Blackjack at the El Cortez

Well, it happened again over the weekend. For the fifth time, I have been backed-off at a blackjack table. This time at El Cortez Hotel & Casino in downtown Las Vegas, NV. This was where I was backed-off the fourth time too, about four weeks ago.

A Fool And His Money Are Soon Parted

I am a blackjack card-counter and I am very good at what I do. If you read my bio in the Meet the Network Section you will see I don’t show my face. This is because we card counters are considered “The Enemy” by blackjack pit personnel. I guess they have a job to do, but so do I. They even have a Black Book where they keep our photos.

You see, blackjack, if understood and played properly, can be beat. However, not all blackjack games are created equally. Every blackjack game is played by a certain set of “table rules” that define the house’s starting advantage. This is the theoretical house win rate, against blackjack players who play perfect Basic Strategy. This number can be very small. As currently constituted, the El Cortez single deck blackjack game has a house starting advantage (edge) of a tiny 0.18%, as shown by the chart, below:

Casino Table Edge Decks Cut Min Max Rules
El Cortez 7 0.18% 1 0.5 $5 $1,000 h17,shoe
El Cortez 7 0.40% 2 0.7 $5 $1,000 h17,ds,shoe
El Cortez 2 0.63% 6 5.7 $5 $500 h17,ds,csm

Player Notes: Quick to back off. Sweats green action.

For the record, card counting is NOT illegal. Of course, the casinos want you to think it is. Card counting is a relatively simple method of determining when the house has the edge on the cards remaining to be dealt, and when the player has the edge. All I am doing is using my intellect and basic math skills – addition and subtraction – to keep track of this. What is illegal is collusion with the dealer or using any mechanical device, like a computer, at the table. I don’t do any of that and never have.

But I am pretty sharp at this. We can get into that another time, as that is not the thrust of this article.

Casinos are chickenshit. And El Cortez might now be the new leader in chickenshittedness in Las Vegas, NV.

Casinos cater to the weak and infirm. They serve players complimentary alcohol, as much as the player wants, and extorts the player to play more (and drink more). Especially when he or she is incapacitated. They have zero qualms about taking the Fool’s Money.

Yet, the other side to this is they ban guys like me who know how to play. Why? I don’t really know but it is legal for them to do so. No way am I hurting their bottom line.

Every casino in Nevada (and probably in every other state, too) is considered a private club. They cannot overtly discriminate on the basis of color or creed. Yet, as a private club, they can choose whom to serve (overserve in the case of all the free booze) and whom to not serve, like me, in the case of a player who knows what he is doing.

The casinos and the corporations that run them are all cynical and greedy. They know the masses are not prepared to play any of the games they offer. They offer games with awful rules – like paying 6 to 5 on a Blackjack – and games with huge house edges. They do this because they are greedy and they know their “guests” don’t understand even the most basic math that controls the house edge. As the title states: A Fool And His Money Are Soon Parted.

In the olden days when the real Mob ran Las Vegas, they gave their players a good game and a good gamble. Nowadays, the corporate mobsters who run this town are just plain greedy. They will get you drunk and take your money. But they have no interest in allowing a guy like me to make a tiny profit off of their largesse.

But we can all do something about this – no matter where you are in the world! All we have to do is simply refuse to play the lousy games that are being offered to us. If we all voted with our bankrolls and stayed away from casinos that offer bad games with lousy playing conditions, things would change almost immediately. Unfortunately, the corporations know most of their customers are fools, only looking for a “good time,” and are easily parted from their money.

Over the years, I have taught at least two dozen people how to play basic strategy and how to count cards. I am gratified to hear from any of them who report how they won money at the game of blackjack. If any of you reading this are interested in learning how to play correctly, feel free to contact me through this website. And we can practice at the El Cortez and take even more of their money!

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