What's the real story about low-limit tables in AC?
  • Hi all.
    I have two days to kill in NYC in late April and was thinking of taking a one night (Thu) trip to AC, if only to appreciate vegas more. Everywhere I look (including tripadvisor) I see conflicting reports on the chances of spotting a 5$ table in AC in midweek.
    Does anyone have recent and concrete information ?

    Thanks...
  • Carson Street res here. Just curious, why 5 instead of ten? If you understand BS you will find many table with a ten min. Have you been to Seneca Allegheny in Western NY since they opened? Three hour drive from burg. 8D, S17,3/2,Ins, DOA, DAS...probably as good as a game you will play in AC. at low stakes.
  • Well, I left a nicely paying career in the IT industry (and a lot of other important things) to go back to grad school for a PhD for 6 years.
    Needless to say, I live off my stipend and after health insurance and rent I have maybe 300$ a month, and I have to eat of that....

    My plan for the upcoming trip is a bankroll of 300$ with a max loss of 100$. Can't get much playing time on a 10$ table like that... Maybe if I find a video blackjack machine, and that's not like sitting at a table :(

    I do have savings and stuff but I'd rather not eat into them. So when I play, I flinch at betting a day's budget every hand. Also, I usually bet progressive, so I would start at 150% of the table minimum...

    As for why AC, well, that's an easy bus ride from NY and I want to verify the horror stories about the place. I find Vegas much nicer (don't we all) and will be playing in Saint Louis in May. But as you can guess, I gave up on the company car so I can't get to too many places...
  • My suggestion would be to forget the casino until you build up your BR. But if you are simply a rec. gambler I'm hoping the count is high when you enter.

    Best, Jim
  • jimpenn said:
    My suggestion would be to forget the casino until you build up your BR. But if you are simply a rec. gambler I'm hoping the count is high when you enter.

    Best, Jim


    Well, I guess that my aim is recreational because with a low bankroll my win goals in absolute numbers are pretty low. Then again, when you and your peers live on "free food" (leftovers from different seminars in the building) even a 20$ win is not bad :)

    I know people in my situation who play for more, but as they say, never gamble what you can't afford to lose.

    I figure that if I do find a 5$ table, and play three session (I am going to be in AC for less than 24 hours) I can use a total bankroll of 300-450 which would translate into a comfortable 100-150$ per session, good enough padding for a 5$ table. After all, as long as I adhere to my loss restrictions, I will not lose more than 40% of that.

    So, do I have any chance in AC? Part of the reason I want to play is that I want to practice counting in a real casino setting. Especially before I go to Saint Louis where I figure I can find a choice of lower limit tables for long sessions (and I have a whole week).
  • What the hell...go for it. The real casino and counting will be a wonderful experience for you. Good Luck!

    Please tell us about your trip and education upon returning.

    Best, Jim
  • jimpenn said:
    What the hell...go for it. The real casino and counting will be a wonderful experience for you. Good Luck!

    Please tell us about your trip and education upon returning.

    Best, Jim


    My guess is that I won't find low table limits and won't play... (did anyone actually reply to my original question?)
    From what I hear, AC is good mostly for learning to appreciate Vegas more. Any idea on a good conservative betting strategy if I can't rely on count? I am limited by bankroll so I am assuming short sessions anyway.

    By the way, I'm wondering: a lot of sources recommend "back counting" until you can get an idea about a table, but obviously, in a 6-deck or 8-deck AC game one might have to stand a long time until the shoe is reshuffled. How do I do that without attracting too much attention? Or is there some point for counting from mid-shoe, assuming something about the burnt cards and so ?
  • I have yet to see a $5 table in AC. I have heard rumors of some casino or another having a $5 table somewhere in a basement during the morning hours, but I have yet to find it.

    Most casinos have $10 tables but they get crowded, especially duirng the weekends. And some casinos, come weekend evenings, they up those tables to $15, then $25. Best bet is to go during the daytime on weekdays. I have heard that the Trump Taj Mahal has a good BJ game, but I haven't been there in a while. The Borgata has $10 tables on weekdays, 6 deck, penetration about 75%, DAS, S17. And, if you are a beer drinker, the Borgata is the only casino that I know (there might be others) that bring you the real bottle (i.e., Heineken), instead of those small plastic cups ... LOL! Stay away from the Tropicana, they have the WORST BJ game in AC, their edge is probably close to 1% because of their rules, where the Borgata, as an example, is about .5% edge.

    Good luck to you!!!
  • Thanks for the info.
    As I said, I'm going to AC mostly to see if it's is bad as they say. I was hoping to get some practice counting in real settings before my trip to St. Louis, but I can't make bankroll for 10$+ tables. From what I understand, STL has low limits and I got a week there.

