Yet More Blackjack in Pennsylvania

Have you heard that phrase ‘When it rains, it pours?’

That could be said about blackjack in Pennsylvania. It is raining blackjack in Pennsylvania.

Already six casinos have received, set up, tested and opened blackjack tables. Those six casinos would be the Meadows, the Rivers, the Presque Isle Downs in western Pennsylvania and the Mohegan Sun, Mount Airy and Hollywood casinos in eastern Pennsylvania.

Now blackjack, and other table games like craps and roulette, will be coming to the Philadelphia area. Thankfully it is not another three casinos; this time it is only two: the Parx Casino and Harrah’s. Parx is located in Bensalem and Harrah’s in Chester.

Both casinos will be working their table games test today and hope to open said table games at 6 am on Sunday morning.

Ever since table games were approved earlier this year it seems that every brick and mortar casino in Pennsylvania is jumping up to install table games.

The funny thing about the sudden downpour of blackjack and other table games is that table games is not where the money is in casinos games of late. Vegas can attest that money comes from the slots machines. Popularity seems to be with the slots too.

So why the mad dash to install, staff and offer table games?

The only guess that I can offer is that casinos are hoping to draw more traffic, pulling it away from Atlantic City, by offering more gambling options to patrons. Yes, offering table games is could bring in more money but here is a little secret: with the offering of table games, these casinos have also been allowed to increase the number of slot machines to help accommodate an increased number of casino patrons.

So in short the table games were a means to an end. Not that blackjack players in Pennsylvania will care. They are just happy to not have to drive a long distance to play their favorite game.

Be Mindful

One of the fun things about playing blackjack in a brick and mortar casino is the free drinks. You will see waitresses going from table to table bringing drinks to players.

The casino’s surface intent of these free drinks is to make your playing experience all the more enjoyable with drinks brought right to you so that you do not have to leave your game, and on top of that your drinks are free! This would be one of the advantages blackjack in a brick and mortar casino has over online blackjack…if you like to drink while playing.

But the real reason that casinos like to offer their players free drinks is in hopes that players will become somewhat inebriated, but not fully intoxicated. For the most part when players become inebriated they lose their focus and do not usually stick with their blackjack strategies, tossing aside their basic strategy charts, and making foolish plays or wagers. Casinos make money here.

But they do not want players to be drunk as it ruins the experience for other players. That, and there is the possibility that a player will behave very badly.

I read this morning about a man who was playing blackjack at one of the Meadows’ new blackjack tables. Security was going table to table around 2:30 am telling the players ‘Last Call’ when this man became very angry and aggressive. He wound up being tasered by a state trooper who was called in and hauled off to jail. Not how you want to end a night of blackjack.

Not only should you want to avoid being tasered, your main reason for watching how many of those free drinks you have has more to do with your playing and your blackjack strategy.

Remember that part where I mentioned that getting drunk at the blackjack tables will cause players to play recklessly, and that casinos like when this happens? You do not want to play recklessly because it will cause you to lose your money faster. You might as well hand it over to the cashier and be done with it if you want to be drunk and throw your money away.

Blackjack offers players the chance to make money. Getting tipsy and reckless with your playing will not only reduce your chances of making money, it will increase your chances of paying out through your nose.

Blackjack for Charity

Do you know what brick and mortar casinos do with the proceeds from their test dates? No? Well in western Pennsylvania they donate the proceeds from test dates to charity. That means any money you lose at the blackjack table is going to a good cause.

That might even be a very good reason to lose at blackjack.

The Meadows is set to open its doors and have its blackjack tables up and running on July 8th. However, before they turn the blackjack dealers loose, they need to make sure that their dealers are ready to go and see that operations at the table games will run smoothly when the new 68 table games, including the blackjack tables, are opened.

In Washington County, home of the Meadows, any revenue generated from table games like blackjack has to be donated to charity, minus the portion that is paid to the government in taxes of course.

Since the Meadows opening in 2007 they have had several test dates for various additions to their casino. Former recipients of test day revenue have been volunteer fire departments, the Washington County Food Bank, the Washington Women’s Shelter and the Washington Hospital. But the recipient of the July 6th test day revenue is going to be the United Way of Washington County.

So why is money from blackjack going to be going to the United Way? Sean Sullivan, Vice President and General Manager of the Meadows, said, “The United Way is an indispensable resource in Washington County, and we are grateful to be able to help this organization in its mission to improve the quality of life of people in our community.”

And whoever said nothing good comes from gambling?

Microchip Blackjack Happening

Imagine a game of blackjack in which you place your chips on the table and your betting total is instantly calculated by the casino. The casino is watching you and your chips, and how you are betting in blackjack, how much you a betting.

Sound a tad Big Brother?

Well, it does kind of sound that way. It seems casinos may have found a way to track their chips. The Meadows in Pennsylvania says that it might have in place microchipped casino chips. These chips would use a radio frequency identification technology to communicate with the casino.

According to the Meadows these microchipped casino chips can be used at a blackjack table to add up a player’s wager faster. And then at the end of the night, these RFID chips can increase the speed of cashing out at the cage at the end of the night.

Sean Sullivan, General Manager of the Meadows, has also given another reason that players should welcome these chips: they will protect players. How so? Because these chips will have RFID technology in their chips it will nearly eliminate counterfeiting chips. This way players will not be surprised when they go to cash out and are told some of their chips are not real.

The chips are being presented as nothing but beneficial to casino patrons.

However, blackjack players have reason to be wary of these microchipped casino chips: it can also make it easier for the casino to pick out card counters.

If these chips are communicating with the casino how much a player is wagering on a game of blackjack each round, casino staff will be able to see when a blackjack player raises and lowers his wager.

So while, yes, there are some benefits to these fancy chips, card counting blackjack players will most likely not take to them at all. You have to wonder how this is going to impact blackjack traffic at the Meadows.