Card counting & cruising
  • I'm not a counter but have been on lots of cruises. Seems like a cruise ship's casino would be the ideal place for a serious counter. I really doubt that they would ask you to leave or shake you down.

    I've not seen this discussed here before but am just curious if our serious counters out there have found this to be a much more conducive environment given the relaxed overal atmosphere of both players and dealers.

    Perhaps the downside is that you're more apt to have inexperienced players at the table -- which doesn't necessarily change the odds, but it does change the atmosphere.

    Any comments?
  • I've only been on two of 'em. Issues:

    low table max bets. The ones I played on had a $100max on one ship, $200 on the other. These were both shoe games so on the $100 max game, a decent spread was impossible if you wanted to use anything other than $5 as your betting unit / min bet.

    Also penetration was not good (75% roughly on both - 1.5 decks) and the rules were not that great either. No LS, no RSA, and I don't remember about doubling rules as these were 3 and 4 years ago. I do remember that I had thought that the games were nothing exceptional to write home about. Things might have changed in the last 4 years or so, but based on other games I have played, I'd bet that any change was for the worse...
  • PhilTx/SSR - Are you guys talkin' about the same thing? Seems to me PhilTx is referring to a "real" cruise ship (as in three/four day or a week's cruise) and SSR is talkin' about those boats that go out for 4/6 hours at a time.

    I could be wrong.....Sure wouldn't be the first time.

  • The gambling ship out of Corpus Christi (Port Aransas) has conditions very similar to those mentioned by the rust-proof rodent. It goes out twice a day, 4 hours per trip. My cruising friends tell me the big cruise ships have Las Vegas style casinos with higher limits. Seems to me it would be difficult for a counter to be 86'd during a seven day cruise! Maybe a helicopter would come and take him off the property.
  • I was talking about the 2-3-4 day type cruises. My wife and I did this a couple of times, and actually not for the blackjack. Never really gave that much thought, she just wanted to see what the cruise stuff was about, and we had the time/inclination to find out. When I decided to check out the casino on board, lo and behold there were a few BJ tables. But they were not very good.

    I suspect there are cruises available with better games, but most players I have heard talking about cruises generally say "the BJ games suck..." My wife is a "slot player" and we've generally heard that cruise line slots are also tighter than good vegas casinos...

    Only problem I encountered was 50% penetration when they became convinced another player at the table was counting. I sat down at the shuffle (first time to play for me), and bought in. At about the 50% mark, the dealer shuffled. I asked "what's up with that, we're going to be watching more shuffling than playing?" The dealer (Asian female) simply said something like "ask him, he knows" or something to that effect, nodding her head to a guy at 1st base. He looked like the "classic first-time counter" when I watched him. Didn't talk. Carefully watched every card as it was dealt. Slow to make bets and playing decisions. Etc. But that was apparently all they chose to do. Of course, it was "quite enough" and I left... Went back later and found a more normal 75% game, which is still not a very good game SCORE-wise...
  • According to articles and ads in Casino player Magazine,NCL(Norwegian Cruise Lines) has excellant BJ rules and they claim a $25 player will earn enough comps for his next cruise to be free.They also have earned Strictly Slots certification for having loose slots.
    They have casino hosts available to discuss player requirements M-F until 5;30 PM est. at a special number 1 877 PLAY NCL
    I've never been on a NCL ship,but I hear they are nice. don't know any serious players who have tried it.Carnival Cruises have mediocre rules,at best.
  • On the first cruise I went on, the "comp" situation was not so great. They required that you play at a $25 average bet or higher, for at least two hours per day, in order to be rated with their "players club" or whatever it was called. And from experience, using $10 units would not "cut it" even though CVCX might say your average bet is $25, the pit will generally see those $10 min bets, naturally, and you get nada...

    Can't say whether that has changed or not.

    I have seen "free cruise" offerings for those 1/2 day cruises where a boat just runs off into the gulf or atlantic and sits outside the 3-mile limit before opening the tables. But my sister has gone on a couple of those, and told me the "cruise" part was only $25-$35 for a single person (this is a couple of years old, no idea about today). My first cruise was Miami to the Bahamas, not much of a trip. Enjoyed the "one dallah, maan..." type stuff. :) But it included a place to sleep, food, the other entertainment you see on cruise lines, etc...

    A real problem that I didn't encounter, but a friend did, concerns "regulation". Seems that they "write their own rules". This guy had some sort of a dispute about how a round was played, a mistake was made, and the "dealer resolution" resulted in everyone at the table losing. I don't remember the specifics except it had something to do with a card being seen as it was pulled from the shoe, and the dealer burned it rather than taking it as his hit card, which would have broken him. I think he appealed to the pit which did nothing, and then there was some higher-up on the ship that also did nothing. And there was nowhere else to go except to not use them again.

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