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BJI Newsletter, Feb. 2007, #85


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In the 1980s, I wrote about casino gambling for an Atlantic City magazine. So did our newest BJI contributing writer, the GameMaster. We went our separate ways, but we both managed to do very well as blackjack players and writers (visit his popular and well-respected site, Now nearly 25 years later, I'm pleased to have him contribute his extensive experience on blackjack in the BJI newsletter. This month The GameMaster explains how fledgling card counters should prepare themselves before rushing to the casinos. Do you think it's impossible for an average Joe to compete in a televised blackjack tournament? Then you need to read Brian "Leftnut" Soper's story of how he won a free online tournament and a seat in a televised UBT finals. Speaking of tournaments, we've got three solid articles to help you get the edge in elimination tournaments. Kenneth Smith describes the technique he uses to mentally keep track of his opponent's bankrolls; Joe Pane describes the classic head to head battle he witnessed between Anthony Curtis and Blair Rodman, plus offers his strategy tips for playing in a head to head match; and Monkeysytem proposes a technique (based on Fuzzy Logic) to adjust your tournament play when playing against ploppies. Sammy Vaughn is at it again, telling more tales about players he has had the good fortune to meet on the tournament trails. Frank Scoblete and Alene Paone update the latest blackjack playing conditions in Atlantic City, and 'Street Dog' does the same for blackjack in Detroit. Were you stumped by the Blackjack Ball questions in last month's issue? We have the Blackjack Ball contest answers in this month's follow-up aritcle. For Hold'em players, Bill Burton offers advice on how to play a single Ace. And last, but not least, we a have a summary of blackjack tournaments scheduled in different parts of the country in February and March, courtesy of

Joe Pane has updated our Las Vegas Mini-Tournament Blackjack Schedule. Click here for the details.

I decided to postpone the article I had planned to write on the best six-deck games in Las Vegas until after my trip to Sin City in Mid-February. My article will appear in the March issue of BJI... stay tuned! If you are interested in learning about the pioneers of blackjack and their contributions, read my online Casino Player column (Legends of Blackjack) that appeared in the February issue:

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). See the web site for more details:

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 #85, Feb. 2007.

Henry Tamburin


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"In the January issue of BJI, we presented a summary of the 2007 Blackjack Ball (courtesy of Max Rubin) including the test questions administered by Max to the blackjack pros as part of the Blackjack Cup competition. This month we have the answers to the 21 question test..."

Read Tamburin's complete article.


"If winning at Blackjack were merely a case of reading a book, there wouldn't be any Blackjack games in the casinos, plain and simple. How to play a winning game of Blackjack is hard to learn, mainly because it requires a lot of practice - not study, not reading, not dreaming - but repetitious practice..."

Read the GameMaster's complete article.

PLAYING THE UBT ON TV: A PLOPPY'S TALE by Brian ""Leftnut" Soper

"November 4th, 2006 was a day that changed my life, although I didn't know it at the time. Thanks to a link discovered in the BJI newsletter in late October, I went to the site I had never played in a blackjack tournament, but after visiting the site, it looked like it was going to be fun, so I decided to give it a try..."

Read Leftnut's complete article.

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ATLANTIC CITY BLACKJACK REPORT by Alene Paone and Frank Scoblete

"A summary of the New Pier Shops at Caesar's, feedback from AC players, details on Frank Scoblete's Casino Killer College in Tunica and Las Vegas, and the latest report on playing conditions in Atlantic City casinos..."

Read Paone and Scoblete's complete article.


"The following are my observations of blackjack conditions taken in Dec. 2006 for the following three casinos: Greektown, MGM, and Casino Windsor..."

Read Street Dog's complete article.

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"Skill in chip-counting is an important part of successful tournament play. Becoming adept at chip-counting just requires practice, preferably a lot of it. But that's not what I'm proposing in this month's article. Instead, I recommend trying to eliminate most of the chip-counting from your games..."

Read Smith's complete article.


"A few months ago, over 200 players competed at the Palms Casino in Las Vegas to determine who would play for the Palm's UBT championship that will be filmed and shown on CBS TV in season 2 of the UBT Tour. The match was filmed two weeks ago in a TV studio in Los Angeles and it had all the drama that Hollywood could muster, including a classic head to head match-up between two tournament pros and friends, Anthony Curtis and Blair Rodman..."

Read Pane's complete article.

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"I started playing tournament blackjack almost two years ago. I prepared myself by studying every written word on the topic I could get my hands on. Confident that I had a huge advantage over the "ploppies" where I played, I pressed forward. Unfortunately, this huge advantage didn't materialize. I barely won more than my share, based on the numbers of winners versus the number of players. It seemed as if the strategies I'd studied so diligently weren't working. I've come to the conclusion that the mathematically optimal betting and playing decisions recommended in the literature often aren't optimal against ploppies..."

Read Monkeysystems's complete article.

WHAT IF? by Sammy Vaughn

"You may ask of my bono fides for writing on some these subjects. I like to write what I know. In the field of education we have grads from the MITs, The Stanfords, Medical Schools, Law Schools, and many other fine disciplines. On the other hand, I have studied in fine schools in parts of five decades, count'em five. I enrolled in the finest City, Community, and Correspondence schools that would accept me..."

Read Vaughn's complete article.

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"The biggest mistake that many losing Holdem players make is to play any two suited cards from any position, which I refer to in last month's column as ASAP. The second biggest mistake is playing a Single Ace from any Position. In my logbook I put the acronym SAP for this type of player and that is actually what many of them end up being when they play a single ace..."

Read our Burton's complete article.


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

Read our tournament schedule.

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