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Blackjack Insider Newsletter, Aug. 2004, #55


We begin this month's issue of BJI with a review of three excellent LV blackjack games for card counters (by LV Tournament Pro). These single and double deck games are some of the best you'll find in Sin City right now. Meantime blackjack conditions have changed very little in Atlantic City from last month - higher minimums, shallower cuts, and mobs of people - and only one casino gets our "Best Blackjack" rating (report by Alene Paone and Frank Scoblete). Have you ever wondered why the house edge increases when the dealer hits soft 17 rather than stand? Dan Pronovost has the layman's explanation and the data to back it up in his article. Suppose you've got a more than 1 max lead in a BJ tournament and you're on the button. Do you know how much to bet? If not, read Kenneth Smith's article on Climbing the Ladder for solid advice on how to bet depending upon the amount of your lead and your betting position. Video poker expert Bob Dancer explains the 'secret' to winning at any gambling game in his informative article, A Visit with Imaginary Friends. We welcome skilled Las Vegas blackjack player, casino critic, and frequent contributor LVBear to BJI. Read some of LVBear's opinions on things that sometimes go wrong in the world of casinos. Finally we've updated our list of Major Blackjack Tournaments and Las Vegas mini-tournaments.

Frank Scoblete and I will be teaching the next Golden Touch Blackjack course featuring Speed Count in Las Vegas on September 25 and 26. The developer of Speed Count, Dan Pronovost, will be joining us to assist with the instruction. There are a limited number of open seats. For details on the course, including a $100 discount for registering on our site, visit

I also encourage you to visit our online store where you'll find discounts on a renewal or new subscription to Casino Player and Strictly Slots magazines plus discounts on popular blackjack and video poker books, instructional videos, and strategy cards. CLICK HERE to view our product and discounts catalogue.

A reminder - if you come across an unfamiliar blackjack term in one of our articles or reports, see our Blackjack Glossary:

E-mail subscribers can also read each month's issue online at our web site: BJI Issue #55, Aug. 2004.

Henry Tamburin


A review of our latest sponsor, River Belle Online Casino...

In our mid-month BJI Lite issue a couple weeks ago, I announced our latest sponsor, River Belle Online Casino:

    "A Choice Deal with up to $250 casino credits FREE!

    I like choice especially when it comes to Blackjack. So Im like a kid in a candy store at River Belle Online Casino. They have eight variations of Blackjack including European and Vegas Strip running on state-of-the-art Viper software. Best of all, River Belle promises to match your initial deposit of up to $250 with the same value in casino credits. So you can score an extra $250 worth of casino credits when you sign up as a Real Player. Click here for details on this offer.

    For game choice, big offers and great potential winnings, visit River Belle today."

    I've reviewed the playing rules for three of their American-style blackjack games offered by River Belle and asked Dan Pronovost to compute the house edge using his Blackjack Audit software program. Here's the low down. Their Vegas Downtown game uses two decks with H17, DAS, pair splitting up to 4 hands, aces can be split once and one card to each split ace. The house edge using the basic playing strategy calculates to 0.4256%. Their Vegas Strip game uses 4 decks of cards with s17, DAS, plus the same rules as above for pair splitting. House edge in this game for the basic strategy player is only 0.4053%. Finally their Atlantic City game uses 8 decks with the same rules as their Las Vegas Strip game except they allow late surrender. House edge is 0.4783%. So, all the good blackjack games at River Belle give the house less than a 0.5% edge.

    Game Rules Casino house edge over player
    Atlantic City DAS, S17, DblAny, late surrender, 8 decks 0.4783%
    Vegas Downtown DAS, H17, DblAny, 2 decks 0.4256%
    Vegas Strip DAS, S17, DblAny, 4 decks 0.4053%


"Just when you thought there really aren't many places left to be dealt a fair game of blackjack in Las Vegas, I found it. First, you'd better jump in your rental car or grab a cab or bus and head on down to Fremont Street cause this game is downtown and not on the Strip..."

Read LV Tournament Pro's complete article.

a great Blackjack portal

ATLANTIC CITY BLACKJACK REPORT by Alene Paone and Frank Scoblete

"Atlantic City has lost almost 2 million patrons since 2001, yet the town is making more money than ever before. How are the casinos doing this? On the tables, the $10 game is almost extinct on the weekends and it is rare that you'll find many $5 minimum tables at most places during the week. Yes, you might stumble upon one or two or, at Borgata, three or four, but these are always packed with players. And slots are still socking the patrons as AC slot machines return in the low 90 percent ranges for 25 cent and dollar machines. Yuck!.."

Read Paone's and Scoblete's complete article.


"Most blackjack players know that it is better to seek out games where the dealer stands on soft 17, instead of hitting soft 17. Depending on the other rules and whether the player is employing card counting, the advantage to the player on the S17 rule (dealer stands on soft 17) is about 0.2%. This means that they improve their average loss (or gain, if card counting) by 0.2% by playing games with the S17 rule, rather than H17. But why is this the case..."

Read Dan's complete article.

 Blackjack Training software for handhelds and Windows


"I'm fortunate in my chosen avocation, because as an author in the field of blackjack tournament strategy there's not much published work. That means that I can occasionally be presumptuous enough to coin a phrase to name a concept or idea, and today I'll attempt to do just that. Over the years, I've had many conversations with my tournament friends in which we've discussed particular plays that fit the profile of today's topic, but we've never had a convenient name for the idea. So, on to 'Climbing the Ladder'..."

Read Smith's complete article.


"I have two imaginary friends --- Stan and Pearl. I invented them a few years ago to illustrate a point in video poker. And they have developed a life of their own!..."

Read Dancer's complete article.

Smart Gaming web site

LAS VEGAS TRIP REPORT - July 2004, PART 1 by Barfarkel (aka LV Pro)

"I started the next day in the worst possible way - with my biggest loss of the trip so far. There were three open $25 double-deck tables at New York New York, and I played at every one of them, switching back and forth several times. Try as I might, I was unable to sustain any decent upward momentum at any point in this laborious two-hour session. In for $300, then another $200, then another, I fought hard and well, trying my best to win, but it was not to be..."

Read Barfarkel's complete article.


"Blatant preferential shuffling when money hits the felt. Break-in dealers who don't know the rules of the games they are dealing. The introduction of two 6 to 5 ploppy rip-off tables. Slow and inefficient buffet. Management with a "screw the customer" attitude. I recently overheard a shift manager trying to explain Rule of 7 to a dealer. He didn't even understand it himself, and he's the shift boss!

Read LVBear's complete article.


"Check out the schedule of major blackjack tournaments by region in our Blackjack Tournament Report..."

Read the complete article.


"Check out the schedule of mini-tournaments in Las Vegas..."

Read Tour Pro's complete article.

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