CARSON CITY, NV & BEYOND BLACKJACK REPORT
by KC Brooks
I have been addicted to blackjack ever since reading Revereís "Playing Blackjack as a Business" when I was 15. The art of blackjack is a lifetime endeavor. I went through the learning process backwards, learning Revereís Advanced Point Count first. I found out early that the actual count system is only a small piece of the puzzle. Presently, I travel "my" Devils Triangle (Reno, Wendover, Vegas}, playing mainly single- and double-deck games. Hi Lo is my choice of strategies and "Professional Blackjack" by Wong is my bible. I worship a large spread, and have been known to wong everywhere I go. Thank God I havenít had to register as a wonger yet, but I am sure it is not too far off. I also help fellow AP Nick teach card counting at www.Blackjackclassroom.com.
The casinos were visited in June 2013 for this report, and they include:
Carson Station Hotel Casino
Thunder Valley Casino (California)
You can get to Carson City from South Lake Tahoe a couple of ways; Highway 50 is the most direct, just head east. If you have the time, Kingsbury Grade (highway 207) is a picturesque alternative. If you opt for the grade, be prepared for a quick drop to the valley floor. When you reach the bottom, make a right on 206, and head to Genoa, home to the oldest saloon in Nevada.
The Genoa Bar was built in 1853, and visited by the likes of Mark Twain, Presidentís Ulysses S. Grant, Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt, Clark Gable, and a slew of other famous people. Genoa is twenty-two miles from Lake Tahoe, Carson City is 10 miles north. Take Jacks Valley Road north from Genoa to Highway 395, and you are in the outskirts of Carson City.
Casino Fandango is first up on my Carson City list. Upon entering the joint, Iím immediately reminded of The Peppermill in Reno, with bright colors and lights. There are 40,000 square feet of gaming space with 725 slot and video poker machines, and ten table games, consisting of craps, roulette, Pai Gow Poker, Three-Card Poker, and most importantly five tables of blackjack.
On my visit, there were two tables of single deck with these rules: H17, and doubling down only on 9, 10, and 11. There is no mid entry, nor can you double after splitting. The good news is that blackjack pays 3:2, and house advantage is only 0.32%.
There were a couple of tables of double-deck games, with H17, and doubling only on 8, 9, 10, and 11, that were also available. Again, there was no mid entry, and no doubling after splitting. The penetration is only 50%, dealing only one deck out of two.
Rounding out the blackjack options was one table of six deck, and one table of Blackjack Switch. The shoe game is H17 rules, doubling after splitting is allowed. The cut card is placed one and a half decks deep, and house edge is 0.63%.
The table limits on all the blackjack games were $5- $300.
A dealer informed me that the only reason they have the Switch game is because of three women from Genoa. It seems they come every weekend to play it.
Carson Station Hotel Casino
The Carson Station Hotel Casino is a Best Western hotel operation. There are three hundred and something slot and video poker machines, and three tables of blackjack available.
Two tables of single deck and a table of double deck are your blackjack options at Carson Station. The rules are H17, double on 10 and 11 only. Table limits are $2- $200 and house advantage is 0.44% for single deck, and 0.74% for the double-deck game.
The double-deck penetration is the Northern Nevada standard of one deck. The single- deck pen is mediocre at best, but hats off to the 3:2 blackjack pay-off.
The Carson Nugget is located across the street from the Carson Station. Gaming offered here is how it should be, simple and straightforward: Three Card Poker, craps, roulette, and single-deck blackjack.
The single-deck games were the usual H17, double on 10, and 11; house advantage is 0.44% and table limits were $3-$300 (there were four tables available).
I was taking a video of the craps' table and game when I was immediately hassled by security...
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