a drought emergency. May flowers? Maybe some weeds. The Atlantic City blackjack games have been in a drought emergency for years now, with one small glimmer of rain during the eight or so months that Sands had its 4-deck games available and the remainder of its casino dealing 6-decks. No more. The Sands BJ games are about as desiccated as you can get. And all the rumor-mongers who reported that they had heard that the AC blackjack games were "lightening up" (including me) must have
misunderstood that first letter -- it was not an "L" for "lightening"; it was a "T" for tightening.


The two casinos who have had decent games, Hilton and Resorts, continue to do so; but, again, decent by AC standards is poor by Las Vegas and Tunica standards. It’s amazing what you can get used to. The fact that Hilton and Resorts are not the "worst" stands as some kind of praise.


But if you are a basic strategy player, Atlantic City is as good as any place to play blackjack. You’ll face around a half-percent house edge and you’ll have miles of ocean and Boardwalk to enjoy. If you play a little, walk a little; play a little, walk a little, you might find that a day at the shore is great fun indeed.


Spring also brings out the headliners in AC. There are more opportunities for enjoying shows. If you like the "bar scene," just about every casino now has a swinging bar to enjoy, usually with a band, if not every night, then certainly on weekends. There have been more fights, in rings, not in the casinos, and boxing fans will find they’ll get to see some up and comers who, when they make a name for themselves, will probably fight in
Las Vegas for the championships.


Still, Atlantic City seems a casino town without a soul. That might just be an idiosyncratic personal viewpoint, as I really can’t see wasting my money on games that can’t be beaten or can only be marginally beaten at best. Without hope, what’s blackjack life all about?

THE PENETRATION REPORT
To beat blackjack, penetration is the key variable for the card counter. It is essentially meaningless for the basic strategy player and, in fact, BSers might want to consider playing at crowded tables with poor penetration in order to have a slower game with more shuffle time. Casinos have not yet realized, nor will they ever realize it seems, that deep penetration, while it helps the handful of card counters, causes the Basic Strategy player to lose much, much more and that the Basic Strategy losses more than make up for any card counter wins.


So I am going to continue to do the penetration report. There is only one problem with my report, as I stated in previous issues, and it is this: It is possible that I might give a casino a good grade for penetration and that when you go, you find something different. That is always the problem with reports on dynamic activities such as penetration -- things can change from day to day and, in some cases, dealer to dealer. So take my ratings with a grain of sea salt and always do your own scouting when you go to the
casino to make sure you are getting the best of it. Again, Basic Strategy players might consider playing at the casinos that I have rated the worst for blackjack since what’s good for a card counter is bad for a Basic Strategy player and what’s bad for a Basic Strategy player is usually good for the casino.

The rules for Atlantic City are pretty well standardized. Players can double on any first two cards, split pairs (some casinos allow resplitting), double after splits, and the dealer stands on all soft 17s. Insurance is offered and pays 2 to 1.


Here’s a rundown of the April 2002 Atlantic City blackjack scene.

Rating system:
* * * * * = Excellent

* * * * = Very Good

* * * = Good

* * = Fair

* = Poor.

Penetration Report:
A = EXCELLENT
for most dealers; beatable game for a counter spreading at least 1-12 in 6-deck game or 1-16 in 8-deck game.
B = GOOD for most dealers; game is somewhat beatable with above spreads.
C = FAIR for most dealers; game is only beatable with larger spreads than above.
D = POOR for most dealers; game is not really beatable unless you can go minimum to maximum without counter measures.
F = AWFUL for most dealers. Go play craps if you’re stuck in this place.

I have also put "no change from last report" for those casinos where there was "no change from last report" so that those who are keeping close watch on these listings won’t have to scour the report to find anything new. If it says no change, there’s NO change.

BALLY’S PARK PLACE

Shuffle off to sleep as they continue with that overlong shuffle procedure! Penetration is declining in the 6-deck games in the high roller pit ($50 to $100 minimums) and 1.5 - 2 deck cutoffs are the norm. No midshoe entry on all these games. The 8-deckers outside the high roller pit have gone down but "no midshoe entry" as well. The rest of the
casino is the standard AC 8-deck with penetration that is consistently more than 75 percent. You can resplit for a total of three hands, but aces can only be split once. You will be hard pressed to find many $10 games, much less $5 games. Weekends are $15 and up, mostly up. Multiple Action and Spanish 21 are also available for minimums of $10. Always crowded. * * ½ * (Penetration Report: B)

CAESARS

Improvements have been seen in their 6-deck games with penetration of 75-80 percent in high roller room only. Minimums $100 to maximum of $2,000/$5,000. The rest of the tables are 8-deck with 70 percent penetration. The $10 tables are almost gone, especially on the weekends, replaced by $15 and $25. Resplitting allowed but you can only split aces once. Multiple Action and Spanish 21 available at $10 and up! * * 1/2* (Penetration Report: C+)

CLARIDGE

No change from last report. More slots and more $5 games during the day. The high roller room is 6-deck games, with some 8-deckers, with $25-$50-$100 minimums most days. Penetration varies but now averages anywhere from 70-75 percent. You can resplit pairs up to four hands in high roller room but the rest of the casino doesn’t allow resplitting. The rest of the casino is 8 decks with mediocre penetration. Multiple Action and Spanish 21 available for $10 and up. * * (Penetration Report: C)

HARRAH’S

Games continue to improve. The 6-deck games now have penetration of 75 percent in high roller area. Resplitting allowed except aces. No midshoe entry. Rest of casino is 8-decks also with 75 percent penetration the norm. * * * (Penetration Report: B-)

HILTON

Still the best place to play for AC card counters, if you can afford it that is. Penetration was solid 80 percent throughout the casino. High roller room 6-deckers are $100 minimums with 80 percent or more penetration. You will be hard pressed to find $10 games after the morning coffee hour. Resplitting allowed except aces. The Multiple Action and Spanish 21 also have good penetration for $10. * * * * (Penetration Report: A-)

