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After a brief 3-month hiatus, our LV Pro is at it again. This time he describes how he used "team-play" to attack the blackjack tables in Las Vegas. You’ll also learn about the latest blackjack playing conditions in the Atlantic City casinos including which casino offers the best blackjack game in town (Alene Paone); an excellent playing and betting system for basic strategy players who want to gain the advantage (Fred Renzey); which Gulf Coast casinos offer the best blackjack tournaments (James Pierce); everything that Caesar’s Atlantic City has to offer its guests in our Casino Spotlight-of-the-Month (Alene Paone); plus answers to interesting questions from readers and a complete schedule of blackjack tournaments.

Ready, set, let’s go …

Henry Tamburin



Abbreviations used to describe playing rules and conditions

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

nrs = no resplits

penetration = The fraction of cards in a pack that the dealer will deal before reshuffling.

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





The weather was getting warmer, the rains had stopped and the car was gassed up and loaded. It was time to shake the winter doldrums and head for the bright lights of Las Vegas.

My partner, The Grifter, was driving up with me. We agreed to play at separate blackjack tables to a combined bankroll of 12K (each of us putting up half). The purpose of the shared bankroll arrangement was for each of us to be able to play bigger stakes and a higher unit size with no increase in the Risk of Ruin factor but with much lower variance. It also allows us to get twice the amount of money bet in the same amount of time. It's kind of like the buddy system where we support each other, so that if one of us suffers a devastating loss, his misfortune is protected by the counterweight of the other player’s win. We decided to keep separate records of our individual playing sessions and settle up at the end of the 4-day trip.

We agreed to a basic $25 unit bet size though we both resolved to be aggressive in sitting out hands when the count tanked, thus reducing our exposure when we didn't have an advantage. If we sat out or had an excuse to leave the table [bathroom breaks, answering cell phones, etc.] on only one of five negative hands, we'd effectively reduce our unit size to $20…perfect for our bankroll to maintain a less than 10% Risk of Ruin according to Auston's excellent Blackjack Risk Manager 2000 software. We'd keep the spread to 1-6 in green and try to rathole chips to minimize our perceived wins and look like bigger losers when we lost. We also agreed to a $1,000 [40 unit] stop-loss per session with a session defined as continuous play at a casino, including changing tables, after which one must take at least a half hour break, or move to another casino to begin a new session.

Of course trust is the biggest factor in team or shared bankroll play. I've known Grifter for a few years and we've combined several times before this, with either a similar 2-man shared bankroll arrangement, or a 4-5 man team venture. Despite his handle, Grif is totally trustworthy when it comes to accurately recording play results. He's more than fair and oftentimes quite generous with his time, money and advice. He's been a card counter for over 25 years and grew up in Vegas where he used to take lessons at the home of Lawrence Revere, author of the classic Playing Blackjack as a Business. Grif has been barred in a few LV venues, so I'll have to be careful in which casinos we're seen together. As a result, we reviewed our signals ["end session", "meet me in the bathroom", "you've got heat", etc.].

As for myself, I know I'm trustworthy because that's just the way I am. Grifter knows it too, or he wouldn't team up with me. You'll just have to take my word on that.

It had been three months since I had gone on a BJ trip to Sin City. During those months we were so shorthanded at work that my company couldn't spare me for even a 3-day weekend though I had tried to arrange a trip several times to no avail.

We made it from downtown LA to Vegas in just under 3.5 hours and I settled into the comped room that Grif had arranged for me while he did the same at another nearby hotel. When he had told me he could get me a comped room, I cancelled my prior [casino rate] reservation at Flamingo where I had planned to pay $69, $49, $49, $49 per night. We stayed in the mid-strip area and I had my new cell phone [my first] so we could keep in touch and not waste time playing phone tag.

First play was at Casino Royale, which has a good double decker for low stakes. Perfect for getting my feet wet and getting into the rhythm of a trips worth of blackjack play. Since it was already 2 am, I expected uncrowded conditions, but the tables all had 2-3 players. I joined one for 45 minutes, spreading $15-$100 and lost $60. I only got 60% penetration although Wong's Current Blackjack News reports 70%.

I went across the street to Treasure Island and played the main [H17] pit for an hour with the same spread and got 70% penetration with one then two other players and won back $45. As most of you may know, the former Wynn properties all use a notch in the discard rack to standardize the insertion of the cut card which results in 65%-70% penetration on their double deckers.

At 6 am I finally found a $25 double deck table at Mirage [usually their handhelds are $50, $100 or $300 minimums] and wished I hadn't. I played alone at the table for an hour until the sun came up and lost $600 using the full $25-$150 spread that Grifter and I had agreed upon. Good game and good conditions…. just couldn't get the cards. I called it a night and also resolved to hit 'em hard and get it back tomorrow.

I use the Silver Fox (SF) count, a balanced level one similar to Hi-Lo except you count the 7 as +1 with the other low cards and count the 9 as -1 with the 10's and Aces. This makes counting easier as there are more pairs that cancel out to zero and I find it harder to ignore a card than to count it. In the SF count, the 8 is the only card that you have to ignore. I use 60 indices, all hit-stand and doubling and ignore the soft doubles and pair split numbers. The betting, playing and insurance efficiency numbers are all comparable to Hi-Lo. I've been using this count for over two years now with good results. The Grifter uses Zen with 80 indices. He started years ago with the Revere Point Count (RPC), which he learned from Revere himself. When he switched to Hi-Opt 2, Revere stopped talking to him. Years later he switched to Zen. He always tells me, "If I'd known then what I know now, I never would have switched from the RPC".

The next morning I got a heads up game at Casino Royale. Played for 2 hours with other players occasionally joining the game for short periods, then busting out and leaving, so I was alone for most of the time. Finally got to see that 70% penetration on the double decker. I spread from $10 to $150 [2 hands of $75] and wound up winning $200 after the smoke cleared. A small win, given the good conditions, but I'll take it. Now I was down $400, but Grif was ahead by $800 or thereabouts, so the team was in good shape after half a day of play.

