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BJI Newsletter, February 2008, #97


As promised, we have a summary of what went down at the 12th Annual Blackjack Ball, an invitation-only gathering of the best blackjack pros in the world that occurred in January at a secret location in Las Vegas (summary by Joe Pane, who attended this prestigious event). At the conclusion of Joe's column you'll find a copy of the test questions that were given to the Blackjack Ball attendees (courtesy of host Max Rubin). Give the test a try and see how you would do against the world's best players. Alan Krigman presents an interesting article on how edge affects your chances of success in the short term (you will be very surprised at the results of his study). Many overseas casinos deal blackjack with the European No Hole Card Rule. Dan Pronovost analyses the rule and its effect against the basic strategy player and the card counter (more surprises in this study). If you've been reluctant to make the transition from a basic strategy player to card counter, take a look at my article since it might help you make this transition. Alene and Frank Scoblete offer their opinion on how the Atlantic City casinos should position themselves against the onslaught of the Pennsylvania slot parlors, and they also provide a detailed analysis of blackjack playing conditions in every casino in AC. Kenneth Smith has outdone himself this month by offering terrific advice to blackjack tournament players on how they should bet depending upon whether they bet first or last, they are ahead or behind, and whether it's early, mid, or late in the round. Don't miss reading this valuable article! A Las Vegas casino doesn't honor a winning sports ticket; impossible you say? Read LVBear's growls to find out that one casino did, in fact, stiff a famous gambling mathematician and author. Electronic poker will be coming to your favorite casino; read all about this new table game in Bill Burton's All About Poker column. Lastly, we have a summary of major blackjack tournaments scheduled in February across the country courtesy of

Gaming Authors Meet & Greet: On Sunday, March 9, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., I'll be at the Palace Station Casino in Las Vegas along with American Casino Guide author Steve Bourie, Vegas Values author Scot Krause, and The Frugal Gambler author Jean Scott to meet gambling fans, and then participate in a 30-minute session of answering questions from audience members on a variety of gambling topics (the event will be held in the Sound Trax Lounge). Admission is FREE and serious gambling questions are welcome! If you are in town on March 9th, please stop by and say hello.

Last month, BJI writers Joe Pane, Ken Smith, and yours truly participated in a blackjack tournament held at the Fitz in Tunica, MS. Although we didn't win, Tammy Holsten, who was mentored by Pane last year, beat out 183 contestants and won first place and a cool $32K. This tournament was very well run (Games Pit Manager, Mark Wheeler, did an exceptional job). The Fitz is planning to hold another tournament in early June; I highly recommend this tournament (you will be pleasantly surprised at the rules including all the Wild Card drawings). Contact Adolph Lepre (VP Table Games) at for details. Tell him you heard about the tournament from BJI.

If you are like me, you are dreading doing your taxes. But there is help especially if you have gambling wins that should be reported. My bible at tax time is Jean Scott and Marissa Chien's book, Tax Help for Gamblers. The first printing of this book sold out quickly and we expect to receive copies from the second printing in mid-February. If you gamble, don't do your taxes without first reading this book (otherwise you risk an IRS audit, something I know you don't want to endure). Click here to order the book at a special 10% discount for BJI subscribers.

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 #97, February 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.

Club UBT

Henry Tamburin


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"When Roger Baldwin, Wilbert Cantey, Herbert Maisel and James McDermott -- long known by blackjack insiders as the nearly mythical "Four Horsemen" -- were introduced at Max Rubin's 12th Annual Blackjack Ball before a room full of the world's most accomplished blackjack players, they received a heartfelt standing ovation that had to make them finally realize what they offered to every single one of us who play this game both recreational and on a professional level. They were, at last, rewarded for their accomplishment by being inducted into the prestigious Blackjack Hall of Fame..."

Read Pane's complete article.


"Some blackjack buffs - casino bosses, too - believe card counters can consistently beat the house. Not so. Counting yields a modest edge or advantage or over the casino. But, edge needs numerous decisions to earn money reliably..."

Read Krigman's complete article.


"After receiving a number of questions from players about ENHC, I decided to run some detailed simulations with my own company's blackjack simulator and training products to see how bad ENHC is for the player, and what strategies they could employ to improve their edge..."

Read Pronovost's complete article.

 Blackjack Training software for handhelds and Windows


"Now don't get me wrong, I'm knocking basic strategy players. Learning basic strategy is the first step to become a winning blackjack player. But if you stop there, the reality is that even though you've decreased the house edge by playing your hands perfectly, the house still has the edge. Grant it, it's a small edge, about a half percent depending upon the rules, but the house still has the edge none the less. And as long as they have the mathematical edge in the game, in the long run you must, and you will, lose more money than you win..."

Read Tamburin's complete article.


"We think the solution to AC's declining revenue problem is to make itself the Premier Table Game Capital of the country. To do that, AC has to bite the bullet and recognize that by offering the best table games in the country, it will have to take the same chance that tax cutters take with economies - by demanding less of people, they make more money from these people because these people will happily spend more money..."

Read Scobletes' complete article.


"'How much should you bet on this particular hand, in this particular situation?' That's the question you'll face, hand after hand, in every tournament round that you ever play. While the endplay portion of tournament strategy seems to get all the attention, the more mundane every-hand decisions are just as important. After all, the positioning that happens along the way during the round decides who is really a contender on the final hand. This month, I want to look at the basic categories of the situations you'll face at the table and offer you some valuable advice on how to bet..." s

Read Smith's complete article.

Smart Gaming web site


"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.


"Electronic poker tables have been making their way off of the internet poker sites and into the brick and mortar card rooms around the World. These new tables are sure to modernize the face of the traditional poker rooms. If you haven't seen one yet, you probably will before too long. Many poker rooms are adding electronic tables as well as several Cruise Lines who want to accommodate poker players at sea. Leading the way in this high-tech revolution is a company called PokerTek who developed a fully automated electronic poker table that is called PokerPro..."

Read Burton's complete article.

Poker Drill Master for Windows


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

Read our tournament schedule.

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