RESORTS

No change from last report. Good penetration on 8-deck games, consistently in the 75-80 percent zone, dealer dependent however. Plenty of $5 and $10 games during the daytime hours. The 6-deck games in the high roller pits ($25/$50/$100 minimums and up) are good, coming in at 80 percent penetration. Resplitting is allowed at all tables. Casino also offers multiple-action blackjack and Spanish 21 at $10 minimums. Still one of the best casinos for blackjack in Atlantic City. Pits are not paranoid. * * * * (Penetration Report: A-)

SANDS

A mud hole. Has been positioning itself as a slot place and is succeeding nicely as it has the best slot payouts of any AC casino – which means the casino edge is anywhere from five to eight percent on those poor slot players. Went from the best BJ in AC to the worst in less time than it takes to say: "Bad table-game management." Basic strategy players should even pass this place by. No stars. (Penetration Report: F)

SHOWBOAT

No change from last report. Six-deck games are good in the high roller room with standard penetration of 75-80 percent and $50/$100 minimums, $2,000/$5,000 maximums. No resplitting allowed. Eight-deck games have 75-80 + percent penetration but some dealers have been going deeper – almost to 85 percent. Very few $10 tables, mostly $15 and up. Multiple-action available at one table. Reports are they have loosened their comp requirements. * * * 1/2* (Penetration Report: B+)

TROPICANA

Can they fit any more slots in this place? I think I saw one in the bathroom! If playing a game of tic-tac-toe against a chicken is your idea of gambling, go for it. I prefer to eat them. Six-deck games in high-roller room are $100 minimums with 66 percent penetration the norm. Thought I also saw some 8-deckers in there, but it was so smoky the night I entered I had a hard time seeing anything at all. Rest of the casino is
8-deckers with $10 minimums and up. * 1/2* (Penetration Report: D)

TRUMP MARINA

No change from last report. The machines are coming! Six-deck games in high roller room ($100 minimums, $2,500/$5,000 maximums) have 75-80 percent penetration. Eight-deck games are now at same mark, with about a half dozen shuffle machines on these. Has the new Streak Bet -- avoid it. One table of Multiple Action available at $10 and up. Games are mostly $15/$25 and up, especially on weekends. * * * (Penetration Report: B-)

TRUMP PLAZA

Penetration ranging from 70 to 75 percent on all games, depending on the dealer. No midshoe entry on 6-deck games but you can find $25 (a few) to $50 minimums on these. Allows resplits, except aces. Most 8-deck tables are $15 and higher. This place has seen better days. * * (Penetration Report: C)

TRUMP TAJ MAHAL

Six-deck games in high roller room ($100 minimum, $5,000 maximum) continue to improve penetration to around 75-80 percent. The 8-deck also had penetration around 75-80 percent. Much of the penetration is dealer dependent, so scout around. Lowest tables are $10/$15 even during midweek -- but mornings midweek have $5 games as well. No resplits. Multiple Action, Double Exposure and Spanish 21 are available at $10/$15 minimums and up. Casino has improved in two straight reports. * * (Penetration Report: B-)

WILD, WILD WEST

No change from last report. I like the atmosphere in this place; it has that Vegas feel. They have added more slot machines but the table games are still packed and the place is jumping all day and all night. They still go deep! Consistent 80 percent penetration throughout the casino but all games are 8 decks. Many more $5 tables in evidence. They tolerate very large spreads but, again, 8 decks are rough. Resplits allowed, except aces. Great atmosphere for gambling. * * * 1/2* (Penetration Report: B+)

BEST CASINOS FOR BJ IN ATLANTIC CITY: Hilton and Resorts for the third
month in a row.

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LAS VEGAS TRIP REPORT - FEBRUARY 2002

BY LV PRO

Once again the car was packed and ready to drive through the desert night to Las Vegas for a 5-day blackjack trip. The drive was uneventful, no speeding tickets this time, as I took it a bit slower than usual. It didn't help that I had an 85-mile commute to work earlier that day. Plus I had run into a hellish traffic jam driving home that evening. The drive home, which usually takes 50 minutes, took an hour and a half….a snarled tangle of cars on the 405 on the worst possible night.

All right, thankfully that was all behind me now. After arrival, check-in and unpacking, I tried to play a grave shift $5 double decker at my hotel but the dealer wouldn't let me buy in, as they wanted to close the table. There was one player seated and the dealer said as soon as he quits they'll close the table, so I asked if I could play only as long as he stays and I promised to quit when he does. So they let me in for one shuffle. I should have saved my breath as I lost $123 as the count went up and I bet into it, losing some critical hands. As we played these rounds, several other would be players came over, wanting to play, but the pit insisted they had to close the table as they didn't have enough dealers on grave shift to cover. As they were placing the cover over the chip tray, I complained that I wasn't being given a chance to win my money back, but to no avail. It seems incredibly shortsighted for a casino to refuse action when there's plenty of willing gamblers waiting to play. After all, the casino has the advantage over most of them. If I ran the place I would have paid the dealer overtime and allowed as much action as the players were willing to give.

Ok, first round goes to them, although they had me shaking my head in disgust as I walked to the car. I headed over to Treasure Island where all the double deck tables in the main (H17) pit had $25 minimum signs on them. Each table had at least one player. As one guy colored out, leaving the table idle, I asked the pit gal if I could play $10 minimum there and she let me. Once again, I wished I had saved my breath as I was soon in for my initial $200 buy-in plus another $100. It took me the rest of the hour, but I slowly crawled back to even and quit with a miniscule $23 win. Ok, better than a loss, so I'll take it. Toward the end I ordered a white Russian cocktail and colored out with a pack of smokes and a coffee shop comp to be used later. Now down $100 after 2 sessions and yawning at 5 am, I hit the sack.