I went to meet Slick at Paris Casino. I had never met him before this…he was a guy whose handle I knew only from Wong's website. He had 4 different comped rooms all over town and handed me the keys to the one at Paris which I planned to use for the last 2 days of the trip (he cautioned me not to use his name while playing). He also handed me the RFB [room, food, and beverage] comp card his host had issued to him. This would allow me to get comped meals at most of their restaurants, use the spa, etc. and just sign his name to the room. He asked me to limit my use to the buffet and nothing else as it would affect his airfare reimbursement, which he hoped to collect in full from each of the 4 hotels where he was registered. No wonder they call him Slick. I agreed to all conditions and said it was good to meet him and thanked him for his generosity.

After the meeting with Slick, I played the Bally's double deck (DD) table in the elevated high-roller area. Only one DD table was $25 minimum and the rest were $50 or $100. Of course the higher limit tables were empty and the lone quarter table had 3 players, but I joined anyway, hoping one of them would leave. After 45 minutes of seesawing back and forth, I quit this lousy 55% penetration game breaking even (a real time waster). I resolved to only play tables with good conditions for the rest of the trip to maximize the short time I had left and not play marginal games just for the sake of playing.

I went to the Paris buffet for dinner. When I showed Slick's comp card to the hostess, she had me walk ahead of 30-40 people in line and directly to the cashier where I signed the slip. Then I was seated in less than two minutes and had one of the best meals of the trip. I especially liked the baked salmon in cream sauce…very moist and flavorful. The shrimp and lox were excellent, but the crab legs were smaller than the plump ones you get at the Bellagio buffet. Don't miss the lyonnaise potatoes, which go well with the excellent prime rib from the carving station. For dessert I had one of those little tarts with the glazed strawberries and kiwi on top with my rich French roast coffee. All in all, a splendid smorgasbord of culinary delights.

After a visit with my buddy Stu near Henderson, I drove to Sam’s Town, the nearest casino with decent games. I played the $10 single decker for an hour, spreading $15-$100 which was all I felt I could get away with given the conditions. Got the standard Rule of 6 penetration with 1 then 2 then 3 other players, winning $400 to bring my personal total back to even. I left when the fourth player sat down. Three rounds to three players is a decent game if you can spread to 2 hands on the third round on plus counts, thus stretching out the penetration and disguising the scope of your spread. However if a fourth player joins, you get only 2 rounds and then a shuffle…a time waster even if you bet the 2 hands in plus counts.

The next morning Grif and I drove out to the Regent to play their new single decker. According to Wong's CBJ Newsletter the rules were double on 9,10,11 only and dealer stands on soft 17. This gives a house edge of only 0.13%, a nice game with a decent win rate [over 3 units per hour] even with the typical Rule of 6 penetration.

I found a seat with 2 other players and got comfortable at third base. Played for 3 hours (too long, I know) with the other players complimenting me constantly on my decisions when they resulted in a dealers bust. I played the part of a lucky gambler, cheering and slapping high fives after wins. When the dealer hit her A, 6, I said "Hey, I thought this game was stand on soft 17" and the pit boss replied that they had changed the rule last week to H17. This gives the house an advantage of 0.33%, much worse than the 0.13% I thought I was playing against. But I got even with them. With a +3 true count, I doubled an 8 vs. dealer's 6 upcard and received a 5 for 13. The dealer made her hand with 18 and reached for both my bets. I said, "Whoa, Nellie…you should have stopped me from doubling on 8. This game is double 9, 10, 11 only. You have to return one of those bets", which she did, sheepishly. Trying to keep from smiling, I thought, "tighten up the rules on me, wily? Take that, you greedy bastards". Of course if I had won the hand, I wouldn't have mentioned the fact that I'm not allowed that double. I finally colored out with a $300 win while GIF had lost a like amount at one of the double decors. Yet, the team was in pretty good shape, still up $800 or so. Hope we can stay on the up side of fate for the next two days.

We stopped at the new Suncoast Casino for a look-see. Many tables of 50% penetration double deckers. Grif tried wonging a few of them with disappointing results. I didn't play at all. We then walked through Texas Station, but the penetration here has gone downhill and with crowded tables, we walked out without playing. We drove to downtown where we split up. I played single deck at Horseshoe while Grif went to try the Fitzgeralds double deckers. Horseshoe is one place I can't be seen with him. He's too well known there and has been barred. Playing single deck, I won $250 in an hour, spreading 1-4 in green. We met later and walked to Main St. Station, where I was surprised at the 70% penetration on the 2 deckers. I played for an hour, spreading $10 to $150 and had a small win of $100 while Grif won $600 and got a dinner comp. We ordered sushi appetizers and steaks for the main course. My steak was overdone; I should have stuck strictly with the fish.

After dinner we played the pitch games at Main St. again. This time I ran into one of those horrible mini-runs of negative standard deviation. In other words, bad luck. Played only a half-hour at three different tables and lost $450 before we left. Couldn't win two hands in a row to save my life. I dropped Grifter off at the Imperial Palace and headed to one of my favorite BJ venues in LV: Treasure Island. My bad run continued as I lost hand after hand, especially the bigger bets in plus counts. Down $400, down $600, down $800, I bought in for the last two hundred of my 1K session stake and changed tables for the third or fourth time. Now down $875, the cards began to turn. I was alone at the table with a cute, friendly gal dealer who was rooting for me to win. This time I kept mostly to one spot, only rarely spreading to two hands so as to not eat cards in plus counts unnecessarily. In three shuffles I won it all back, winning all my $150 bets as I chipped up after a string of wins. After 1.5 hours I had finally gotten about even, or so I thought. When I colored in, the dealer found an extra black chip that I hadn't counted so it turned out that I had won $100 after all that storm and struggle. Since you're not allowed to touch the dealer in any way in a casino, I couldn't kiss her like I wanted to, so for one of the only times in my life, I tipped a green chip at the end. Even though I had only netted $100, I felt really good. While driving back to the Strip, a Louie Prima tune floated from the CD player and I felt a sense of relief and well being. I had hung in there and stifled my anxiety, just played coolly and unemotionally, and won it all back.

