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The Great Northeast Road Trip
Part Seven

(read part I here, or part II here or part III here or part IV here or part V here or part VI here)

In the backwoods of Oklahoma, a farmer's wife went into labor in the middle of the night, and the doctor was called out to assist in the delivery.   Since there was no electricity, the doctor handed the father-to-be a lantern and said, "Here, hold this high so I can see what I am doing."  Soon, a baby boy was brought into the world.  "Whoa there," said the doctor, "Don't be in such a rush to put that lantern down.   I think there's another one coming."   Sure enough, within minutes he had delivered a baby girl. "Hold that lantern up, don't set it down yet, there's another one!" said the doctor.  Within a few minutes he had delivered another baby girl.  "No, no don't be in a hurry to put down that lantern, it seems there's yet another one coming!" cried the doctor.  The farmer scratched his head in bewilderment, and asked the doctor, "You reckon it might be the light that's attractin' 'em?"

I spent quite a bit of this road-trip in Atlantic City during the middle of February 2002.  The milder weather made it very enjoyable, and we also had the pleasure of spending most of our playing-time with one of our close friends.  It was with the guy who is the central-figure in the upcoming 90 Days to Freedom” set of articles.  In it, I chronicle how I taught someone to become a proficient and profitable Precision-Shooter over a three-month period. 

The actual interview for that article covers the frustration, anger, doubt, anxiety, joy and subsequent success, which he experienced in that ninety-day period. For the purpose of this article, I’ll call him Rock’n’Roll because of his musical tastes, as well as his mindset.

“Rock’n’Roll” lives near Atlantic City in the community of Margate, and plays in various casinos four to six days each week, for a total of about 40 to 60 hours.   His weekly earnings range from an average low of $800 to an average high of $3000.  His yearly income is in the $100,000 range, and he is satisfied that that is about all that he can extract out of the casinos on the Eastern Seaboard because of the current table-playing conditions there.

We’ll have the 90 Days to Freedom” articles coming your way very soon.  In the meantime, here’s a little summary of how we did on the salt-water taffy tables of Atlantic City, and how each casino has it’s own distinct personality.

Ms. MP and I stayed at Bally’s Park Place for the first part of our A/C portion of this trip.  A simple call to one of our Park Place Entertainment hosts in Las Vegas was enough to garner us a pre-comped suite in the renovated Dennis Hotel section of Bally’s A/C.   I expected a bit more of a hassle getting room-comps from Bally’s, but didn’t encounter any resistance when I was hooked up with their hosts.  While the rooms aren’t huge or lavish, they were certainly satisfactory to our needs.

Bally’s Park Place

While the hotel, food and beverage, concierge and valet service was excellent; the craps table staff was competent, but somewhat jaded.  While I understand that the never-ending procession of daily tour-buses which disgorge a fresh flock of sheep…er…“players” everyday may be boring; their dealers have the dead eyes of dreaded mechano-drones that can’t wait until death rescues them from the craps hell of unending dealing.  The dealers here seem to hate their jobs more than most, and openly show a disgust of most players.  I don’t think that is one of the value-added features that the Park Place Entertainment trumpeted in their latest Shareholders Reports.

A steady stream of tokes for the crew during my sessions barely loosened a nod of acknowledgement from them.  Most dealers in any other jurisdiction are effusive and grateful in their appreciation for the level of action that I involve them in.  At Bally’s, even their winning tokes are half-heartedly put into the toke-boxes with a resigned look of indignation. 

Our actual play here was quite successful.  Since we were staying there, we had an opportunity to play in some really off, off casino-hours.  My own shooting was quite good despite their long, hard tables. 

My best rolling did not take place from any positions near the stickman.  In fact, my longest, and most profitable roll was launched from straight-out at the end of the table.  The initial touchdown spot for the dice was in the Field’s “12” or “2” circle (depending on which end of the table I was standing at).  From there, the dice took one long bounce, and then continued to roll on axis to the end of the table. Now some people might attribute good rolls like that to be based purely on luck.  Okay, call me lucky, but you may want to hold off on your Don’t Pass bets, because this “lucky” spot delivered up nine mega-hands.

No Pit “heat” was shown at anytime during my hands.   In fact, even when coloring out after successful (read: very profitable) sessions, nary a second look was given to the number of $100, $500, and $1,000 cheques (chips) that were sent out by the boxman.

Sands

We did VERY well on their shorter 12-foot tables.  Despite the bad lighting that makes it seem like the middle of the night even at 10 am. I didn’t have any difficulty tracking the rotations of each die through the air and right until it’s final resting spot on the table.  They did have $10 minimums in place most of the time.  Their crews were totally unappreciative of tokes, and showed outright HATRED for anyone who varied their betting (ie. regression, progression, adding further Odds to a Come bet, turning bets off, etc.).   Dealers would openly threaten each other, and intentionally try to short-pay some Pass-Line bet players.  These guys obviously failed their “How to Win Friends and Influence People” course.  It was one more reminder why New York City would leave A/C to stew in it’s own sour-juices if NYC ever approves a casino.