This is my fourth Las Vegas trip after I quit team play with a severely depleted bankroll. Last September I had started my solo play with $2K. I had won $2,150 then $1,130 and then $535 in those first three forays. After bleeding off a few bucks to replenish my separate expense fund, my starting bankroll for this trip stood at $5,500. I had used a $10 unit with a 1-6 betting spread. Now I was still planning to use a $10 unit, but vowed to increase my top bet to $80. My goal was to get to the $10K level so I could start limited play at those nice Strip $25 minimum double deckers. I'd still mix in some play at red tables to lower my variance, as I could bet lower amounts in negative count situations or wong out for bathroom breaks and simulated cell phone calls.

The next morning I had coffee and made some phone calls while waiting for housekeeping to bring some extra items. I usually like to have a few extra pillows, some ashtrays, extra soaps and shampoo, and a box of tissues to keep by the bed as the air conditioning causes some sniffling for a day or two as my nasal system acclimates to the environment. Although service and infrastructure are going downhill at this hotel, I still gave the maid a $5 tip so she'd remember me. I've found it to be a worthwhile investment as from then on they would promptly bring anything I asked for.

I headed over to Casino Royale. I had finally received a mailed voucher to claim their coupon sheet. Many of you are aware that CR currently has the best coupons in town. The coupon for the 3-1 suited blackjack and 2-1 regular blackjack are worth changing your betting pattern to take full advantage as the bonus is paid up to bets of $100. I couldn't flat bet black chips with my limited BR, although that is the optimal strategy until you get the suited blackjack. Until this coupon is redeemed you have (I believe) a 3% off the top advantage in this game. Ordinarily the coupon sheet is available only to new sign-ups for their player's card, so up until now, a current cardholder like me would have been out of luck, but the voucher they mailed me changed all that.

I played for 2 hours here, losing the $5 and $10 match play bets that I saved for the high counts, and used the suited blackjack coupon on a $30 bet and the 2-1 coupon on a $45 bet. I got 75% pen on this session from the gal dealer on day shift, but still wound up losing $50 for the session. I consoled myself with the thought that it would have been a worse loss without those coupons.

This trip I resolved to become more of a "couponero", starting with the Pocketbook of Values booklet that you get with a one-year subscription to Anthony Curtis' Las Vegas Advisor. There were many 2-1 BJ coupons and match play coupons that had $25 maximums on the payouts, plus some "Ace is your first card" coupons.

After a comped breakfast at Denny's, I headed over to the Gamblers Book Club where Howard Schwartz insisted I buy a copy of Dostoyevsky's "The Gambler" as they had it on sale for $2. I also picked up a copy of "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" for my girlfriend as she'd never read it. And for myself the new edition of Rubin's "Comp City".

After a luxurious mid afternoon nap, I played at my hotel again where they didn't close the table on me although I wish they would have, as I lost $80 and only got 55% pen on the double deck game during this 30 minute session. Headed to Texas Station to play the DD games with late surrender where I won $100. Once again the pen changed dramatically from table to table and dealer to dealer, even though it was the same shift in the same casino. You really have to shop for good penetration. I got 55% from the relief dealer and 65% from the main gal, a big difference to a card counter. 65% is a decent, playable game while 55% is a time-waster.

While at the table I got a cell phone call from The Grifter who was in town with his buddy Mike. They were across the street at the Fiesta and asked me to join them. Grif was also playing a red spread as his bankroll hadn't yet recovered from our team losses of last year, and he was taking advantage of the POV coupon book too. With less money than me, he was spreading higher with a greater Risk of Ruin, which he doesn't mind. We played at separate tables. I played the 3-1 suited BJ coupon on a $20 bet and wound up winning $65 in a lousy 55% pen DD game with several other players. In fact I stopped playing shortly after redeeming the coupon. We went to the coffee shop for the Gambler's Special; two steak and eggs breakfasts for $2.49. A bankroll pooling arrangement was discussed then rejected as I wanted to keep playing solo. I wanted to see how far I could get relying only upon myself.

We parted company and since it was only 3 am, still early for Las Vegas, I headed for another one of the local area casinos. I sat down at the only double deck game - a $3 table with 3 other players. To my utter astonishment, the gal dealer was going 85% into the deck! There was some decent action here despite the low posted table minimum. The other players were all betting red to low green like me. I played for an hour and finally felt comfortable enough to make some $80 top bets most of which won. I got a snapper on one of them, plus all my big bet double downs were winning. There was only mild pit scrutiny and none of it directed solely at me. It's great when everything comes together and this game acts like it's supposed to but too seldom does. Seems like I've found Blackjack Heaven. I resolved to return here often, especially on grave shift. I colored out with a $440 win to put me at + $375 for the trip so far.

From here, I met up with The Grifter again to go on a grave shift hit and run coupon spree. We had 3-1 BJ coupons that paid up to $25 maximum. First we hit the Gold Coast where I played for 10 minutes before hitting a snapper. I won $25 here, and then we headed for the Orleans. I got the blackjack, again on a $25 bet, and the count went up, so I bet into it and wound up losing $250. Apparently we stayed too long at the table. If you're going to hit and run with coupons, I learned to hit the payoff and get out. No sense staying and playing at a lousy 55% pen game even with a high count. You have a bigger advantage moving to the next venue and continuing to use the coupons, even with the loss of travel time factored in. At the Barbary I learned another valuable lesson - never bet less than $25 when you're playing these coupons. I outsmarted myself by betting only $15 on the first hand off the top. Of course it was a natural, and I kicked myself for trying to save $10. After all, how often do you get a snapper on the first hand you're dealt? The answer must be: anytime you under-bet. Even though I broke even at the Barbary, I didn't consider it a waste of time as I had learned a valuable lesson.

Turned in at 7 am and woke at 11. I met Cotton for lunch then spent the day at my friend Stu's house where he was preparing shish kabob for dinner. After the meal I headed for Sunset Station to play another 3-1 BJ coupon. I got the blackjack in the first shuffle with a $25 bet, but still lost $85 at this hour-long session. The pen was only 60%.