All right, stop patting yourself on the back, I told myself. There is lots more blackjack to play and you'll need every ounce of character you've got before it's over.

Stay tuned for Part 2 in the next issue of Blackjack Insider.



May may be the best month in Atlantic City. The water is still too cold to have all the kids crowding the sand and running rampant on the Boardwalk (and school isn’t yet out). But the weather is lovely and the air smells so fresh and clean that losing sessions can be tempered by a nice long walk where you can get your head straight before returning to the blackjack wars.

May may also be the worst month because it heralds in the new table minimums as well. Casinos that formerly had a decent selection of $5 games now have few, if any. Casinos that had many $10 games now have upped the ante to $15 on a majority of them. Weekends see $25 tables in abundance and an abundance of people playing them.

If springtime turns a young man’s fancy to thoughts of love, than springtime also brings out the rumors and weird happenings in the AC gambling world. Try this one on for size: Claridge has recalled all its black chips because it is said that counterfeiters were taking the Caesars’ $1 chips and "converting" them to Claridge black chips. The rumor has it that Claridge took a bath, something the chapter 11 casino can ill afford. They are now scrutinizing all the black chips that come in for redemption. Wouldn’t it be awful to have won a bundle, saved the chips because you didn’t want to cash in 10K worth and have the IRS alerted, only to find that they are not real? What do you do then? I guess you whine: "But I won them fair and square...and would you please loosen these handcuffs?"

Here’s another way-out rumor: Steve Wynn is looking to get involved in the property that is next to Showboat -- that MGM-Mirage owns. He’s looking to incorporate the real lighthouse on this property into his plan. This was told to a friend of a friend of mine by a pit boss who claims to be in the know. Here’s one BJ players will like: Trump Plaza is looking to convert all its games to 4-deckers to get back into its old position as the centerpiece of the Boardwalk (especially for high rollers), a title now owned by Caesars. I think this rumor came from that same pit boss.

Have a happy springtime.

The rules for Atlantic City is 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 May, Atlantic City blackjack scene. Rating system:

* * * * * = Excellent

* * * * = Very Good

* * * = Good

* * = Fair

* = Poor

I have also decided to 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: Penetration has improved on the 6-deck games in the high roller pit ($50 to $100 minimums) and one-deck cutoffs are the norm. These games are still being watched closely. The 8-deckers outside the high roller pit also have good penetration but "no midshoe entry" as well. The rest of the casino is the standard AC 8-deck abominations with penetration that varies but 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. Still always crowded. * * * *

CAESARS: The dealers are going deep. Six-deck games with penetration of 85-90 percent in high roller room only. Minimums $100 to maximum of $2,000/$5,000. The rest of the tables are 8-deck with 85 percent penetration. The $10 tables are slowly vanishing, especially on the weekends, replaced by $15 and $25. I have not seen or had a report of $5 tables but I have not scouted the early, early mornings. Resplitting allowed but you can only split aces once. Multiple Action and Spanish 21 available at $10 and up! * * * * 1/2*

CLARIDGE: This is a weird place to write about as the above rumor can attest. But the blackjack is still good by AC standards. One, sometimes two, 4-deck games in high roller room with a minimum of $100. The rest are 6-deck games with $25-$50 minimums most days. Penetration varies but now averages anywhere from 80-90 percent. You can resplit pairs up to four hands, including aces, in high roller room but the rest of the casino doesn’t allow resplitting. All tables allow surrender. However, with the arrival of May the $5 games are limited to a maximum of four tables, none reported on weekend evenings. Multiple Action and Spanish 21 available for $10 and up. * * * * 1/2*

HARRAH’S: The 6-deck games have poor penetration of 66 percent in high roller area -- and some players claim that they have seen 50 percent penetration. The Vegas’ Harrah’s has a reputation for being counter-crazy but if that 50 percent tale is true, why would anyone play at this place? Resplitting allowed except aces. No midshoe entry. Rest of casino is eight decks with 66-70 percent penetration. Harrah’s Table Game Guarantee: if the minimums are raised during play, you still get to play your original minimum. * *

HILTON: No change from last issue. This place is still making a run for the best BJ in AC, if only because its penetration seems to be universally deep. I’m talking excellent 85-90 percent penetration on all its games, from the 6-deckers in the high roller room ($50/$100 minimums) to the 8-deckers on the regular floor. You’ll be hard pressed to find $5 games but when I was there I saw plenty of $10 in the early hours.
Resplitting allowed except aces. The Multiple Action and Spanish 21 also have good penetration for $10. Hilton is now offering the two-seat blackjack tables (that means one high roller can play two hands heads up against the dealer) but the minimum bet on each hand is $500. * * * *

RESORTS: Excellent penetration on 8-deck games, consistently in the 85 percent zone, dealer dependent however. Most of the $5 games have become $10 games, even midweek. The 6-deck games in the high roller pits ($25/$50 minimums and up) are good, coming in at 85 percent penetration. Resplitting is allowed at all tables. Casino also offers Multiple Action Blackjack and Spanish 21 at $10 minimums. Still one of the better casinos for blackjack in Atlantic City. Pits are NOT paranoid. * * * *

SANDS: The second floor blackjack tables are gone and all the blackjack is now crammed -- and I do mean crammed -- into the area by the cage on the first floor. However, those two 4-deck blackjack games with excellent penetration (approximately 30 cards cut out of play), good rules, such as resplitting, and accessible minimums -- $10/15 weekdays and $15/$25 on the weekends -- can now be found downstairs. Unfortunately so can all the smoke! The maximum on the 4-deckers is still $300. Still offering the Binions option of your first bet being your limit so daring players might
want to tackle the 4-deck game and ask to be able to push the limits by making their first bet more than $300. This will appeal to high rollers only. The other games throughout the casino were also outstanding as most dealers were "going deep" -- 85-90 percent penetration. Sands also has Multiple Action Blackjack and Spanish 21, making it the best place to play blackjack in Atlantic City. This is AP’s AC pick of the month for the eighth straight month with one qualifier -- give us some room at the tables, please!

