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BJI Newsletter, January 2008, #96


HAPPY NEW YEAR! Our first issue in 2008 begins with Alan Krigman's analysis of the pros and cons of playing one hand or two (the results may surprise you). Our Gulf Coast Grinder reports on the blackjack conditions in the Mississippi Gulf Coast casinos, and Frank Scoblete does the same for the Atlantic City casinos. You'll also find some interesting reader feedback in the AC BJ Report including a detailed comparison of Borgata in AC vs. Bellagio in Las Vegas. Tournament Pro Joe Pane describes his big $110k win in a recent Las Vegas Hilton Tournament (as usual, you'll get some insider information from Joe). Some casinos are taking a page from poker tournaments and offering no-limit blackjack tournaments; Ken Smith has the low down, including how to best play tournaments that utilize this format. Speaking of tournaments, you don't want to miss reading the Final Two, co-written by two experienced and highly respected blackjack tournament players, Norm Sheridan and John Ressman. Speaking of veterans, Sammy Vaughn explains some of the famous partners, deals, and teams that have occurred in the tournament scene including some that involved Sammy. LVBear has a lot to growl about in the New Year including several issues that occurred at Harrah's properties ("It's been a tough week for Harrah's. Couldn't happen to a more deserving company."). More blackjack players are trying dice control as another way to gain the edge over the casino. If you want to give it a try, read Frank Scoblete's article on how to learn dice control. According to our resident poker pro Bill Burton, the best thing a poker play can do is to keep a log book and study it. Bill provides the details on how to set-up and manage your own poker log book. Last but not least, we've got a summary of major blackjack tournaments in January and February courtesy of

Congratulations to BJI writer Jean Scott and husband Brad for their big video poker win. They were playing a quarter Hundred Play video poker machine (that's a total of $125 per hand) when Brad was dealt a Royal Flush in diamonds and a $100,000 payout. Kudos also to BJI writer Joe Pane for winning a recent blackjack tournament at Las Vegas Hilton for $110,000 (read about it in this issue), and for Norm Sheridan reaching the finals in a UBT tournament held at the Venetian Casino ( read about it in this issue).

Caesar's has announced a new higher-bet-limit policy that now exists at their Atlantic City and Las Vegas properties: $50,000 on one hand. These are the highest blackjack betting limits in Las Vegas and Atlantic City.

Once a year, the worlds most successful blackjack players gather in January at a secret location in Las Vegas for Max Rubin's infamous Blackjack Ball. We'll have the details on this year's get-together in the February issue of BJI. Stay tuned.

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 #96, January 2008.

Now US players can play online legally at, a site that allows you to play blackjack (and poker) tournaments on line for cash and prizes each month. ClubUBT Members get a subscription to Las Vegas Advisor monthly newsletter (which includes their 2008 Pocketbook of Values containing 174 dining, show, buffet and gambling coupons worth over $3,000) and a free one-year subscription to a major poker magazine, for as long as they are members of ClubUBT. Every month you can win over $100,000 in prizes that includes an HD LC TV, iPODs, $100 Gift Cards, a Caribbean cruise, and much more. They also offer tournaments with cash prizes that range from $10 to $10,000 and most tournaments are overlays. You'll also be able to play against some of the great tournament pros such as Joe Pane, Anthony Curtis, Kenny Einiger, Hollywood Dave, Phil Hellmuth, Annie Duke, Blair Rodman, and Russ Hamilton to name a few. I'm playing on ClubUBT and enjoying it; I hope to see you there. The cost to join is only $19.95 per month, you get your first two weeks for free, and you can cancel anytime. Our own expert tournament player Joe Pane has written about them before... see his article in issue #90. Click the banner below for more details.

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    "Most blackjack buffs play a single hand or spot per round. Some, however, enjoy the game more and believe they fare better by playing two spots. Does the game differ fundamentally for those who bet on two hands rather than one..."

    Read Krigman's complete article.


    "Hey, if it's cold and snowy where you're living, come on down to the Gulf Coast where the weather is warm, and the blackjack games are good. How good? It depends on whether you are a basic strategy player or card counter, but in general, both players will find good playing conditions down south..."

    Read The Grinder's complete article.

    ATLANTIC CITY BLACKJACK REPORT by Alene Paone and Frank Scoblete

    "Read several players' feedback on blackjack in Atlantic City, Scoblete's casino wishes for 2008, plus a round-up of playing conditions in AC (good and bad)..."

    Read Paone and Scoblete's complete article.

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    "I loved this tournament because while I was playing heads-up at the final table against one of their players, I got to watch some of the Hilton Casino Suits squirming. I loved knowing that they were rooting against me..."

    Read Pane's complete article.


    "Some major blackjack tournaments seem to want to ride the coattails of the widely popular tournament game of Texas Hold'em poker. These blackjack venues have done away with the max bet limit at their tournament tables, and will let the players go "all-in" any time they want. That is, the maximum bet allowed at the table is how much you have in front of you..."

    Read Smith's complete article.


    "Long-time Las Vegas-based advantage player, casino critic, and frequent contributor LVBear offers his opinions on things that sometimes go wrong in the world of casinos..."

    Read LVBear's complete article.

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    THE FINAL TWO by The Final Two

    "The Ultimate Blackjack Tour sanctioned a circuit event, which was held at the Venetian Hotel and Casino in 2007. Two long time veterans of blackjack tournament action (Norm Sheridan and John Ressman) won their way through the preliminary rounds, to face each other at the final table. There were lots of breathtaking ups and downs in this 30 hand final, but this article will explore completely new tournament play territory. It will attempt to answer the question, "What do experienced, successful players think about when making their critical decisions?"..."

    Read Sheridan and Resman's complete article.

    PARTNERS, TEAMS, and DEALS by Sammy Vaughn

    "My next partnership was in the 2003 Las Vegas Hilton Million Dollar BJ Tournament. I didn't have a lot of $$ and the $1,000 a pop entry fee was very steep plus I didn't trust the folks at the Hilton all that much. Fred Heilmann and I picked two fine gentlemen and fine competitors to join us in a partnership, Mr. Jerry Gibson and Mr. Jim Faith. I knew we had guys that we could trust..."

    Read Vaughn's complete article.

    LEARNING DICE CONTROL by Frank Scoblete

    "Can controlled shooting actually work? Absolutely! Just ask the Mississippi casinos which have banned both me and my partner, Dominator because of our craps play. Yes, craps is beatable by using the Golden Touch controlled throw..."

    Read Scoblete's complete article.

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    "One of the most informative reference books you will read about poker will be written by you. It is your log book where you will record the results of all of you poker sessions. If you are serious about your game, it is imperative that you keep a log. You'll be able to tell if you are a winning player or losing player by keeping records of all your play. Since this is the start of a new year it is the perfect time to start one..."

    Read Burton's complete article.


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

    Read our tournament schedule.

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