BlackjackInfo Blog

Wow, what a show!

The premiere episode of GSN’s World Series of Blackjack lived up to all expectations, delivering an exciting and well-produced show. I stick with my comments made at the time; That tournament table featured some of the best play I’ve ever seen.

If you’d like to read my hand-by-hand recap of the show and join in the debate, visit the World Series of Blackjack 2, Episode 1 thread at BJT.

Tune in this Friday night for the show at 10 PM Eastern on GSN, where I’ll be one of the five competitors.

Mission Accomplished

For the third year running, I’ve managed to win a seat in the final event in the Las Vegas Hilton’s Million Dollar Blackjack Tournament. It took a few tries this year, but in the December monthly qualifier I picked up one of the 16 big-event seats available. I went on to make the final table, but my results there weren’t as satisfying.

My final table story:

Bet limits are $100 to $2500, from a bankroll of $5000. About 12 hands into the 28 hand round, I decided to make some larger bets in an attempt to take the lead. I bet $900 to take the lead. I lost. On the next hand, I bet $1300 to take the lead. I lost. After those losses with my bankroll down to $2100, I decided to lay off a hand and of course, I won the minimum $100 bet.

On the next hand I bet half my remaining bank: $1100. I went all-in on a basic strategy double-down, 10 vs dealer 8. I lost that too. That was pretty much my whole final round. Three big bets. Three big losses.

Seventh place paid $1500, but the real prize for me was winning a seat in the final event on May 12th 2005, where 200 players will compete for the top prize of $1 million in cash.

A tournament oddity

I was recently involved in a final hand at a blackjack tournament at the New Frontier in Las Vegas, where an opponent had a tough decision to make. He had a soft 18 facing a dealer ten, and the tournament situation made it unclear whether standing or hitting was preferable.

The complete situation, and an unusual discovery about it are detailed in this thread at BlackjackTournaments.com:

An unusual tournament situation

Imperial Palace forced to pay up: $400K to detained advantage player

My recent post about a $99,999 judgement against Imperial Palace casino in Las Vegas included only the actual damages awarded in the case. Since then, the case has returned to the courtroom where the jury awarded an additional $500,000 in punitive damages. Law caps the punitive damages in this case to $300,000, so the plaintiff James Grosjean stands to collect $1 under $400K for the incident that occurred in Nov 2001.

James Grosjean is the author of ‘Beyond Counting’, an excellent book covering advantage play techniques that have never been published elsewhere. (It’s regrettably out of print now.) Grosjean was also one of the 25 players who competed in the the first season World Series of Blackjack on GSN.

Here’s a link to the Las Vegas Sun’s coverage of the Grosjean/IP case:

Archived article

Speaking of World Series of Blackjack, I’m in Las Vegas this week for the filming of WSOB season 2. This time, 40 players compete for $500K in prize money. The thirteen shows will air beginning January 11th, 2005.

LV Review Journal: Are gamblers being fleeced?

An editorial in Saturday’s Las Vegas Review Journal references the suit I mentioned a few days ago, and features this telling quote:

“The gaming industry’s viability — and the state’s economy — hinge on the premise that gamblers get a fair shake. Even the slightest hint that fancy shufflers and other glittering casino technologies can be used to swing the outcome of games is a black eye for Nevada.”

Here’s the whole story:

Archived article

In other unconfirmed news, I hear that the Imperial Palace was on the losing end of another suit filed by the same attorney, Bob Nersesian. The jury is said to have awarded $99,999 to a gambler who was illegally detained in a backroom at the Imperial Palace. I’ll post a follow-up if I see this story make the newspaper or other media.

What is the "Rule of 6"?

I recently got this question via email: “What is the rule of 6?”

Casinos that deal single-deck blackjack often instruct their dealers to use the “rule of 6” to decide when to shuffle. This means that the number of players plus the number of rounds between shuffles should add up to 6. If there are 5 or more players at the table, you’ll get one round and then a shuffle. (Ick.) Four players get two rounds, Three players get three rounds, Two players get four rounds, and a single player heads-up will get 5 hands between shuffles.

So, now you know.

Attorney sues casinos for using card counting systems

Las Vegas attorney Bob Nersesian has filed suit on behalf of a gambler at a casino in Reno, NV, seeking to stop the casino from using the automated MindPlay blackjack table for a practice known as ‘preferential shuffling’. That’s when the casino shuffles away any player-favorable situations. The suit alleges that the casino used an automated system to indicate to the dealer when to shuffle, thus altering the natural odds of the game.

The article by Rod Smith appeared in today’s Las Vegas Review Journal, and has since been picked up by the Associated Press. Here’s a link to the LVRJ article: Archived article