* * * *

SHOWBOAT: Now a decent casino for AC BJ players, which is a good thing since the ambience of this place is excellent. It is bright and cheerful. Six-deck games are still good in the high roller room with standard penetration of 80-85 percent and $50/$100 minimums, $2,000/$5,000 maximums. No resplitting allowed. Eight-deck games have 85 percent penetration but some dealers have been going deeper -- almost to 90 percent. Very few $10 tables, mostly $15 and up. Multiple-action available at one table. Showboat is now a part of Harrah’s "total gold" computer network so you can use your comps at other Harrah’s properties. * * * 1/2*

TROPICANA: The worst AC has to offer. Six deck games in high-roller room are $100 minimums with 66 percent penetration. Rest of the casino is no better, except there are 8-deckers with $10 minimums and up. Leave this place to the machine players. *

TRUMP MARINA: Six-deck games in high roller room ($100 minimums, $2,500/$5,000 maximums) have penetration based on the individual dealer but you can find some that give decent cuts and the pit will tolerate large spreads. Eight-deck games are at 85 percent 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 and up, especially on weekends. * * *

TRUMP PLAZA: Is the rumor true that this place is going to be a 4-deck casino soon? Personally, I wouldn’t hold my breath but I report the rumor because it is one of the more positive things to be said about AC. Plaza used to have great blackjack games but they are now mediocre. The casino has become top heavy with 8-deck games with penetration ranging from 70 to 75 percent on all, 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. Did not see any $10 games at all. Until the 4-deckers arrive, this place is the Harrah’s of the Boardwalk. * *

TRUMP TAJ MAHAL: What happened? Six-deck games in high roller room ($100 minimum, $5,000 maximum) had only 75 percent penetration on my recent visit, a distinct decline. The 8-deck had penetration that was also at 75 percent -- another backslide. Lowest tables are $10/$15 even during midweek -- but as with Caesars, I have not done the early, early morning check for $5 games. No resplits. Multiple Action, Double Exposure and Spanish 21 are available at $10/$15 minimums and up. * * 1/2*

WILD, WILD WEST: They go deep! Consistent 80-90 percent penetration throughout the casino. The number of $5 tables has been drastically reduced -- to two when I was there. The rest are $10/$15 tables. They tolerate very large spreads. Resplits allowed, except aces. Great atmosphere for gambling. * * * *

********************************************************************** ATLANTIC CITY CASINO SPOTLIGHT


Caesars Atlantic City
Arkansas Ave. and Boardwalk
Atlantic City, NJ 08401

609-348-4411 (main); 1-800-443-0104 (reservations)

Caesars is the best casino-hotel in Atlantic City. Over the course of the past year, I have received many reports from players who have stayed at the "new centerpiece" of Atlantic City (the "old centerpiece" is the slowly threadbaring Trump Plaza) and they have universally praised the service, the staff, the cleanliness, and brightness of the place. I have not stayed there but I have played in the casino and it certainly reflects the tone of
the rest of this property. Caesars has over 1,200 rooms and suites. Of course, Atlantic City is not Las Vegas, and as good as Caesars is, you aren’t going to find blackjack or craps games such as those in Vegas, nor are you going to find slot machines returning much more than 90-95 percent. The video poker pickings are sparse as well. But still, for a great Atlantic City experience of fine dining, excellent accommodations and a
lively casino, Caesars is the place.

The lobby of Caesars sets the tone for the rest of the property. It is a walk into history and quite awesome with its statues and lighting. Caesars is situated in the center of the Boardwalk and in the summer you can rent beach chairs and umbrellas or even a cabana, and enjoy a swim in the ocean. If salt water and sand isn’t your cup of tea, then Caesars has a great outdoor pool where the chlorine will kill any of nature’s nasties.

Across the Boardwalk from Caesars is the Ocean One Mall and here’s a hint you won’t find anywhere else except in Henry Tamburin’s newsletter (as far as I know): Go to the top level of the Ocean One Mall and you’ll find an observation deck overlooking the water. From this elevated area, you have a great chance to see dolphins exploding out of the ocean maybe a half mile offshore. Very few people know about this observation deck and fewer still realize that it is a great vantage point for catching sight of the playful
dolphins (hotel rooms are the worst vantage point because the sun’s angle glares off the water most of the day and you really can’t see much except reflections).

Of course, Caesars also has a spa (didn’t the Romans invent the term, or was that the Greeks?) with stationary bikes, Stairmasters, rowing machines, saunas, steam rooms, whirlpool baths and private tanning beds. Its theatre has superstar entertainment most weekends during the summer months.

Primavera: Gourmet Italian dining. Reservations suggested.

The Bacchanal: Just what it says. A feast, so don’t wear tight clothes. Reservations suggested.

Hyakumi Japanese Restaurant: Seven-course tableside dinners and just hope the waiter doesn’t lose control of the knives. Reservations suggested

Pompeii Pasta Pavilion: Quick Italian.

Nero's Grill: Quality steak and seafood. Reservations suggested. (If you ever read about Nero and his Mom, you would never, ever, name a restaurant after this guy or even acknowledge that he existed. Nero makes Oedipus look like a celibate.)

Imperial Garden: Gourmet Chinese. Reservations suggested.

La Piazza: One of the better buffets in town.

