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BlackjackInfo News: Issue 15 - March 8, 2003

In this issue:
1. Site news
2. A flurry of big bonuses
3. Intercasino's biggest tournament ever
4. I'm gearing up for April's big event
5. "6:5 Blackjack" is an unfortunate success


1. Site news

As usual, my "monthly" newsletter only gets produced about every two months. In the meantime, most of the changes at the site have been pretty small updates. A few visitors reported a couple of bugs in the Flash Strategy Trainer, and those are either already fixed or on the way. Splitting Aces, pushing with blackjack, and insurance were all problem areas. We're also working on adding the European and Australian hole card rules to the trainer. Those additions have been available at the Strategy Engine for several months now.


2. A flurry of big bonuses

Note: As usual, bonus offers change all the time. These expired long ago, but you can check the sites to see what the current offers are. I've left this article just as it was published.

It's interesting watching the ebb and flow of online casino bonuses. I think the online casino business probably regrets ever relying on the tactic for attracting players, because it's an expensive way to get customers. But that's great news for players. Recent months had seen a reduction in the bonuses available, but that's changed dramatically over the last few weeks.

There are three very interesting deals running now at three MicroGaming casinos:

  • Jackpot City: Buy $50, Get $200
  • Lucky Nugget: Buy $50, Get $200
  • RiverBelle: Buy $100, Get $150

Online casino bonuses are the only exception I know to the old adage "If it seems to good to be true...". These deals are very strong offers, but they do come with pretty restrictive terms, so be sure to read the fine print. I'll cover the main details here, but they do change from time to time, so refer to the sites themselves to be sure.

First up, Jackpot City:
This is a "Slots-Only" offer, but the value is still there. Wagering of 20x the purchase and bonus is required before you can cash out. If you max out the bonus by buying $50 and getting $200 free, you'll need to wager $5000 on their slots or progressive games before you can cash out. So, you pay $50 for $250 in credits to wager on slots. Not a bad deal.

Next is Lucky Nugget:
This is almost the same deal, except with a 15x requirement which means $3750 in wagers required. It also appears that you can play some Video Poker games for this requirement, although they do exclude Jacks or Better, and the four payline Power Poker games.

A note is in order here about Lucky Nugget, who I mention as one of my very few problem cashouts in my article on online play, available here. In that article, I describe a Lucky Nugget cashin of $85 which took four months to receive. Why on earth am I recommending a place that treated me that way? Because Lucky Nugget is widely respected as a very reputable casino and I've had many friends play there since, with zero problems. Whatever the problem was, I believe it's long since fixed. My problematic cashin occurred more than two years ago, and with the value of this deal, I think it's worth the low risk involved. There's also another reason: Lucky Nugget is one of the flagships of the MicroGaming line of casinos, and as a result, they are the first casino to offer a brand-new software version that's pretty slick. However, if you experience any problems there, be sure to let me know.

Last up is RiverBelle:
This has been one of my strongest casino recommendations over the years, and it's nice to have a strong bonus offer there now. Buy $100, Get $150, and wager at least $3750 before withdrawing. This may be the most appealing deal for many of you, because Blackjack is accepted for the wagering requirements. If you play basic strategy blackjack, your expected loss is a negligible 0.13% of $3750. That's only $4.87, leaving you an expected profit of $145. Of course, your actual results will certainly be either better or worse than that, as these are averages.

All three of these deals are available for new players only. I wish I was still eligible! One last hint: If you play the Slots-Only deals, don't forget to check out SlotCharts.com for the best progressive deals.


3. Intercasino's biggest tournament ever

Intercasino has been offering monthly blackjack tournaments for a while now, and they've been a nice opportunity. I picked up a $1000 first place win last November, and I've made some money with lower place finishes as well. But now things are really getting interesting. This month, a $25 entry fee gets you a chance at a $3000 first prize, a $1000 second prize or one of 10 $100 prizes. The event runs all month, and you have one hour of time to play, which you can use whenever you want. You're provided $500 in "funny money" chips, and the goal is to accumulate the biggest bankroll of all the players. The leaderboard is updated realtime, so you can see exactly where you stand. Oh, one more thing, if you see 'icken' on the leaderboard, that's me!


4. I'm gearing up for April's big event

The clock is ticking down for my big day in Vegas. Play commences April 11th at the Las Vegas Hilton in the finals of the Million Dollar Blackjack Tournament. There are rumors that the event will be covered by the "Travel Channel", so I'm hoping to be seen on TV, receiving the $1 Million first place prize! Of course, my 199 opponents in this event might take issue with that! The finals will be contested over two days, with the winner taking home a cool million in cash. If you missed this year's qualifying tournaments, the Hilton has announced that they're doing the whole thing again next year. The first qualifying tournament for next year will be held in May. A $1000 entry fee and some luck will get you in the finals a year later.

My Vegas trip is shaping up to be a busy one, with lots of friends in town. There are tournaments at the Frontier, Hilton, Imperial Palace, and Stardust. I also have reservations to two shows, Celine Dion's "A New Day" at Caesars, and Cirque du Soleil's "O" at Bellagio. It'll be a fun week.


5. "6:5 Blackjack" is an unfortunate success

I knew this was coming. Once a few casinos managed to put a few of these awful single-deck tables in, and saw that the public would accept the reduced odds on blackjack, the trend would spread like wildfire. Reducing the payout on a $10 blackjack from $15 to $12 doesn't sound that bad, until you realize that the basic strategy house edge on the game is a whopping eight times worse than the normal double deck game. Unfortunately, the public has heard for years that "Single deck offers better odds". So, marketing these reduced-payout games has been pretty easy for the casinos. If you know anyone planning to visit Las Vegas, warn them about these games, which have now spread to at least 18 casinos in Vegas. With rare exceptions, if you see a single deck game these days, it's bad news.


That's it for now. Best of luck, online and off! -Ken-


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