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BJI Newsletter, February 2011, #133

Read this issue as a single web page


The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board is considering changes to the playing rules that were requested by the casinos (allowing them to implement h17, 6-5, and eliminate late surrender). BJI contributing writer Mark Gruetze needs your help to prevent this from happening. You can help by sending an email to Susan A. Yocum, Assistant Chief Counsel, Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, at, telling her to ban 6-5, and to keep s17 and late surrender. For details, read mark Gruetze's article in this issue. Joe Pane attended the recent Blackjack Ball and summarizes what went down, including sharing with you the infamous Blackjack Ball Test (try it and see how many questions you get right). Planning a long weekend playing trip? If you are, read Vinny DeCarlo's tips on how you can get the money while avoiding detection. Everyone, including Advantage Blackjack players, go through losing streaks. Read Basil Nestor's article on how to handle yourself when losing occurs to avoid going on tilt (must reading for all level of players). Ralph Sticker continues to retell the story of one of his team players who ultimately self-destructed. This month, he writes about them playing together for the first time in Las Vegas. John Grochowski answers more reader's question including an interesting one on the pros and cons of five- and seven-player blackjack tables. Riverboat Flyer took his annual year-end trip to Tunica, and he summarizes the blackjack games that he played and how he did. Frank Scoblete and his team report on the best casinos to play blackjack (and craps) in Atlantic City, and Frank offers his opinion on the question, "Can advantage blackjack and craps players have fun when they play?" Frank Kneeland wrote an interesting article on how looking for patterns when you play video poker (or any casino game) can be detrimental to players. Playing slow at poker can be an advantage under certain conditions. Read how to slow-play from poker expert Bill Burton. Last, and not least, we have a summary of major blackjack tournaments across the country, courtesy of (Note: I'll be playing in the IP (Biloxi) Blackjack Tournament the weekend of Feb. 11-13.)

Our friend Steve Bourie at American Casino Guide, has a great new video interview with Michael "Wizard of Odds" Shackleford about blackjack. Mike answers some of the most common questions that players have about the game, plus he gives tips on how players can choose the best games, use the proper strategies and also take advantage of the casino comping system. The video can be accessed directly from this link:

Congratulations to Frank Kneeland on his new radio show, which he co-hosts with Bob Dancer. "Gambling With an Edge" airs at 7 pm (PST), Thursday nights, on KLAV Talk-Radio 1230am, or listen streaming at You can also listen to archived shows at:

Henry Tamburin

If you come across an unfamiliar blackjack term in one of our articles or reports, see our Blackjack Glossary:

Did you know we have all past newsletter issues available in our archives, with online search?

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    E-mail subscribers can also read each month's issue online at our web site: BJI Issue #133, February 2011.

    BJI Newsletter, February 2011, #133
    single web page for printing and offline viewing

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    The 2011 Blackjack Ball was recently held at a secret location in Las Vegas. Joe Pane attended and he summarizes what went down at this gathering of blackjack pros from around the world, including sharing with you the infamous Blackjack Ball Test taken by the pros..."

    Read Pane's complete article.


    "If you (and your team) are planning a three-day weekend to relieve casinos of some of their cash, heed these tips to avoid detection..."

    Read DeCarlo's complete article.


    "The typical first reaction for most players when they lose is to retreat into a bad mood and wallow in misperceptions. That quickly leads to going off strategy. Sometimes even seasoned professionals take this dangerous path. Surrendering to a tilt episode is a quick way to vaporize a bankroll. It's the gambling equivalent of death. Therefore, here are five tactics to help you avoid that catastrophe..."

    Read Nestor's complete article.

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    LACK OF DISCIPLINE LEADS TO DESTRUCTION-Part 3 by Ralph "Silver Fox" Stricker

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    BLACKJACK ANSWER MAN by John Grochowski

    "Read answers to reader's questions on blackjack, covering tipping, five vs. seven-spot tables, and betting more on a double down..."

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    "Blackjack players everywhere should come to the defense of player-friendly rules that presently make Pennsylvania's blackjack game so appealing. The requirements that naturals be paid at 3-to-2, that the dealer stand on soft 17, and that casinos offer late surrender, could be at risk in coming weeks. Now is the time to speak out..."

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    "This month I decided to preempt my BJI series of articles on progressive video poker to present, instead, the article you are about to read. (We'll get back to our regularly scheduled program next month.) The article is certainly intended for VP players, but it also useful to a slightly larger demographic; namely, anyone still sucking air..."

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    "In Texas Holdem you are not trying to win a lot of pots, you're trying to win the most money. In fact, the player who wins the most pots will usually be a losing player because they are playing too many hands. Two ways you can increase the money you win is with the slowplaying and check-raising. Both of these tactics have sometimes been referred to as "sandbagging" (especially in home games) but there is nothing underhanded about either tactic. This month I'll offer you tips on how to be successful slow playing your hand..."

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