Planet Hollywood: Trendy cuisine with pierced, pretentious, multicolored haired and posturing teenagers abounding. Smart adults avoid this place.

Temple Bar and Grille: Just what it says.

Rotunda: Casual dining for lunch and dinner.

Venice Bar: Light food and piano entertainment. A place to take a break from the action.

Alene Paone is the CEO of Paone Press and the publisher of Frank Scoblete’s magazine The New Chance and Circumstance. She 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.




(Ed. Note: You can read Part 1 of Renzey’s article in Blackjack Insider #14 at

In the previous issue of the Blackjack Insider, I introduced you to the Ace/10 Front Count, the recreational player's answer to card counting. Though vastly simpler than conventional card counting systems, front counting is still superior to straight basic strategy since using it optimally can give you a tiny net edge over the house. Using the Ace/10 Front Count, here's what you can expect to find while counting down those first two decks.

Roughly half the time, your front count will be "40" or higher. That's when you should either move to another table, or have the dealer mark your spot and head for the bathroom. About another fourth of the time with a six deck shoe, your front count will be between "37" and "39". That's a fairly harmless area, and you can play through those without any real liability. But it's when your front count is "36" or lower that you must lay the chips in there for the rest of the shoe. You'll get beat plenty of times, but in the big picture, it's where you make your profit. Remember:

1) Bet one unit and count all the Ace/10's that come out in the first two decks.
2) If it's "40" or more, switch to another table or hit the john.
3) If it's "37" - "39", stick to the basic strategy with a one-unit bet and finish the shoe.
4) If it's "36" (or "35"), bet two units the rest of the way and make plays "A" thru "E" as discussed in Part 1.
5) If it's "34" (or "33"), bet four units the rest of the way and make plays "A" thru "G" as discussed in Part 1.
6) If it's "32" (or lower), bet six units the rest of the way and make plays "A" thru "K" as discussed in Part 1.

That's it! Sound easy enough, but are you wondering if the edge is too small to get excited about? Well, if you don't mind huge swings, instead of following a 1-2-4-6 betting spread, go with 1-3-6-10! It'll increase your edge to about 0.4% -- but I warn you; sometimes you'll lose four or five 10 unit bets in a row! So cut down the size of your basic unit to allow for that. Either way you do it, it's all a darn sight better than giving them that hopeless 1/2% advantage as a basic strategy player!

What's it all Worth?
The Ace/10 Front Count is the flat out simplest way I know of to get a high/low "read" on a six deck shoe. But what can it do for you in dollars and cents???

Suppose you were a $15 average bettor. By that I mean you play at a $10 table and make lots of $10 bets, but occasionally push $20 or $30 out there such that your average bet is $15. If you really play perfect basic strategy, your long-range expectation is to lose about $7 for every hour you've spent at the blackjack tables (not counting tips).

By using the Ace/10 Front Count and betting $10-$20-$40-$60, your average bet will also turn out to be $15. But your 1/4% overall edge puts your long-range mathematical expectation at a profit of $3.50 per hour. If you use the $10-$30-$60-$100 scale, you'll bet an average of $18 per hand with a 0.4% edge. Mathematically, that figures to win you $7 per hour over the long haul.

Now for the luck factor --- I know all these figures sound trivial and you've experienced swings much larger than a few dollars per hour at $10 or $20 per hand. The truth about gambling is that luck will play a big part in how you'll do on any single day. If you played basic strategy for five hours at $15 per hand, you'd lose $35 only if the cards ran perfectly normal. But due to the luck factor (mathematicians call it "standard deviation") you're not that unlikely to win $200. However, you're just as likely to lose $270! Both outcomes are the same distance from your expected result, and each will occur about as often as the other will (in the big picture).

Now, playing the Ace/10 Front Count for five hours on the 10-30-60-100 scale, you'd win $35 with perfectly normal cards. But this time, you're just as likely to win the $270 as lose the $200! Again, both outcomes should occur about as often as the other as time goes by and that's what puts you on the plus side of the game.

That illustration colors the landscape of gambling about as vividly as I know how to portray it. Sometimes you'll play the Ace/10 Front Count along side your brother-in-law who just plays basic strategy, and he'll win $200 while you lose $200. That's just the nature of the beast. You might have to play side by side for hundreds of hours before the real picture takes shape. Remember, we're talking about a difference between the two performances of less than 1% (your brother-in-law at -0.5% and you at +0.25% or +0.4%).

Reality Bites
Now you can see that playing skillful blackjack for $15 per hand isn't likely to make you any more money than stocking shelves at your local supermarket. The real point however, is that it beats the snot out of losing just like everybody else. If you figure to continue playing blackjack in the coming years anyway then it's worth taking your game to the next level. All you need to do is know how to count up to 40, recognize a two deck stack of cards when you see it, change your bet size and memorize a few special plays for your hands. Crossing over the threshold from underdog to favorite just doesn't get any simpler than this!

For the "Action Jacksons" Among You
Okay, now what if you're the kind of player who just isn't willing to walk away from half the shoes you're dealt (because of a "40+" front count) once you get two decks into them? There's no question that playing blackjack just to win money is more tedious than playing for the thrill of the gamble. If your personality says you absolutely must stay and play through everything, it's already been stated that doing so with a 1-2-4-6 betting spread will play you basically even with the house. But a 1-3-6-10 spread will net you about a 0.2% edge. It's not much to bank on, and it comes with a poopload of volatility. But it's just another way you can use the Ace/10 Front Count to re-stack the odds of the game. If you want to play all shoes, good or bad, then at least do this:

Make sure every table change, every break you take, and every last shoe you play for the day, ends at the front two deck mark with a "40+" count.

In that way you'll be eliminating some of the action you would have put in as a definite underdog. No matter how you play blackjack, you need to do what you can to skew the overall high/low proportion of cards you'll be dealt toward the high side. Regardless of what other strategy you may follow, that will help it!

