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BJI Newsletter, Jan. 2007, #84


Happy New Year! And we're starting the year off with an issue packed with helpful new gaming articles you won't find anywhere else...

Our first issue of the New Year begins with a summary report on The Blackjack Ball, which is an invitation-only gathering of the world's most dangerous blackjack players that meet each January at a secret location somewhere in Vegas. Max Rubin, the host of the 2007 Ball, kindly provided me with a summary of who won the coveted Blackjack Cup, who was voted into the Blackjack Hall of Fame, and the infamous Blackjack Test that was administered to attendees (take the test and see how well you do). Think the dealer is cheating you? Check out Dan Pronovost's article on Bad Beats in Blackjack for answers. If you are playing elimination blackjack tournaments (and who isn't?) you don't want to miss reading Ken Smith's article on how to avoid getting eliminated on those pesky elimination hands, and Joe Pane's article on the powerful secret bet. Jerry Stickman had an extended stay in Tunica over the Holidays and reports on the good and not so good blackjack games there. Want a good chuckle? Then read Frank Scoblete's " exclusive interview with the new head at Harrah's". Scoblete's report also summarize the details of his Casino Killer College, a weekend of gaming seminars from the world's best player/writers that are planned in 2007. Ted Salveson re-visited the Luxor Casino in Vegas and reports on what he found (and it ain't good), while John Grochowski summarizes what he found of interest to blackjack players at the recent industry-sponsored Global Gaming Conference (G2E). Our man Sammy Vaughn lets it all hang out in his latest (and always humorous) article on the inside scoop on some of the people he met over the many years he spent on the tournament trail. Sam also gives us a hint as to the "lavish life-style changes" he has made after winning a million bucks in a blackjack tournament. Do you play suited cards in Texas Hold'em? Then you'll benefit from reading Bill Burton's article on how to play them. Finally we have a summary of major blackjack tournaments scheduled in January (and there are plenty) courtesy of

The next Golden Touch Blackjack course featuring Speed Count will be held in Atlantic City on March 24/25. For details on the course call our toll-free number 1-800-944-0406. BJI readers get $100 off the normal sign-up rate ($695 is the discounted tuition for the intensive hands-on two-day course).

Congratulations to David Matthews, winner of the UBT Tournament of Champions (aired on CBS TV). Kudos also to BJI contributing writers: Kenny Einiger, for besting six other blackjack legends and claiming victory in the 2006 UBT Legends of Blackjack Tournament (also shown on CBS TV); Joe Pane, who recently finished first in a $5,000 guarantee on-line UBT tournament; and Sammy Vaughn, who snagged first place in a Pai Gow Tournament at the Las Vegas Hilton.

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 #84, Jan. 2007.

Henry Tamburin


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2006 BLACKJACK BALL SUMMARY by Henry Tamburin

"Max Rubin, the perennial host of the annual Blackjack Ball, was kind enough to provide me with the following summary of the 2007 Ball held last week in Las Vegas. For those that don't know, the annual Blackjack Ball is a social gathering of invited blackjack pros from around the world. Rubin estimates that collectively the guests at the Ball "easily earn at least $ 10 million a year playing cards..."

Read Tamburin's complete article.


"The unhappy blackjack player just got a bad beat, and is sure the casino or dealer, be it land-based or online, is pulling a fast one. Surely there's a better chance of lightning striking them than the terrible run of cards and hands they got, which no doubt proves that the jig is up and cheaters revealed! Can Dan Pronovost, gambling math-geek extraordinaire, help champion the cause for good, and prove the on-going fraud hidden under the covers?..."

Read Pronovost's complete article.


"In 2006 Tunica experienced several changes. With the decimation of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Tunica casinos became busier. Harrah's brought its three Tunica properties under the "Total Rewards" player loyalty program and also made changes to the games. As we have come to expect, the changes were not generally to the player's benefit. Also, Fitzgerald's got new management. Finally, Colony Capital did some tweaking in order to find a niche for each of its two properties..."

Read Stickman's complete article.

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"From my playing experience, there are three bets that should almost never be made as a secret bet. They are Max Bets, All-In bets and splitting your bankroll in half. Let me explain why..."

Read Pane's complete article.

ATLANTIC CITY BLACKJACK REPORT by Alene Paone and Frank Scoblete

"An exclusive interview with the new President of Harrah's (chuckle chuckle), feedback from AC players, details on Frank Scoblete's Casino Killer College, and the latest report on playing conditions in Atlantic City casinos..."

Read Scoblete's and Paone's complete article.

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"They say things are always changing in Vegas, and not always for the better. For 12 years, and up thru September of this year, the Mandalay Group properties had in my opinion some of the best and most liberal blackjack games in town. But it seems that in October Luxor was assimilated into the MGM/Mirage Players Club (as was Mandalay Bay before them) and everything changed. In an effort to achieve what MGM calls "uniform rating" for all their properties they have instituted a mandate of imbecilic proportions..."

Read Salveson's complete article.


"Elimination blackjack rounds really keep the pressure on, with forced eliminations of the low bankroll after hands 8, 16, and 25. In this month's article, I'll give you ten ways to avoid hearing those words: "I'm sorry. You have been eliminated!..."

Read Smith's complete article.

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G2E REPORT by John Grochowski

"A sure sign that the casino industry is taking comp wizardry --- not to mention card counting --- seriously: the manufacturing giants of the industry are banding together, melding their technological solutions. Along with the usual collection of blackjack spin-offs and side bets designed to take your money a little faster than basic blackjack, the annual Global Gaming Expo at the Las Vegas Convention Center was notable to blackjack players for the display of the IGT Advantage Table Manager System..."

Read Grochowski's complete article.


"ASAP is an acronym which stands for As Soon As Possible. It is commonly used when somebody wants something fast. Forget the consequences, just get it done right now. ASAP is also an acronym that I use to describe a certain type of Texas Hold'em player because there is a relationship between the two acronyms..."

Read Burton's complete article.

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"Of course there are good things that come from winning a large prize, such as taking Ms. Vicky out to dinner. When she asked for Italian food I obliged and took her to the Olive Garden, and I didn't even have a coupon mind you..."

Read our Vaughn's complete article.


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

Read our tournament schedule.

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