I met Grifter and Mike at Fiesta Henderson (the old Reserve) where I found a seat at the first Super Fun 21 game I've ever played. I used a mild $5-$40 spread while getting the hang of the rules and strategy for this game. I got a snapper on a $20 bet and pulled out the 3-1 BJ coupon, expecting them to refuse it at the SF21 table but, to my surprise, they paid off. I don't know what your advantage is if you're getting a slow 60 hands per hour (which should yield 3 blackjacks on average) and you're able to get a 3-1 payoff on one of those three naturals combined with the liberal rules on this single deck game. Overall I suspect it has to change the advantage to your favor. I kicked myself for not remembering this advantage play sooner, but from now on I resolved to use the 3-1 BJ coupon at the Super Fun table at any casino that offered one. And to hit and then run, not stick around and keep playing at the table because I'm comfortable. The off the top house advantage at SF21 has been estimated at anywhere between 0.80 and over 1.00, more than twice as bad as a standard DD game with H17 and double after splitting allowed. I wound up winning $150 at this game but I knew it was more the result of a favorable run of cards than anything else. I was still using my usual Silver Fox count system and index numbers, even though I had been told you have to revise these index numbers and that your percent advantage by true count rises by only 0.3 instead of the standard half a percent per each true count number.

(Editors Note: For an analysis of Super Fun 21 including the complete basic playing strategy see Michael Shackelford’s article in issue #27 of Blackjack Insider Newsletter)


From here, I returned to Sunset Station where I played a $5 DD table with 3 other players for an hour and won another $155 to put me at + $445 for the trip. Now tired, I turned in early (for Las Vegas) at 3 am.

The next morning I met Grifter at one of my hotel's DD tables. We decided to try that little local's casino with the great pen. I was wondering if we'd get the same favorable conditions now on day shift. When we arrived, I sat at the only open DD table while Grif settled in at the Super Fun 21 game. We pretended to not know each other. I started out getting 65-70% penetration, then after a dealer change, it was only 50%. I thought when the main dealer returns we'll get the good pen again, so I played small and waited. When the regular dealer came off break, he too was cutting the pack in half. There must be some mistake, I thought and waited for the pen to right itself but all dealers from then on were giving only shallow cuts. I met Grif in the bathroom where he told me the pit loved his action and would comp him to their gourmet room anytime so why don't I get the breakfast comp to the coffee shop? I asked the pit boss for the comp and he said, "I'm not going to comp you". I asked, "why not, didn't I play long enough"? He said, "There's no advantage for us to deal to you. You'd come in here 10 times and win six of those, so I'm not going to comp you on top of that. Besides you make it worse for the other players. Now we have to cut the decks in half, though we usually deal out a lot more."

Notice that he never used the words "card counting" but he was telling me in his not so subtle way that they were on to me and that I can expect 50% cuts anytime I came back to play there. I made a mental note to stay away from day shift from now on and only play the other two shifts.

The Grifter, overhearing all this, said that he'd take pity on me and take me in to breakfast on his comp and the pit wrote his comp faster than you could blink. We introduced ourselves to each other for their benefit, and Grif and me, his new found friend, went in for the meal. It's amazing….I thought I was being careful and using some cover and I get flagged, while Grif is spreading from $5 to 2 hands of $50 on the SF21 table and they're totally in love with his action. As it turned out I had lost $300 here while Grifter had lost $130. Live and learn.

After the meal we drove to the Speedway casino north of downtown. They opened the $10 single deck table for me and I played alone for an hour and a half. At one point a man and wife sat down, lost a few hands and asked the dealer if there was a shoe game available. He pointed it out across the pit and they left to pursue greener pastures at a game with a greater disadvantage. Ok, so much the better for me except I was losing steadily during that first hour. I was in for $350 before the cards turned my way. I guess it's true what they say; "you lose the most the fastest at the best games". Anyway, I got the $350 back and quit with a push, grateful to have gotten even.

Flipper showed up to say hi after calling my cell phone and realizing he was close by. He's a sports bettor and former BJ card counter who lived a few miles from me in LA until moving to Vegas last year. We knew each other from LA and from some Rat Pack dinners we went to, notably the one that Don Schlesinger attended a year or so ago.

Later that evening, after a nap, I played my hotel's double deck table until it filled up; then headed to Terrible's to play a $25 match play coupon. I put it out on the first hand, lost and continued to play quarters with the rest of my $100 buy in, winning $125 and leaving with a free T-shirt from the players booth. I checked out TI, but all tables were $25 minimum and full. The same crowded conditions at the Riv made me walk across the street to Slots-A-Fun where the good S17 $10 single deck table had only one player. I joined and was soon getting good pen from the two male dealers. Several times I spread to 2 hands on the last round in high counts without getting shuffled up on, which this place is infamous for. When the women arrived to deal, the pen reverted to the usual Rule of 6, with shuffle up's common if you spread to 2 hands or raised your bet too much on the last round before the shuffle. I don't know why I waste my time here but the game always looks so inviting. If they would just stick to a predictable dealing scheme, I'd be a lot happier. I wound up losing $300 here and headed for TI to get my money back.

The tables were still $25 minimums now at 3:30 am as it was still a holiday weekend, but another pit gal let me play $10 at an idle table. I wish she hadn't though as I had a terrible session, losing most of the hands and quitting with a $200 loss. The game was so frustrating that I refused to buy in further and decided to quit for the night. In the last 24 hours I had blown my $445 lead and was now down $260. Just not a good day. OK, not a big deal. I'll win it back plus more tomorrow.

In my morning session at my hotel's DD game, I was in for $200 and losing. I made a few top bets of $80, both of which won, with one of them a double down. That was the key turning point as I went on to recover my buy in and color out with a $200 win. Now, only $60 away from even again, I broke for lunch.