8 Deck Adjustment
Most of the East Coast casinos are littered with 8 deck shoes. The more decks, the worse -- plain and simple! But if it's the only game in town, here's what to do.

Start out exactly the same way and still count down those first two decks. However, since two dealt decks will leave six still remaining, you'll need a front count of "34" or lower to begin raising your bets. That's good news and bad news -- but mostly bad. The bad news is that a "34" front count won't appear as often as a "36". The good news is that once it does you'll get in more hands before the shoe runs out (due to more decks remaining). Here's your revised betting and playing schedule for the 8-deck shoe:

1) Bet one unit and count all the Ace/10's that come out in the first two decks.
2) If it's "40" or more, switch to another table or hit the john.
3) If it's "37" - "39", drop to a half unit bet or sit out.
4) If it's "35" - "37", bet one unit the rest of the way using basic strategy.
5) If it's "34" (to 32), bet three units the rest of the way and make plays "A" thru "E"as discussed in Part 1.
6) If it's "31" (or lower), bet six units the rest of the way and make plays "A" thru "G"as discussed in Part 1.

Realistically speaking, you'll very seldom see a front count much below "31", so you can forget about making plays "H", "J" or "K" (you'd need "28" to do those). Also, notice that you'll have to be betting it up more aggressively to take advantage of the rarer occurrences when you can do so.

The eight deck game demands that you not play those shoes with a front count of "40" or more! Even then, it's not certain that you'll have a net overall edge -- but you'll certainly be closer to it than with plain betting and basic strategy. If you can stomach the volatility that comes with wider betting spreads, then do four units at "34", five units at "33", six units at "32" and eight units at "31" or lower.

Think of it this way. With a large majority of shoes, your front count will be higher than "34" and you'll be at a disadvantage. You need to do whatever you can to get more total dollars in action at "34" or lower -- than above -- to have a net edge. And the bigger the betting spread, the bigger the risk! Remember that this is still gambling!

Editor's Note: Fred Renzey is the author of the critically acclaimed "Blackjack Bluebook", a highly detailed 188 page strategy manual for casino "21". For your copy, send $16.95 to Blackjack Bluebook, P.O. Box 598, Elk Grove Village, IL 60009.


"I don't want to count cards. Is there an advanced basic strategy? And if there is, can you recommend any books where I can read about it?"

Read the articles by Fred Renzey on the on the "Magnificent 7 Hands" that appeared in Blackjack Insider Newsletter #14 and also his article on the "Ace/Ten Front Count- Part 1&2" that appeared in issues #14&15.

"What is the probability of the dealer busting when he shows a 4, 5 or 6 upcard?"

The dealer will bust 40% of the time when he shows a 4 upcard, 43% when it’s a 5, and 42% when he shows a 6 upcard.

"Can I use a cheat sheet at the blackjack tables?"

Yes, they are perfectly legal. You can purchase a hand held, plastic, laminated strategy card in most casino gift shops. I don’t recommend placing the card on the table when you play. It’s best to hold the card in your hand on your lap and refer to it when you forget a specific playing strategy.




The Gulf Coast of Mississippi plays host to twelve major casinos with blackjack tournament action scheduled six nights a week. The tournaments are mini-tournaments and they offer some of the best value for your gambling dollar.

Three of the tournaments have entry fees of only $10 with a $1,000 and higher first place prize to the tournament winner. They include:

  • The President Broadwater Resort & Casino hosts a blackjack tournament on Monday and Wednesday nights. The cost to enter the tournament is $10 which includes your choice of a buffet coupon or two match play coupons ($5 each). The four preliminary rounds begin at 6:00 pm, the semifinals are at 10:00 pm, and the final round begins immediately after the semifinals are completed. The first place winner receives $1,000, second is $500, third is $200, and fourth, fifth, and sixth place finishers get $100. Both the Monday & Wednesday tournaments are played with a six-deck shoe with thirty hands per round. The max bet is five hundred dollars with a five-dollar minimum bet. You start with a $300 bankroll and the table winner advances in both the preliminary and semifinal rounds. The two tournaments are virtually identical, with only one exception. Both tournaments have wild card drawings for entries into the semifinals with the exception that there is an additional drawing for a seat into the final round on Monday night. The staff at the President Casino do an excellent job with the tournament and everyone from beginner to regular is made to feel welcome.
  • The Treasure Bay Casino offers a Friday night tournament with an entry fee of $10 offered to seniors or military personnel with proper identification. All other players pay a $20 entry fee, which includes a five-dollar match play. All this for a shot at a $1,500 first place prize. The second place winner receives $600; third place wins $400; fourth place wins $150, fifth place wins $100; and sixth place wins a "kick in the ass" $50 prize for coming in last. The three preliminary rounds start at 6:00 pm. The semifinals are at 9:00 pm, with the finals following directly. The two leading bankrolls from each table advance to the semis where the number one bankroll advances to the finals. You play a total of twenty hands per round with a $500 bankroll. The betting limits are $5 to $500. The Treasure Bay Casino offers a late night tournament on Monday night/Tuesday morning and a Sunday evening tournament. Both have a $700 first place for a $10 entry fee.

The following tournaments are listed in order of their value for dollar spent.

