South Africa. The American-based casino and lottery technology company, Scientific Games, says it has inked a new contract with one of South Africa’s largest gaming and entertainment companies. Sun International will get new table products and games for the new Sun Time Square Casino, set to open in Pretoria. The new facility boasts an amazing one million square feet of total property. Among its amenities will be 100 luxury hotel rooms and a casino floor with 2,000 slot machines. Published reports indicate that many of the machines will allow managers to award bonuses to players without interrupting the flow of play.
New York. Schenectady, New York—famous as “the other New York City” in the development of early radio programs—is the latest city in the region to get a casino complex. Schenectady, about three hours north of Manhattan, is home to the just-opened Rivers Casino And Resort. Thousands rushed to play on opening day; the facility has more than 1,100 slot machines and 67 tables. According to some published reports, the new casino boasts about 18-hundred parking spots. Business was so brisk on opening day at the $300-million dollar facility that local police were called out to direct traffic in the neighborhood.
Missouri. State regulators in Missouri report that despite a drop in hotel bookings at the St. Jo Frontier Casino, the popular destination continues to be in the black. In its latest report, the state of Missouri says that the facility, owned by a Las Vegas-based company, experienced a drop in visitors of about 11 percent in the most-recent filing period. But, at the same time, revenues were actually up. One officer of the casino told area media that January was a positive month for the St. Jo Frontier. The facility, along with the Mark Twain Casino in La Grange, Missouri, is owned by Affinity Gaming.
Iowa. Civic leaders in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, are looking at several proposals for new gaming facilities in that city. Among them is one from Wild Rose Entertainment. That plan would see the construction of a boutique-size, $40-million facility as part of a new four-story downtown retail development. Discussions on expanding gaming in the city have been going on for the last four years. Meanwhile, there are fears that other facilities could be built within easy driving distance that would lessen the chances of success of new casinos in Cedar Rapids.
You stroll through the crowded casino, itching to play blackjack, when you spot two adjacent tables with open seats. The first table has an opening at the first-base position (dealer’s left side), while the second table has an opening at third base (dealer’s right side). Where would you sit?
If you are a recreational player (not card counting), then mathematically, it makes no difference where you sit. Are you surprised at the answer? I know many players are, because they mistakenly believe that the third base player (also known as the anchor player) can influence whether the table wins or loses by how he (or her) plays his (or her) hand. Some players even expect the anchor player to “sacrifice” his hand for the betterment of his fellow table players (no, I’m not kidding you on this). Why do players believe this? Probably because they vividly remember the times that an anchor player misplayed his hand and screwed the other table players. It goes something like this:
“I’m sitting there playing blackjack and minding my own business when that anchor fellow decides to hit his 16 with the dealer showing a 6. We tried to convince the dummy to stand, but he wouldn’t listen. Sure enough he draws the dealer’s bust card. And of course the dealer has a picture card in the hole, and draws a 5 for 21 and we all lose. So don’t tell me a screwball playing third base won’t hurt me.”
If you play blackjack, I’m sure the above scenario, or one similar, has happened to you (if it hasn’t yet, trust me, it will). Somehow we always seem to remember the times we lose a big hand because of the clueless player at third base (I call it selective memory).
Let’s suppose that the lack of skill of an anchor player can result in bad things happening to other table players. Now let’s suppose we pool our money and open a casino with lots of blackjack tables. To ensure that we make a ton of money at blackjack, we’re going to pay players to sit at every third-base seat with instructions that they must hit when they are supposed to stand, and stand when they are supposed to hit, to cause all the other players to lose. We’ll be rich!
Of course this is nonsense; otherwise casinos would have implemented “clueless shills” to their benefit a long time ago. The facts are these: the skill of the anchor player, or for that matter any player on the table, has no effect whatsoever on your chances of winning or losing. In fact, you could have five chimpanzees playing next to you on the same table and your chances of winning and losing in the long run won’t change one iota. The reason is because you have no earthly idea what the sequence of the cards is in a shoe, so it could happen that a dumb play by any player could result in you winning the hand, or, just as likely, losing the hand. In the long run, it all evens out.
