Reno blackjack advice

Reno-blackjack-advice -by-bigplayer

bigplayer is a long-time, high-stakes professional player.

Questions: Coming back from a card-counting trip to Reno during which I incurred backoffs at about half of casinos I played, I’m seeking advice on where to play and what to play.

I play heads up at single-deck blackjack for most of the time in Reno with a $25 to $200 bet spread. I don’t like the restrictive Reno D10 doubling-down rules, but am able to achieve on average about 180 hands per hour using the Omega II count and Illustrious 18 index numbers. The conservatively-calculated EV is $120 per 100 hands, resulting in an expectation of about $216 per hour. However, during my last trip, though my partner and I played over 70 hours of quality play, we barely broke even after expenses. I understand the bankroll swings of blackjack but haven’t enjoyed positive variance on several of my recent trips. Even though I am used to it, over 200 hours of play with hardly more than a break-even result is frustrating.

Other than Las Vegas, I can play at convenient northern California venues that offer double-deck games with good penetration and no restrictions on doubling down. One of them also has six-deck games at which it’s comfortable to spread to two hands of $175 -- the best part is some dealers offer very deep penetration. The bad part is the h17 rule.

About how long should I wait before returning to the places that backed me off?

Are the Reno rules single-deck games really worth playing?

Which games should I play and what strategy should I use?

bigplayer: How fast you can recycle any casino anywhere depends on how well they knew you, what you look like (are you unique or do you blend in?), and how memorable your backoff was to the staff, most importantly the pit critters. Some places have a very long memory, much longer than you might ever have imagined. Some casinos back off so many players that they soon may not remember you at all. You'll have to try to think about each incident and how it happened, and also whether the other shifts might remember you, as well as the one on which you got the boot.

The difference between single-deck h17 and single-deck h17 with doubling restrictions basically means you need either a bit bigger spread (at least 1-4 instead of 1-3 as a minimum) to beat the game or the same spread with better penetration. If you're spreading $25-$200, you should be pounding the Reno games without much issue, but it's no wonder you're getting backed off so much if you're not using appropriate cover. Usually for single deck, I spread 1-6 or so, using completely random off-the-top betting (or off-the-top wagers that depend on my last bet of the previous shuffle), and then go up or down from that.

As to which games to play, there is playable blackjack all around northern California. Fire away. Take some trips to the north and south in between.

Related information: Counting Cards in Reno (Updated February 2019)

Originally published on Green Chip, edited for this format.


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