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Best of John G. Brokopp
The Blackjack Dealing's Good in NW Indiana21 December 2005
My 11/23/05 column highlighted the most important categories for blackjack players to consider when choosing where to play. Today, let's get down to particulars by surveying the following five properties in Northwest Indiana: Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City, Horseshoe Casino Hammond, Majestic Star Casino in Gary, Resorts East Chicago and Trump in Gary.
In the minimum bet category, all of the properties offer $5 games: Blue Chip usually has at least one at all times except on high volume days; Horseshoe from 7 am until noon; Majestic Star from 7 am until 7 pm Monday through Friday; Resorts in the morning and Trump based on volume.
Resorts and Blue Chip receive high marks for playing with six-deck shoes at all their tables. Blue Chip even offers one two-deck game ($25 minimum, at times higher, with stricter rules) played out of a shoe. All of the others utilize both six and eight-decks, with the former generally reserved for the high limit areas and the less player-friendly eight-deck variety everywhere else.
The depth of cut after a new shuffle varies. Blue Chip claims to be the most generous by cutting "at least one deck" out of play after the shuffle. Horseshoe's house standard is one and one one-half decks, Resorts is one and one-half decks minimum while Majestic Star's is between one and one-half and two decks. Trump wasn't comfortable answering, but observant players can check it out.
The only casino to offer a variation of surrender is Blue Chip. Two of its tables offer something called "Casino Surrender" whereby players can elect to take their bet back and win half of its value only if the dealer is showing a ten-value "up card" (no blackjack) and the player has a two-card 20.
I haven't had a chance to check out the math on this option yet, but my gut feeling tells me I'd rather take my chances and play the hand out. Twenty is strong. Worst case scenario is the dealer will draw to 21 and beat me. I hate surrendering to the casino half of what I could have won.
A tip of the hat goes to all of the Northwest Indiana properties for not hitting soft 17. Standing on that vulnerable hand rather than drawing to it and giving the dealer a second chance to make it better boils down to a nice edge for the players.
All of the properties permit doubling down on any two cards, splitting any pair and doubling down after splitting (except aces).
The Majestic Star allows players to split aces twice, a player advantage, while all of the others will let you split aces only once.
Congratulations (and thanks!) to Resorts for not using automatic or continuous shuffling machines at any of its games. Horseshoe has only one table with an automatic shuffler, Majestic Star uses four of them while Trump uses them only at its blackjack variation tables. Blue Chip has 11 automatics and three of the insidious continuous ones.
CASINO NEWS: It was an eventful two days in September for a trio of guests at Resorts East Chicago. Sara N. of New Carlisle, Indiana was playing the $100 Triple Diamond slot on the second level of the vessel on Sept. 17 when she hit a jackpot for $20,000. Two days later Mary A. of Hobart won the big one on the Five Times Pay $1 progressive to the tune of $31,626.80. That same day, Clarence L. of East Chicago was dealt a royal flush while playing Caribbean Stud poker and walked away from the table with $387,300.
This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Best of John G. Brokopp
John G. Brokopp
John G. Brokopp