Nevertheless, blackjack misconceptions such as this one live on, so here’s my advice for players who fret about where to sit: If you are a newbie to the game and need to bring a strategy card along as an aid (hey, there is nothing wrong with that, and it’s casino legal), I suggest you sit in player spots 3, 4 or 5. Why? If you sit at first base, the dealer will be looking your way for a playing decision rather quickly (remember that the first-base player acts first). This doesn’t give the first-base player much time to look at his hand, then the dealer’s upcard, then glance at his strategy card to determine how to play the hand. However, if you sit in positions 3, 4 or 5, you will have a little more time to figure out how to play your hand, and when you are not rushed you are more likely to make the right play, win more, and enjoy the game better.
Henry Tamburin is the editor of Blackjack Insider Newsletter (www.bjinsider.com), Lead Instructor for the Golden Touch Blackjack Course (www.goldentouchblackjack.com), and host of www.smartgaming.com. For a FREE three-month subscription to his blackjack newsletter, go to www.bjinsider.com/freetrial.com. To receive his FREE Casino Gambling Catalog, call 1-888-353-3234 or visit www.smartgaming.com.
Luck Lotto News Moms Advice Pays Off
Big Time Birthday Win
A Delta Air Lines ramp agent took his mom’s advice and bought a scratch-off lottery ticket on his 28th birthday—and it was a very smart move. Patrick Clarke, who lives in Queens, New York, said his mother gave him $50 for his birthday. The next day, while visiting his girlfriend in Brooklyn for a birthday celebration, Clarke stopped at a deli and bought two $10 Set for Life scratch-offs—but never imagined he would win. Back at his girlfriend’s apartment, Clarke scratched one of the tickets and saw a match on number 16 with the word “Life” under it, indicating he had hit the jackpot. The jackpot prize was $5 million, but Clarke opted to take the one-time lump sum of $2,453,693.
Big Win Bummer for Brit
Britain’s youngest EuroMillions lottery winner has revealed she is planning to take legal action against the lottery for negligence. Jane Park, who won £1 million (US$1.25 million) at the age of 17, said winning the windfall had “ruined” her life and she often thought things would have been better if she had never won. Park, now 21, says that someone her age should not be allowed to win such a substantial sum of money. She said 18 should be the minimum age for winning the lottery and suggested the current limit of 16 was too young. She said she had become bored with relentless consumption and felt like it failed to offer long-term genuine happiness. Before winning the lottery, Park, who now owns two properties, worked as an administrative temp and lived in a small apartment with her mother in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Young Americans are showing less interest in buying lotto tickets than their parents, prompting lottery officials to worry about the odds for future growth. While overall ticket sales rose 9 percent last year versus 2015, the number of millennial players—adults in their late teens to early 30s—is falling. That is creating concern among leaders of the industry, which generates $80 billion in annual revenue, more than the combined U.S. sales of movie tickets, music and concerts. Only a third of Americans aged 18 to 29 said they played the lottery in the past year, compared with 61 percent for those aged 50 to 64, according to a 2016 Gallup survey. The rate for millennials fell from 39 percent in surveys conducted in 2003 and 2007, Gallup said. For all other age groups, the likelihood of playing went up over the past decade.
A Reason to Clean
South Carolina Lottery officials say a Georgia woman found a winning Powerball ticket in a stack of old tickets. The discovery was made while cleaning. The winning ticket was purchased last fall in Simpsonville, South Carolina. Officials said that the woman was visiting family when she bought the winning ticket. “My New Year’s resolution was to not let stuff pile up,” she said. The ticket is worth $100,000. Along with that win, she found more winning tickets totaling $30. Lottery officials say the winner was relieved to find the ticket before time ran out to claim her prize. Players have 180 days from the date of the drawing to claim their prize.