I had arranged to meet my editor for lunch at Café Bellagio. There'd be no mistaking what he looks like as his photo is always at the top of this newsletter. Of course I'm talking about Henry Tamburin, gambling authority and author of "Blackjack: Take the Money and Run" and several other books. Henry is spending more time in Las Vegas at his new "second" home and also planning to move from his primary North Carolina home (most likely to somewhere in Florida). He writes articles for several gambling magazines…in fact I had read one in Casino Player a few days before in the GBC. It was about how casinos can get more new players to play blackjack by making the experience less complicated and offering free classes on BJ table comportment so new players won't feel intimidated when they make a mistake.

Henry had a desire to meet The Grifter, so I called his hotel. He was just getting out of the shower and would join us in 30 minutes. Meanwhile we discussed our experiences playing blackjack in Las Vegas. After Grif joined us, we also discussed the house edge and best way to alter regular strategy for the Super Fun 21 game and many other subjects, as we gabbed for hours until Henry had to leave for an appointment. Grif and I were both impressed with Henry's knowledge and relaxed attitude, and we were glad we had the opportunity to meet with him.

Later I went shopping. I bought 6 cartons of cigarettes for $160, then bought my girlfriend a new backpack. Then I headed to Texas Station to meet up with Grifter and Mike again for some late afternoon play. This was the most frustrating session of the trip. I couldn't get any kind of favorable run going, and lost almost all of my top bets. Most of my double downs lost too, which is usually the critical element in any single session. Even though you have the advantage of surrender here, it still eats into your EV, especially when you're getting stiff after stiff and losing. I wound up dropping $420 here to put me back at minus $480 for the trip. Later I lost another $200 at TI while waiting for the boys to show up for dinner.

Grif, Mike and I had arranged to meet Fezzik, Midnight Cowboy, Bad Cutter and a few other guys at the TI coffee shop for dinner. We discussed mostly sports betting which is those guys specialty. They were raking in big bucks betting sports. Fezzik is a guy I've mentioned before. He quit a lucrative job as an actuary for Transamerica Insurance to move to LV and bet sports full time. He makes upwards of $100K a year doing this and he really has fun with it. They write articles about him; in fact Jeff Haney did a column on him last year in the LV Sun. There are now a few sports books in LV that simply refuse to take Fezzik's action. I guess blackjack players aren't the only ones who get barred.

Later I finally played at the same table with Grifter. We were at a Strip $10 DD table at 4 am where I won back $200 to put me again at minus $480 total for the trip. Time was growing short, as I had to drive home in about 12 hours. I went back to my hotel to sleep. After waking up, I went back to that same casino and found Grif still there. He was stuck $800 and trying to dig out. Later I heard that he eventually got most of it back.

I sat down at another table. No sense pushing our luck by appearing to know each other, especially now that it was day shift with new people in the pit. Played for 90 minutes, trying every trick I knew, but things just weren't going my way. I dropped another $420 in this, my last session of the trip. Now down $900, I called it a day and headed back to my room to pack. I checked out of the hotel and got the car on the road heading back to LA.

Reflecting upon the last 5 days, I learned a few valuable lessons, but not nearly $900 worth. Ok, so I finally had a losing trip. I was philosophical about it though it still left a dull ache in the pit of my stomach. However, experience lessened the pain and my mind was soon occupied with more mundane everyday matters. After all, it's only $900. In three previous trips I had won over $3,500, so now I've given back $900 of it and I'm still ahead of them by $2,600. So no need to fret, I'll win it back plus more on my next trip.

That trip will be coming soon. Stay tuned.

Thanks for reading,

The LV Pro
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READERS Q&A

" I have been all around the Internet for some time and have been perusing books that you are others have recommended and I’m curious what type of system do you use when you play blackjack?"

I use the High Low counting system as described in my book Blackjack: Take The Money & Run. It’s easy to learn and use and performs well in single, double and 6/8 deck games.

"Which blackjack analyzer software do you use?"

I use Blackjack 6,7,8 (Stickysoft) and also Wong’s Blackjack Analyzer.

"Which of the following counting systems is best for altering the size of the bets, Hi Opt 1 or High Low?"

The High Low counting system has a betting efficiency of 0.97 and the Hi Opt 1 is 0.88. Both are good but the High low is slightly better.

" Is the Perfect Pairs" side bet in blackjack a good idea?"

No it isn’t. With the payouts you sent me in the 8-deck game the casino’s edge is 4.7%. This is a sucker bet. You can read more about this bet in the article by Michael Shackelford in issue # 10 of Blackjack Insider Newsletter.

"What does RFB mean?"

It means room, food and beverage. High rollers usually get RFB comps which means their room, meals, and drinks are comped by the casinos. It is a coveted comp amongst casino players but requires a fair amount of gambling to get it (according to Max Rubin, author of Comp City, a RFB comp takes 8 hours of play per day with at least a $100 minimum bet for a casino in downtown in Las Vegas and $200-$400 for a strip casino).

"Should I split aces against any dealers upcard even when I am not allowed to take any more cards after splitting?"

Yes, you should ALWAYS split aces, period.

A reader from the Midwest reported that the excellent single deck game at Belterra in Indiana was discontinued. Their best game is currently a 2 deck game with s17, das, players can only double on two card 9 or more, and you can only split to 2 hands (casino’s edge is 0.36%).

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BLACKJACK MINI-TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE

Most mini-tournaments (also known as fun tournaments) have entry fees of $50 or less and nonnegotiable tournament chips are used for betting. Player entry fees are pooled and returned as prizes to players.

Casinos that offer mini-tournaments do so on a regular basis (mostly weekly). The following is a summary of mini-tournaments offered by casinos throughout the US for each day of the week. Call the casino for tournament times and entry fees.

If you know of recent changes to any tournament listed, please pass it along to www.bjinsider.com so that we can update the information in our schedule.