    I'll never understand why AC is so greedy in term of table minimums. Even in the Bellagio, which is supposed to be one of the more upscale LV casinos, I could easily find 5$ tables.

    I agree with you 100% about the beer, by the way.. Though truth be told, at least in Vegas I learned that the free drinks aren't worth much. Weird beer comes in cups and the mixed drinks hardly have anything but cheap liquer. Even bottled water comes in the world's tiniest bottles.
  • SLPGH- The object of backcounting is two fold. First, is to eliminate or
    reduce the time you play at a disadvantage. You accomplish that task
    by not entering a game where you are at a clear disadvantage. Weed
    out the bad shoes so to speak. Second, you want to play in games where
    you know for a fact that you have and advantage and have eliminated
    a good portion of cards in the process, say two-three decks or more.

    Shoe games are difficult to beat if you just sit down at the start of a shoe
    and play through many hands of disatvantage. Looking for that elusive high count will kill your chances over time and your BR will go south in
    the process.

    Your objective is simple: Make a few large bets at a maximum advantage
    and eliminate everything else if you can. Yes, it is a bitch, but you are
    there to make money....not to have fun.
  • Hi Ray.

    I fully understand the purpose of backcounting, what I don't get is how you successfully do it without attracting too much attention... In a deck game, it seems like you might have to wait a long time for the count to become favourable, and you would need to get there by the shuffle.

    I'll be glad to hear how that part works.. I understand the counting part well, it's the cover part that scares me.
  • slpgh said:
    I find Vegas much nicer (don't we all) and will be playing in Saint Louis in May...


    Hey Slpgh.

    Newbie on these boards (But have enjoyed reading everyone's posts) . I live in St. Louis and know about the local casinos. Before you visit in May, PM me or email me at [email]brino7@aol.com[/email] and I'll give you the skinny.
  • I agree with Ray's objective of making money verses having fun. Hit and Run approach...I think it makes a lot of sense, but you have to play in Vegas that offers 100's of casino's. Try this with the local Indian Chief and you you'll find an arrow in your ass.

    SLphg...by the way, you are a very fast learner. From your first post until last I've see a remarkable grasp of the game in such a short period of time....congradulations.

    Take care, Jim
  • slpgh- Casino conditions can aid or hinder your ability to BC up to a point. Where are the tables relative to some vantage point, etc? You can use
    what I call a "running start" at any low limit table in any casino. Walk up to a position between two tables and you are looking for someone who
    isn't there for cover. The table you are interested in just completed the shuffle and your view is first to third or just the opposite. You get the first round at that point and move a little closer to the table as you get the
    second round. Move to the position that you want to capture and fiddle around with your buy-in money. That's three rounds and at a low
    limit table that is a little over one deck. You make your decision based on
    the count prior to taking a seat.

    This method works very well when combined with an alternative to bc'ing.
    Go to this site: http://bjmath.com ...then to "what is new" from the
    table of contents. Scroll down to "what is new for 2000" and find the
    article
    "Scoring the shoe strategies (Long)".
    If you can avoid 8 deck
    games, so much the better. Don't forget about exit on -1 and late shoe
    exits as additional methods to reduce the bad times..........
  • From what I understand, in multideck games I should shop around for a table with a good penetration so the true count rather than just the running count becomes significant towards the end of the shoe.
    What I don't understand is why we can assume that the penetration stays about the same in the same table. Aren't they just deciding that at a whim to discourage card counters?

    By the way, I admit I haven't paid attention to this when I was in vegas (first time, after all), but at least in some games the dealer allows the players to place the divisor and have some effect on the point on shuffling. Doesn't something similar happen in a shoe game?
  • Good Point ..SLpgh...Your drive to learn is impressive, and think your on to something about shoe games...btw, just curious, what part of Pittsburgh do reside? Are you near the CheeseCake Factory?

    All I have to do is follow your posts and I find myself learning at a much faster pace. Thanks,

    What's that old saying, Angel's shuffle and the Devil deals?" For some reason I.......

    Enjoy the day,

    Jim
  • What I don't understand is why we can assume that the penetration stays about the same in the same table. Aren't they just deciding that at a whim to discourage card counters?....No, the penetration is determined for each game by the casino, and dealers will usually stay close to that guideline. Occasionally you will even see dealers "measuring" with a card or their finger.