  • The Boomtown Casino offers a Thursday night blackjack tournament challenge for a $20 entry fee, which includes a buffet. First place is $1,000, second place is $450, third place is $250, fourth place is $150, while fifth, sixth, and seventh place finishers win only $50. Preliminary rounds start at 6:00 p.m. with the semifinals starting at 9:00 pm followed by the finals at 10:00 pm. The tournament is dealt from a six-deck shoe with a total of thirty-hands of play. Number one bankroll at each table advances from the preliminary round to the semifinal round. In the semifinal round, the top two table winners get to advance to the finals. The seventh seat in the final round is determined by a wildcard drawing. This is a fun tournament that also has an additional prize for any three suited sevens dealt to a tournament player during any of the rounds. All money exceeding the $2,000 paid out per tournament is put into a prize pool. The jackpot is now well over $6,000. Although I acknowledge this as a shot in the dark, at least the money is given back to the players in some form. The staff at this tournament does a great job as well.
  • The Grand Casino Resort in Gulfport is hosting a relatively new tournament on the first Wednesday of the month starting in May. This structure is following a four month long series of Blackjack, Craps, and Three Card Poker Tournaments which started in January. This tournament is still evolving regarding rules and format. The prior blackjack tournament venue was set up with a $20 entry fee and a $10 re-buy. First place is $2,000, second is $1,500, third is $500, and fourth is $250. Call the casino at (800) 946-7777 for latest updates regarding this tournament.
  • The Imperial Palace in Biloxi hosts a Tuesday night tournament starting at 6:00 p.m. and finishing up at 10:00 pm with the finals. They charge a $20 entry fee with a $10 re-buy and a buffet. Two players advance from each table during the preliminary rounds. The bankroll leader from the semifinal round advances to the finals. A percentage of all the money taken-in as entry fees are distributed from first to sixth place with $1,000 guaranteed to be paid out. First place is usually around $600 +/- $50.
  • The Isle of Capri Casino and Resort in Biloxi has a small, Friday afternoon single deck tournament. The entry fee is $10 with a percentage of the prize pool given out to the players. The casino limits the number of players, which keeps the prize pool low. First place is around $200 +/- $50. I don’t play this tournament.

Unfortunately there are only a few major tournament offerings per year. Our casinos are first class and they could most definitely host such events. Following is a brief listing of some of the major tournaments in this area that are non-invitation only tournaments. Hopefully the local casinos will offer more major tournaments in the future.

  • The Beau Rivage Casino and Resort is hosting a blackjack tournament on April 27-28 with $31,000 in prizes and $20,000 to the tournament winner. The entry fee is $250, with a $150 re-buy, including a room for two nights. This is a quarterfinal tournament with prize money based on 144 players. For more information call (888) 567-2328.

  • The President Casino is hosting a tournament on May 4-6 with $25,000 in prizes and $10,000 to the tournament champion. The entry fee is $99 dollars and it includes a room for two nights. You play three, thirty hand rounds with a $1,000 bankroll each round. Betting limits are $5 to $2,000. This is an accumulation format and your totals after three rounds of play determine your ranking regarding the prize structure. First through twentieth place receive cash prizes. For more information call (800) 624-3000.
  • The Imperial Palace Casino, both Grand Casinos, the New Palace Casino, and the Treasure Bay Casino have all hosted major blackjack tournaments in the past.

The above information is constantly changing and evolving. Stay up to date by calling the casino for information regarding any particular tournament. The phone numbers are listed for you below in the Blackjack Insider Tournament Schedule.

Should you make it to the Gulf Coast of Mississippi during your travels, please stop buy and play a round or two with us. You won’t be disappointed!



Editors note: If you are new to tournament blackjack and want to learn the basics check out the article on tournament blackjack by Andrew Glazer in Blackjack Insider #7 at



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 made by the casino in their tournament schedule, please pass them along to so we can update the information in our schedule.



Las Vegas, NV: Longhorn Casino (1-702-435-9170); Speedway Casino (1-702-399-9291)

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

Reno, NV: Sundowner (1-800-648-5490); Atlantis (1-888-551-7007)

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)

Gulfport, MS: Copa (1-800-946-2672)

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

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

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

Lawrenceburg, IN: Argosy (800-274-6797)

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

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

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

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

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

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


Kenner, LA: Treasure Chest (1-800-298-0711)

Las Vegas, NV: Longhorn (1-702-435-9170); Silverton (1-800-588-7711); Fiesta (1-888-887-5108); The Regent (1-877-869-8777)

Laughlin, NV: Avi (1-800-284-2946); Colorado Belle (1-877-460-0777); Pioneer (1-800-634-3469); Regent Las Vegas (1-877-869-7777).

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

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

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

Kenner, LA: Treasure Chest (1-800-298-0711)

Reno, NV: Peppermill (1-800-648-6992)

Verona, NY: Turning Stone (1-80-771-7711)

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)

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

Riverside, MO: Argosy (1-800-270-7711)

Tokio, ND: Dakotah Sioux (1-800-946-8-238)

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)

Quebec, Canada: Casino de Hull (1-819-772-2100)

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

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

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

Palm Beach, Aruba: Radisson Aruba (1-800-333-3333)


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

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

Henderson, NV: Lake of Las Vegas (1-800-564-1603)

Mesquite, NV: Si Redd’s Oasis (1-888-346-4055)

Carson City, NV: Carson Station (1-800-501-2929)

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

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

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

Biloxi, MS: Casino Magic (last Wed. each month) (1-800-562-4425); President (1-800-843-7737)

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

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

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

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

Tower, MN: Fortune Bay (1-800-992-7529)

Onamia, MN: Grand Casino Mille Lacs (1-800-626-5825)

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: River Road (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)

Gardena, CA: Normandie (1-800-994-6637)

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

Gardena, CA: Normandie (1-800-994-6637)

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

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


Las Vegas, NV: Longhorn (1-702-435-9170); Vacation Village (1-702-897-1700); The Regent (1-877-869-8777)

Henderson, NV: The Reserve (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)

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)

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

Carlton, MN: Black Bear (1-888-771-0777)
Granite Falls, MN: Firefly (1-800-232-1439)

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

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

Keshena, MN: Menominee (1-800-343-7778)

Shreveport, LA: Harrah’s (1-800-427-7247)

Biloxi, MS: Boomtown (1-800-627-0777)

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

Lula, MS: Isle of Capri (1-888-330-5825)

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


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)

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

Mesquite, NV: Si Redd’s Oasis (1-888-346-4055); Virgin River (1-800-346-7721)

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

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

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

Shreveport, LA: Harrah’s (1-800-427-7247)

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

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


Las Vegas, NV: Longhorn (1-702-435-9170); Boulder Station (1-800-981-5577)

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

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

Crystal Bay, NV: Tahoe Biltmore (1-800-245-8667)

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

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

Palm Beach, Aruba: Radison Aruba Resort (1-800-333-3333)


Las Vegas, NV: Opera House (1-702-749-8801); 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: Treasure Bay (1-800-747-2839); Isle of Capri (1-800-843-4753)

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

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

Saulte Ste. Marie, MI: Kewadin (1-800-539-2346)

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

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




The following is a schedule of blackjack tournaments through August 2001.

