Boris' Favorite Casinos
This is the section of the Diary where I mention my favorite casinos and/or favorite games in those casinos. Included in my recommendation is the reasoning behind my kudo-assignment. In all honesty, very few Blackjack games qualify for inclusion in this web-section.
During my recent casino scouting trip for Boris (Sept. 23, 2002) I made a quick sweep of the downtown casinos. I found only TWO playable game-sets; at Main Street Station and the Golden Nugget.
Being part of the MGM-Mirage casino group, the Golden Nugget uses the standard (and yes, reliable) 6-Deck Stutter-7 <---> S-Thru(4) shuffle, with no plugging or quarter-shoe swapping. I hit the G-N at about 3:00 in the afternoon, finding predictably-clumped games all over the casino. Not suprising, my best results in the table I selected came with 3 players (myself included) in the game. Playing 1st-base, the 1st-card tens were easily caught. When the table added 2 more players, the 1st-card 10's consistently became 2-card STIFFs and the Insurance-read errored-out - table departure time!
While I was utilizing a combination of Clump-tracking and the BorisAPC, the card-reads were strong enough that I could have dropped the count and still do well (I sometimes did, as this is one of my first combo-plays).
To me, Main Street Station looks as it did when I first encountered it in 1992. The shuffle in use at the Station breaks the 6-Decks into 3 stacks (A & B & C). Each 1.5-deck stack is riffled individually. Then a 3-zone V-style shuffle is performed, assembling about 2/3-deck picks from each stack into one [approx.] 2-deck stack shuffling the stack as follows: Big-Strip(3~~4) --- Riffle-2 --- Big-Strip(3~~4) -- Riffle. IF the player number can be kept to 4 or less players (and 4 is pushing it), the game is playable with Clump-tracking alone; otherwise, a Clump-track & Card-count combination is recommended.
Although shoe games abound on the Vegas strip, more and more the "rigged" games (such as the 6:5 Blackjack and Super Fun 21 oddities) are displacing some of these games, while even more tables are lost as these casinos increasingly become "slot parlours". Horror of horrors - even Caesars palace has become a DOG casino, as far as table selection goes.
It has been several years since I have found the I/P consistently playable. I found several outstanding tables in my September trip (remeniscent of the 92 - 95 days), although for me, ironically, the games were 4+ hours off the wash - the play clumping seemed to have reached a playable limit. Beware here however - my play seemed to be scrutinized more than normal, with "blind-carding" occuring at one table everytime I ended up playing heads-up with the dealer.
The shuffle used in this 6-Deck game does not plug and involves Big-Stripping 2-Decks, splitting into two stacks. This is followed by a S-Thru using: Riffle --- Strip-2 --- Riffle-2.
Play-clumping seems to easily survive the shuffle.
My Insurance-calls were over 75%, saving a number of important hands.
Note: New tables are opened every evening between 6:00 and 6:30, creating excellent wash-card opportunities. However remember, wash cards can swing either way - your session-bankroll should probably give you more "breathing room" against such cards.
Indian Casinos: California
Of the many California casinos I have played, I have discovered 3 favorites thus far:
Trump 29 - Indio - In addition to a clump-trackable shuffle, the table selection in this casino is outstanding. My next play session there, I will need to allow several hours for some "serious" Hit-and-Run play.
Chumash Indian Casino - Solvang - This is the best ShuffleMaster BOX (SMBox) game I've found in California thus far. Unfortunately there are less than a dozen tables available. Ironically, play conditions seem to be better at the relatively-empty low[er] stakes tables, than in the the high stake ($25) games. Remember: SMBox games use dual shoes, and therefore possess dual game-signatures.
Paiute Palace - Bishop, Ca. - While the "swings" in this game are quite large (due to the shuffle), this game has a lot of potential. I've only played at this casino 3 times; each before 8 p.m. so I have yet to see more than 2 of the tables open at a time. One advantage of this casino is that the dealers get to keep their own tokes (they bring their own toke box to the table); many who seem to be toke-influenceable, at least as far as penetration is concerned. A disadvantage is that there are several "older" dealers there who deal as slow as a tortise in a winter storm. Another disadvantage is that the first Blackjack table(s) don't open until 10:00 a.m. - something to think about if you are a morning person. As an aside, the Pauite palace sports a simple restaraunt with reasonably-priced food (breakfast at anyrate) and a gas station next door which tends to undercut the local gas prices slightly.