Monday

Las Vegas, NV: Longhorn Casino (1-702-435-9170)

Mesquite, NV: Si Redd’s Oasis (1-800-621-0187)

Reno, NV: Sundowner (1-800-648-5490)

Sparks, NV: Baldini’s (1-800-845-7911)

Pahrump, NV: Terrible’s Lakeside (1-888-845-7911)

Laughlin, NV: Colorado Belle (1-877-460-0777); Pioneer (1-800-634-3469); Riverside (1-888-733-5946)

Biloxi: President: (1-800-624-3000)

Dubuque, IA: Diamond Jo (1-800-582-5956)

Tama, IA: Meskwaki (1-800-728-4263)

Hinkley, MN: Grand (1-800-472-6321)

Prior Lake, MN: Little Six (1-800-548-8536)

Kansas City, MO: Ameristar (1-800-499-4961)

Albuquerque, NM: Sandia Pueblo (1-800-526-9266)

Willamina, OR: Spirit Mountain (1-800-760-7977)

Tuesday

Las Vegas, NV: Longhorn (1-702-435-9170); J. W. Marriott (1-877-869-8777); Terribles (1-800-640-9777)

Laughlin, NV: Avi (1-800-284-2946); Colorado Belle (1-877-460-0777); Pioneer (1-800-634-3469); Edgewater (1-877-972-7222)

Mesquite, NV: Eureka (1-702-346-4600)

Stateline, NV: Harveys (1-800-553-1022); Tahoe Horizon (1-800- 683-8087)

Minden, NV: Carson Valley Inn (1-877-783-7711)

Reno, NV: Peppermill (1-800-648-6992); Siena (1-877-743-6233)

Biloxi, MS: Imperial Palace (1-800-436-3000); Treasure Bay (1-800-747-2839)

Greenville, MS: Jubilee (1-800-946-6673)

Tunica, MS: Sam’s Town (1-800-456-0711)

Clinton, IA: Mississippi Belle II (1-800-457-9975)

Michigan City, IN: Blue Chip Casino (1-888-879-7711)

Harris, MI: Chip’s-In Island: (1-800-682-6040)

Cass Lake, MN: Palace (1-800-228-6676)

Morton, MN: Jackpot Junction (1-800-946-2274)

Prior Lake, MN: Mystic Lake (1-800-262-7799)

Albuquerque, NM: Sandia Pueblo (1-800-526-9266)

Greenbay, WI: Oneida (1-800-238-4263)

Turtle Lake, WI: St. Croix(1-800-846-8946)

Toppenish, WA: Legends (1-877-726-6311)

Alpine, CA: Viejas Casino (1-800-847-6537)

Jackson, CA: Jackson Rancheria (1-800-822-9466)

Lincoln City, OR: Chinook Winds (1-888-244-6665)

Toppenish, WA: Legends (1-509-865-8800)

Marysville, WA: Tulalip (1-888-272-1111)

Verona, NY: Turning Stone (1-800-771-7711)

San Filipe, NM: Hollywood (1-877-529-2946)

Wednesday

Las Vegas, NV: Longhorn (1-702-435-9170); Speedway (1-877-333-9291)

Laughlin, NV: River Palms Resort (1-800-835-7904); Colorado Belle (1-877-460-0777); Riverside (1-888-733-5946)

Reno, NV: Atlantis (1-888-551-7007)

Incline Village, NV: Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe (1-775-832-1234)

Biloxi, MS: President (1-800-843-7737)

Gulfport, MS: Grand (1-800-946-7777)

Philadelphia, MS: Silver Star (1-800-557-0711)

Bettendorf, IA: Isle of Capri (1-800-724-5825)

Council Bluffs, IA: Ameristar (1-877-462-7827)

Fort Madison, IA: Catfish Bend (1-800-372-946)

Florence, IN: Belterra (1-888-339-3369)

Baton Rouge, LA: Argosy (1-800-378-6000)

Hinkley, MN: Grand (1-800-472-6321)

Morton, MN: Jackpot Junction (1-800-946-2274)

Prior Lake, MN: Little Six (1-800-548-8536)

Walker, MN: Northern Lights (1-800-252-7529)

Thief River Falls, MN: Seven Clans (1-218-681-4062)

Mahnomen, MN: Shooting Star (1-800-453-7827)

North Bend, OR: Mill (1-800-953-4800)

Anacortes, WA: Swinomish (1-360-293-2691)

Jackson, CA: Jackson Rancheria (1-800-822-9466)

Towaoc, CO: Ute Mountain (1-970-565-8800)

Holton, KS: Golden Eagle (1-888-464-5825)

San Filipe, NM: Hollywood (1-877-529-2946)

Quebec, Canada: Casino de Montreal (1-800-665-2274)

Thursday

Las Vegas, NV: Longhorn (1-702-435-9170); J. W. Marriott (1-877-869-8777); Fiesta Rancho (1-888-877-5108); Terribles (1-800-640-9777); Fiesta Henderson (1-888-899-7770)

Henderson, NV: Fiesta Henderson (1-888-899-7770); Sunset Station (1-888-808-7717)

Laughlin, NV: Avi (1-800-284-2946); Colorado Belle (1-877-460-0777); Pioneer (1-800-634-3469); Edgewater (1-877-972-7222)

Reno: Siena (1-877-743-6231)

Mesquite, NV: CasaBlanca (1-800-459-7529)

Carson City, NV: Pinon Plaza (1-877-519-5567)

Sparks, NV: Silver Club (1-800-905-7774)

Stateline, NV: Lake Tahoe Horizon (1-800-322-7723)

Pahrump, NV: Terrible’s Town (1-888-845-7911)

Rock Island, IL: Casino Rock Island (1-309-793-4200)

Fort Madison, IA: Catfish Bend (1-800-372-2946)

Clinton, IA: Mississippi Belle II (1-800-457-9975)

Suttons Bay, MI: Leelanau Sands (1-800-922-2946)

Carlton, MN: Black Bear (1-888-771-0777)
Tower, MN: Fortune Bay (1-800-992-7529)

Red Wing, MN: Treasure Island (1-800-222-7077)

Lincoln City, OR: Chinook Winds (1-888-244-6665)

Gardena, CA: Normandie (1-310-352-3400)

New Orleans, LA: Bally’s (1-800-572-2559)

Friday

Las Vegas, NV: Longhorn (1-702-435-9170)