The 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.

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 (*) are by invitation from the participating casino. Check with the casino tournament director if you could still qualify.

Date Location Entry #Decks Prizes More Information

April 25 Grand $75 six $12.5K/$5K 1-800-626-5825

Onamia, MN

April 27 de Charlevoix $200 six $11.5K/$5K 1-800-665-2274

Quebec, Canada

April 27-30 Harrah’s free * six $43K/$20K 1-800-392-9002

Las Vegas, NV

April 27-28 Beau Rivage $250 six $31K/$20K 1-888-567-2328

Biloxi, MS

April 28 Trump’s Plaza free * six $25K/$25K 1-800-677-7378

Atlantic City, NJ

April 28-29 Jackpot Junction $200 four $50K/$25K 1-800-946-2274

Morton, MN

May 4-5 Chinook Winds $100 single $10K/$5K 1-888-244-6665

Lincoln City, OR

May 4-6 Bally’s $500 six $125K/$50K 1-800-382-2559

Robinsonville, MS

May 4-6 Las Vegas Club free * six $15K/$7.5K 1-800-634-6532

Las Vegas, NV

May 4-6 President $99 six $25K/$10K 1-800-624-3000

` Biloxi, MS

May 6 Sunset Station free * six $3K/$1K 1888-808-7717

Henderson, NV

May 7 Turning Stone $25 six $8.4K/$2.5K 1-800-771-7711

Verona, NY

May 7-10 Stardust $375 * two $90K/$50K 1-888-271-1777

Las Vegas, NV

May 11-12 Colorado Belle $20 six $15K/$5K 1-877-460-0777

Laughlin, NV

May 12-13 Kewadin $75 four $5K/$1K 1-800-539-2346

Christmas, MI

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

Ledyard, CT

May 16 Shooting Star $65 six $9.5K/$3.7K 1-800-453-7827

Mahnomen, MN

May 18-20 Sundowner $150 single $3K/$3K 1-800-648-5490

Reno, NV

May 18-20 Cactus Petes $300 single $50K/$20K 1-800-821-1103

Jackpot, NV

May 20 Mystic Lake free * six $26.3K/$15K 1-800-548-8536

Prior Lake, MN

June 4 Turning Stone $25 six $8.4K/$2.5K 1-800-771-7711

Verona, NY

June 4 de Montreal $400 eight $84K/$30K 1-800-665-2274

Montreal, Quebec

June 4-7 Foxwoods free * six $15.8K/$3K 1-800-752-9244

Ledyard, CT

June 5-7 Sam’s Town $300 two $40K/$20K 1-800-456-0711

Robinsonville, MS

June 8-9 Casino Magic free * six $20K/$9.5K 1-800-624-425

Biloxi, MS

June 8-10 Grand $1000 six $250K/$125K 1-80-946-4946

Robinsonville, MS

June 10 Sunset Station free * six $3K/$1K 1-888-808-7717

Henderson, NV

June 12 Mystic Lake $100 four $22K/$10K 1-800-547-7536

Prior Lake, MN

June 17-19 Edgewater $129 single $20K/$10K 1-800-289-8777

Laughlin, NV

June 22-25 Harrah’s free * six $43K/$20K 1-800-392-9002

Las Vegas, NV

June 22-24 Pioneer $200 single $25K/$11K 1-800-634-3489

Laughlin, NV

June 22-24 Imperial Palace $150 six $25K/$10K 1-800-436-3000

Biloxi, MS

July 7-8 Belterra $750 six $100K/$40,000 1-888-339-3369

Florence, IN

July 8 Sunset Station free * six $3K/$1K 1-888-808-7717

Henderson, NV

July 9 Turning Stone $25 six $8.4K/$2.5K 1-80-771-7711

Verona, NY

July 13-15 Tropicana $500 six $50K/$25K 1-800-545-4989

Las Vegas, NV

July 20-22 Freeport $199 six $18K/$10K 1-800-432-2294


July 20-22 Sundowner $150 single $3K/$3K 1-800-648-5490

Reno, NV

July 22 Mystic Lake free * six $26K/$15K 1-800-548-8536

Prior, MI

July 22-23 Turning Stone $200 six $50K/$20K 1-800-771-7711

Verona, NY

July 25 Grand $75 six $12.5K/$5K 1-800-626-5825

Onamia, MN

July 25 Belterra free * six $20K/$8,000 1-888-339-3369

Florence, IN

Aug. 5 Sunset Station free six $3K/#1K 1-888-808-7717

Henderson, NV

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

Verona, NY

Aug. 10-12 Bally’s $25 * six $100K$50K 1-800-634-3434

Las Vegas, NV

Aug. 15 Riviera $200 six $28K/$12.5K 1-800-437-7951

Las Vegas, NV


Tip: Only 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.



Alene Paone is an East Coast expert blackjack player that frequently plays in Atlantic City. She is the CEO of Paone Press and the publisher of Frank Scoblete’s

magazine The New Chance and Circumstance. 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.

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 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 a popular casino gambling writer 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. His over 600 articles on casino gambling have appeared in dozens of publications, hosts the blackjack page on and has his own web site at






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