    By the way, I admit I haven't paid attention to this when I was in vegas (first time, after all), but at least in some games the dealer allows the players to place the divisor and have some effect on the point on shuffling. Doesn't something similar happen in a shoe game?....What you are referring to is a player "cutting the decks". That is totally different than the dealer setting the penetration.
  • No, the player cut has no meanig whatsoever and does not affect pen
    in any way. If you watch the dealers final action you will see a precise
    placement of the cut-card. All this is on tape and the dealers know that.

    I have never seen a dealer vary P (6D) as a way to discourage counters.
    Short deck games are a different story. Shuffle up and the like...........
  • Grifter said:
    What I don't understand is why we can assume that the penetration stays about the same in the same table. Aren't they just deciding that at a whim to discourage card counters?....No, the penetration is determined for each game by the casino, and dealers will usually stay close to that guideline. Occasionally you will even see dealers "measuring" with a card or their finger.


    When you said for each game, do you mean for a specific table on a long-term basis (in which case there's a point in long-time recon or acquiring guides) or is this decided by the shift manager?

    I'm wondering why the casinos are not using more intensive penetration changes against counters? I can only think of several reasons:
    1) The overall player advantage is not enough to threaten them.
    2) They assume that most counters will not Wong, and will stick around
    playing, so they make up for good penetration positive TC shoes with good penetration negative TC shoes? (assuming the deck is big enough, the neutral and negative TC can probably cancel out the short durations of positive TC with a reasonable spread?)
    3) Most counters aren't skilled as they think they are, and therefore it pays to attract them with a good penetration shoe since most would follow the "go for high pen." rule of thumb...
  • The pen is established by the casino for each game.....e.g. 60% for double deck, 75% for six deck, etc., and that will be their "standard" until they decide to change it.
  • jimpenn said:

    SLphg...by the way, you are a very fast learner. From your first post until last I've see a remarkable grasp of the game in such a short period of time....congradulations.



    Thanks Jim.

    My only real playing experience was in Vegas in early March. I was never interested in gambling before but I found BJ to be intriguing because of the skill involved and the actual chance to get an edge. Now I keep looking forward to the next trip. I guess I would be considered a recreational gambler because even though I'd like to play BJ to win (and more importantly, have the satisfaction of beating the house), I'm not going to play with bankrolls which provide significant win or loss potentials. My best gamble if I wanted to make money was to stop wasting time, work on my dissertation, and go back to a job that actually pays :)

    I've been skimming various gambling books I found in used book stores. It's amazing how many really bad books there are among the good ones (Theory of blackjack is great although not over practical). I figured I'd cruise the message boards to learn from people who aren't trying to sell systems...

    In vegas I mostly tried to get used to the atmosphere, the intimidating settings (I even got carded in a few places even though it's been way too long since I was 21), the cameras, etc. I played basic strategy (which I knew from teaching BJ in programming courses) and came out slightly ahead. But playing basic strategy like an automaton quickly becomes routine, and you're still fighting against the odds. I mostly played hit-and-run becasue I figured that with my bankroll of 30$ a session at 3/5$ tables, it's mostly about luck because the sessions are short.

    So I hope to have a chance to practice counting in AC and play with more serious bankrolls in STL.

    By the way, you asked about where in Pittsburgh I'm from: I live in Oakland (a mile or two from downtown) where all the hospitals and universities are. The new cheesecake factory is in the south side, few people live there since the area was an abandoned plant until not too long ago. The south side is also where the first Pittsburgh casino is going to open, but unfortunately, it's going to be slots only... :(
  • The stand-alone Casino in the City of Pittsburgh will not be located on the Southside. SLPGH...you are referring to Station Square. It will be built next to the Convention Ctr. in Center City Downtown. Only way to financially save Hockey Team and new Convention Center/Hotel complex is to build next to them thus "driving" people into Center City. Carson Street, on the Southside, couldn't handle the traffic generated by a casino. Mario has already made his deal and I hear the family who owns the Cheesecake Building will be involved...Oxford Development. It may be his borther Donnie. Remember Gary Hart...Donnie Soffuer owned the boat "Monkey Business" and I've been on it many times.

    Enjoy your day, Jim
  • Hi Jim.

    Station square is part of the South Side as far as the students stuck in Oakland refer to it. It's just on the other end of Carson from south side works.

    I heard the rumors about Mario buying the casino but I didn't know anything was final, especially since the convention center is a dud. I thought the rumors about station square were more likely because it's not going to be a full-blown casino (just some slots in one of the old areas), certainly not enough for traffic, and also because it is more accessible from the airport, WV and Ohio. And of course, there's a hotel there...

    But as far as I know, we're going to have only slots anyway, so it doesn't matter much anyway... :(

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