Laughlin, NV: River Palms Resort (1-800-835-7904); Colorado Belle (1-877-460-0777); Pioneer (1-800-634-3469); Avi (1-800-430-0721); Riverside (1-888-733-5946)

Boulder City, NV: Hacienda (1-800-245-6380)

Mesquite, NV: Virgin River (1-800-346-7721)

Sparks, NV: John Ascuaga’s Nugget (1-800-843-2427)

Stateline, NV: Harveys (1-800-553-1022)

Wendover: Pepermill (1-800-648-9660)

Biloxi, MS: Isle of Capri (1-800-843-4753); Treasure Bay (1-800-747-2839); President (1-800-624-3000)

Alpine, CA: Viejas Casino & Turf Club (1-800-847-6537)

San Filipe, NM: Hollywood (1-877-529-2946)

Saturday

Las Vegas, NV: Longhorn (1-702-435-9170); Boulder Station (1-800-981-5577); Sante Fe Station (1-866-767-7771)

Laughlin, NV: Colorado Belle (1-877-460-0777)

Sparks, NV: Baldini’s (1-800-845-7911)

Deadwood, SD: Miss Kitty’s (1-800-668-8189)

Towaoc, CO: Ute Mountain (1-970-565-8800)

Alpine, CA: Viejas Casino & Turf Club (1-800-847-6537)

Sunday

Las Vegas, NV: Silverton (1-800-588-7711)

Mequite, NV: Eureka (1-702-346-4600)

Laughlin, NV: Colorado Belle (1-877-460-0777)

Robinsonville, MS: Hollywood (1-800-871-0711)

Biloxi, MS: Isle of Capri (1-800-843-4753)

Fort Madison, IA: Catfish Bend (1-800-372-2946)

Deadwood, SD: First Gold Hotel (1-800-274-1876); Silverado Gaming (1-800-584-7005)

Lincoln City, OR: ChinookWinds (1-888-244-6665)

North Bend, OR: Mill (1-800-953-4800)

Gardena, CA: Normandie (1-800-946-637)

Towaco, CA: Ute Mountain (1-800-258-8007)

Christmas, MI: Kewadin (1-800-539-2346)

Manistique, MI: Kewadin (1-800-539-2346)

Ontario, Cananda: Kewadin (1-800-539-2346)

St. Ignace: Kewadin (1-800-539-2346)

 

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BLACKJACK MAJOR TOURNAMANT SCHEDULE

The following table lists the date, name and location of the sponsoring casino; the fee for entering the tournament; the number of decks of cards that will be used during play; the total prizes that will be offered including the amount for finishing first; and a telephone number to obtain more details. Since tournament dates and prizes can be changed or canceled sometimes at the last minute, please call and confirm.

Note: The entry fee for most tournaments includes a free or discounted room and meal(s) – check with the sponsoring casino for details. The prizes listed below included the total to be given out followed by the amount of money that can be won for finishing first (e.g. $40K/$20K means a total of $40,000 will be given away with $20,000 going to the first place winner). Tournaments that are starred (*) require an invitation from the participating casino; however, check with the casino tournament coordinator if you could still enter. Some free tournaments are only open to players who are members of the casino’s slot club. Prizes for Canadian tournaments are in Canadian currency.

 