I’ll have a “rolls, hands and profit” summary of how we did in each A/C casino in a later installment of this Trip Report.

Subsequent to our trip, we found out that the Sands is reducing the number of table games, specifically, craps tables.  If their attitude is any indication of their love of their jobs, then the cutbacks and layoffs won’t arrive a minute too soon.  I realize that slot machines can be far more profitable than table games, but if the “up yours” dealer attitude is their way of encouraging new players to the game; then I’m sure they will find renewed happiness as slot attendants.   I wonder if their attitude will improve, while being stiffed by quarter-machine jackpot winners?

Claridge

This is not a high-roller house, but they sure have sweet-rolling tables.  You can almost always find a $5 table here, BUT, you can count on it being crowded 24 hours a day.  We did okay with the dice, but it was one of those one-chance-to-throw-per hour situations.  Like I’ve said many times before, it’s hard to get into a shooting groove when you don’t get your hands on the dice very often. 

Still the food was good, and the staff was fine.  I’m pretty sure that their dealers don’t see a lot of big betting action on their tables.  During one hot hand, we worked our Inside Place bets up to $300 each, from a $10 and $12 start.  After a few hits at that higher level, we wanted to press the 6 & 8 to $420 each, but the female dealer couldn’t seem to clear her mind to figure out how to do it.  Yes, I know that it’s the same as pressing from $30 to $42, just add another zero, but she just couldn’t wrap her mind around it.  The box-man kindly assisted, when she said that she had never handled that size of bet before.   The box-man apologized, and I said, “no problem”, as I threw another $12 for her to press their own 6 & 8 Place bets that I had piggy-backed for them many hits earlier.

If this casino was in Las Vegas, I would find myself drawn here quite often.  While it’s pretty busy almost all of the time, I like the atmosphere, and I find the tables react exactly the same way as the tables at Gaughan’s Plaza in downtown LV.  Of course you won’t likely see a $2 limit here, but then nothing is perfect.

Hilton

I’m not a huge corporate fan of Park Place Entertainment, but then I’m not a huge detractor of them either.  What I do find is that on-site management is more a determinant of employee attitude, than anything that is printed in their Annual Shareholders Report.  I know I’ve mentioned that twice already, but I recently re-jigged my stock portfolio, and PPE was weighing heavily on my mind. 

While not every dealer at the Hilton is top-notch, they ALL had a top-notch attitude, and showed some amazing levels of friendliness and appreciation that I have NEVER seen in Atlantic City in the twenty or so years that I have been going there.  If you believe in good karma and maintaining positive vibes; then this was THE place to be, at least for the duration of our stay in A/C.  Needless to say, we were pleased with how the tables performed for us.

Our actual profit was not very high, but the enjoyable playing experience partially compensated for lower than expected revenue.

Tropicana

I didn’t do very well on the Trop tables.  The funny thing was, one of the floor-men saw my Players Card sitting on the edge of the table beside the box-man.  He looked down at it several times as he sashayed by the table, but never bothered to pick it up or fill in a rating card.  When the dice were in my hands during a fairly decent run with the dice, he picked it up and flung it back in my direction and said, “Your betting action doesn’t merit filling out a card.”  I replied by saying, “Well I guess your employees don’t merit tips either.”  At that I had the dealer remove three dealer bets that I had in action.  I added, “If I could get the $48 bucks that I’ve already had them drop in the toke box, that would complete your public-relations campaign perfectly.” 

I only stuck around for a few more shooting opportunities with the dice after that.  So I can’t really say that their tables were bad.  That appraisal just applies to their floor people.

Needless to say, our playing time at the Trop was extremely short, but the profit we earned generated the highest profit-per-hour figure of the entire A/C casino group.  In fact, the one and only ninety-minute session garnered a whopping $1820 profit.


Caesars

The dealers here were great!  In addition, I found their skills to be on par with the best dealers in Vegas.  The tables here are busy and handle some pretty big action.  Almost all players are handled with a high degree of professionalism and skill.  It would seem that these guys actually love their jobs.   That is something that you don’t see often anywhere.  It was pleasantly surprising to see it at Caesars-A/C.  The tables rolled true and straight for us, and we had some of the longest, most consistent hands of our entire trip.  We ended up spending many, many hours here simply because we figured that we couldn’t afford to leave while the dice-gods were shining so brightly on our shooting.

During one particular day, Rock’n’Roll and I spent a total of thirteen hours at their tables.  That is WAY beyond the time that I normally spend in a casino, however, the dice were rolling THAT well, and we just couldn’t leave.  Despite nearly 40-hours of total playing time in Caesars, this was the only casino where I never suffered from a Point-then-7-Out roll.

In Part VIII, I’ll finish telling you about the other A/C casinos that we visited, and how we fared in each one.  Until then,

Until then,

Good Luck & Good Skill at the Tables…and in Life.

The Mad Professor

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