Date Location Entry #Decks Prizes More Information

March 30 River Palms $99 two $10K/$5K 1-888-298-2242

` Laughlin, NV

March 30 Kewadin free six $450/$250 1-800-539-2346

Hessel, MI

April 1 Turning Stone $25 six $8.4K/$2.5K 1-800-771-7711

Verona, NY

April 2 Mystic Lake $100 six $22K/$10K 1-800-262-7799

Prior Lake, MI

April 3 Speedway free * six $2.5K 1-877-333-9291

Las Vegas, NV

April 4 Bally’s free six $10K/$1K 1-800-572-2559

New Orleans, LA

Apil 5-6 Plaza free* six $15K/$7.5K 1-800-634-6575

Las Vegas, NV

April 5-7 Imperial Palace $150 six $25K/$10K 1-800-436-3000

Biloxi, MS

April 5-7 Bahamia $249 six $25K/$10K 1-800-432-2294

Freeport, Bahamas

April 10 Grand $20 six $4.2K/$2K 1-800-946-7777

Gulfport, MS

April 11-13 LV Hilton $1K six $64K/$20K 1-800-457-3307

Las Vegas, NV

April 12-13 Colorado Belle $20 six $5K 1-877-460-0777

Laughlin, NV

April 12-14 NY-NY free* six $40K/$20K 1-888-469-6958

Las Vegas, NV

Apri113-14 Jackpot Junction $200 four $50K/$25K 1-800-946-2274

Morton, MN

April 14 Majestic Pines $50 six $10K/$4K 1-800-746-2486

Black River Falls, WI

April 15-17 LV Hilton $199 six $15K/$7.5K 1-800-457-3307

Las Vegas, NV

April 18-19 Frontier $300 six $70K/$30K 1-800-421-7806

Las Vegas, NV

April 19-21 Imperial Palace $300 six $47.5K/$20K 1-800-351-7400

Las Vegas, NV

April 19-21 Bally’s Tunica $500 six $125K/$50K 1-800-382-2559

Robinsonville, MS

April 21-24 Fitzgeralds $249 six* $18K/$5K 1-800-274-5825

Las Vegas, NV

April 26-29 Harrah’s free* six $43K/$20K 1-800-392-9002

Las Vegas, NV

April 28-30 Bally’s free* six $100K/$50K 1-800-634-3434

Las Vegas, NV

May 2 Bally’s free* six $10K/$5K 1-800-572-2559

New Orleans, LA

May 3-5 Peppermill free* single $18K/$6K 1-800-648-9660

West Wendover, NV

May 3-5 Kewadin $150 six $5K/$2K 1-800-539-2346

Manistique, MI

May 5-7 Edgewater $129 single $20K/$10K 1-800-289-8777

Laughlin, NV

May 6 Turning Stone $25 six $8.4K/$2.5K 1-800-771-7711

Verona, NY

May 8 Casino Montreal $25 six $5K/$2K 1-800-665-2274

Quebec, Canada

May 10-11 Las Vegas Hilton $1K six $64K/$20K 1-800-457-3307

Las Vegas, NV

May 14-16 Foxwoods free* six $30K/$10K 1-800-752-9244

Ledyard, CT

May 15 Grand $20 six $4.2K/$2K 1-800-946-7777

Gulfport, MS

May 15 Casino Montreal $25 six $5K/$2K 1-800-665-2274

Quebec, Canada

May 16 Junipers free six $5K/$2.5K 1-800-477-8946

Rock Island, IL

May 17 Shooting Star $75 six $10.5K/$4K 1-800-453-7827

Mahnomen, MN

May 17 Cactus Petes $200* single $50K/$20K 1-800-821-1103

Jackpot, NV

May 22 Casino Montreal $25 six $5K/$2K 1-800-665-2274

Quebec, Canada

May 22 Turning Stone free* six $30K/$10K 1-800-771-7711

Verona, NY

May 24 Ho-Chunk $50 six $10K/$4K 1-800-746-2486

Baraboo, WI

May 29 Casino Montreal $25 six $5K/$2K 1-800-665-2274

Quebec, Canada

June 1-2 Bally’s free* six $135K/$100K 1-800-634-3434

Las Vegas, NV

June 3 Casino Montreal $250 six $52.5/$15K 1-800-665-2274

Quebec, Canada

June 3 Turning Stone $25 six $8.4K/$2.5K 1-800-771-7711

Verona, NY

June 6 Bally’s free* six $10K/$5K 1-800-572-2559

New Orleans, LA

June 7-9 Grand $1K six $300K/$120K 1-800-550-4473

Robinsonville, MS

June 7-9 Kewadin $150 six $5K/$2K 1-800-539-2346

Christmas, MI

June 12 Grand $20 six $4.2K/$2K 1-800-946-7777

Gulfport, MS

June 15-16 Flamingo $79 six $12K 1-800-662-6004

Laughlin, NV

June 21-23 Pioneer $200 single $25K/$11K 1-800-634=3469

Laughlin, NV

June 23-25 Edgewater $129 single $20K/$10K 1-800-2898-8777

Laughlin, NV

Future dates for the satellite tournaments in the $1MM blackjack tournament at the Las Vegas Hilton (1-800-457-3307) are:

July 11-13

Aug. 8-10

Sept. 12-14

Oct. 10-12

Nov. 14-16

Dec. 19-21

Jan. 9-12, 2003

Feb. 6-8, 2003

March 6-8, 2003

Final round: April 10-12, 2003

 

Tip: Try to play in blackjack tournaments in which all the player’s entry fees are returned in prizes. If unsure, ask the host casino if this is the case.

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BLACKJACK INSIDER EXPERT REPORTERS & COLUMNISTS

Alene Paone is an East Coast expert blackjack player that frequently plays in Atlantic City. She is the CEO of Paone Press. Alene has contributed chapters to The Experts’ Guide to Casino Games and 109 Ways to Beat the Casinos, both

edited by Walter Thomason. Her Q&A column, Just Ask AP, appears in several magazines. Paone Press sells gambling books and tapes at discount prices. For a free catalog call: 1-800-944-0406 or write to: Paone Press, Box 610,

Lynbrook, NY 11563.

Captain John lives in Las Vegas and is an experienced blackjack player. He has been studying and playing blackjack for over 30 years including attending classes on how to evaluate different games and how to identify the weaknesses in the pit. He uses a 2-level, advanced card counting system and limits his play to only advantage games. He plays about 30 hours a month and finds that playing blackjack is a good way to supplement his retirement income.

CC Rider lives in the Deep South and plays blackjack in the casinos in Mississippi and Louisiana. He has been studying and playing blackjack for 10 years, averages 2-8 playing sessions each month (40-60 sessions annually), and has managed to make playing blackjack a lucrative sideline. He uses the high low counting system with an ace side count and has only been backed off once. He recently has begun training for blackjack tournament play.

Fred Renzey lives in the Chicago area, is an experienced blackjack player, and author of the popular Blackjack Bluebook. He also writes a monthly column on poker for Midwest Gaming & Travel magazine. To order Blackjack Bluebook, send $16.95 to: Blackjack Bluebook, PO Box 598, Elk Grove Village, IL 60009.

LV Pro is a serious recreational player who started with basic strategy in 1996 and learned the Silver Fox count by the end of 1998. Has been counting since early 1999, starting with a 2K bankroll, and slowly building it with red play over the last 150 hours of actual casino play. He started playing a low green spread on the last few LV trips. He gets to LV 4-5 times a year and has some limited team experience.

Michael Shackelford, a.k.a. "The Wizard of Odds", has twenty years of computer programing experience and thousands of hours of casino gambling experience. His mathematical analysis of casino games is accurate and reliable. He has also extensively reviewed blackjack offerings on different Internet sites. His "Wizard of Odds" column appears monthly in Casino Player Magazine and he hosts the popular Internet site for casino players at www.wizardofodds.com. Shackelford has written a book "May the Odds Be With You". His game of choice is blackjack and his gambling philosophy is to bet big when he has the edge and small when he doesn’t.

Henry Tamburin is an expert player and author of 6 books including Blackjack: Take The Money & Run. For over a quarter of a century, he has been playing and winning at blackjack and teaching the masses of blackjack players how to do the same in his books, articles, seminars, gaming school, and TV/radio appearances. He is a featured writer for Casino Player magazine, Chance magazine, Midwest Gaming & Travel magazine, and Jackpot. He hosts the blackjack page on www.bjinsider.com and has his own web site at www.smartgaming.com. For a catalog of his products and those he recommends call 1-888-353-3234 or write to: RSU, PO Box 19727, Greensboro, NC 27419.









 

 

Casino Player Magazine

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